Hey, guys, with this video, I want to talk more about electric field lines, what they represent and how we actually construct them in arrangements of charges. There's not a whole lot of calculations that we will do in this video, but it definitely is a conceptual point that you need to know. So let's go ahead and check it out. So just remember that electric field lines always point from whoops. They always point from positive charges and towards negative charges. Now, if you've seen our video on parallel plate capacitors, you saw what happened when we have a positive plate and a negative plate separated by some distance; we would just end up with a uniform electric field that points from the positive plate towards the negative plate. If you haven't seen our video, that's perfectly fine, because you should remember that positive charges always produce electric field lines that point outwards, whereas negative electric charges always produce electric field lines that point inwards. All right, so another way to visualize these electric field lines is that they give us the direction that a positive charge would go now. Just remember that the force of any charge that we put in an electric field is just related to Q times the electric field. But just remember that these EFS and these are actually vectors. And what do we know about vectors? Vectors always have magnitudes, and they also have a direction. So how does something like a positive or negative sign of this Q affect that direction? Well, basically, if you have a Q and that's a positive number, then that means that all of these things over here end up being positive. So what I mean by that is that if you have this positive charge here with some Q, then it's going to experience a force that goes in the same exact direction as the electric field. So that means that F points in the same direction as E and any positive charge. An electric field will just point towards the right. It'll go. It'll go with the flow, whereas if you have a negative sign that's out here. So if you have Q equals negative, then basically this negative sign serves to reverse the direction of F and E right. So if we ever have a negative sign, negatives and positives in physics usually associate with the direction. So that means if you have a negative charge, it's actually going to want to go against the flow. So that means the force is going to point in the opposite direction as E. So if you have an electron or a group of electrons or anything like that, they're always going to want to go against that flow. All right? Does that make sense? So for the rest of this video, we're going to go ahead and construct these electric field lines, and basically just doing one long example. But it's definitely something that you might run into on a test or homework or anything like that. So we're supposed to draw the electric field lines for an electric dipole. So that's going to be part A. And I've got all these points of interest. All these black dots represent just points of interest that we're going to look at the electric field lines. So what I'm going to do is I'm just going to use Red to mark positive lines, and I'm going to use blue for negative field lines. And then I'm going to use green for the Net electric field lines. Now, the other thing we have to remember is that the electric fields due to any charge is just k Q divided by R squared, which means that it gets weaker with distance very, very quickly. All right, so let's go ahead and just start. Start off with all the positives. So we know that the electric field from this positive charge is just going to produce outward vectors in all of these cases right here. All of these points of interest, the electric field lines. You're just going to point away from that positive test charge from that from that positive charge? Right? So we've got that's and then they start to get a little bit weaker over here and then here, and then it's going to be strong over here. It's going to be weak and then even weaker. And then over here points away, actually should be smaller, like that's and then here it's going to be very, very, very small, then, yeah, cool. So that's it for the positive lines. Let's go ahead. Do the same thing for the negative lines. The negative lines actually have electric field lines that will point towards it. So that means that these guys will actually be very strong because remember this distance right here between this point of interest, and this charge is going to be way bigger. Sorry, way smaller than this distance with this positive charge. So that means, essentially, that this blue line is going to be overpowering the red one. So that's why these electric field lines were stronger over here. These really, really strong over here. Kind of like how these were strong. And then they start to get weaker over on the left side. Okay? And a couple more on these get really, really weak. Something like that's okay and done. Great. So now what we can go ahead and do is construct what the net electric field is going to be the easiest place to start is going to be in the middle because these two field lines basically just point in the same exact direction. So it means that the Net electric field is going to point towards the rights. And now we can see that anywhere that we look along the midline right here we can use another property of electric fields and electric charge that we've used before, which is called symmetry. Remember that along this midline here, which is directly between these two positive charges anywhere you look, the electric fields are going to have a cosine of the angle with the horizontal direction, we can always use the cosines and sines basically set up the components of that vector. And we know that the vertical components are always going to cancel out. So what that means is that the electric field, the net electric field anywhere along the midline is going to be pointing towards the rights and it gets weaker with distance. So it's going to look something like this, and then this one is going to be a little bit weaker. So this is the easiest one because we know there's always going to point towards the right. Now over here, anywhere off of the midline. You can't exploit that symmetry. So we're just going to have to take a look at the vectors right here. We can just group up these vectors like that. We could group these vectors like this. They're going to look something like that. And then over here it's going to look something like this and then this, and that's basically it. Great. So now we've constructed all the net electric field lines. We can start to see a pattern between some of these some of these points of interest. So basically, we have this electric field going up. Then it goes to the right, and then it goes down towards the negative charge. So basically, what happens is that you can sort of trace the swooping lines, these arcs that travel through those points from the positive charge towards the negative charge. Now, you could do this basically with any points. So basically curves outwards like this and then goes down towards the negative charge similar to over here and then basically this whole process or this whole sweeping arc thing is symmetrical. So the same thing is going to happen over here. You're going to have an arc like this. It's going to go towards all the charges and go towards the negative. And you basically could just draw all of these arcs over here. So basically, we see how these how these swooping arcs go from the positive towards the negative. But on either side, what happens is that the electric field lines basically dominate from the charge that it's closest to. So basically, these lines start to look like how they normally would for electric fields. Except there's a little bit of a curvature to these lines. So it's basically like that and like this and like this. So all these lines go in words like that because of the negative charge. And then the same thing happens on the left side, but to the opposite. Now, these electric field lines, we're going to go outwards like this, and it's going to be like that just like that. And these electric field lines will point outwards. So this is basically what the electric field of an electric dipole looks like. It's very interesting. So we figured out what part a is and now in part B, what we're supposed to do is figure out where an electric where an electron would be accelerated inside directly between this electric dipole. So, in other words, if I were to drop a little electron over here, which the queues equal to negative e, which way would it go? Remember that negative charges always want to go against the flow of the electric field. In this case between the electric dipole, it always goes from the positive to the negative points in this direction. So that means this charge right here will experience a force that points in the opposite direction, so it's going to point to the left, and that's the answer. Another way to think about this is we do know that negative charges will repel each other. So if this is an electron, a negatively charged particle, it's going to want to repel from the negative and go towards the positive. So everything makes sense. All right, guys, that's it for this video. We're going to go ahead and do another example. Let me know if you guys have any questions.

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# Electric Field Lines - Online Tutor, Practice Problems & Exam Prep

Electric field lines illustrate the direction of electric forces, originating from positive charges and terminating at negative charges. The strength of these fields diminishes with distance, following the equation ${k}^{Q/{R}^{2}}$. In an electric dipole, positive charges create outward lines, while negative charges attract lines inward, demonstrating how a negative charge, like an electron, moves against the electric field flow, towards the positive charge.

### Electric Field Lines

#### Video transcript

Draw the field lines for a pair of identical, positive charges.

#### Problem Transcript

### Field Lines of Electric Quadrupole

#### Video transcript

Hey, guys, let's do another example of drawing electric field lines. Okay, draw the electric field lines for the four charges shown below. This arrangement is known as an electric quadrupole. Okay, so just like we had an electric dipole, which was two charges, we have an electric quadrupole, 'quadrupole' being four charges arranged as shown.

Okay, the important thing to remember here is that the electric field decreases pretty rapidly with distance. Okay, the electric field is what we call directly proportional to one over R squared. That means that when R doubles, the two is actually squared, so E becomes 1/4. When R triples, E becomes 1/9. So, it's not just that it drops off linearly; it drops off very, very rapidly like this. This is the electric field versus R, basically what I'm getting at is that only nearby charges affect the electric field lines. So, what we can do is we can actually look at this as a collection of multiple dipoles and our electric field lines. They're going to look like that.

Okay, so let's start these dipole lines. They're going to go from the positive to the negative. It's the other direction. Okay, these dipole lines are going to go from the positive to the negative; these dipole lines are going to go from the positive to the negative and these dipole lines are going to go from the positive to the negative with very, very little influence.

Now, the closer we get to the center, the more it looks like a dipole; sorry, the less it looks like a dipole, while the more we get away from the center, the more it looks like a dipole. The further away, this actually looks even more like a dipole. The further away, this looks even more like a dipole. This one looks even more like a dipole. Yeah.

Okay, now what happens as we get near the center? Well, at the very center, we have an electric field down due to the top positive charge, we have an electric field up due to the bottom positive charge, we have an electric field to the left due to the right negative charge, and we have an electric field to the right due to the left negative charge. Okay? Because all these charges are the same and because we're looking at the direct center, so they're all the same distance from the center, we know that all of these electric fields cancel. So the electric field is just going to be zero at the center of the quadrupole. Okay, so this is what it looks like. It looks like a collection of dipoles with a zero electric field at the center.

## Do you want more practice?

More sets### Here’s what students ask on this topic:

What do electric field lines represent?

Electric field lines represent the direction and strength of the electric field created by charges. They originate from positive charges and terminate at negative charges. The density of these lines indicates the field's strength; closer lines mean a stronger field. These lines help visualize how a positive test charge would move within the field, showing the path it would follow due to the electric forces acting on it.

How do electric field lines behave around a positive charge?

Electric field lines around a positive charge radiate outward. This indicates that a positive test charge placed in the field would be repelled away from the positive source charge. The lines are denser near the charge, showing that the electric field is stronger close to the charge and weakens as the distance increases, following the equation $\frac{kQ}{{R}^{2}}$.

How do electric field lines behave around a negative charge?

Electric field lines around a negative charge point inward, indicating that a positive test charge would be attracted towards the negative charge. The lines are denser near the charge, showing a stronger electric field close to the charge, which diminishes with distance. This behavior is consistent with the principle that electric field strength decreases with the square of the distance, as described by the equation $\frac{kQ}{{R}^{2}}$.

What is the direction of the electric field in a dipole?

In an electric dipole, the electric field lines originate from the positive charge and terminate at the negative charge. The field lines curve outward from the positive charge and inward towards the negative charge, creating a pattern that shows the direction a positive test charge would move. The field is strongest near the charges and weakens with distance. The net electric field at any point is the vector sum of the fields due to both charges.

How does a negative charge move in an electric field?

A negative charge, such as an electron, moves against the direction of the electric field lines. This is because the electric force on a negative charge is opposite to the direction of the field. For example, in a dipole, a negative charge would move from the negative charge towards the positive charge, going against the flow of the electric field lines.

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