PHYS208 3/6 Class
Bottom of page /
Previous Class /
Electrostatics of Conductors
Gauss's Law and Symmetry
Generally we find that Gauss's law is useful in calculating the electric field for three situations. Those are for charge distributions having the following symmetry:
- point symmetry (spherical) -- Example 1, Example 2
- line symmetry (cylindrical) -- Example
- planar symmetry (sheet)
For the first two symmetries, we apply gaussian surfaces which are spheres and end-capped cylinders, respectively.
For planar symmetry, a cylinder is also used although it is oriented differently from the line symmetry case.
When I was a new student of physics we called this the gaussian pillbox,
a term which has fallen into disuse; we will refer to it as a gaussian can.
Charged, Isolated Conductors
Dielectric breakdown of air
arc (or corona) discharge -- important in photocopying
Top of page;
Back to PHYS208 Home Page.
Comments, suggestions, or requests to
Last updated March 10, 1998.
Copyright George Watson, Univ. of Delaware, 1997.