PHYS208 logo Dipole

Two unlike charges separated, net charge of zero

Electric field lines of dipole   Electric field lines far away
far away
close up
Electric field lines close up
  Note that even far away, the field lines do not behave as a net charge of zero. Later in the semester, we will study the dependence of electric field far away from an electric dipole. When the net charge of the distribution is zero, as it is here, we may not consider the electric field to behave as zero charge (that is, no electric field); the higher order "poles" of the charge distribution must then be considered.

When the net charge is not zero, the behavior far from a distribution of point charges behaves like a single point charge of the net amount, as seen in the other examples.

Based on Tipler Fig. 18-18.

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Last updated Feb. 15, 1998.
Copyright George Watson, Univ. of Delaware, 1998.