Coulomb's Law

Definition of Coulomb's Law

Vector Form of Coulomb's Law

Dependence of Electrostatic force on Surrounding Medium

Dielectric Constant (Relative Permittivity)

Definition 1

Definition 2

Dielectric Medium

Coulomb's Law formula for a dielectric medium of constant K

Principle of Superposition (for electrostatic force)

Value, Unit and Dimensional formula for ε

_{o}

Variations In Graph

F vs r (Q

_{1}and Q

_{2}are constant)

F vs Q

_{1}.Q

_{2}(r is constant)

F vs 1/r

^{2}(Q

_{1}.Q

_{2}is constant)

# Coulomb's Law

On the basis of experiments Coulomb's law gives the magnitude and direction of electrostatic or coulombic or coulombian force of attraction or of repulsion between two point charges. It is applicable to the case of two point charges only.

## Definition of Coulomb's Law

The magnitude of electrostatic force of attraction or repulsion between two point charges is directly proportional to the product of magnitudes of two charges and is inversely proportional to the square of distance between their centers. The force is directed along the line joining the centers of the two charges.

For two charges Q₁ and Q₂ at distance r

magnitude of electrostatic force will be

F ∝ Q₁.Q₂ and F ∝ (1/r²)

or

F ∝ Q₁.Q₂/r²

or F = k.(Q₁.Q₂/r²)

where k is a proportionality constant whose value depends upon the nature of medium between charges.

value of k for air or vacuum is 9 x 10⁹ N m² C⁻².

## Vector Form of Coulomb's Law

- On both charges, forces are equal and opposite (like action and reaction).
- Nature of charge (positive or negative) is used to find the direction of force only. Its sign is not used while calculating magnitude of force. (or in the formula of F, the sign of q is not used).

## Dependence of Electrostatic Force on Surrounding Medium

Electrostatic force between two charge is given by

F = k.(Q₁.Q₂/r²).

F depends on constant k,

k depends on the surrounding medium to the charge.

For simplicity we write: k=1/4Ï€∈₀

∈₀ is read as Epsilon Zero.

where ∈₀ is known as Absolute permittivity of free space (air or vacuum).

for any other medium: k=1/4Ï€∈

where ∈ is known as Absolute permittivity of the medium.

Absolute permittivity is the property of a medium and

now force between two charges kept in a medium of permittivity ∈

F=(1/4Ï€∈).Q₁.Q₂/r²

clearly, F ∝ 1/∈.

Therefore, higher the value of ∈, less the electrostatic force between charges.

⤵️⤵️⤵️

Let two charges Q₁ and Q₂ are kept in air at distance r.

Electrostatic force between them ⟶

F₀ = (1/4Ï€∈₀).Q₁.Q₂/r²

When the same two charges are kept at the same distance in a medium of absolute permittivity ∈.

Electrostatic force will be ⟶

F(m) = (1/4Ï€∈).Q₁.Q₂/r²

Now dividing F(m) by F₀

F(m)/F₀ = ∈₀/∈

here ∈₀/∈ is a constant and we write ∈₀/∈ = 1/K or K = ∈/∈₀, where K is known as relative permittivity of the medium or dielectric constant of that medium.

Therefore, F(m)/F₀ = 1/K or F(m) = F₀/K.

## Dielectric Constant (Relative Permittivity)

Dielectric constant K is the property of a medium which affects electric field and electrostatic force. Note that dielectric constant K is different from the k used in the formula of Coulomb's law.

### Definition 1

Dielectric constant of a medium is defined as the ratio of the Absolute permittivity of the medium to that of the permittivity of air or vacuum.

K=∈/∈₀

Since, dielectric constant is a ratio of similar quantities, it has no unit.

For air or vacuum, K=1. It means ∈=∈₀, only for air or vacuum.

For water, K=81. And this is the reason why bond strength ionic compound decreases by 81 times when it enters in water.

Absolute permittivity of any medium or ∈ is ∈₀K.

### Definition 2

Dielectric constant of a medium is defined as the ratio of electrostatic force between two point charges kept in air or vacuum to that between two point charges kept in another medium at the same distance.

K=F₀/F(m)

Absolute permittivity of any dielectric medium (insulating medium or other than conductors) is greater than that of air or vacuum.

It means, F₀/F(m) > 1

or F₀ > F(m)

Hence, force between two charges when kept in a dielectric medium decreases. And it decreases by K times, the dielectric constant.

### Dielectric Medium

- Insulating or non conducting.
- Have no free electrons.
- Mica, glass, plastic, oil, paper, etc.

### Coulomb's Law formula for a Dielectric Medium of constant K

F(m) = (1/4Ï€∈₀K).Q₁.Q₂/r², since ∈ = ∈₀K.

also, F ∝ 1/K.

## Principle Of Superposition (for Electrostatic Force)

This principle is used to determine the net force on a point charge due to multiple charges in surroundings.

ðŸ‘‰ The net electrostatic force experienced by a point charge due to a number of charges around it is the vector sum of all the electrostatic forces acting on it due to all point charges individually.

F(net)=F1+ F2+ F3+... (do the vector sum).

### Value, Unit and Dimensional formula for ∈₀

Value of ∈₀ is 8.85 x 10⁻¹² N⁻¹m⁻²C².

Dimensional formula for ∈₀ is

[∈₀] = [Q₁].[Q₂]/[4][Ï€][F][r]²

Since, 4 and Ï€ are mathematical numbers, they do not have any specified dimensions. So the actual result will come from

[∈₀] = [Q₁][Q₂]/[F][r]²

[∈₀] = [AT][AT]/[MLT⁻²][L²]

[∈₀] = [A²T²]/[ML³T⁻²]

[∈₀] = [M⁻¹L⁻³T⁴A²]

### Variations In Graph

F = (1/4Ï€∈₀K).Q₁.Q₂/r²

#### F vs r (Q₁ and Q₂ are constant)

F ∝ 1/r², inverse square relation.

F is inversely proportional to r.

Graph shows "__inverse square relation between F and r__."

#### F vs Q₁.Q₂ (r is constant)

F ∝ Q₁.Q₂

it is directly proportional, that is why the graph is a straight line.

Graph shows "__a straight line, showing as Q₁.Q₂ increases or decreases F also increases of decreases__."

Slope of this graph is : F/Q₁.Q₂ =1/4Ï€∈₀Kr²

#### F vs 1/r² (Q₁.Q₂ is constant)

F ∝ 1/r², F is directly proportional to 1/r².

So the graph will be a straight line.

Graph shows "__F is directly proportional to 1/r², hence the graph is a straight line__."

Slope of this graph is, F/(1/r²) = Q₁.Q₂/4Ï€∈₀K.

This slope depends on Q₁.Q₂ and here it is kept constant and therefore the whole ratio becomes a constant, this constant ratio is the slope of this graph. Since the slope is constant, the graph will be a straight line. This is also a way to find whether the graph is a straight line or not.

## 2 Comments

How do you calculate epsilon o from a force versus 1/r^2 graph

ReplyDeleteWe know ∈₀ is a constant and its value is with respect to air/vacuum and is equals to 8.85 x 10^-12 C^2 N^-1 m^-2.

ReplyDeleteYou can also calculate its value from F vs 1/r^2 graph.

As per the formula given above the value on the line of F (on y-axis) represents the corresponding value of Q1.Q2 and the line of 1/r^2 (on x-axis) corresponds to the value of 4Ï€∈₀K,

And now from "4Ï€∈₀K" divide "4Ï€K" to get the value of ∈₀.

In this case you must have the value of dielectric constant (K) of the medium.

finally you will get the value of ∈₀ near about 8.85 x 10^-12 C^2 N^-1 m^-2.

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