CBSE (Commerce) Class 12CBSE
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Solution - Show that the Equilibrium of the Test Charge is Necessarily Unstable - CBSE (Commerce) Class 12 - Physics

Question

(a) Consider an arbitrary electrostatic field configuration. A small test charge is placed at a null point (i.e., where = 0) of the configuration. Show that the equilibrium of the test charge is necessarily unstable.

(b) Verify this result for the simple configuration of two charges of the same magnitude and sign placed a certain distance apart.

Solution

(a) Let the equilibrium of the test charge be stable. If a test charge is in equilibrium and displaced from its position in any direction, then it experiences a restoring force towards a null point, where the electric field is zero. All the field lines near the null point are directed inwards towards the null point. There is a net inward flux of electric field through a closed surface around the null point. According to Gauss’s law, the flux of electric field through a surface, which is not enclosing any charge, is zero. Hence, the equilibrium of the test charge can be stable.

(b) Two charges of same magnitude and same sign are placed at a certain distance. The mid-point of the joining line of the charges is the null point. When a test charged is displaced along the line, it experiences a restoring force. If it is displaced normal to the joining line, then the net force takes it away from the null point. Hence, the charge is unstable because stability of equilibrium requires restoring force in all directions.

Is there an error in this question or solution?

APPEARS IN

 NCERT Physics Textbook for Class 12 Part 1 (with solutions)
Chapter 1: Electric Charge and Fields
Q: 32 | Page no. 50

Reference Material

Solution for question: Show that the Equilibrium of the Test Charge is Necessarily Unstable concept: null - Charging by Induction. For the courses CBSE (Commerce), CBSE (Arts), CBSE (Science)
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