Distinguish with the help of a suitable diagram, the difference in the behaviour of a conductor and a dielectric placed in an external electric field.
Explain, using suitable diagrams, the difference in the behaviour of a conductor and dielectric in the presence of external electric field
When a conductor is placed in an external electric field, the free charge carriers move and charge distribution in the conductor adjusts itself in such a way that the electric field caused by induced charges opposes the external field within the conductor. This happens until, in the static situation, the two fields cancel each other and the net electrostatic field in the conductor is zero.
In contrast to conductors, dielectrics are non-conducting substances i.e., they have no (or negligible number of ) charge carriers. Thus, in a dielectric, free movement of charges is not possible. It turns out that the external field induces dipole moment by stretching or reorienting molecules of the dielectric. The collective effect of all the molecular dipole moments is the net charge on the surface of the dielectric which produce a field that opposes the external field, unlike a conductor in an external electric field. However, the opposing field so induced does not exactly cancel the external field. It only reduces it. The extent of the effect depends on the nature of the dielectric.
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