A spherical conducting shell of inner radius r1 and outer radius r2 has a charge Q.
(a) A charge q is placed at the centre of the shell. What is the surface charge density on the inner and outer surfaces of the shell?
(b) Is the electric field inside a cavity (with no charge) zero, even if the shell is not spherical, but has any irregular shape? Explain.
(a) Charge placed at the centre of a shell is +q. Hence, a charge of magnitude −q will be induced to the inner surface of the shell. Therefore, total charge on the inner surface of the shell is −q.
Surface charge density at the inner surface of the shell is given by the relation,
`sigma_1="total Charge"/"inner surface area"=-q/(4pir_2^2)` ...(1)
A charge of +q is induced on the outer surface of the shell. A charge of magnitude Q is placed on the outer surface of the shell. Therefore, total charge on the outer surface of the shell is Q + q. Surface charge density at the outer surface of the shell,
`sigma_2="total Charge"/"outersurface area"=(Q+q)/(4pir_2^2)` ...(2)
The electric field intensity inside a cavity is zero, even if the shell is not spherical and has any irregular shape. Take a closed loop such that a part of it is inside the cavity along a field line while the rest is inside the conductor. Net work done by the field in carrying a test charge over a closed loop is zero because the field inside the conductor is zero. Hence, electric field is zero, whatever is the shape