Part II: A. Ratio of Charges

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Two fixed charges and a dragable test charge are placed as shown (position is given in meters and force is given in newtons).  The blue arrow represents the force on the red test charge.  The forces on the fixed charges are not shown.  You can examine the forces with the first fixed charge, with the second fixed charge, or with both fixed charges in place.  Notice that the net force on the test charge is displayed in the yellow message box when you have only one charge present but not when you have both charges present. Restart

Answer the following questions with both fixed charges in place.

  1. Determine the net force on the test charge at the point (3 m,4 m). To do this, select first and read the force due to the "first" charge alone (magnitude and direction).  Next, do the same for the second charge.
  2. Sketch the two vectors represented by the forces in the usual "head to tail" vector addition picture and then give the resultant net force (this requires some math).
  3. Determine the net force on the test charge at a point midway between the two charges by first finding the midpoint and then measuring the magnitude of the force due to each charge (first and second) and also consider the direction.
  4. Is (are) there any point(s) where the net force on the test charge is zero? If so, find those points.  Check this by moving the charge, but also think about it.  How many such points are possible? Where should such "equilibrium" points be located when the charges are the same? when the charges are opposite?
  5. What is the ratio of the charges?  (First charge is lower right.)  Start with the test charge at the equilibrium point.  Then, you will need to use Coulomb's law and also determine the distance to the equilibrium point from each charge.  Also, what is the net force and the force due to each charge on the test charge at that point?



Original problem: Exploration 22.1 Physlet Physics by Christian and Belloni
2004 by Prentice-Hall, Inc. A Pearson Company