Total work done by the electric field on the test charge in moving it from A to B
in the electric field is
B
qq0 1 1
WAB = dW =  E . dl =
4πε0
[r B

rA ]
A
B
qq0 1 1
WAB = dW =  E . dl =
4πε0
[r
B

rA ]
A
1. The equation shows that the work done in moving a test charge q0 from
point A to another point B along any path AB in an electric field due to +q
charge depends only on the positions of these points and is independent of
the actual path followed between A and B.
2. That is, the line integral of electric field is path independent.
3. Therefore, electric field is ‘conservative field’.
4. Line integral of electric field over a closed path is zero. This is another
condition satisfied by conservative field.
B
E . dl = 0
A
Note:
Line integral of only static electric field is independent of the path followed.
However, line integral of the field due to a moving charge is not independent of
the path because the field varies with time.
Electric Potential:
Electric potential is a physical quantity which determines the flow of charges
from one body to another.
It is a physical quantity that determines the degree of electrification of a body.
Electric Potential at a point in the electric field is defined as the work done in
moving (without any acceleration) a unit positive charge from infinity to that
point against the electrostatic force irrespective of the path followed.
B
qq0 1 1 WAB q 1 1
WAB =  E . dl =
4πε0
[rB

rA ] or
q0 = 4πε0
[rB

rA ]
A
According to definition, rA = ∞ and rB = r
(where r is the distance from the source charge
and the point of consideration)
W∞B q W∞B
=V V=
q0 = 4πε0 r q0
WAB q 1 q 1
 = VB  VA
q0 = 4πε0 rB 4πε0 rA
WAB
VB  VA = ∆V =
q0
To prevent this acceleration, equal and opposite force –q0E has to be applied
on the test charge.
Work done to move q0 from P to Q through ‘dx’ against q0E is
1 q
VP =
q+
4πε0 (x – l)
A B +1 C
1 q
VP = q O +q P
q
4πε0 (x + l) p
l l
VP = VP + VP x
q+ q
q 1 1
VP =
4πε0 [ (x – l)

(x + l)
]
1 q . 2l
VP =
4πε0 (x2 – l2)
1 p
VP =
4πε0 (x2 – l2)
ii) At a point on the equatorial line:
1 q
VQ =
q+ 4πε0 BQ Q
1 q
VQ =
q
4πε0 AQ y
A θ θ B
VQ = VP + VP q O +q
q+ q
p
q 1 1 l l
VQ =
4πε0 [ BQ

AQ
]
VQ = 0 BQ = AQ
The net electrostatic potential at a point in the electric field due to an electric
dipole at any point on the equatorial line is zero.
Equipotential Surfaces:
A surface at every point of which the potential due to charge distribution is
the same is called equipotential surface.
i) For a uniform electric field:
V1 V2 V3
E
W=qV
n qi qj
U=
1
2
[ 1
4πε0
∑ ∑
i=1
n
j=1 │ rj  ri │
]
i≠j
Area Vector: n
Small area of a surface can be represented by a vector. dS
dS = dS n
dS
Electric Flux: S
Electric flux linked with any surface is defined as the total number of electric
lines of force that normally pass through that surface.
Electric flux dΦ through a small area dS dS
element dS due to an electric field E at an 90°
θ
angle θ with dS is
dS
dΦ = E . dS = E dS cos θ
dS
Total electric flux Φ over the whole θ E
surface S due to an electric field E is S
Φ= E . dS = E S cos θ = E . S
S
Electric flux is a scalar quantity. But it is a θ
property of vector field. dS
SI unit of electric flux is N m2 C1 or J m C 1.
Special Cases:
1. For 0° < θ < 90°, Φ is positive.
2. For θ = 90°, Φ is zero.
3. For 90° < θ < 180°, Φ is negative.
Solid Angle:
Solid angle is the threedimensional equivalent of an ordinary two
dimensional plane angle.
SI unit of solid angle is steradian.
Solid angle subtended by area element dS at the r
centre O of a sphere of radius r is
dS cos θ θ n
dΩ =
r2
dS cos θ
Ω = dΩ = = 4π steradian dΩ
r2
S S
Gauss’s Theorem:
The surface integral of the electric field intensity over any closed hypothetical
surface (called Gaussian surface) in free space is equal to 1 / ε0 times the net
charge enclosed within the surface.
1 n
ΦE = E . dS = ∑ qi
ε0 i=1
S
Proof of Gauss’s Theorem for Spherically Symmetric Surfaces:
1 q
dΦ = E . dS = r . dS n E
4πε0 r2
1 q dS
dΦ = r . n r dS
4πε0 r2
O•
+q r
Here, r . n = 1 x 1 cos 0° = 1
1 q dS
dΦ =
4πε0 r2
1 q 1 q q
ΦE = dΦ = dS = 4π r2 =
4πε0 r2 4πε0 r2 ε0
S S
Proof of Gauss’s Theorem for a Closed Surface of any Shape:
1 q E
dΦ = E . dS = r . dS n
4πε0 r2
r
1 q dS θ n
dΦ = r . n
4πε0 r2
Here, r . n = 1 x 1 cos θ dΩ
= cos θ
+q •
q dS cos θ
dΦ =
4πε0 r2
q q q
ΦE = dΦ = dΩ = 4π =
4πε0 4πε0 ε0
S S
Deduction of Coulomb’s Law from Gauss’s Theorem:
From Gauss’s law,
q
ΦE = E . dS = ε0 E
S
C
r
∞ B A +∞
dS dS
Gaussian surface is a
From Gauss’s law,
E l E
closed surface,
q around a charge
ΦE = E . dS = ε0 distribution, such that
S the electric field
intensity has a single
E . dS = E . dS + E . dS + E . dS fixed value at every
point on the surface.
S A B C
λl
Ex2πrl= ε0
1 λ
or E=
2 πε0 r
or 1 2λ
E=
4 πε0 r
1 2λ
In vector form, E (r) = r
4 πε0 r
The direction of the electric field intensity is radially outward from the positive
line charge. For negative line charge, it will be radially inward.
Note:
The electric field intensity is independent of the size of the Gaussian surface
constructed. It depends only on the distance of point of consideration. i.e. the
Gaussian surface should contain the point of consideration.
2. Electric Field Intensity due to an Infinitely Long, Thin Plane Sheet of
Charge:
σ
dS
l
E
E dS r C E
A
B dS
σ π r2
2Exπ r2 =
ε0
σ σ
or E= In vector form,
2 ε0 E (l) = l
2 ε0
The direction of the electric field intensity is normal to the plane and away
from the positive charge distribution. For negative charge distribution, it will
be towards the plane.
Note:
The electric field intensity is independent of the size of the Gaussian surface
constructed. It neither depends on the distance of point of consideration nor
the radius of the cylindrical surface.
If the plane sheet is thick, then the charge distribution will be available on
both the sides. So, the charge enclosed within the Gaussian surface will be
twice as before. Therefore, the field will be twice.
σ
E=
ε0
3. Electric Field Intensity due to Two Parallel, Infinitely Long, Thin
Plane Sheet of Charge:
Case 1: σ1 > σ2
σ1 σ2
E1 E1 E1
E E E
( σ1 > σ2 )
E2 E2 E2
E = E1 + E2 E = E1  E2 E = E1 + E2
σ1 + σ2 σ1  σ2 σ1 + σ2
E= E= E=
2 ε0 2 ε0 2 ε0
Case 2: + σ1 &  σ2
σ1 σ2
E1 E1 E1
E E E
( σ1 > σ2 )
( σ1 > σ2 )
E2 E2 E2
E = E1  E2 E = E1 + E2 E = E1  E2
σ1  σ2 σ1 + σ 2 σ1  σ2
E= E= E=
2 ε0 2 ε0 2 ε0
Case 3: + σ &  σ
σ1 σ2
E1 E1 E1
E2 E2 E2
E = E1  E2 E = E1 + E2 E = E1  E2
σ1  σ2 σ1 + σ2 σ σ1  σ2
E= =0 E= = E= =0
2 ε0 2 ε0 ε0 2 ε0
4. Electric Field Intensity due to a Uniformed Charged This Spherical
Shell:
E
i) At a point P outside the shell: dS
r
From Gauss’s law, •P
q
ΦE = E . dS = ε0
S q O• R
Since E and dS are in the same direction,
HOLLOW
q
ΦE = E dS = ε0
S
q
or ΦE = E dS = ……… Gaussian Surface
ε0
S
q q Electric field due to a uniformly
E x 4π r2 = or E= charged thin spherical shell at
ε0 4πε0 r2
a point outside the shell is such
as if the whole charge were
Since q = σ x 4π R2, σ R2
E= concentrated at the centre of
ε0 r2 the shell.
ii) At a point A on the surface of the shell:
From Gauss’s law, E
q dS
ΦE = E . dS = ε0
S •
A
Since E and dS are in the same direction,
q O• R
q
ΦE = E dS = ε0 HOLLOW
S
q
or ΦE = E dS =
ε0
S
q q
E x 4π R2 = or E=
ε0 4πε0 R2
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