The electric field of a uniformly charged cubic shell


Journal Article

© 2018 American Association of Physics Teachers. As an integrative and insightful example for undergraduates learning about electrostatics, we discuss how to use symmetry, Coulomb's law, superposition, Gauss's law, and visualization to understand the electric field E(x,y,z) produced by a uniformly charged cubic shell. We first discuss how to deduce qualitatively, using freshman-level physics, the perhaps surprising fact that the interior electric field is nonzero and has a complex structure, pointing inwards from the middle of each face of the shell and pointing outwards towards each edge and corner. We then discuss how to understand the quantitative features of the electric field by plotting an analytical expression for E along symmetry lines and on symmetry surfaces of the shell.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • McCreery, K; Greenside, H

Published Date

  • January 1, 2018

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 86 / 1

Start / End Page

  • 36 - 44

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1943-2909

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

  • 0002-9505

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1119/1.5009446

Citation Source

  • Scopus