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Chapter: 12th Physics : Electrostatics

Induced Electric field inside the dielectric

Physics : Electrostatics: Electrostatics of Conductors and Dielectrics : Induced Electric field inside the dielectric

Induced Electric field inside the dielectric

When an external electric field is applied on a conductor, the charges are aligned in such a way that an internal electric field is created which cancels the external electric field. But in the case of a dielectric, which has no free electrons, the external electric field only realigns the charges so that an internal electric field is produced. The magnitude of the internal electric field is smaller than that of external electric field. Therefore the net electric field inside the dielectric is not zero but is parallel to an external electric field with magnitude less than that of the external electric field. For example, let us consider a rectangular dielectric slab placed between two oppositely charged plates (capacitor) as shown in the Figure 1.52(b).

The uniform electric field between the plates acts as an external electric field ext which polarizes the dielectric placed between plates. The positive charges are induced on one side surface and negative charges are induced on the other side of surface.

But inside the dielectric, the net charge is zero even in a small volume. So the dielectric in the external field is equivalent to two oppositely charged sheets with the surface charge densities +σb and –σb. These charges are called bound charges. They are not free to move like free electrons in conductors. This is shown in the Figure 1.52(b).


For example, the charged balloon after rubbing sticks onto a wall. The reason is that the negatively charged balloon is brought near the wall, it polarizes opposite charges on the surface of the wall, which attracts the balloon. This is shown in Figure 1.53.



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