Unit 3: Maxwell's first equation - an alternative to Coulomb's law
700 possible mastery points
About this unitWe can easily use Coulomb's law to find the electric field due to a single charge. But what happens when there are multiple charges? Let's see how we can find the electric field in such a scenario using Coulomb's law and then introduce an alternative that's better!
In this lesson, we use the basic definition of electric field derived using Coulomb's law to find the net electric field due to multiple charges. As we will see, it requires some vector addition to achieve this!
Using the principle of superposition, we can find the electric field due to continuous charge distributions. It is a long way, but this way ALWAYS works!
Let's imagine electric field to be a flow - a flux. This brand new quantity will help us rewrite Coulomb's law in an elegant way later on!
Here it is, Maxwell's first equation, our first milestone! As we will see this new way of looking at Coulomb's law will help us solve some pretty tedious problems in a few steps
Now, we are ready to use Gauss's law in certain special situations to find electric fields quickly and easily!