Physical Significance of Electric Field

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Electric Field

An electric field which we are already aware of is said to be an elegant way of characterizing the electrical environment of a system of charges. The electric field said to be at any point in space around a system of charges represents the force of a unit positive test charge which generally would experience if placed at that point. The term field that we have learnt in the subject in physics generally refers to a quantity defined at every point in space and may vary from point to point. The electric field which we have seen is said to be a vector field since force is a vector quantity.


Electromagnetic Non-Static Condition

Under this condition which we have seen just here and the acceleration of the motion of the charge gives rise to electromagnetic waves that propagate with a speed c and impart a force on another charge. Time-dependent magnetic and electric fields that are said to be associated with the transport of energy.


The electric field which we are looking at here is said to be independent of the test charge and is a characteristic of a system of a charge. The interaction between charges is electromagnetic in nature.


The true physical significance of the electric field which generally emerges when we deal with time-dependent electromagnetic phenomena. Let’s consider two distant charges that are denoted by letters q1 and q2 in accelerated motion. The effect said of motion of q1 on q2 doesn’t arise instantaneously. There will be a time difference between the effect and the cause. This time said to be delayed is accounted for by the electric field as follows: The acceleration of the motion of charges which are given as q1 gives rise to electromagnetic waves.  These waves travel at a speed of c and reach the charge denoted as q2 and impart a force on it. This accounts for the time delay.


Although we can hereby say that the electric and magnetic fields can only be detected by their effects of the forces on the charges, they are perceived as physical entities which are not merely mathematical constructs. They generally possess an independent dynamic of their own. In other words, they evolve according to the laws of their own. They carry energy. Therefore a source of time-dependent electromagnetic fields generally turned on momentarily and switched off of leaving back-propagating is said to be the electromagnetic field carrying energy. The concept was first introduced by Faraday and is now one of the central concepts in physics.


Electric Field

An electric field or the E-field is the physical field that surrounds each electric charge and exerts a force on all other charges in the field or either attracting or repelling them. The fields which are the electric fields originate from electric charges or time-varying magnetic fields. The electric fields and the field the magnetic fields are both manifestations of the electromagnetic force, one of the four fundamental forces or the interactions of nature.


The electric field is important in many areas of physics and is exploited practically in electrical technology. The field of the electric thing defined mathematically as a vector field associated to each point in space is the electrostatic or Coulomb of the force per unit of charge exerted on an infinitesimal positive test charge at rest at that point. The derivative by the SI for the electric field are volts per meter V/m exactly equivalent to newtons per coulomb N/C.


Description of Electric Field 

The electric field which we have seen is said to be defined at each point in space as the force per unit charge that would be experienced by a vanishingly small positive test charge held at that point. The vector fields of this form are sometimes referred to as force fields. This is said to be the basis for the law of Coulomb's which states that for stationary charges the electric field varies with the source charge and said to be inverse with the square of the distance from the source. This means that if the source the charge which was doubled then the electric field that would double and after doubling we see that if we move twice as far away from the source the field at that point would be only one-quarter its original strength.

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The electric field w can be visualized with a set of lines whose direction at each point is the same as the field's, a concept introduced by Michael Faraday whose term 'lines of force' is still sometimes used. Then we can see that the field lines are the paths that a point positive charge would follow as it is forced to move within the field that is said to be similar to trajectories that masses follow within a gravitational field.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. What is the Physical Significance of the Electric Field?

Ans: We have seen that an electric field is an elegant way of characterizing the electrical environment of a system of charges. The electric field at any point in space around a system of charges generally represents unit positive charge.

Q2. Why is the Electric Field Important?

Ans: Electric fields that are the e-fields are an important tool in understanding how electricity begins and continues to flow. The Electric fields which we have seen describe the pulling or the pushing force in a space between charges. The electric fields comprise of single charges. A negative charge which we know already has an inward electric field because it attracts positive charges.

Q3. Define an Electric Field?

Ans:  An electric field is an electric property associated with each point in space when the charge is present in any form. The direction and the magnitude of the electric field are expressed by the value of E known as electric field strength or electric field intensity or simply the electric field.

Q4. Are Electric Fields Real?

Ans: Incidentally the electric fields have generally a real physical existence and along with that they are not just theoretical constructs but we can also say that they are invented by physicists.