The electrostatic field: charges and conductors in free space
In this chapter we develop the consequences of Coulomb’s law in terms of the field configurations produced by various arrangements of charge and how these are modified by the presence of conductors. This leads to the introduction of the concept of capacitance, which is especially important in electrical circuits. From this we proceed to the law of conservation of energy and its formulation when electric fields are present, and to the forces experienced by conductors in an electric field. This prepares the way for a discussion, in Chapter 9, of the behaviour of the molecules of a gas or a liquid in the vicinity of charged bodies and thence to an explanation in microscopic terms of how the characteristic effects of a dielectric medium arise.
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