The electric field is a region surrounded by a charged particle. In this article, we shall discuss whether this field can be negative or not depending upon the charge.
The electric field can never be negative because it is proportional to the magnitude of the electric charge, which is always positive. It is directly proportional to a charge’s magnitude, and the electric field’s intensity decreases with the increasing distance from the charge.
The electric field between the two charges can be attractive or repulsive based on unlike and like charges that exert either pull or push electric force on each other. In this article, let us discuss more on the electric field, why it cannot be negative, and various facts.
Why electric field can never be negative?
The electric field is a vector quantity and has direction and magnitude. Let us elaborate on why the electric field can never be negative.
The electric field can never be negative because it is the electric force experienced on the charge in a field divided by the magnitude of a charge. Hence, even if the charge is negative, its magnitude will result in a positive term; therefore, the electric field cannot be negative.
Based on the fact that the electric field is a vector quantity, the electric field can have a positive or negative direction. The direction of the electric field is along force for a positive charge and is opposite for the negative charge.
Can electric field intensity be negative?
The electric field intensity defines the strength of the electric field. Let us see whether the electric field intensity is negative or positive.
The electric field intensity cannot be negative because it is the immensity/ magnitude of the electric field produced per unit charge, and the magnitude of the charge is always positive.
Why electric field is always positive?
We must have come across the term ‘negative electric field,’ then the question arrives whether the electric field is always positive or not. Let us discuss now on the same.
The electric field is always positive because it always depends upon the magnitude of the charge. Well, the negative electric field denotes the direction of a field directing out from the positive charge opposing the force experienced on the charge.
At which point is the electric field strongest?
The electric field intensity/ strength decreases with the increasing distance. Let us see at what point the electric field produced by the charge is the strongest.
The electric field is strongest near the centre of a charge from where the electric field lines are emerging because the electric field is inversely proportional to a length of separation between the point at which the electric field has to be determined and the centre of the electric field source.
The electric field decrease at a square rate of distance, connecting a point to the source with the extending length. The electric field and its intensity are strongest near the charge and become weaker further away as the density of field lines diminish while spreading around the area.
What is the electric field produced by the charge -3×10-6 C at a point 3 m away from the charge?
Given: The charge is q = -3×10-6 C.
The distance between the charge and a point is r = 3 m.
The formula to calculate the electric field is given as follows,
E = kq/r2
Here, E is the electric field, and k is the electric field constant (9×109 N.m2/C2).
Substituting values in the above formula, we get,
E = (9×109 N.m2/C2×(I-3×10-6 CI)) / (3 m)2
=(9×109 N.m2/C2×(3×10-6 C)) / (3 m)2
=(27×103 N.m2/C) / (9 m2)
Hence, the electric field produced by the charge is 3000 N/C and positive.
We can conclude with this article that the electric field cannot be negative as it depends only on the magnitude of the charge. If the electric force acting on the charge is opposite the electric field, the negative sign is placed before the electric field value to denote the same.
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Hi, I’m Akshita Mapari. I have done M.Sc. in Physics. I have worked on projects like Numerical modeling of winds and waves during cyclone, Physics of toys and mechanized thrill machines in amusement park based on Classical Mechanics. I have pursued a course on Arduino and have accomplished some mini projects on Arduino UNO. I always like to explore new zones in the field of science. I personally believe that learning is more enthusiastic when learnt with creativity. Apart from this, I like to read, travel, strumming on guitar, identifying rocks and strata, photography and playing chess.