electric field

(redirected from Electric force)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.
Related to Electric force: magnetic force, gravitational force

electric field

a field of force surrounding a charged particle within which another charged particle experiences a force

Electric field

A condition in space in the vicinity of an electrically charged body such that the forces due to the charge are detectable. An electric field (or electrostatic field) exists in a region if an electric charge at rest in the region experiences a force of electrical origin. Since an electric charge experiences a force if it is in the vicinity of a charged body, there is an electric field surrounding any charged body.

The electric field intensity (or field strength) E at a point in an electric field has a magnitude given by the quotient obtained when the force acting on a test charge q placed at that point is divided by the magnitude of the test charge q. Thus, it is force per unit charge. A test charge q is one whose magnitude is small enough so it does not alter the field in which it is placed. The direction of E at the point is the direction of the force F on a positive test charge placed at the point. Thus, E is a vector point function, since it has a definite magnitude and direction at every point in the field, and its defining equation is Eq. (1).

Electric flux density or electric displacement D in a dielectric (insulating) material is related to E by either of the equivalent equations shown as Eqs. (2),
where P is the polarization of the medium, and ε is the permittivity of the dielectric which is related to ε 0, by the equation ε = k ε 0, k being the relative dielectric constant of the dielectric. In empty space, D = ε 0 E .

In addition to electrostatic fields produced by separations of electric charges, an electric field is also produced by a changing magnetic field. See Electric charge, Electromagnetic induction, Potentials

Electric Field


a particular manifestation, along with the magnetic field, of an electromagnetic field that determines the effects upon an electric charge of a force that is independent of the velocity of the charge (see).

The concept of electric field was introduced into science by M. Faraday in the 1830’s. According to Faraday, each stationary charge creates an electric field in the surrounding space. The field of one charge acts upon another charge and vice versa, and an interaction between charges occurs (concept of short-range action). The principal quantitative characteristic of an electric field is its intensity E, defined as the ratio of the force F acting upon the charge to the magnitude of the charge q:E = F/q (seeFIELD INTENSITY, ELECTRIC). The electric field in a medium is characterized not only by its intensity but also by the electric induction vector (seeINDUCTION, ELECTRICAL AND MAGNETIC). The distribution of an electric field in space is visually represented by the intensity lines of force (seeLINES OF FORCE). The lines of force of a potential electric field that is created by electric charges originate on positive charges and terminate on negative charges. The lines of force of a rotational electric field, that is, an electric field created by a changing magnetic field, are closed curves.

The intensity of an electric field satisfies the principle of superposition, according to which for a given point in space, the intensity of the field E, created by several charges, is equal to the sum of the field intensities (E1, E2, E3, . . . .) of the individual charges: E = E1 + E2 + E3 + . . . . The superposition of fields follows from the linearity of Maxwell’s equations (seeMAXWELL’S EQUATIONS).


Tamm I. E. Osnovy teorii elektrichestva, 9th ed. Moscow, 1976. Chapters 1 and 6.
Kalashnikov S. G. Elektrichestvo, 4th ed. Moscow, 1977. (Obshchii kura fiziki.) Chapters 2 and 13.


electric field

[i¦lek·trik ′fēld]
One of the fundamental fields in nature, causing a charged body to be attracted to or repelled by other charged bodies; associated with an electromagnetic wave or a changing magnetic field.
Specifically, the electric force per unit test charge.
References in periodicals archive ?
To obtain the optimal cluster centers, the CPs uses resultant electric force (attracting force vector), mass and moving probability of particles and cluster centers.
This may be due to fact that at long spinning distance, the effect of visco-elastic forces is more significant than that of electric force.
Electric charge is another fundamental property of matter, which directly determines the electromagnetic interaction via Coulomb's law of electric force [8], which is generalized to the Lorentz force expression for moving charged particles.
The apex of the drop has the shortest distance to the opposite collector, so that the strongest electric force is exerted at this point.
We propose that the quantum magnetodynamic interaction between the magnetic fields of the orbiting anti-parallel electron pairs in the various atoms is the missing component in Gillespie's explanation and that this along with the electric force prevents collapse in solids.
We concluded that, at high LiCl concentration, electric force acting on jet was enhanced.
It is well known that mass and electric charge are two fundamental properties (inertia and electricity) of matter, which directly determine the gravitational and electromagnetic interactions via Newton's law of gravity [1] and Coulomb's law of electric force [2].
By carefully measuring the compensating electric force, they could deduce the gravitational force and calculate G.
Called scanning polarization force microscopy, the method depends on detecting slight variations in the attractive electric force between the microscope's electrically charged needle and a liquid's molecules.
As an electric force of a certain strength can ionize an atom, pulling positive and negative charges apart, so this procedure, in the words of D.
In this spirit, in 2014 Electric Forest introduced the festival's Electric Forces Program, which extends this authentic expression of community to U.
The densely packed text moves from electrostatics, potential surfaces, and dielectric theory through electric forces, currents, and basic circuits to steady-state magnetism, induction, magnetic materials, and complex circuits.