Coulomb's Law (Electric Force) Video Lessons

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Problem: An equilateral triangle  ABC. A positive point charge +q is located at each of the three vertices A, B, and C. Each side of the triangle is of length  a. A point charge Q (that may be positive or negative) is placed at the mid-point between  B and C. Is it possible to choose the value of Q (that is non-zero) such that the force on Q is zero? A) Yes, because the forces on Q are vectors and three vectors can add to zero. B) No, because the forces on Q are vectors and three vectors can never add to zero. C) Yes, because the electric force at the mid-point between  B and C is zero whether a charge is placed there or not. D) No, because the forces on Q due to the charges at  B and C point in the same direction. E) No, because a fourth charge would be needed to cancel the force on  Q due to the charge at  A.

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Problem Details

An equilateral triangle  ABC. A positive point charge +q is located at each of the three vertices A, B, and C. Each side of the triangle is of length  a. A point charge Q (that may be positive or negative) is placed at the mid-point between  B and C. Is it possible to choose the value of Q (that is non-zero) such that the force on Q is zero?

A) Yes, because the forces on Q are vectors and three vectors can add to zero.

B) No, because the forces on Q are vectors and three vectors can never add to zero.

C) Yes, because the electric force at the mid-point between  B and C is zero whether a charge is placed there or not.

D) No, because the forces on Q due to the charges at  B and C point in the same direction.

E) No, because a fourth charge would be needed to cancel the force on  Q due to the charge at  A.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Schulte's class at UCF.