, Volume 23, Issue 11, pp 1215–1223 | Cite as

What Exactly is the Electric Field at the Surface of a Charged Conducting Sphere?

  • F M S LimaEmail author
General Article


In the presently available literature, one finds distinct results for the electric field at the surface of a charged conducting sphere. In most textbooks, only a simple model is presented in which the electric field leaps from zero (inside the sphere) to a maximum value (just outside the sphere), as follows from Gauss’s law. For points exactly at the surface, the charge surrounded by the Gaussian surface becomes ambiguous, and this law is inconclusive. In this paper, by treating the spherical surface as a series of rings, it is shown that that field evaluates to half the discontinuity mentioned above, a result which agrees with more elaborate microscopic models.


Electric field charged conductors Gauss’s law half-factor charged sphere electrostatics 


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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of PhysicsUniversity of BrasiliaBrasiliaBrazil

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