The electric field functions as a force field, exerting forces between charges. When charges are present on a mass, the electrical forces influence the mass, storing potential energy in what is known as the electric field. Normally, these masses are constrained, resulting in no detectable motion. The potential energy stored in this force field becomes evident when a body is moved within the electric field, creating a new field configuration with a different amount of stored energy. The difference in energy levels corresponds to the work done in moving the body to new positions.
The forces acting on a body are intricately tied to the change in energy levels resulting from its motion. Determining the force and direction of a specific conductor can be challenging due to complex calculations, but the forces on conductors in an electric field are generally not significant in electronic circuits. Nonetheless, the concept of field energy storage holds importance.
Forces in an Electric field
One practical application of electrostatic force is found in tweeters used in audio systems. The voltage applied between plates moves them, subsequently moving the air and producing sound. Another application is in cathode ray tubes, where electric fields deflect the beam of electrons that writes on the front surface. The electrons, emitted from a heated cathode, are accelerated across the viewing tube, transferring their energy to phosphors on the surface. These phosphors emit light, creating the visual display we perceive. Overall, understanding the interplay between electric fields, charges, and potential energy is fundamental to grasping various phenomena and applications in the realm of electronics and physics.