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Thread: Isn't this correct?

  1. #1 Isn't this correct? 
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    On this picture there are electron and proton. As far as I know the forces should be opposite. Am I right?
    http://img170.imageshack.us/img170/4079/epgl8.jpg


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  3. #2  
    Forum Freshman looking4recruits's Avatar
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    you're missing a diagram of arrows..........pointing to the proton.


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  4. #3  
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    Perhaps neither is correct.

    For such simplified force diagrams we generally choose a reference point
    and we assume there is no net force acting on this point. In this case we
    would make the proton our reference point and only show the attractive
    force acting on the electron.

    The problem with trying to show all such forces, as you have done, is that
    they are equal and opposite, suggesting a net force of zero. We know
    that is not the case.

    But you are correct that the second diagram is more misleading than the
    first.
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  5. #4  
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    In the top diagram, the blue arrow represents the force exerted on the electron by the electric field of the proton. The red arrow represents the force exerted on the proton by the electric field of the electron. These forces are equal in magnitude but opposite in direction. However, they are exerted on different objects so they don't cancel.
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