Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Comparing capacitors

Three pairs of conducting plates (capacitors) are shown in the figure below. Pair B has the same separation as pair A but twice the plate area. Pair C has the same area as pair A but half the separation between the plates.

If each pair is connected to an identical battery so that the potential difference between each pair of plates is equal to the same value, ΔV, rank the pairs of plates by the magnitude of the electric field between the plates. (Give your answer in the form of a string of relations, like E=F>G=0 using only greater than signs and indicating if any of the answers are equal to each other or to zero.) Explain your reasoning.

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Page last modified March 15, 2008: E50