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about electric field inside a conductor

why electric field inside a conductor is zero??

Note by Ashwani Kumar
2 years, 4 months ago

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There is no electric field inside a conductor. Suppose we bring a plus charge near a conductor. For a very short moment, there will be an electric field inside the conductor. However, this field will act on and move the electrons, which are free to move about. The electrons will move close to the plus charge, leaving net positive charge behind. The conductor’s charges will continue to move until the “external” E~ -field is cancelled out — at that point there is no longer an E~ -field to move them, so they stay still.

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Figure 1: Conductor near an external charge. The charges in the conductor very quickly rearrange themselves to cancel out the external field.

A more accurate statement of this rule is “After a very short time, there is no electric field inside a conductor”. How short a time is it? Recall that in cgs units,resistivity (which tells us how good/bad something conducts electricity) is measured in seconds. It turns out that the time it takes for the charges to rearrange themselves to cancel out the external E~ -field is just about equal to this resistivity. For metals, this is a time that is something like \(10^{-16}\) − \(10^{−17}\) seconds. This is so short that we can hardly complain that the original statement isn’t precise enough! Abdulmuttalib Lokhandwala · 2 years, 4 months ago

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