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Exploration 22.4: Dipole Symmetry

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Each animation shows a positive charge (red) along with two unknown charges (blue). The electrical force on the positive charge is represented with a force vector. You can drag the red charge along a portion of the x axis (position is given in meters and force is given in [newtons/k], where k is the constant in Coulomb's law). Restart.

  1. In which animation are the two unknown charges a positive and negative charge of equal magnitude?
  2. Qualitatively speaking, what charge configuration would produce the results in the other two animations?
  3. For the animation with a positive and a negative charge of equal magnitude, what is the value of the magnitude of the two blue charges if the red charge is 2.5 coulombs?

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Exploration authored by Melissa Dancy

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