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Found in: Page 661

### College Physics (Urone)

Book edition 1st Edition
Author(s) Paul Peter Urone
Pages 1272 pages
ISBN 9781938168000

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# Are the direction and magnitude of the Coulomb force unique at a given point in space? What about the electric field?

No, at a given point the coulomb force cannot be unique. Where as the magnitude and direction of electric field at a given point is unique.

See the step by step solution

## Step 1: Electrostatic force and electric field

Coulomb stated that when two-point charges are separated by some distance in space, they experience force of attraction or repulsion due to the presence of another charge. This force of attraction or repulsion is known as electrostatic force.

Electric field is defined as the electrostatic force acting on a test charge.

## Step 2: Uniqueness of direction and magnitude of Coulomb force

The Coulomb force can have different directions, depending upon whether the two charges are similar or different in signs. Also, its magnitude depends on the value of charge placed at the point where we need to find force.

Hence, the direction and magnitude of Coulomb force is not unique in space.

## Step 3: Uniqueness of direction and magnitude of electric field

The electric field for a positive point charge is always directed radially outward and the electric field for a negative point charge is always directed radially inward. It is not affected by the charge that is placed at the point where we need to find the electric field.

Hence, the direction and magnitude of the electric field is always unique in space.

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