Properties of Electric Field Lines
The properties of electric field lines are:
1. Electric field lines originate from positive charges and terminate on negative charges. The lines never start or end in empty space because the electric field is created by the presence of charges.
2. The number of electric field lines leaving a positive charge is proportional to the magnitude of the charge and the number of lines entering a negative charge is proportional to the magnitude of the charge.
3. Electric field lines are continuous and unbroken. They do not have any breaks, gaps or sudden changes in direction, which means that the electric field has a continuous and uniform direction.
4. Electric field lines never cross each other because at any point in space, the electric field has a unique direction. If two electric field lines cross, it would mean that the electric field has two different directions at the same point, which is impossible.
5. The density of electric field lines is proportional to the strength of the electric field. The closer the lines are together, the stronger the electric field.
6. Electric field lines always point in the direction of the electric field intensity(E). If the electric field is uniform, the lines are parallel and evenly spaced. If the electric field is non-uniform, the lines are closer together in regions of higher field strength.
7. Electric field lines always point perpendicular to the surface of a charged object. The excess charge on the surface of the conductor will redistribute itself until the electric field lines are perpendicular to the surface. This is because if the electric field lines were not perpendicular, there would be a component of the electric field parallel to the surface, which would cause the charges to move along the surface and create an electric current. But in actual practice no electric current is observed on the surface of a charged conductor.
8. Electric field inside a conductor is zero. Inside the conductor, charges are free to move around and will redistribute themselves until they resides on the surface of the conductor(at maximum distance). So any excess charge resides on the surface of the conductor. This is known as the “Electrostatic shielding effect” of a conductor.
These properties of electric field lines help to visualize and understand the electric field around a charged object. They are important in many fields, including physics, electrical engineering, and telecommunications.