Charged line segments and ellipsoidal equipotentials

T. L. Curtright, N. M. Aden, X. Chen, M. J. Haddad, S. Karayev, D. B. Khadka, J. Li

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


This is a survey of the electrostatic potentials produced by charged straight-line segments, in various numbers of spatial dimensions, with comparisons between uniformly charged segments and those having non-uniform linear charge distributions that give rise to ellipsoidal equipotentials surrounding the segments. A uniform linear distribution of charge is compatible with ellipsoidal equipotentials only for three-dimensions. In higher dimensions, the linear charge density giving rise to ellipsoidal equipotentials is counter-intuitive - the charge distribution has a maximum at the centre of the segment and vanishes at the ends of the segment. Only in two-dimensions is the continuous charge distribution intuitive - for that one case of ellipsoidal equipotentials, the charge is peaked at the ends of the segment and minimised at the centre.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number035201
JournalEuropean Journal of Physics
Issue number3
StatePublished - Apr 5 2016


  • electrostatics
  • ellipsoidal
  • equipotentials
  • line segment

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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