Repulsion between Charged Pellets in a Box

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This Demonstration illustrates the interaction between charged pellets dropped into an enclosed space. Every pellet has an identical electrical charge. The entire system eventually reaches an equilibrium configuration when all of the repulsive forces are stabilized. It is assumed that each collision with the wall is damped so that a pellet's velocity upon impact is reduced by 40%.

Contributed by: Lucas Kang (February 2012)
With additional contributions by: Andrew Moylan and Manuel Hohmann
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



Snapshot 1: early stage in repulsion when all pellets are spreading out

Snapshot 2: behavior of the system when the charges are so high that the repulsions become unstable, and the pellets are distributed with random velocities

Snapshot 3: behavior of the system when all the pellets repel each other equally and form a stable configuration

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