Electric flux
In electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

, electric flux is the flux
In the various subfields of physics, there exist two common usages of the term flux, both with rigorous mathematical frameworks.* In the study of transport phenomena , flux is defined as flow per unit area, where flow is the movement of some quantity per time...

 of the electric field
Electric field
In physics, an electric field surrounds electrically charged particles and time-varying magnetic fields. The electric field depicts the force exerted on other electrically charged objects by the electrically charged particle the field is surrounding...

. Electric flux is proportional to the number of electric field line
Field line
A field line is a locus that is defined by a vector field and a starting location within the field. Field lines are useful for visualizing vector fields, which are otherwise hard to depict...

s going through a virtual surface. The electric flux through a small area is given by
(the electric field, E, multiplied by the component of area perpendicular to the field). The electric flux over a surface S is therefore given by the surface integral
Surface integral
In mathematics, a surface integral is a definite integral taken over a surface ; it can be thought of as the double integral analog of the line integral...

where E is the electric field and dA is a differential area on the closed surface with an outward facing surface normal
Surface normal
A surface normal, or simply normal, to a flat surface is a vector that is perpendicular to that surface. A normal to a non-flat surface at a point P on the surface is a vector perpendicular to the tangent plane to that surface at P. The word "normal" is also used as an adjective: a line normal to a...

 defining its direction.

For a closed Gaussian surface
Gaussian surface
A Gaussian surface is a closed surface in three dimensional space through which the flux of an electromagnetic field is calculated. It is an arbitrary closed surface S=\partial V used in conjunction with Gauss's law in order to calculate the total enclosed electric charge by performing a surface...

, electric flux is given by:
where QS is the net charge
Electric charge
Electric charge is a physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when near other electrically charged matter. Electric charge comes in two types, called positive and negative. Two positively charged substances, or objects, experience a mutual repulsive force, as do two...

 enclosed by the surface (including both free and bound charge), and ε0 is the electric constant
Electric constant
The physical constant ε0, commonly called the vacuum permittivity, permittivity of free space or electric constant is an ideal, physical constant, which is the value of the absolute dielectric permittivity of classical vacuum...

. This relation is known as Gauss' law for electric field in its integral
Integration is an important concept in mathematics and, together with its inverse, differentiation, is one of the two main operations in calculus...

 form and it is one of the four Maxwell's equations
Maxwell's equations
Maxwell's equations are a set of partial differential equations that, together with the Lorentz force law, form the foundation of classical electrodynamics, classical optics, and electric circuits. These fields in turn underlie modern electrical and communications technologies.Maxwell's equations...


It is important to note that while the electric flux is not affected by charges that are not within the closed surface, the net electric field, E, in the Gauss' Law equation, can be affected by charges that lie outside the closed surface. While Gauss' Law holds for all situations, it is only useful for "by hand" calculations when high degrees of symmetry exist in the electric field. Examples include spherical and cylindrical symmetry.

Electrical flux has SI
Si, si, or SI may refer to :- Measurement, mathematics and science :* International System of Units , the modern international standard version of the metric system...

 units of volt
The volt is the SI derived unit for electric potential, electric potential difference, and electromotive force. The volt is named in honor of the Italian physicist Alessandro Volta , who invented the voltaic pile, possibly the first chemical battery.- Definition :A single volt is defined as the...

 metres (V m), or, equivalently, newton metres squared per coulomb . Thus, the SI base units of electric flux are kg•m3•s−3•A−1.

External links

  • Electric fluxHyperPhysics
    HyperPhysics is an educational resource about physics topics. The information architecture of the website is based on trees that organize topics from general to specific...

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