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can electrostatic and gravitational fields form closed loops?

can electrostatic and gravitational fields form closed loops?


1 Answers

Aziz Alam IIT Roorkee
askIITians Faculty 233 Points
7 years ago
A force is said to be conservative if its work along a trajectory to go from a pointAto a pointBis equal to the differenceU(A)−U(B)whereUis a function called potential energy. This implies that ifA≡Bthen there is no change in potential energy. This fact is independent of the increase or not of the kinetic energy.

If a conservative force were to form loops, it could provide a non zero net work (because the direction of the force could always be the same as that of the looping trajectory) to go from A and then back to A, while at the same time its conservative character would ensure that this work should be zero; which is a contradiction.

Hence, "conservative force" and "forming loops" are two incompatible properties that cannot be satisfied at the same time.

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