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Question

An electric dipole is placed in an electric field generated by a point charge. Then

A
net electric force on the dipole must be zero
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B
net electric force on the dipole may be zero
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C
torque on the dipole due to the field must be zero
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D
torque on the dipole due to the field may be zero
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Solution

The correct option is D torque on the dipole due to the field may be zero
The figure shows FBD of an electric dipole placed in an electric field generated by a point charge.


In any orientation,
the force on +q is directed to right and on q is to left. As the electric field is non-uniform. Therefore, magnitude of forces are not equal because it depends upon strength of electric field. Hence, net force is not equal to zero.
In this orientation, clockwise torques about O will be developed by the forces F1 and F2. Hence, net torque is not equal to zero.

But when orientation of dipole is radial as shown in figure, the forces on +q and q passes through O, hence, no torque will be developed. Therefore, net torque will be zero.


So, the appropriate correct option is (d).

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