Question

In Coulomb's force equation, what is k and e(epsilon naught)?

What do the quantities 'k' and e naught depend upon?

P.S.- Please don't give wikipedia links...it confuses even more!

Answer

in Coulomb's equation

F = k q1 q2/r^2

k is a constant = 1/ 4 pi epsilon0

epsilon0 is a constant of nature called the permittivity of free space; which is a constant of nature

the value of k is 9x10^9 in MKS units; the value of epsilon0 is 8.85x10^-12 F/m where F stands for Farads

Nov 25 at 11:44

When 2 charges exert a force on each other the force is proportional to Qq/r^2 k is just a proportionality constant to make them equal. So you get F = kQq/r^2 k is called coulombs constant.

We can also set k equal to 1/(4*pi*epsilon naught) So we can use either one. It may seem like using the epsilon naught term is just a weirder messier way of going about it but it's much nicer when you start doing other things like figuring out electric fields.

epsilon naught is for 2 charges in a vacuum, if they were in some medium that medium would have its own epsilon factor.

Nov 25 at 15:30