Gaussian Surface

A Gaussian Surface is a closed surface which exhibits Gaussian symmetry.

Gaussian Symmetry: Guarantees that my surface (given by the normal vector ) is

  1. always perpendicular to or parallel to
  2. is always the same magnitude everywhere.


We have to look for symmetry for all charges, not just inside the gaussian surface.

3 Types of Gaussian Surface
  • Gaussian Sphere
  • Gaussian Cylinder
  • Pillbox shape (you can just use a cylinder, but a rectangular shape works as well, or any shape).
    • Make sure the electric field is always perpendicular or parallel to the shape