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Consider the following thought experiment: I take a chunk of some material X which contains atomic dipoles., not free charges, and subject it to an external electric field. We know that the dipoles will align themselves to the field, this is analogous to atomic scale magnetic dipoles in a ferromagnetic aligning themselves to an external magnetic. The question is about what happens when the field is removed.

Is there any material which exhibits some kind of electrical retentivity, i.e. the dipoles do not all rotate back resulting in a remnant electric field?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Are you talking about electrets? \$\endgroup\$
    – PlasmaHH
    Mar 13, 2017 at 21:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ see this en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electret \$\endgroup\$
    – user287001
    Mar 13, 2017 at 21:31
  • \$\begingroup\$ Useful search term : dielectric relaxation. Often seen in some types of film capacitor and electrolytics. Take the material used in those capacitors and experiment on it. This is a short term effect, unlike electrets which can freeze in a field permanently. \$\endgroup\$ Mar 14, 2017 at 9:59

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