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Topic 1 Electric Charges and Forces

Topic 1 Electric Charges and Forces

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Published by Smk Abdul Rahim Dua
Physics electromagnetic topic, electric and eletronic, physics for higher learning, electromagnietic induction, direct current, magnetic flux, circuit analysis
Physics electromagnetic topic, electric and eletronic, physics for higher learning, electromagnietic induction, direct current, magnetic flux, circuit analysis

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Published by: Smk Abdul Rahim Dua on Nov 20, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Do you know that lightning is an electrical phenomenon? The very mild electric shock that you experience upon touching a metallic door-knob after walking across a carpet room on a dry day is another example of this. In each of these cases, sparks are created, even though the effect is momentary. In modern industries,
certain impurities (either solid particles or liquid droplets) are removed through electrostatic precipitation.
 These are all static electricity phenomena that can only be explained by understanding the physics of electrostatics. There is a thus an overlap between the world of static electricity and the everyday world that we live. Electrostatic forces are central to our existence. For example, the human body is made up of atoms. Each atom, consisting of negative and positive charges, is held together by these forces. Without electrostatic forces, life would be impossible. In this chapter we will begin our study by examining the nature of electric charges, which are carried by electrons and protons. Since electric charges are quantised, they obey the conservation principle. We then discuss interactions  between charges that are at rest, called electrostatic interactions. Such interactions are responsible for holding atoms and molecules together in your body. Finally,
By the end of this topic, you should be able to:1. Describe the basic properties of electric charges
 2. Explain that charging is the separation, not the creation, of charges and distinguish the difference between conductors and insulators; 3. Describe the nature of electrostatic forces between charges; and 4. Solve electrostatic problems using Coulomb’s law.
we will study Coulomb's law, which is the basic law governing the interaction  between electric charges.
There are a few simple experiments that you can try at home to demonstrate the nature of electrostatic charges. For example, you will notice that when a glass rod is rubbed with a silk cloth, it is able to attract tiny bits of paper. A similar effect is also seen when a plastic comb is run through dry hair and brought near tiny pieces of paper. In each of these examples, we say that the rod has become "electrified" or electrically charged. Today we, know there exists only 2 kinds of electric charge; a positive charge (+) and a negative charge (-). How do these charges interact with one another? Experiments demonstrate that
Unlike charges attract
, i.e. a positive charge and a negative charge attract each other.
Like charge repel
i.e. two positive charges or two negative charges and repel each other. This is the nature of electric charges.
Figure 1.1
: The nature of charges
1.1.1 The structure of the atom
All objects are composed of atoms. The structure of an atom consists of a nucleus at the centre and a vast region of space outside the nucleus. The nucleus is composed of protons and neutrons. A proton has a positive charge, and the electron a negative charge. The neutron carries no charge.
One of the most interesting things to know about the atom is that the electron and the nucleus attract each other. This attraction is called
electrostatic force
, the force that holds the electron in orbit. However, electrons are weakly bound to the atom and can be removed. This makes it possible for electrons to be transferred from one object to another during an electrostatic process.
Figure 1.2
: Structure of an atom
When we rub two initially neutral objects together (i.e. objects having an equal number of electrons and protons), like silk and a glass rod, no charge is created in the process. How is it then possible for these two objects to become charged? During the rubbing process, electrons are removed from the atoms of the glass and transferred to silk. As a result, the glass rod becomes positively charged. An excess of electrons deposited on the silk causes it to become negatively charged. Since the electron is attracted to the nucleus, what stops the electron from falling straight into the nucleus and combining with it? Try to answer this on your own. Then read the discussion in: http://www.glenbrook.k12.il.us/gbssci/phys/Class/estatics/u8l1a.html

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