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.