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Electrical Interactions With the knowledge of the atomic structure we know we can sort objects into 3 categories:    Electrically

positive (+ve charge) Electrically negative (-ve charge) Electrically neutral (n)

Generally object gets sorted into the +ve if it has a deficiency of electrons, the –ve if it has too much electrons. A neutral objects has a balance between the +ve and –ve. From experiments we know that the objects from these three categories interact with each other in a predictable fashion. We can summarise these interactions in a table: +ve +ve -ve n R A -ve A R n -

Where A stands for attract and R stands for repel. And the neutral objects doesn’t seem to interact at all. So the first entry of the table tells us that if we bring two positive objects near each other they repel. Furthermore, someone by the name of Coulomb carried out further experiments in attempt to discover the numbers behind these interactions. This is what he found:

meaning the force gets weaker the further apart the two objects are.If two charges and are separated by a distance . This is a great . the force varies with inverse of the square of the distance. and stronger the closer they are. the gravitation force between two masses is given by | | As we can see the electrical force and gravitational force takes on the exact same form! Somehow the interaction between two tiny charged particles takes on the exact same form as something that controls the interaction between two giant planets. then the magnitude of the force of attraction or repulsion is given by the Coulomb equation: | | Where | | = the strength of the force measured in Newtons (N) is the electrical constant = = the amount of charge of the two objects measured in coulombs (c) = the distance between the two object measured in metre (m) | || | Straight away we notice two very interesting aspects of this result: 1. 2.

The Idea of Electric Fields (E fields for short) What seems to be happening is that the charges somehow generate an invisible influence all around itself that is able to push or pull other charges. The arrows in the following diagrams represent forces. However the electrical force seems to be much stronger than gravity as we will see in the following question: Example question: what is the force between an electron and a proton separated by ? Answer: the charge on a proton is | | | and the charge on an electron is | | | . Suppose we put a positive charge in the centre. but now we want to visualise this influence.example of a sense of order behind the laws of physics. So far we have been describing this influence through a table of interactions and the Coulomb equation. so So | | is roughly N! This exceptionally strong. finding patterns in nature. . so this force is a common occurrence. We generates an influence in the space around it because if we introduce a positive test charge it will experience a force due to the influence. and is a typical atomic distance. In fact this is at the heart of what physics is all about. we call it the source charge and label it as know .

And if we put the test charge somewhere else the influence would be different: We have only tested a few positions but we get the general idea and we can summarise it as: This diagrammatic summary of the influence that generated . exerts is the notion of the electric field .

How to read the electric field lines: the direction of the E field arrows tell us the direction of the force that a positive test charge will experience the density of the E field arrows tells us how strong the force will be. The closer we are to the higher the density of the arrows hence the stronger the force The idea of E fields feels a bit gimmick. .