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# ELECTROSTATICS NOTES

LAW OF CHARGES
LIKE CHARGES REPEL, UNLIKE CHARGES ATTRACT
Forces are vector quantities therefore they have both magnitude and direction. The field lines of forces always leave the
positive charge and enter the negative charge. For attraction: notice the lines of forces for the opposite charges merge
(overlap in a continuous way leaving the positive and entering the negative. For repulsion: the lines of forces for the similar
charges do not merge.
*Explain, with the aid of diagrams, how 2 metal spheres can be charged oppositely by induction.

1. Touch the metal spheres together. (a)

2. Use a negatively charged rod close to but not touching
the metal spheres at one end. (b)

3. The negative rod repels electrons from sphere A to
sphere B. (b)

4. Separate the spheres, trapping the positive charges on
sphere A and the negative charges on sphere B. (c)

5. After the spheres have been separated, then remove the
inducing charge (negatively charged rod.) (d)

*Explain, with the aid of diagrams, how to charge a conductor positively by induction.

1. Place a negatively charged rod close to but not touching the conductor.
2. Electrons are repelled away to end B leaving positive charges at end A.

3. Earth end B of the conductor.
4. There is a brief flow of electrons from end B to
earth.
5. The conductor is now positively charged.

*Explain, with the aid of diagrams, how to charge a conductor negatively by induction.

1. Place a positively charged rod close to but not touching the conductor.
2. Negative charges (free electrons) attract toward end A, closest to the rod, leaving
positive charges at end B.

3. Earth end B of the conductor.
4. There is a brief flow of electrons from earth to the
conductor.
5. The conductor is now negatively charged.

*Explain, with the aid of diagrams, how to charge an electroscope positively by induction.

Charging an electroscope
positively by induction

1. Place a negatively charged rod close to but not touching the cap of an electroscope.
2. Electrons are repelled from the cap down to the leaf and plate area. (cap pos, while leaf & plate neg)
3. Earth the electroscope.
4. There is a brief flow of electrons from the leaf and plate area toward earth.
5. This leaves the electroscope with a shortage of electrons (pos).
6. First break the earth connection, then remove the rod.
7. The electroscope is now positively charged.
*Explain, with the aid of diagrams, how to charge an electroscope negatively by induction.

Charging an electroscope
negatively by induction

1. Place a positively charged rod close to but not touching the cap of an electroscope.
2. Electrons are attracted up to the cap from the leaf and plate area. (cap neg while leaf & plate pos)
3. Earth the electroscope.
4. There is a brief flow of electrons from earth toward the leaf and plate area.
5. This leaves the electroscope with an excess of electrons (neg).
6. First break the earth connection, then remove the rod.
7. The electroscope is now negatively charged.

USING THE ELECTROSCOPE TO TEST FOR CHARGES
CHARGE ON
ELECTROSCOPE
CHARGE BROUGHT
NEAR CAP
EFFECT ON LEAF
DIVERGENCE
+ + Increase
- - Increase
+ - Decrease
- + Decrease
+ or - Uncharged body decrease
1. Starting with a charged electroscope, bring the object down towards the cap, but not touching.
2. If there is an increase in divergence, then the object is the same charge as the electroscope.

1. Eg. If the electroscope is negatively charged and a negatively charged object is brought near the cap,
2. then electrons will be repelled from the cap toward the leaf and plate area,
3. causing greater accumulation of electrons on the leaf & plate therefore greater repulsion between the leaf and
plate.
4. This is an increase in divergence.
5. Eg. If the electroscope is positively charged and a positively charged object is brought near the cap,
6. then electrons will be attracted to the cap away from the leaf and plate area,
7. leaving greater shortage of electrons on the leaf & plate therefore greater positive charges therefore greater
repulsion between the leaf and plate.
8. This is an increase in divergence.
When the test object and the electroscope are oppositely charged, then there is decrease in divergence.
1. Eg. If the electroscope is positively charged and the test object is negatively charged,
2. Then the negative test object will repel electrons away from the cap toward the leaf and plate area.
3. The electrons will cancel out the positive charges on the leaf and plate area,
4. causing less positives to be there, therefore less repulsion between leaf and plate.
5. This is a decrease in divergence.
6. Eg. If the electroscope is negatively charged and the test object is positively charged,
7. Then the positive test object will attract electrons away from the leaf and plate area toward the cap.
8. The electrons leave the leaf and plate area,
9. Causing less negatives to be there, therefore less repulsion between leaf and plate.
10. This is a decrease in divergence.
NOTE: 1. When testing for a charge, any NEUTRAL object will also give a decrease in divergence. So the only sure test for
the sign of charge is an increase in divergence.
NOTE:2. Also, if the cap is approached too closely without observing as it was brought down, an incorrect conclusion can
be made. Examine the diagram below fro explanation.

If the test object is brought too close to
the cap, then an incorrect conclusion
can be drawn.

GENERATING CHARGES THE VAN DE GRAAF GENERATOR

1. Start the motor with polyethene roller at the
bottom and Perspex roller at the top.
2. Polyethene roller becomes charged negatively
by friction with the rubber belt.
3. The negatively charged roller induces a
positive charge on the comb point B by repelling
electrons from the point to the base.
4. The positively charged comb points spray off
positively charged ions (from the air around) unto the
rubber belt.
5. Rubber belt moves up carrying the positive
charges to the top roller (Perspex).
6. Positive Perspex roller induces a negative
charge on the comb points C, by attracting electrons
from the dome to the points.
7. The dome having lost electrons becomes
positively charged.
8. The negative comb points C now spray off
negative charges (from the air around) unto the belt,
thus neutralizing the positive charges on it.
9. The belt returns to the polyethene roller to
collect more positive chargesand the process
continues generating a continuous supply of positive
charges on the dome.

NOW CAN YOU REVERSE THE ROLLERS AND EXPLAIN HOW TO GENERATE NEGATIVE CHARGES USING THE VAN DE GRAAF
GENERATOR???? TRY IT!