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Physics 240

Reading Notes
Chapter 21:
Electromagnetic force is a force just like gravity
Electric currents are streams of charged particles
Charge is
o Quantized
o Obeys a conservation principle
o When charges are at rest in our frame of reference, they exert
electrostatic forces on each other.
Coulombs Law governs electrostatic forces, most conveniently
described using the concept of an electric field
1. Electric Charge
The ancient Greeks (600 B.C.) discovered electric charge
Positive/Negative Charge
Benjamin Franklin named positive and negative charges
Like charges does not mean identical, only sign is identical
Toner printer:
o Drum is initially positive, and a laser puts negative ions
on it.
o Toner is positively charged, sticks to negative ion
o Toner is rolled onto the paper

Electric Charge and the Structure of Matter

o Atoms have protons, neutrons, and electrons
o The proton and neutron are combinations of quarks,
entities with +/- 1/3 and +/- 2/3 times the electron charge
o The protons and neutrons make the nucleus (10-15 m)
o The electrons extend (10-10 m) from the nucleus center
o If atom were kilometers wide, the nucleus would be a
tennis ball
o Electrons are held in by the positive nucleus; the nucleus
is held together by strong nuclear force
o The strong nuclear force overcomes the electric repulsion
of the protons, does not affect far beyond the nucleus
o The masses of the proton and neutron are approximately
equal (1.67 x 10-27 kg) and 2000 times bigger than
o 99.9% of mass is in the nucleus
o Net electric charge is exactly zero

o The number of protons or electrons in a neutral atom is

atomic number
o If one or more electrons removed, positive ion; if one or
more electrons gained, negative ion.
o The charge of a body is its net charge and is cannot be
more than a small fraction of the total positive charge or
negative charge in the body
Electric Charge is Conserved
o Important principle 1: The principle of conservation of
charge: The algebraic sum of all the electric charges in
any closed system is constant
Charge is not created or destroyed; it is just
transferred from one body to another.
Universal rule.
o Important principle 2: The magnitude of charge of the
electron or proton is a natural unit of charge
This means that the observable amount of electric
charge is always an integer multiple of a basic unit
Charge is quantized. Money example
Thus charge on a macroscopic body is either zero or
an integer multiple +/- of the electron charge
o Many forces are caused by electric interactions: chemical
bonds, normal force, tension forces too

2. Conductors, Insulators, and Induced Charges

Conductors allow electric charge to move easily from one
region of the material to another
o Lots of outer electrons that can become detached and
move freely throughout the material
Insulators do not allow electric charges to transfer easily
o Few or no free electrons
Semiconductors are intermediates
Charging by Induction