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charges repel, unlike charges attract • positive charge comes from having more protons than electrons; negative charge comes from having more electrons than protons • charge is quantized, meaning that charge comes in integer multiples of the elementary charge e • charge is conserved Probably everyone is familiar with the first three concepts, but what does it mean for charge to be quantized? Charge comes in multiples of an indivisible unit of charge, represented by the letter e. In other words, charge comes in multiples of the charge on the electron or the proton. These things have the same size charge, but the sign is different. A proton has a charge of +e, while an electron has a charge of -e. Electrons and protons are not the only things that carry charge. Other particles (positrons, for example) also carry charge in multiples of the electronic charge. Those are not going to be discussed, for the most part, in this course, however. Putting "charge is quantized" in terms of an equation, we say: q=ne q is the symbol used to represent charge, while n is a positive or negative integer, and e is the electronic charge, 1.60 x 10-19 Coulombs. The Law of Conservation of Charge The Law of conservation of charge states that the net charge of an isolated system remains constant. If a system starts out with an equal number of positive and negative charges, there¹s nothing we can do to create an excess of one kind of charge in that system unless we bring in charge from outside the system (or remove some charge from the system). Likewise, if something starts out with a certain net charge, say +100 e, it will always have +100 e unless it is allowed to interact with something external to it. Charge can be created and destroyed, but only in positive-negative pairs. Table of elementary particle masses and charges: Electrostatic charging Forces between two electrically-charged objects can be extremely large. Most things are electrically neutral; they have equal amounts of positive and negative charge. If this wasn¹t the case, the world we live in would be a much stranger place. We also

If the conductor is connected to ground (ground is basically anything neutral that can give up electrons to. plastic for example Most materials are either conductors or insulators. This is because we can choose the appropriate material to use in a given situation. If a charged object touches a conductor. the outermost electrons in the atoms are so loosely bound to their atoms that they¹re free to travel around. (1) bring the negatively-charged object close to. but not touching. There are three ways that objects can be given a net charge. charging the conductor with the same sign as the charge on the object. the conductor will have a charge opposite in sign to that of the charged object.. a charged object is used. on the other hand. In insulators. wood.this is useful for charging insulators. The difference between them is that in conductors. or take electrons from. wood. a plastic ruler with a piece of paper towel). but this time it is only brought close to the conductor. If you rub one material with another (say. a metal ball on a plastic handle).silicon is a good example insulators . an object). some charge will be transferred between the object and the conductor. Charging by induction .useful for charging metals and other conductors. and does not touch it.metals. so some of them flow to ground. An example of induction using a negatively charged object and an initially-uncharged conductor (for example. Electrons on the conductor will be repelled from the area nearest the charged object.have a lot of control over how things get charged. Metals are good conductors of electric charge. for example semi-conductors . Charge flows along the wire. They¹re called insulators.also useful for charging metals and other conductors. These are: conductors . When the ground connection is removed . electrons) to flow along them. Charge does not flow nearly as easily through insulators as it does through conductors. electrons will either flow on to it or away from it. Charging by conduction . electrons have a tendency to be transferred from one material to the other.e.rubber. (2) connect the conductor to ground. and rubber are not. but not through the coating to you. By adding certain impurities to semi-conductors in the appropriate concentrations the conductivity can be well-controlled. Materials are divided into three categories. . which is why wires you plug into a wall socket are covered with a protective rubber coating. and are not free to flow. the electrons are much more tightly bound to the atoms. Semi-conductors are a very useful intermediate class. rubbing glass with silk or saran wrap generally leaves the glass with a positive charge. the conductor. while plastics. depending on how easily they will allow charge (i. The electrons on the conductor want to get as far away from the negatively-charged object as possible. These are: Charging by friction . For example. Again. rubbing PVC rod with fur generally gives the rod a negative charge. not as conductive as metals but considerably more conductive than insulators.

I got good results by rubbing a Bic pen with a piece of paper towel. If you have the . You also need to find something to rub the object with potential candidates are things like paper towel. that charges of the same sign exert repulsive forces on one another. The two charges in the top right and bottom left corners are +3. All you need to do is to find something to rub .try anything made out of hard plastic or rubber.0 x 10-6 C. such as you find on a typical summer day. and any time you have a minus sign associated with a vector all it does is tell you about the direction of the vector. A practical application involving the transfer of charge is in how laser printers and photocopiers work. The conductor is now positively charged. if the object attracts the stream when it's brought close. the net force on that charge is the vector sum of the individual forces. Force is a vector. you know it's charged. the simplest thing to do is to draw a good diagram showing the forces acting on the charge. water molecules. An example Four charges are arranged in a square with sides of length 2. too. What is the net force exerted on the charge in the top right corner by the other three charges? To solve any problem like this.5 cm. (4) remove the charged object. In more humid conditions. You should also let your diagram handle your signs for you. can quickly remove charge from a charged object. or getting a shock when you touch something after walking on carpet) than in summer because the air is much drier in winter than summer.(3) remove the ground connection. The charges in the other two corners are -3. This leaves the conductor with a deficit of electrons. while charges of opposite sign attract. so when more than one charge exerts a force on another charge. so if something is charged the charge tends to stay. Remember that force is a vector. Coulomb's law The force exerted by one charge q on another charge Q is given by Coulomb's law: r is the distance between the charges. and saran wrap or other plastic.0 x 10-6 C. wool. Remember. Try this at home See if you can charge something at home using friction. silk. Dry air is a relatively good electrical insulator. you can use a narrow stream of water from a faucet. or taking a sweater off. To test the charge. Why is static electricity more apparent in winter? You notice static electricity much more in winter (with clothes in a dryer. which are polarized.

all you'd have to do is split the vectors up in to x and y components.7 N force in the opposite direction. that you're already familiar with a field. add them to find the x and y components of the net force. The gravitational force between two masses (m and M) separated by a distance r is given by Newton's law of universal gravitation: A similar equation applies to the force between two charges (q and Q) separated by a distance r: The force equations are similar. If it wasn't so symmetric. The charge (q or Q) plays the same role in the electrostatic case that the mass (m or M) plays in the case of the gravity. Consider the forces exerted on the charge in the top right by the other three: You have to be very careful to add these forces as vectors to get the net force. though. If you understand gravity you can understand electric forces and fields because the equations that govern both have the same form. .arrows giving you the direction on your diagram. In this problem we can take advantage of the symmetry. though. while electrostatic forces can be attractive or repulsive. we got into the (probably bad) habit of calling g "the acceleration due to gravity". and we've even used a gravitational field. It's more accurate to call g the gravitational field produced by the Earth at the surface of the Earth. The symmetry here makes things a little easier. The main difference is that gravitational forces are always attractive. The parallel between gravity and electrostatics An electric field describes how an electric charge affects the region around it. The fact is. When this is combined with the 64. It's a powerful concept.1 N. Example 16-4 in the textbook shows this process. because it allows you to determine ahead of time how a charge will be affected if it is brought into the region. Many people have trouble with the concept of a field. we just didn't call it a field. because it's something that's hard to get a real feel for. and then calculate the magnitude and direction of the net force from the components. so the behavior of interacting masses is similar to that of interacting charges. We've talked about gravity. and combine the forces from charges 2 and 4 into a force along the diagonal (opposite to the force from charge 3) of magnitude 183. and similar analysis methods can be used. the result is a net force of 118 N pointing along the diagonal of the square. When talking about gravity. you can just drop any signs that come out of the equation for Coulomb's law.

M. the projectile. at some random angle) into a uniform electric field E. squared. In some cases. So. it'll be the gravitational force). The force on the charge is given by F = qE. the same way the force on the mass m is given by F = mg. the gravitational field. . but we'll deal with that later. as we did for m in the Earth's gravitational field g. where there is one mass m. We can extend the parallel between gravity and electrostatics to energy. incorporated into g. the force on the projectile is given by: F = mg This is the same equation as the more complicated equation above. the Earth. with G. in the form of g.A good example of a question involving two interacting masses is a projectile motion problem. interacting with a much larger mass M. and the radius of the Earth. Electric fields operate in a similar way. If we throw the projectile (at some random launch angle) off a 40meter-high cliff. An equivalent electrostatics problem is to launch a charge q (again. you¹ll need to apply both. in other cases one force will be so much larger than the other that you can ignore one (generally if you can ignore one. The bottom line is that if you can do projectile motion questions using gravity. you've seen a field before. you should be able to do them using electrostatics.

Coulomb's Law for Point Charges The repulsive or attractive electrostatic force between two point charges is determined by an equation called Coulomb's law. labeled for convenience q. A dielectric material is one that reduces the electrostatic force when placed between charges.9875 × 109 N·m2/C2 in free space. r in meters. Furthermore. The presence of Q causes an electrostatic force to be exerted on q. The distance vector between Q and q is r. Coulomb's constant can be given by: . Consider the situation where we have two charges. we can find the strength of the electric force between these two charges: The magnitude of the electrostatic force F. and we will use these letters to describe charges throughtout this book). The following picture shows charge q at a certain point with charge Q at a distance of r away from it. [edit] Coulomb's Constant k = Coulomb's constant = 8. and F in newtons and there is no dielectric material between the charges. Using Coulomb's Law. between the charges q and Q. and Q ("q" or "Q" are common variables to describe a point charge. due to charge Q. equals Coulomb's constant times the product of the two charges (in coulombs) divided by the square of the distance r. on charge q. [edit] Dielectrics The value of Coulomb's constant given here is such that the preceding Coulomb's Law equation will work if both q and Q are given in units of coulombs.

[Coulomb's Constant] where ε = permittivity. the direction is the one in which the force pulls the object. their effect on each other becomes negligible. As the charges become located further enough apart. then they will attract each other. κ = 1. but also what direction that force is directed in. In a force vector. [edit] Force Vectors Any force on an object is a vector quantity. the direction of the resulting force will be towards Q. We can express the location of charge q as rq. In a vacuum (free space). solid insulating materials have values of κ > 1 and will reduce electric force between charges. Typically. [edit] Vector Form We can vectorize Coulomb's Law to use position and force vectors instead of scalar quantities. including vector formulas in some cases (see Wikipedia link and reference(s) below). κ = 1 and thus ε = ε0. This means the direction of the electric force F on q due to Q is away from Q in exactly the opposite direction. This shows that the electric force between the charges decreases as the charges are located further from each other by the square of the distance between them. In this way we can know both how strong the electric force is on a charge. in free space or a vacuum). For air. Coulomb's Law using vectors can be written as: . The symbol F is used here for the electric force vector. as shown by the blue arrow in the preceding diagram. The Coulomb's equation shown above will give a magnitude for a repulsive force away from the Q charge.0006. then: where κ is the dielectric constant which depends on the dielectric material. different variations of Coulombs' Law are given. symbolized as εr in Wikipedia. then they will repel each other. [Permittivity of free space] Air is only very weakly dielectric and the value above for ε0 will work well enough with air between the charges. If a dielectric material is present. When there is no dielectric material between the charges (for example. If one of the charges is positive and the other negative. This means that the direction of F on q due to Q is exactly in the direction towards Q. In other sources. The dielectric constant can also be called relative permittivity. and the location of charge Q as rQ. as shown by the red arrow in the preceding diagram. an attractive force. If charges q and Q are either both positive or both negative. If the magnitude given by the above equation is negative due to opposite charges.

there may be many charges. the electric force contributions from each of these charges add up as vector quantities. To determine the total electric force on q.. The direction of the force depends on the location of the surrounding charges. not just like ordinary (or scalar) numbers. [edit] n Charges In many situations.. Fn.. then we can rewrite this equation as: The vector F is a force vector that shows the direction and the magnitude of the force.rQ. there are billions of electrons or other charges present.[Coulomb's Law (vectors)] If we have r = rq . F3. . F1. Q3. F2. In many cases. but the direction of each of the component forces must also be used to determine the individual force vectors. so that geometrical distributions of charges are used with equations stemming from Coulomb's Law. We can re-write Coulomb's law as a sum of n charges: [Coulomb's Law (n charges)] Category: Electrodynamics . through Qn. on the charge q in question. A Coulomb's Law calculation between q and a corresponding Qi charge would give the magnitude of the electric force exerted by each of the Qi charges for i = 1 through n. and r = |r|. Each of the Q1 through Qn charges will exert an electric force on q. Q2.. Q1. The total electric force on q can be added to any other forces affecting it as a vector quantity to obtain the total force vector on the charged object q.

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