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Coulomb's Law & Electrostatics

Atoms are composed of three particles with an electric charge: electrons, protons and uncharged neutrons. Electrons have a negative charge, and protons have a positive charge. The negative charge of the electron has the same magnitude, or amount of charge, as the positive charge of the proton.

Electrical charge is quantized, with the smallest unit of electrical charge found in a single electron or proton. If we double the number of electrons or protons, we double the amount of negative or positive electric charge. If we triple the electrons or protons, we triple the electric charge. By increasing the amount of single unit electric charges, we have a net charge. A net charge is the summed value of single electrical charges. We don't typically refer to single units of charge. We typically refer to net charges. Atoms are composed of protons and electrons and generally have a net neutral electrical charge. The magnitude of total positive and total negative charges inside the neutral atom is equal. If we were to remove an electron (called a Valence electron) from the atom, the net charge of the atom would be positive. There is now more positive charge in the atom. This atom is called a positive ion, and is quantized with a net positive charge. What happens when we keep removing Valence electrons from a group of neutral atoms? We end up with a group of positive ions and a group of free Valence electrons. Each group has a net positive or net negative electrical charge. We can call each charged group a body of charge. We can't really say what an electrical charge is, but only describe its behavior. Simply stated, two single protons or two single electrons repel each other. A single proton and a single electron attract each other. The same can be said for net charges - a net negative charge will attract a net positive charge.

This attracting and repelling action exerted on single electron or proton or a net electric charge is an electric force. Electric force is represented by vectors, which point in the direction the force is acting. The length of the vector represents the magnitude (the amount) of the electric force.

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The normal force is equal to the weight of the book. and so they sum to zero. 2|P a ge . Vectors can be summed together to form a net vector. the table exerts a "normal" force back on the physics book.Several electrical charges can exert an electric force on a single electron. it is not electrostatic and will be discussed in a later tutorial. the book remains still (static) and the net force on the book is zero . the net electric force on any electrical charge is zero. Don't believe me? I challenge you to look it up. Remember and digest this-electrostatics is a description of the interaction of electric charges at rest in a frame of reference. Electric current and activity in electric circuits occurs because of a net electric force greater than zero-the electric charges are forced into motion. The electric force vectors can be summed together for a net electric force. the book would move in the direction you pushed it-there is a net force greater than zero acting on the book. there are several electric force vectors acting on the electrical charge. and therefore the electrical charge does not move. proton or a net electrical charge. In an electrostatic model. If you did not push the physics book. The forces are equal but opposite. When this occurs. Note: Believe it or not. If you pushed a physics book lying on a table. but acts in the opposite direction. Since electric current is electric charges in motion.

The magnitude of electric force between two point charges is directly proportional to the product of the charges. These pith balls represented point charges. Let's build on our description of electrical interaction and electric force. E. Like the electric force. Electric field is an infinite set of vectors. The electric charge causes an electric field at some point in space. Charles Augustin de Coulomb set up an experiment using the early version of what we call a Torsion Balance to observe how charged pith balls reacted to each other. The magnitude of the electric force between two point charges is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them. point charges are charged bodies that are very small when compared to the distance between them. The electric field can vary from every point in space around the electric charge. Coulomb observed two behaviors about electric force: 1. physicists say that any electric charge somehow modifies the properties of the space around itself. In the 18th century. the electric field can be modeled with vectors. This electric field is present at that point in space.Electric charges attract and repel because of electric force. 3|P a ge . For electric charges to cause an effect on other electric charges. even if there is no other electrical charge at that point. and the electric field is directed towards a negative electric charge that generated it (the field). so it is not a single vector quantity. 2. each vector associated with a point in space. We model an electric field so that it is directed away from a positive electric charge that generated the field.

q will be negative or positive depending on the electric charge. E . and the electric force. exerted on another electric charge in that field. A positive electric charge in the generated electric field will experience an electric force in the same direction as the electric field.Another negative electric charge inside the generated electric field would experience an electric force in the opposite direction of the electric field. F . The vector E is positive or negative depending on the direction it is pointingtowards or away from the field generating electric charge 4|P a ge . regardless if the field is generated by a positive or negative charge. The simplest mathematical description is the following expression: F=qE The symbol q represents the electric charge. It's another way of demonstrating attraction and repulsion of electric charges! There is a relationship between electric field.

Mechanics Electricity and Magnetism Electric potential Voltage emf Electric field Electric flux Electric moment V volt V=J/C E pe - N/C. V/m V*m C*m 5|P a ge . Name kilogram meter second radian steradian p L a newton joule watt ampere coulomb Unit kg m s rad sr m2 m3 kg*m2 kg/m3 m/s rad/s kg*m/s kg*m2/s m/s2 rad/s2 N=kg*m/s2 N*m N*s J=N*m W=J/s Pa*s A C=A*s A/m2 C/m3 C/m2 C/m A V I v. Angular position Spherical angle Area Volume Moment of inertia Density Linear velocity Angular velocity Linear momentum Angular momentum Linear acceleration Angular acceleration Force Torque Impulse Work Energy Power Dynamic viscosity Current Charge Current density Volume charge density Surface charge density Linear charge density F I W E P I Q. r l. Distance Radius Time Linear angle.SI Units and Symbols Subject Physical Quantity Mass Linear position Length. M x. c . . d R t. e j Symbol m. u. q.

r C B L M pm P I T M P Q C S c cm j ohm farad tesla weber henri kelvin mole - =V/A *m F=C/V ( *m)-1 T=N/(A*m) Wb=T*m2=V*s H=Wb/A A*m2 C/m2 A/m K mol Pa J J/K J/(kg*K) J/(mol*K) W/m2 N/m Pa=N/m2 m m-1 Hz J/m3 J/m2 J/(m2*s) =V/A m cd lm=cd*m2 lk=lm/m2 cd/m2 m-1 m2/kg Bq=s-1 Gy=J/kg Thermodynamics E k f J I X Z f I E L pascal hertz ohm candela lumen lux - Oscillations and Waves Optics Quantum Physics A D becquerel gray 6|P a ge .Resistance Specific resistance Capacitance Specific conductivity Magnetic field Magnetic flux Inductance Mutual-inductance Magnetic moment Polarization Magnetization Temperature Substance quantity Pressure Heat Heat capacity Entropy Specific heat Molar heat energy flux Surface tension Stress Elasticity modulus Wavelength Wave number Frequency Energy density Energy flux Intensity Reactance Impedance Focal length Luminous intensity Luminous flux Illuminance Brightness Linear absorption coefficient Mass absorption coefficient Radioactive activity Absorbed dose R.

Speed of light in vacuum Statistical Physics and Thermodynamics: Avogadro constant.Physics Constants Mechanics: Gravitational constant. Mean free-fall acceleration at the Earth's surface. Volumetric mean radius of Earth. Permittivity of vacuum. Gas constant. Coulomb constant. Standard atmospheric conditions: 7|P a ge . Electricity and Magnetism: Elementary charge. Boltzmann constant. Mass of Earth. Permeability of vacuum.

Electron-volt. . Planck constant. Rydberg constant. Hydrogen ground state. Neutron mass. Bohr magneton.Quantum Physics: Stefan-Boltzmann constant. 8|P a ge . Electron mass. Proton mass. Bohr radius. Atomic mass unit. Compton wavelength.