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Properties of Electric Charge

What is Static charge?

  • When an object acquires a net negative or positive electric charge, an imbalance is created that needs to be corrected, resulting in static electricity.
  • However, its impacts are rarely as severe as lightning.
  • Take a pair of tape and secure them to the table.
    • It should seem simple enough if you try to stick them together after ripping them both off the table. But it seems like they are opposed to one another.
    • But, if we layer one tape on top of the other and then rip them off the table, we can see that they are now attracted to one another rather than repelling one another.
    • The first circumstance involved both tape pieces taking negative charges off the table. Pieces drifted apart because, like charges repel one another.
    • The former circumstance involves two pieces of tape attracted to one another because one piece picks up negative charges from the second tape, making the piecesopposing net charges.
  • Our investigation into electric charges and electricity starts here, with the fundamental finding concerning electric charges that, hundreds of years ago, inspired creativity and ingenuity that forever altered the course of human history.

What is an Electric charge?

  • The Greek term Electron, which means amber, is the source of the English word electric.
  • When charged particles were created by rubbing (due to friction) a suitable substance, the existence of charges was known.
  • The simplest method to demonstrate this is to swirl a balloon through your hair and watch how it mysteriously attracts your hair (Case 1).
  • Two balloons pressed against the hair (case 2) will oddly push one another apart.
    • Electric charge is what causes this to happen.
    • The balloons become negatively charged, while the hair gets positively charged.
    • Hair adheres to the balloon because opposite charges are attracted to one another.
    • The two balloons push each other apart because charged objects repel one another.
  • Some subatomic particles carry this characteristic of electric charge.
  • Protons, which have a positive charge, and electrons, which have a negative charge, are the most prevalent.
  • This makeup all the atoms in the universe, along with neutrons.

In part, after this, we will study positive and negative charges.

Substances can also be categorized according to how well they can transport electric charge.

A conductor is a material that is efficient at transferring electric charge. An insulator, on the contrary, cannot.

How are electric charges developed?

  • The architecture of an atom must first be understood to comprehend how charges are created.
  • Protons and neutrons are discovered in the nucleus of an atom.
    • The protons are positively charged, while the neutrons have no charge.
    • Therefore, there is a positive net charge on the nucleus.
  • The particles with negative charges, known as electrons, encircle the nucleus.
  • The amount of positive charge carried by a proton and negative charge carried by an electron is equal.
  • Benjamin Franklin created the terms positive charge and negative charge.
  • The transfer of electrons, the fundamental unit of electricity, as in this case, from the hair to the balloon, is what causes previously neutral materials to acquire an electric charge.
  • A basic charge of 1.6×10-19 (1.6 times ten to the negative nineteen) coulombs is carried by each electron.
  • This magnitude is negative for the electron and positive for the proton.Therefore, every substance will have multiple charges of this sum. As a result, a charge is quantized.
  • An electron transfer occurs when two objects are in contact.
    • Positive charges are created when an object loses an electron, and negative charges are created when an object obtains electrons.

Let's evaluate the next example in light of what we have seen. Electrons are transferred when a glass rod is rubbed across a silk fabric. The glass rod gets a positive charge after losing its electrons. A positively charged glass rod and a positively charged pith ball can exchange some of their positive charges. Additionally, the pith ball also picks up a positive charge and deflects the glass rod.Since the glass rod and pith ball are positive objects, they resist one another.

Electrification is the process of giving an object an electric charge. The first people to recognize this process were the ancient Greeks.

Electric Charge Characteristics

There are three fundamental characteristics of an electric charge. Let's find out more about them all.

1. Charges' additivity nature

  • Algebra could be employed to add electric charges.
  • Two-point charges, such as p1 and p2, in a system can be added algebraically to provide the total charge of the system, which is equal to p1+p2.
  • In other words, charges are scalar values; just like the mass of a body, they add up like real entities or numbers.
  • A nearly identical idea may be used to a body with an infinite number of charges.In the event that a system has limitless charges, such as p1, p2, p3, and so on up to pn, then p is defined as p1+p2+p3+.... +pn. Here, p is the net charge of the body.
  • It is crucial to take notice of a system's signs when we add the charges (charges can be either negative or positive).
  • Similar to mass, the charge has no direction but possess magnitude (and hence are scalar quantities).
  • However, there are numerous distinctions between charge and mass.
    • A body's mass is always positive, although its charge can be positive or negative.
  • The appropriate indications must be utilized when adding the charges of a system.

To further comprehend this, let's look at an example:

Determine the body's overall charge, which consists of the following five charges: +2, +5, -3, +10, and -5.

Solution: The additivity of charges formula reads: p = p1+p2+p3+.... +pn.

P1 = +2, P2 = +5, P3 = -3, P4 = +10, and P5 = -5 in this case.

It would cost (+2) + (+5) + (-3) + (+10) + (-5) = +9 in total.

Take note that nine should be indicated in the same unit as the system's other units. (Forexample, if the unit of the charges are coulombs, then 9 also reads as 9C)

Additionally, see how the charges here pile up like real amounts.

2. Charge conservation

  • The electric charges can also be conserved, like energy and mass.
  • According to the Law of Conservation, no charge can be formed or removed; hence the overall charge of an isolated system remains constant.

3. Quantization characteristic (Quantization of electric charge)

  • The tiniest amount of charge exists naturally, and other such charges are integral multiples of this tiniest unit, according to the principle of quantization of electric charge.
  • In other words, if e is the minimal/the lowest charge, then "ae", where a is some integral value, represents the overall charge on the body.
  • Mathematically, this can be represented as: q=ae.
  • The experimental electrolysis rules that were initially discovered by Faraday and later by Millikan provided the first clues to the idea of quantization of electric charge.
  • Because the quantum of charge e is so small, quantization of charge is completely ignored in magnetism, and chemical electricity.
  • Quantization of charge cannot be disregarded at the microscopic level where the charges are of the order of a few powers of tens and hundreds of e.


  • The base unit of charge has a magnitude of 1.6×10-19
  • Where m is an integer, the overall charge on a body is either -me or +me.
  • A charged object cannot hold a fractional charge.
  • The algebraic sum of the various charges in a body determines its overall charge.
  • The body is electrically neutral if it contains an equivalent number of negative and positive charges.
  • The charge is quantized, which implies it exists as distinct chunks of energy.

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