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Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience

a force when close to other electrically charged matter. There are two types of electric
charges, called positive and negative. Positively charged substances are repelled from other
positively charged substances, but attracted to negatively charged substances; negatively
charged substances are repelled from negative and attracted to positive. An object will be
negatively charged if it has an excess of electrons, and will otherwise be positively charged or

These two fundamental principles of charge interactions will be used throughout the
unit to explain the vast array of static electricity phenomena. there are two types of
electrically charged objects - those that contain more protons than electrons and are said to be
positively charged and those that contain less protons than electrons and are said to be
negatively charged. These two types of electrical charges - positive and negative - are said to
be opposite types of charge. And consistent with our fundamental principle of charge
interaction, a positively charged object will attract a negatively charged object. Oppositely
charged objects will exert an attractive influence upon each other. In contrast to the attractive
force between two objects with opposite charges, two objects that are of like charge will repel
each other. That is, a positively charged object will exert a repulsive force upon a second
positively charged object. This repulsive force will push the two objects apart. Similarly, a
negatively charged object will exert a repulsive force upon a second negatively charged
object. Objects with like charge repel each other.

The ancient Greeks discovered as early as 600 B.C. that after they rubbed amber with
wool, the amber could attract other objects. Today we say that the amber has acquired a net
electric charge, or has become charged. The word "electric" is derived from the Greek word
elektron, meaning amber. When you scuff your shoes across a nylon carpet, you become
electrically charged, and you can charge a comb by passing it through dry hair.

Plastic rods and fur (real or fake) are particularly good for demonstrating
electrostatics, the interactions between electric charges that are at rest (or nearly so). Figure
21.1a shows two plastic rods and a piece of fur. After we charge each rod by rubbing it with
the piece of fur, we find that the rods repel each other.

When we rub glass rods with silk, the glass rods also become charged and repel each
other (Fig. 2l.1 b). But a charged plastic rod attracts a charged glass rod; furthermore, the
plastic rod and the fur attract each other, and the glass rod and the silk attract each other (Fig.

These experiments and many others like them have shown that there are exactly two
kinds of electric charge: the kind on the plastic rod rubbed with fur and the kind on the glass
rod rubbed with silk. Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) suggested calling these two kinds of
charge negative and positive, respectively, and these names are still used. The plastic rod and
the silk have negative charge; the glass rod and the fur have positive charge.

Two positive charges or two negative charges repel each other. A positive charge and a
negative charge attract each other.

We can charge a metal ball using a copper wire and an electrically charged plastic rod, as in
Fig. 21.6a. In this process, some of the excess electrons on the rod are transferred from it to
the ball, leaving the rod with a smaller negative charge. There is a different technique in
which the plastic rod can give another body a charge of opposite sign without losing any of
its own charge. This process is called charging by induction.

We note that a charged body can exert forces even on objects that are not charged themselves.
If you rub a balloon on the rug and then hold the balloon against the ceiling, it sticks, even
though the ceiling has no net electric charge. After you electrify a comb by running it through
your hair, you can pick up uncharged bits of paper or plastic with the comb (Fig. 21.8a). How
is this possible?

This interaction is an induced-charge effect. Even in an insulator, electric charges can shift
back and forth a little when there is charge nearby. This is shown in Fig. 21.8b; the negatively
charged plastic comb causes a slight shifting of charge within the molecules of the neutral
insulator, an effect called polarization. The positive and negative charges in the material are
present in equal amounts, but the positive charges are closer to the plastic comb and so feel
an attraction that is stronger than the repulsion felt by the negative charges, giving a net
attractive force. (In Section 21.3 we will study how electric forces depend on distance. ) Note
that a neutral insulator is also attracted to a positively charged comb (Fig. 21.8c). Now the
charges in the insulator shift in the opposite direction; the negative charges in the insulator
are closer to the comb and feel an attractive force that is stronger than the repulsion felt by
the positive charges in the insulator. Hence a charged object of either sign exerts an attractive
force on an uncharged insulator.

The attraction between a charged object and an uncharged one has many important
practical applications, including the electrostatic painting process used in the automobile
industry (Fig. 2l .9). A metal object to be painted is connected to the earth ("ground" in Fig.
21.9), and the paint droplets are given an electric charge as they exit the sprayer nozzle.
Induced charges of the opposite Sign appear in the object as the droplets approach, just as in
Fig. 21.7b, and they attract the droplets to the surface. This process minimizes overspray
from clouds of stray paint particles and gives a particularly smooth finish.