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What is an Electric Force?

An electrifying description regarding forces

We’ve discussed before what a force was and even gave examples of some on one of my previous posts. Some included gravitational force, centripetal force, and even buoyancy force due to a fluid. But there is also another force that is just as important and that deals with electric force.

Opposites Attract

The classic old saying that you hear was derived from the fact that at the atomic level, you have particles that are made up of positive charges called protons and negative charges called electrons. This is a very general statement, and the structure of an atom is of course a lot more complex than that, but this is just a generalization. And it is just by nature that opposite charges will attract each other while like charges repel each other. This means that positive repels positive as negative repels negative, while positive and negative attract.

But what is that attraction and that repulsive influence felt between the particles? That influence that pushes the charged particles either away or pulls them towards each other is known as the electric force and it is defined mathematically as:


Where k is the electric constant and q is the value of the charge of a particle and r is the distance between each charge. Now the force is constant between two charges, but it becomes more complex the more charges you place in the same space as you can imagine.

Does this force only occur with particles?

No it does not. This force occurs to any objects that carry charge. Meaning that objects can carry positive and negative charges and therefore create a force. Examples of this include putting a balloon to your hair or charging a metal rod. Now the extent of this electric force is all because of something called an electric field that is generated from charged particles. But that’s something to be covered later on.

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