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Electric charge – everything you need to know

A simple definition of electric charge

Electric charge is the amount of element or energy that passes from one energy to another. It uses different modes like conduction, induction, triboelectricity, etc. Generally, electric charges are of two types; positive and negative charges. These charges are presented in almost all types of body. When two bodies have an excess of one type of this charge, it exerts a force of repulsion on each other when relatively close to each other. But when two bodies with excessive opposite charges, that is, one with a positive charge and the other with a negative charge, they attract each other.

Electric charge diagram

Most subatomic particles of matter have properties of electric charge e.g. protons have a positive charge, electrons have a negative charge, but neutrons have zero charges, that is, all those bodies having no charge are naturally uncharged ones. Just a coulomb’s law had explained, electric charges attract or repel each other because they exact forces on each other.

The formula for electric charge

The formula for calculating electric charge is Q = I.T

Where; Q is the electric charge

I represent the electric current

T represents time

The corresponding S.I unit is; coulomb’s (C) = ampere (A). the second (S)

Electric charge

Basic properties of electric charge

The followings are the properties of electric charge. They include;

  • A charge is additive in nature
  • Quantization of charge
  • Charge been a conserved quantity

1. A charge is additive in nature means that electric charges act like scalars and they can be added directly. For example, a system consisting of two charges namely x1 and x2. The total charge will the sum of x1 and x2, that is x1 + x2.

2. Charge be a conserved quantity should remind you of the law of conservation mass. It means that charge can neither be created nor destroyed but can be transferred from one body to another by conduction and induction method. i.e. transfer of electrons occurs from one body to another when the two body are robbing each other. For example, when 6c is a total charge of a system, then it can be redistributed as 2c,2c and 2c or in other possible ways, a charge of a system exists. For example, a neutrino decays sometimes to give one electron and one proton by default in nature. The system net charge will be zero as the electrons and protons have the same magnitude and opposite signs.

3. Quantization of charge shows that the charge is a quantized quantity (limit the number of possible values of a quantity). It can be express as an integral multiple of the basic unit of charge (e- charge on one electron). For example, if the charge of a body is x, then it can be written as:

X=ne

where n is an integer, not a fraction of an irrational number. n can be any positive or negative integer like 1,2,3, -5, etc. the charge that electron or proton carries are the basic unit of charge. As the electron charge is known as negative, it is denoted as “-e” and proton charge is denoted as “e”.

This principle “charge of quantization” was propose by an English experimentalist “Faraday” during his experimental law of electrolysis. Millikan latter on demonstrating and prove the principle in 1992. The principle can be used to calculate the total amount of charge presented in a body and can also be used to calculate the number of electrons and protons in a body. Suppose a system has x1 number of electrons and x2 of protons; the total amount of charge will be x2e – x1e.

I hope you’ve found this post interesting and attained the knowledge. If so, you can freely give your point in our comment section and please share with other students. Thanks!

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