The First Law of Electrostatics

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Basic Electrical Theory ATOM AND ITS FORCES Without this electrostatic force, the electron, which is traveling at high speed, could not stay in its  orbit.   Bodies  that  attract  each  other  in  this  way  are  called  charged  bodies.   As  mentioned previously, the electron has a negative charge, and the nucleus (due to the proton) has a positive charge. The First Law of Electrostatics The negative charge of the electron is equal, but opposite to, the positive charge of the proton. These charges are referred to as electrostatic charges.   In nature, unlike charges (like electrons and protons) attract each other, and like charges repel each other.   These facts are known as the First Law of Electrostatics and are sometimes referred to as the law of electrical charges.   This law should be remembered because it is one of the vital concepts in electricity. Some  atoms  can  lose  electrons  and  others  can  gain  electrons;  thus,  it  is  possible  to  transfer electrons from one object to another.   When this occurs, the equal distribution of negative and positive charges no longer exists.   One object will contain an excess of electrons and become negatively  charged,  and  the  other  will  become  deficient  in  electrons  and  become  positively charged.   These objects, which can contain billions of atoms, will then follow the same law of electrostatics  as  the  electron  and  proton  example  shown  above.    The  electrons  that  can  move around within an object are said to be free electrons and will be discussed in more detail in a later section.   The greater the number of these free electrons an object contains, the greater its negative electric charge.   Thus, the electric charge can be used as a measure of electrons. Electrostatic Field Figure 4    Electrostatic Field A  special  force  is  acting  between the    charged    objects    discussed above.   Forces of this type are the result of an  electrostatic field  that exists around each charged particle or object.   This electrostatic field, and  the  force  it  creates,  can  be illustrated  with  lines  called  "lines of force" as shown in Figure 4. Rev. 0 Page 3 ES-01


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