• Tuesday July 7,2020

Electric Charge

We explain to you what an electric charge is, how it is classified and what its properties are. In addition, what is Coulomb's Law.

The electric charge is an intrinsic property of matter.
  1. What is an electric charge?

In physics, a property of matter is called electrical charge. It is intrinsic to some subatomic particles and is evidenced by forces of attraction or repulsion between them, through electromagnetic fields.

That is to say: matter can be electrically charged (gain charge), thus generating an electric field (or being charged precisely by an electric field with which it comes in contact), in which known as electromagnetic interaction, one of the four fundamental interactions of nature.

An electric charge, then, is any matter that is charged with said electromagnetic force, and that is capable of transmitting it in some way, since they cannot be created or destroyed . However, not all matter responds in the same way to electromagnetic induction, and it depends on that we talk about conductors (of electricity) or insulators.

Under the International Measurement System (SI), electrical charges are measured in a unit called Coulombios or Coulombs (C) . His name was established in honor of the French physicist Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736-1806), one of the greatest scholars of this type of physical phenomena.

A Coulomb unit is defined as the amount of charge that an electric conductor passes through in a second, when the electric current is one amp, and that corresponds to 6, 242 x 10 18 free electrons.

See also: Electric power

  1. Types of electric charge

The batteries have a negative charge pole and a positive charge pole.

Electric charges interact with each other according to their type, which can be either positive or negative, as Benjamin Franklin called them. These denominations are arbitrary, that is, there is nothing that distinguishes the positive from the negative, but they are thought of just like a magnetic dipole, such as a battery, which has a positive pole (or north) and a negative pole (or south).

The positive is denoted with the + sign and the negative with the sign - conventionally. Electric charges of equal signs repel. Electric charges of opposite signs attract .

  1. Properties of the electric charge

Electric charge is an intrinsic property of matter, and it resides in subatomic particles : electrons have a negative charge and protons have a positive charge (neutral charge neutrons, as the name suggests).

Thus, when an object is electrically charged, it is due to a shift in its electrons, either from loss (gaining positive charge) or incorporation (gaining negative charge). Therefore, a material with excess electrons in its outer atoms will have a negative charge, while one with a deficit of them will have a positive charge.

In a closed system, the electric charge remains constant, just as it happens in any chemical reaction.

  1. Coulomb law

The magnitude of the force of attraction or repulsion depends on the load and distance.

Coulomb's Law or Fundamental Principle of Electrostatics governs the magnitude of the forces of attraction or repulsion between two determined electric charges, regardless of the sign of their charge (obviously, if they are of the same sign, it will be a force of repulsion, and if they are of the opposite sign, of attraction).

According to this law, said force is proportional to the product of the value of the charges, and inversely proportional to the square of the distance that separates them. This is expressed mathematically as follows:

F = K [(Q1 x Q2) / r 2 ]


  • F is the force.
  • Q are the two respective charges.
  • r is the distance that separates them.
  • K is a constant of proportionality defined as 9.10 9 Nm 2 / C 2 .

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