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Neutral objects can be attracted to any charged object. The pieces of straw attracted to polished amber are neutral, for example. If you run a plastic comb through your hair, the charged comb can pick up neutral pieces of paper. [link] shows how the polarization of atoms and molecules in neutral objects results in their attraction to a charged object.

When a charged rod is brought near a neutral substance, an insulator in this case, the distribution of charge in atoms and molecules is shifted slightly. Opposite charge is attracted nearer the external charged rod, while like charge is repelled. Since the electrostatic force decreases with distance, the repulsion of like charges is weaker than the attraction of unlike charges, and so there is a net attraction. Thus a positively charged glass rod attracts neutral pieces of paper, as will a negatively charged rubber rod. Some molecules, like water, are polar molecules. Polar molecules have a natural or inherent separation of charge, although they are neutral overall. Polar molecules are particularly affected by other charged objects and show greater polarization effects than molecules with naturally uniform charge distributions.

Can you explain the attraction of water to the charged rod in the figure below?

Water flowing out of a glass pipette changes its course when a charged rod is brought close to it.

Answer

Water molecules are polarized, giving them slightly positive and slightly negative sides. This makes water even more susceptible to a charged rod’s attraction. As the water flows downward, due to the force of gravity, the charged conductor exerts a net attraction to the opposite charges in the stream of water, pulling it closer.

Phet explorations: john travoltage

Make sparks fly with John Travoltage. Wiggle Johnnie's foot and he picks up charges from the carpet. Bring his hand close to the door knob and get rid of the excess charge.

John Travoltage

Section summary

  • Polarization is the separation of positive and negative charges in a neutral object.
  • A conductor is a substance that allows charge to flow freely through its atomic structure.
  • An insulator holds charge within its atomic structure.
  • Objects with like charges repel each other, while those with unlike charges attract each other.
  • A conducting object is said to be grounded if it is connected to the Earth through a conductor. Grounding allows transfer of charge to and from the earth’s large reservoir.
  • Objects can be charged by contact with another charged object and obtain the same sign charge.
  • If an object is temporarily grounded, it can be charged by induction, and obtains the opposite sign charge.
  • Polarized objects have their positive and negative charges concentrated in different areas, giving them a non-symmetrical charge.
  • Polar molecules have an inherent separation of charge.

Conceptual questions

An eccentric inventor attempts to levitate by first placing a large negative charge on himself and then putting a large positive charge on the ceiling of his workshop. Instead, while attempting to place a large negative charge on himself, his clothes fly off. Explain.

If you have charged an electroscope by contact with a positively charged object, describe how you could use it to determine the charge of other objects. Specifically, what would the leaves of the electroscope do if other charged objects were brought near its knob?

When a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negative—yet both attract dust. Does the dust have a third type of charge that is attracted to both positive and negative? Explain.

Why does a car always attract dust right after it is polished? (Note that car wax and car tires are insulators.)

Describe how a positively charged object can be used to give another object a negative charge. What is the name of this process?

What is grounding? What effect does it have on a charged conductor? On a charged insulator?

Problems&Exercises

Suppose a speck of dust in an electrostatic precipitator has 1 . 0000 × 10 12 size 12{1 "." "0000" times "10" rSup { size 8{"12"} } } {} protons in it and has a net charge of –5.00 nC (a very large charge for a small speck). How many electrons does it have?

1.03 × 10 12

An amoeba has 1.00 × 10 16 protons and a net charge of 0.300 pC. (a) How many fewer electrons are there than protons? (b) If you paired them up, what fraction of the protons would have no electrons?

A 50.0 g ball of copper has a net charge of 2.00 µ C . What fraction of the copper’s electrons has been removed? (Each copper atom has 29 protons, and copper has an atomic mass of 63.5.)

9 . 09 × 10 13 size 12{9 "." "09" times "10" rSup { size 8{ - "13"} } } {}

What net charge would you place on a 100 g piece of sulfur if you put an extra electron on 1 in 10 12 size 12{"10" rSup { size 8{"12"} } } {} of its atoms? (Sulfur has an atomic mass of 32.1.)

How many coulombs of positive charge are there in 4.00 kg of plutonium, given its atomic mass is 244 and that each plutonium atom has 94 protons?

1 . 48 × 10 8 C size 12{1 "." "48" times "10" rSup { size 8{8} } } {}

Questions & Answers

anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
characteristics of micro business
Abigail
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Anassong
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
NANO
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
NANO
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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Source:  OpenStax, Abe advanced level physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 11, 2013 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11534/1.3
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