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Electron Charge repulsion

  1. Nov 9, 2013 #1


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    An electron is so small, how does its charge avoid repulsing each other.. is there a unit of small charge or quanta wherein the charge doesn't repel.. or is there something akin to strong force like in atoms which avoid the protons from repulsing outward in the charge of the electron? What is the latest about this and what do you think is going on?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 9, 2013 #2
    Good question... in electrostatics we just imagine the electron charge is at a single point, and then we say the electric field that results from that charge is undefined at that point (but exists everywhere else). In this way, an electron will never experience a force from its own electric field.

    For any more detail than that, I think you need to go into the realms of quantum mechanics. I don't know the answer of what the size of an electron is, or if it really is a point, but I'm pretty sure that it is accurate to say that it is still an elementary particle, i.e. you cannot subdivide it into smaller charges that would end up repelling one another in the way that you describe. But who knows...
  4. Nov 9, 2013 #3


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    How small is a "point" compared to say the planck size in electrostatics? In quantum field theory, they have problem with this concept that is still unresolved (Giving rise to landau pole, renormalization, etc). But in electrostatics or classical physics, this is ignored or not mentioned. Is it because it is just approximation or the problem hidden? That is why we don't hear this mentioned in high school classes in the topic about electron and electron charge.. like the teacher saying that "the mystery is why the electron doesn't explode from experiencing it's own electric field due to the point being in single point of space and time unless there is new physics hidden underneath".

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