Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Fractional electric charge?

  1. Jun 25, 2010 #1


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    According to the third paragraph over here,


    "Quarks have the unusual characteristic of having a fractional electric charge, unlike the proton and electron, which have integer charges of +1 and -1 respectively."

    What does the fractional electric charge mean? Which units are we talking about?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 25, 2010 #2
    Fractional electric charge mean that the charge is not an integer, i.e. it is not something like 0, +1, -1, +2, -2... but instead something like 1/2 or 2/3.

    In this case the unit is the electric charge of the electron. Most particles have an electric charge which is a multiple of the electron charge. Actually, all detected particles except for the quarks.
    The quarks come in two types, with charge -1/3 and +2/3 and the anti-quarks have a charge of +1/3 and -2/3.
  4. Jun 26, 2010 #3


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Thanks. That cleared it up.
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Threads - Fractional electric charge Date
A Electric charge as ##Q = T_{3} + Y## Feb 4, 2017
Why do quarks have fractional charges? Nov 12, 2015
Branching fraction Jan 9, 2015
Confusion over packing fraction Jan 5, 2015
Free Fractionally Charged Particles Sep 4, 2014