# How exactly does the electric force act?

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## Main Question or Discussion Point

greeting

How exactly the electric force acts .The definition of force is In physics, a force is any interaction that, when unopposed, will change the motion of an object. as the electron circulates around the nucleus of the atom because of that I do not see how that force acts .

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Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
Hi torxxx. Unfortunately I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding what you're asking. Can you elaborate a little more? Is there a specific concept with the electromagnetic force that you're confused about? (other than the case of an electron orbiting a nucleus. see below)

as the electron circulates around the nucleus of the atom because of that I do not see how that force acts .
What is it about the behavior of an electron in its atomic orbital that confuses you with regard to the electromagnetic force?

Hi torxxx. Unfortunately I'm having a bit of difficulty understanding what you're asking. Can you elaborate a little more? Is there a specific concept with the electromagnetic force that you're confused about? (other than the case of an electron orbiting a nucleus. see below)

What is it about the behavior of an electron in its atomic orbital that confuses you with regard to the electromagnetic force?
force attract or repel objects electron who circulate around atomic nucleus is neither
repelled or attracted

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
force attract or repel objects electron who circulate around atomic nucleus is neither
repelled or attracted
On the contrary, the electron is always attracted to the nucleus. The problem is that an electron does not orbit around the nucleus like a planet orbits a star. Fundamental particles like electrons cannot be described in "classical" terms at the atomic and subatomic scales. Instead, the electron is described by a wavefunction that, among other things, tells us the probability of finding the electron at some location. The electric force from the nucleus attracts the electron and is one of the primary things that influences its wavefunction.

Staff Emeritus
2019 Award
I didn't understand this either. Perhaps if you used complete sentences it would be clearer.

On the contrary, the electron is always attracted to the nucleus. The problem is that an electron does not orbit around the nucleus like a planet orbits a star. Fundamental particles like electrons cannot be described in "classical" terms at the atomic and subatomic scales. Instead, the electron is described by a wavefunction that, among other things, tells us the probability of finding the electron at some location. The electric force from the nucleus attracts the electron and is one of the primary things that influences its wavefunction.
ok but where is acceleration

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
ok but where is acceleration
It's not accelerating as far as I know.

It's not accelerating as far as I know.
I think that my confusion areas because of definition of force in force definition objects move because of the force and now why have force and why don't have acceleration

jbriggs444
Homework Helper
2019 Award
I think that my confusion areas because of definition of force in force definition objects move because of the force and now why have force and why don't have acceleration
The bigger problem is that you do not even have position. An electron bound into an atom does not behave like a classical particle. It does not have a well defined position. Now, in what direction would this classical force be acting if the electron has no particular position in relation to the nucleus?

Drakkith
Staff Emeritus
I think that my confusion areas because of definition of force in force definition objects move because of the force and now why have force and why don't have acceleration
Why aren't you moving downward into the ground under the force of gravity? By your definition, you don't have a force applied to you when you're not accelerating. However, that's not an accurate definition of force. Yes, force causes acceleration, but the lack of acceleration does not mean a lack of force.

ZapperZ
Staff Emeritus
I think that my confusion areas because of definition of force in force definition objects move because of the force and now why have force and why don't have acceleration
Hang on a second. How do you think we accelerate charge particles in particle accelerators?

Let's start with the SIMPLEST case. We have a uniform electric field E, and we place a charge particle q in that field. There will be a force acting on that charge particle due to the interaction of the charge with the external electric field. This force has the magnitude F = qE.

If the charge is free, then it will undergo an acceleration due to the presence of that force.

This was how the old CRT TV worked, and the basic principle of a DC electron gun!

Now, what was your question again?

Zz.