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Opposites Attract

  1. Mar 8, 2010 #1

    Char. Limit

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    Gold Member

    What part of charge causes like charges to repel, and opposite charges to attract? Is it something akin to the Pauli Exclusion Principle of chemistry?
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 9, 2010 #2
    the idea of charge is that there are no parts to it.

    operationally, it works like this:

    If A and B repel each other.
    and A and C repel each other.
    then it turns out B and C repel.

    If A and B repel
    and A and C attract
    then B and C attract

    If A and B attract.
    and A and C repel.
    Then B and C attract.

    If A and B attract
    and A and C attract
    then B and C repel

    These are just the experimental observations, and it turns out that if these always hold, you can explain them simply by calling one object (chosen arbitrarily) "positive". Everything it repels is also "positive", and everything it attracts is "negative", and then the rule becomes that opposites attract and likes repel.

    I suppose it is possible to try to give a deeper explanation, for example by saying that charges create electric fields, or that charged particles exchange photons, but basically charge is not made up of anything - it is just charge, it those are its rule. The Pauli Exclusion Principle is not closely related.
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