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Questions about charged objects in isolation

  1. Sep 4, 2015 #1
    Not sure if the title accurately conveys my questions, but my question is, in such a situation that an object is charged and in hanging from an insulating thread, will it eventually lose its charge? This seems extremely simplistic, and my instinct is to say of course, but for whatever reason this doesn't seem right to me. Would the charge (positive or negative) not eventually be neutral due to interactions with the atmosphere around it? Would the answer to this differ based on the type of atmosphere the object is suspended it? I can't imagine that it wouldn't eventually reach neutrality unless it were in a vacuum, and there was nothing to exchange charge with, but something about that thought also seems wrong. Is it possible that there wouldn't be enough charged particles in the atmosphere around the sphere for it to reach neutrality? In a less real sense, when prompted with the "object hanging by an insulating thread" question, should I assume it means the object is neutral?

    Thanks for any guidance!
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 4, 2015 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    In the real world the object would indeed eventually lose its charge. There are no perfect insulators.

    It should say that the object is neutral if it's neutral. If not, well, just do the best you can.
  4. Sep 4, 2015 #3
    Alright, thanks!
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