# Understanding Static Electricity and Charge Interactions

• harimakenji
In summary, when A inducts rod B, the charge on B is redistributed. Rod C then charges up because it is in contact with B.
harimakenji

## Homework Statement

1. Rod A has negative charge and is used to induct rod B. Rod C then charged by touching it with B. The charge on C is…
a. Neutral
b. Positive
c. Negative
d. Undetermined2. a. Plastic comb that we hold can be charged by rubbing. Why a copper can’t be charged when we are holding it?
b. How to charge copper rod by rubbing?3. a. When a negatively charged object brought close to negatively charged electroscope, the leaf rises more
b. When a positive object is brought close to a positively charged electroscope, the leaf becomes closer.

Explain the above phenomena

4. Three identical neutral conductors are in contact with P on the leftmost, Q is middle, and R is rightmost. A negative rod is hold near R. After that, P is pulled to the left, followed by Q. Finally, the rod is taken away. Find the charge on each conductor after separation

## The Attempt at a Solution

1. I think in order to induct rod B, rod B must be earthed (or not?) and it will gain positive charge. Then using conduction, rod C will gain positive charge. True?

2. I do not know why

3. I understand part (a), the electrons repel each other more. But what about (b)? In my opinion, the leaf also rises more because the protons on outside object repel protons on electroscope. Why can the leaf become closer?4. P will be negative and R will be positive, but Q? I guess Q will be neutral but not really sure about the reason. Maybe all negative charges are located in P and positive charges in R, leaving Q uncharged. Or Q still has the same amount of electrons and protons? Dunno

1. Rod B should not be earthed. If it is earthed, all the charge would flow down to the earth, and the rod would be neutral.

2. A plastic comb retains its charge. A copper comb does not retain the charge when you hold it. Where do you think the charge goes?

4. You can safely assume that Q'd be neutral.

graphene said:
1. Rod B should not be earthed. If it is earthed, all the charge would flow down to the earth, and the rod would be neutral.
If rod B is not earthed when A inducts it, then wouldn't it be just charge redistribution in B (positive charges attracted to one side where A located and negative charges to opposite side). After A is taken away, the charge will mix again and B is neutral. So I think when A inducts B, B is earthed so that the electrons in B flow to Earth then B is not earthed anymore. It will cause B to be positively charged. Is it right?

2. A plastic comb retains its charge. A copper comb does not retain the charge when you hold it. Where do you think the charge goes?
My best guess will be the charge flows to Earth through the body. But why plastic comb can retain charge and copper can't?

4. You can safely assume that Q'd be neutral.
OK. Then, Q won't have any electrons and protons or Q still has the same amount of protons and electrons?

Thank you

(i) A negatively charged object will be neutral if connected to Earth because…
a. Electrons move from Earth to the object
b. Positive charges flow from Earth to the object
c. Electrons flow from the object to earth
d. Positive charges move from the object to earth(ii) A positively charged object will be neutral if connected to the ground because…
a. Electrons move from ground to the object
b. Positive charges flow from the object to the ground
c. Electrons flow from the object to earth
d. Positive charges move from Earth to the object

(iii) from textbook : electric conductor can only be electrically charged when it is not connected to the earth.
I don't understand that statement and I think this statement is related to question 3 in my previous post.

(i) c

(ii) a

(iii) How can it be? As I said in my previous post (answer 1), an object must be grounded if it wants to be charged by induction so that "free charge" can flow to the earth, leaving "bounded charge" only.

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harimakenji said:
If rod B is not earthed when ...
oops. sorry. i was wrong. yes, it should be grounded while rod A is brought close to it. and the ground connection should be removed just before taking away rod A so that the charge is retained.

harimakenji said:
You are correct about 1 & 2.

About 3, your book was probably talking about an isolated conductor. If an isolated conductor is grounded, it'd become neutral due to charge flow.

graphene said:
About 3, your book was probably talking about an isolated conductor. If an isolated conductor is grounded, it'd become neutral due to charge flow.

So, the reason is the same as question (1) about the rods? The conductor must be grounded while induced by outside charge then after it gains charge, the connection to ground removed?

harimakenji said:
My best guess will be the charge flows to Earth through the body. But why plastic comb can retain charge and copper can't?

This is correct. The answer to your question is that plastic is an insulator and copper a conductor (relative to each other). Friction is a method of "forcing" charge from one material to another (which one gets which charges depends on both materials). So while the plastic will probably attain less charge if you rubbed then for the same time, it will also retain charge longer when you hold it.

For question 3: Be careful with positive charge. http://public.web.cern.ch/public/" is not easy. In conductors (especially solids), the atoms - where the protons are - can be considered bound, certainly in comparison to electrons, which to a good approximation form a "gas" at room temperature in most metals.

Keeping that in mind, I believe you may also want to reassess your answer to
harimakenji said:
(ii) A positively charged object will be neutral if connected to the ground because…
For question 4: Nice question, but I would argue differently to you and graphene. Surely when all four conductors are in contact, you can treat them as a single conductor? So the negative charge spreads. Take one away the negative charge re-spreads to the remaining 3. Take another away and it re-spreads to the remaining 2... and so on.

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Onamor said:
Be careful with positive charge.

I should expand on this, sorry.
As an example, say a neutral object that once had 5 protons and 5 electrons (this is a strange object) looses 2 electrons to somewhere (maybe by friction). It now has more positive charge than negative and hence we call it "positively charged".
No positive charge had to move

It is possible to move positive charge, but compared to how easy it is to move electrons from a conductor, this is rare.

If you moved all the protons out of an object every time it touched the ground it would also weigh far less suddenly!

Onamor said:
This is correct. The answer to your question is that plastic is an insulator and copper a conductor (relative to each other). Friction is a method of "forcing" charge from one material to another (which one gets which charges depends on both materials). So while the plastic will probably attain less charge if you rubbed then for the same time, it will also retain charge longer when you hold it.
OK, so to answer 2 (b) about how to charge copper rod by rubbing, I guess we use insulator, like cloth or rubber, while holding the rod. Right?

For question 3: Be careful with positive charge. http://public.web.cern.ch/public/" is not easy. In conductors (especially solids), the atoms - where the protons are - can be considered bound, certainly in comparison to electrons, which to a good approximation form a "gas" at room temperature in most metals.

Keeping that in mind, I believe you may also want to reassess your answer to

I still don't get it. I understand moving positive charge is not easy, but why the leaf of positively charged electroscope becomes closer when a positive object is brought close to it? Considering the proton is hard to move, at least the leaf should stay the same. In other case, the protons of each object repel each other (although maybe the electrostatic force is very small) and the leaf becomes further away. I really don't understand why the leaf becomes closer.

For question 4: Nice question, but I would argue differently to you and graphene. Surely when all four conductors are in contact, you can treat them as a single conductor? So the negative charge spreads. Take one away the negative charge re-spreads to the remaining 3. Take another away and it re-spreads to the remaining 2... and so on.

No, only 3 objects are in contact, P, Q, and R. When P is pulled, P has negative charge in it because most (maybe all) of the protons are being attracted to outside negatively charged rod. The remaining charges are spread to Q and R. What is the remaining charges? Is there still electron or the rest are just protons?
If there is electron, maybe Q can be negatively charged because the protons are still attracted to outside rod, but if all the electrons are located in P, then I guess Q is neutral with neither electron nor proton in it. Finally, R will be positively charged.
Onamor said:
I should expand on this, sorry.
As an example, say a neutral object that once had 5 protons and 5 electrons (this is a strange object) looses 2 electrons to somewhere (maybe by friction). It now has more positive charge than negative and hence we call it "positively charged".
No positive charge had to move

It is possible to move positive charge, but compared to how easy it is to move electrons from a conductor, this is rare.

If you moved all the protons out of an object every time it touched the ground it would also weigh far less suddenly!
Yes, that makes sense. I get it.

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harimakenji said:
OK, so to answer 2 (b) about how to charge copper rod by rubbing, I guess we use insulator, like cloth or rubber, while holding the rod. Right?

Yes, basically you need to separate the conductor from earth, bearing in mind that you would act as another conductor.Question 4 (again): Yes absolutely, I misread the question - there is no contact.
So then, when you bring the charged rod close, the electrons closest to the rod will experience the greatest repulsive force. You can think of this as setting up a "gradient" of electrons (actually electron "density") - most will be at the far end of P, and as you get closer to the rod there are less and less. So not all electrons are in P, do you see? When you remove P (instantaneously), the same process happens with whatever electrons are left. Can you do it now?

harimakenji said:
I still don't get it. I understand moving positive charge is not easy, but why the leaf of positively charged electroscope becomes closer when a positive object is brought close to it? Considering the proton is hard to move, at least the leaf should stay the same. In other case, the protons of each object repel each other (although maybe the electrostatic force is very small) and the leaf becomes further away. I really don't understand why the leaf becomes closer.
Question 3b is not obvious to me either, I have an idea how it would be possible but it seems unlikely:
The electroscope is positively charged, and when you bring a positive object towards it, the electroscope attracts the electrons in the object and so some of the positive charge moves out of the leaves and towards this - causing the leaves to collapse more.
As I said, not likely, but unless you can ground the electroscope or the object at some point, I'd be interested to see a solution myself...

Onamor said:
Yes, basically you need to separate the conductor from earth, bearing in mind that you would act as another conductor.
OK, as long as the rod doesn't come contact directly with me, it can be charged by rubbing. I read there are 3 ways to charge an object. I know induction and conduction. What is the last one?

Question 4 (again): Yes absolutely, I misread the question - there is no contact.
So then, when you bring the charged rod close, the electrons closest to the rod will experience the greatest repulsive force. You can think of this as setting up a "gradient" of electrons (actually electron "density") - most will be at the far end of P, and as you get closer to the rod there are less and less. So not all electrons are in P, do you see? When you remove P (instantaneously), the same process happens with whatever electrons are left. Can you do it now?
OK, when I remove P, P will be negative. The rest of the electrons will be located mainly in Q and when Q is removed, it will be negatively charged. Finally R is positive. Right or wrong?

Question 3b is not obvious to me either, I have an idea how it would be possible but it seems unlikely:
The electroscope is positively charged, and when you bring a positive object towards it, the electroscope attracts the electrons in the object and so some of the positive charge moves out of the leaves and towards this - causing the leaves to collapse more.
As I said, not likely, but unless you can ground the electroscope or the object at some point, I'd be interested to see a solution myself...
Yes this is a good idea. I agree this makes sense but don't know if this is right

harimakenji said:
I read there are 3 ways to charge an object. I know induction and conduction. What is the last one?
You know of electrostatic induction. There is also electromagnetic induction - when moving a conductor through a magnetic field - very cool. I would think there are more ways to charge an object, depending on what the object is, or what state it's in, but three for room condition solids sounds about right.

harimakenji said:
OK, when I remove P, P will be negative. The rest of the electrons will be located mainly in Q and when Q is removed, it will be negatively charged. Finally R is positive. Right or wrong?
Correct. When you remove Q from R you are essential splitting the object in half.

harimakenji said:
this makes sense
It really doesn't! But I'd be interested to know another solution, that does not include grounding, myself.

Onamor said:
You know of electrostatic induction. There is also electromagnetic induction - when moving a conductor through a magnetic field - very cool. I would think there are more ways to charge an object, depending on what the object is, or what state it's in, but three for room condition solids sounds about right.
In grade 9, I haven't covered electromagnetic induction yet. How about the last one is rubbing? It's similar to conduction but not the same in my opinion. Conduction merely touching 2 objects to charge one, while rubbing involves more physical contact than conduction. Right or wrong?

It really doesn't! But I'd be interested to know another solution, that does not include grounding, myself.
Why doesn't it make sense? I think it's an educated guess, although maybe it's wrong. I am self-learning right now so I really hope this forum can help me

I suppose you could count the two types of induction as the same. Friction is charging insulators by conduction really, but it may be an answer.

The electroscope question may be right, its technically feasible, but it would probably depend on which of the electroscope and object is "more" positively charged. It's not great to assume that this is the electroscope. Actually, when I read a question like this, I imagine the object as having an infinite charge, but this is also just an assumption.
In a physics test, at least in my experience, if you make a sensible assumption and continue with it correctly, you cannot be marked down for that - as long as you explain your assumption and reasons for.

Onamor said:
I suppose you could count the two types of induction as the same. Friction is charging insulators by conduction really, but it may be an answer.
If that's the case, beside electromagnetic induction, is there another method to charge an object? A simple method if possible.

The electroscope question may be right, its technically feasible, but it would probably depend on which of the electroscope and object is "more" positively charged. It's not great to assume that this is the electroscope. Actually, when I read a question like this, I imagine the object as having an infinite charge, but this is also just an assumption.
In a physics test, at least in my experience, if you make a sensible assumption and continue with it correctly, you cannot be marked down for that - as long as you explain your assumption and reasons for.
OK, then let's assume that this question has not been answered yet

Maybe other forum members have opinion?

try posting it as a new question, people don't often check threads with many replies.

Onamor said:
try posting it as a new question, people don't often check threads with many replies.

OK, thank you for the suggestion. And also thank you very much for your help here !

## 1. What is static electricity?

Static electricity is a type of electricity that occurs when there is a build-up of electric charge on the surface of an object. This charge can be positive or negative, and is caused by the movement of electrons.

## 2. How is static electricity different from current electricity?

The main difference between static electricity and current electricity is that in static electricity, the electric charge is stationary and does not move, while in current electricity, the charge is in motion. Current electricity is what powers our electronics and is used for various purposes, while static electricity is often seen as a nuisance, but can also be harnessed for certain applications.

## 3. What causes static electricity?

Static electricity is caused by the transfer of electrons between two objects. When two objects rub against each other, electrons can be transferred from one object to the other, resulting in a build-up of charge on the surface of the objects.

## 4. How is static electricity measured?

Static electricity can be measured using an instrument called an electroscope. This device measures the amount of charge present on an object. The unit of measurement for static electricity is the coulomb, which represents the amount of charge transferred when one ampere of current flows for one second.

## 5. What are some practical applications of static electricity?

Static electricity has several practical applications, such as in electrostatic precipitators used to remove dust and pollutants from the air, in photocopiers and laser printers, and in the production of certain types of artwork. It is also used in industries such as painting, where it helps to attract paint particles to the surface being painted.

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