# What actually an Electric Charge ?

1. Oct 1, 2014

### aditya ver.2.0

Since schooldays, we have been learning that electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when placed in an electromagnetic field. But whats actually a charge, energy or force or is it something else??

2. Oct 1, 2014

### Nashita

Electric charge is either positive or negative. Due to this physical property of matter , it experiences repulsion or attraction when placed in electromagnetic field.

3. Oct 1, 2014

### A.T.

Right, and electromagnetic fields are defined by their ability to exert forces on electric charges. Those definitions only make sense together.

No these are different quantities.

Yes, a different physical quantity than energy and force.

4. Oct 1, 2014

### aditya ver.2.0

Sir,
whats actually a charge if its neither energy nor a force

5. Oct 1, 2014

### Nashita

Charge is not energy but force that helps in repulsion & attraction. Due to electrical energy , there is electrical charge.

6. Oct 1, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

The basic fact is that we observe that certain particles experience a force when near other particles. In order to describe how they interact, we say that the particles have a "charge" of either positive of negative and that these particles will repel other particles with a like charge or attract particles of an opposite charge.

So "charge" is just something we define particles to have in order to have some way of describing their interaction. There are other such properties, such as mass and spin, so charge isn't unique in this aspect.

7. Oct 1, 2014

### OmCheeto

As you stated originally, it is a basic property of matter. I checked wiki, my college physics textbook, and my encyclopedia. They all say basically the same thing.

It would be like you asking me, if I ate too many pizzas, and got really fat; "What is fat"?
It's simply a property of mine. Fat, or mass, is also neither energy, nor a force.

Mass is probably a good analogy, as the equations are the same.

Fgravity = G * mearth * mOmCheeto / r2 (ref)
Fcharge = ke * q1 * q2 / r2 (ref)

Though the forces between charges can be either attractive or repulsive, and gravity is only attractive.

Energies and forces are a result of interacting charges, and interacting masses.

ps. Drak, I started this post before you posted, so your mentioning mass did not influence me in my choice of "fat" as an analogy.

8. Oct 1, 2014

### A.T.

Do you know what energy and force actually are?

9. Oct 2, 2014

### Khashishi

Charge is a property of matter. Basic particles have charge, and when you move the particles, the charge moves with it. Charge is additive; you take a bunch of particles and the total charge adds together.

10. Oct 2, 2014

### aditya ver.2.0

Do these charges have a geometrical property in space-time just as the gravity does according to G.R ?

11. Oct 2, 2014

### Staff: Mentor

No. GR doesn't explain the geometrical properties of objects, only of spacetime.

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