# Why does an electric charge stop moving?

• meesa
In summary, an electric charge is placed into an electric field of a charge that has been around for a while. The charges are connected by some non-conductive material, and the charge will stop moving until equilibrium is reached or until the field has propagated out as far as the other charge.
meesa
If an electric charge is placed into an electric field of a charge that has been around for a while, it will start to move until equilibrium is reached, or until it's field has propagated out as far as the other charge. Note that the charges are connected by some non-conductive material.

Why/how does the charge stop moving?

Thanks.

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If the charges are opposite, they will both accelerate until they collide with each other and form an atom, which would be "equilibrium". If the charges are alike, then both will accelerate away from each other forever, with the magnitude of the acceleration dropping as the distance between the two charges increases, but never reaching zero.

The charges are connected. Forgot to put that originally.

We talking about point charges, IE electrons and protons, or about macroscopic objects that happen to be charged?

Two wires, two point charges, two things that are charged. This is for a final, and I'm having difficulty remember all the details of what was discussed, which is why I'm having trouble remembering why. I think the teacher did it with two wires connected to a non conductive material. After the first wire's field had propagated, the second wire was turned on. (No, this isn't in the book)

Unfortunately the details are important. Performing this experiment on two electrically charged wires in a laboratory is much different than two point charges in free space. If you'd like to, feel free to construct a specific scenario and ask about it.

It's all conceptual, and thus in space. All I need is why the apparatus stops moving once the second field has propagated. I'm sure the reason doesn't differ much depending on how the apparatus is designed in the conceptual world.

The 2nd field never stops propagating since the EM force has an infinite range while changes in the field propagate at a finite speed.

But the apparatus, which would begin to move in the time it takes for the second to propagate, would stop moving. I need to know how/why. I realize once it passes the other charged object it still keeps going.

You're asking us to explain "how/why" before you have described "what". We can't do that - like Drakkith says, the details are important.

The only way for the apparatus to stop moving, as far as I can tell, would be for it to lose energy by emitting EM radiation. Otherwise it would keep spinning or oscillating forever. It's hard to say since we don't have a specific setup.

meesa said:
If an electric charge is placed into an electric field of a charge that has been around for a while, it will start to move until equilibrium is reached, or until it's field has propagated out as far as the other charge. Note that the charges are connected by some non-conductive material.

Why/how does the charge stop moving?

Thanks.

I don't understand why you think it would stop moving. The only thing to stop the object moving (in the absence of other forces, would be if the charges were opposite and they bump into each other.
As usual, a diagram would help a lot.

Let's wait for the OP to describe the system. Completely describe the system. Guessing won't help him.

## 1. Why do electric charges stop moving?

Electric charges stop moving due to resistance in the material through which they are traveling. This resistance causes the charges to lose energy and eventually come to a stop.

## 2. What factors affect the speed at which an electric charge stops moving?

The speed at which an electric charge stops moving is affected by the material through which it is traveling, the amount of resistance in the material, and the strength of the electric field.

## 3. Can an electric charge ever stop moving completely?

In a perfect vacuum, an electric charge would theoretically continue to move forever without any resistance. However, in real-world scenarios, there will always be some resistance present, causing the charge to eventually come to a stop.

## 4. How does an electric charge move through a circuit?

An electric charge moves through a circuit due to the presence of an electric field. This electric field pushes the charge through the circuit, and the charge's movement is facilitated by the flow of electrons in the material.

## 5. What happens to an electric charge when it stops moving?

When an electric charge stops moving, it remains stationary until acted upon by an external force. The charge's energy is converted into heat, sound, or other forms of energy, depending on the material and conditions in which it stopped moving.

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