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         Most people will be familiar with the Van de Graff generators and hair standing on end. Here is a more accurate explanation of why. The force one point Q1 exerts on another point charge q2 distance r away is:

         F = kQ1q2


         K = 1/(4pe0) where e0 is the permittivity of free space so

       F = 1 Q1q2

4pe0 r2

         Around electrical charges we can imagine an electric field, a region in which an electric charge experiences a force.

       F = QE

         The direction of the field naturally depends on the charge, the arrows are drawn to represent the direction of the force on a small positive charge +q, so the field lines for a point positive charge go radially outwards, those for a negative charge radially inwards. Hence a repulsive force between two like-charged particles is taken to be positive.

         As E=F/q, E=( kq1q2/r2)/q;

       E = 1 Q

4pe0 r2

         Energy = F x d so, similar to gravitation, potential energy Ep is given by

       Ep = 1 Q1q2

4pe0 r

         Electrical potential is the potential energy per unit charge (V=energy/q), so V=(kq1q2/r)/q;

       V = 1 Q

4pe0 r


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