Electrostatics

Discover how atoms can be charged, and manipulate charge and distance to examine Coulomb's Law.

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Requirements

On OS X 10.9 or newer, you will need to install a launcher application to run this Java activity. If you have not already installed it, please:

Use a series of interactive models and games to explore electrostatics. Learn about the effects positive and negative charges have on one another, and investigate these effects further through games. Learn about Coulomb’s law and the concept that both the distance between the charges and the difference in the charges affect the strength of the force. Explore polarization at an atomic level, and learn how a material that does not hold any net charge can be attracted to a charged object.

Students will be able to:

• Explain how a neutral atom can become a charged particle, an ion
• Define Coulomb forces as a result of like charges repelling each other and unlike charges attracting
• Determine that the force generated between atoms is dependent on the amount of charge they carry and the distance between them
• Explore the mathematical relationship described in Coulomb equations
• Explain polarization in terms of charge redistribution
• Give an example of how screening is at work in a biological system, such as a cell

WARNING: Your data will not be saved. To save data, run this activity as a registered user. You can register at the project portal. Please view the requirements below before launching this activity.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008)

2. The Nature of Mathematics

2C. Mathematical Inquiry
• 2C/H3** (SFAA). By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that to be able to use and interpret mathematics well, it is necessary to be concerned with more than the mathematical validity of abstract operations and to take into account how well they correspond to the properties of the things represented.

4. The Physical Setting

4G. Forces of Nature
• 4G/M5** (BSL). By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that a charged object can be charged in one of two ways, which we call either positively charged or negatively charged. Two objects that are charged in the same manner exert a force of repulsion on each other, while oppositely charged objects exert a force of attraction on each other.
• 4G/H2a*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that electric forces acting within and between atoms are vastly stronger than the gravitational forces acting between the atoms. At larger scales, gravitational forces accumulate to produce a large and noticeable effect, whereas electric forces tend to cancel each other out.
• 4G/H3*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that most materials have equal numbers of protons and electrons and are therefore electrically neutral. In most cases, a material acquires a negative charge by gaining electrons and acquires a positive charge by losing electrons. Even a tiny imbalance in the number of protons and electrons in an object can produce noticeable electric forces on other objects.

9. The Mathematical World

9B. Symbolic Relationships
• 9B/H5. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that when a relationship is represented in symbols, numbers can be substituted for all but one of the symbols and the possible value of the remaining symbol computed. Sometimes the relationship may be satisfied by one value, sometimes by more than one, and sometimes not at all.

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
• 11B/H1a*. By the end of the 12th grade, students should know that a mathematical model uses rules and relationships to describe and predict objects and events in the real world.
11D. Scale
• 11D/M3**. By the end of the 8th grade, students should know that natural phenomena often involve sizes, durations, and speeds that are extremely small or extremely large. These phenomena may be difficult to appreciate because they involve magnitudes far outside human experience.

<a href="">The Concord Consortium. Electrostatics. Concord: The Concord Consortium, 2010, September 23.</a>

AIP
Electrostatics (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

AJP
Electrostatics (The Concord Consortium, Concord, 2010, September 23), WWW Document, (https://concord.org/).

APA
Electrostatics. (2010, September 23). Retrieved 2017, June 29, from The Concord Consortium: https://concord.org/

Disclaimer: The Concord Consortium offers citation styles as a guide only. We cannot offer interpretations about citations as this is an automated procedure.

Requirements

This activity requires the Java Runtime Environment version 5 (sometimes referred to as 1.5) or later with Java Webstart. You can download it at java.com.

On OS X 10.9 or newer, you will need to install a launcher application to run this Java activity. If you have not already installed it, please:

The download for this activity will require 5 MB of disk space.

Can this be used on a

Can this be used on a chromebook?

Unfortunately, no. This is a

Unfortunately, no. This is a Java-based activity and Chromebooks don't support Java.

However, we have a similar, browser-based activity that will work on Chromebooks available here: Electrostatics

This resource is a part of the Concord Consortium's Science of Atoms and Molecules project.

High School, Higher Education
Subject
Physics
Focus Area
Modeling and Simulation
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