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Chapter summary

  • There are two kinds of charge: positive and negative.

  • Positive charge is carried by protons in the nucleus.

  • Negative charge is carried by electrons.

  • Objects can be positively charged, negatively charged or neutral.

  • Objects that are neutral have equal numbers of positive and negative charge.

  • Unlike charges are attracted to each other and like charges are repelled from each other.

  • Charge is neither created nor destroyed, it can only be transferred.

  • Charge is measured in coulombs (C).

  • Charge is quantised in units of the charge of an electron 1.6×10 -19 C, Q=nq e .

  • Conductors allow charge to move through them easily.

  • Insulators do not allow charge to move through them easily.

  • Identical, conducting spheres in contact share their charge according to:

    Q=Q 1 +Q 2 2(1)
Table 1: Units used in electrostatics

Physical Quantities


Unit name

Unit symbol

Charge (Q)



Charge on the electron (q e )