electric charge

(redirected from Electrical charge)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical.

electric charge:

see chargecharge,
property of matter that gives rise to all electrical phenomena (see electricity). The basic unit of charge, usually denoted by e, is that on the proton or the electron; that on the proton is designated as positive (+e
..... Click the link for more information.
.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia™ Copyright © 2013, Columbia University Press. Licensed from Columbia University Press. All rights reserved. www.cc.columbia.edu/cu/cup/

Electric charge

A basic property of elementary particles of matter. One does not define charge but takes it as a basic experimental quantity and defines other quantities in terms of it.

According to modern atomic theory, the nucleus of an atom has a positive charge because of its protons, and in the normal atom there are enough extranuclear electrons to balance the nuclear charge so that the normal atom as a whole is neutral. Generally, when the word charge is used in electricity, it means the unbalanced charge (excess or deficiency of electrons), so that physically there are enough “nonnormal” atoms to account for the positive charge on a “positively charged body” or enough unneutralized electrons to account for the negative charge on a “negatively charged body."

In line with this usage, the total charge q on a body is the total unbalanced charge possessed by the body. For example, if a sphere has a negative charge of 1 × 10-10 coulomb, it has 6.24 × 108 electrons more than are needed to neutralize its atoms. The coulomb is the unit of charge in the meter-kilogram-second (mks) system of units. See Coulomb's law, Electrical units and standards, Electrostatics

McGraw-Hill Concise Encyclopedia of Physics. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Electric Charge

 

the source of an electromagnetic field that is associated with material carriers; an intrinsic characteristic of elementary particles that determines their electromagnetic interactions. Electric charge is one of the basic concepts in the science of electricity. The entirety of electric phenomena is a manifestation of the existence, motion, and interaction of electric charges.

Two distinct kinds of electric charges are differentiated and are conventionally designated as positive and negative; it has been noted that bodies (or particles) with like charges repel one another and those with unlike charges attract one another, a fact first established by C. F. Dufay in 1733–34. The charge of an electrified glass rod was designated positive, and the charge of a resin rod (specifically, an amber rod) was designated negative. In accordance with this assumption, the electric charge of an electron is negative (the Greek word elektron means “amber”).

Electric charges are discrete: there exists a minimal elementary electric charge, of which the charges of all bodies are multiples. The total electric charge of a closed physical system is equal to the algebraic sum of the charges of its constituent elementary particles (for the common macroscopic bodies these particles are protons and electrons). This total charge is rigorously preserved during all interactions and transformations of the particles in the system. The force of interaction between quiescent charged bodies (or particles) obeys Coulomb’s law. The relationship between electric charges and an electromagnetic field is defined by Maxwell’s equations.

In the International System of Units, electric charges are measured in coulombs.

L. I. PONOMAREV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

electric charge

[i¦lek·trik ′chärj]
(electricity)
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Scientific & Technical Terms, 6E, Copyright © 2003 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
References in periodicals archive ?
The study focused on the tiny electrical charges that all cells carry across their limiting (plasma) membrane.
Remember this part first so that the other steps of healing your joints can be added onto these essential basic cartilage building blocks so that the electrical charge can attach sufficiently.
Using an electrical charge facilitates an excellent paint-to-metal bond, and is generally used to help prevent corrosion on all body surfaces.
Police challenged the armed man with a taser gun, which delivers an electrical charge, and the man dropped the knife.
The latter includes changes in the normal ebb and flow of the electrical charge around cell membranes, a phenomenon known as depolarization and repolarization.
Most chemical additives today have some type of electrical charge impact on the wet end, either through their direct charge or by the way they influence other charges.
While Colorado's Naropa University is not on the Circuit, it has just the kind of electrical charge needed (it worked for Allen Ginsberg).
Birkeland developed a cannon that could be fired using an electrical charge, and he experimented with the extraction of saltpeter from the air and with hydroelectricity.
And as a finishing touch she had wired pads fixed to her face which delivered an electrical charge.
The light from your scene actually changes the electrical charge in each silver halide crystal, making an invisible image, or latent image, that is sensitive to film developer (a chemical used to develop film).
An airplane, for instance, could be sprayed with nanoparticles and then given an electrical charge that would change its color.
Madame's hand almost had an electrical charge. We were Joint Chiefs of Staff in the middle of a campaign.