electric charge

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Financial, Wikipedia.
Related to electric charge: electric potential, Electric charge density

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.

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

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.


electric charge

[i¦lek·trik ′chärj]
References in periodicals archive ?
A partial stratification can be noticed, in the case of the tests where powders cladded with electric charges were used in the metallization process, and a total stratification of the deposit layer in the case of classic test.
Independent measurements of electric charge during the injection moulding of polypropylene [15], and during the capillary extrusion of LLDPE [16], have been recently reported.
Electric charge is another fundamental property of matter, which directly determines the electromagnetic interaction via Coulomb's law of electric force [8], which is generalized to the Lorentz force expression for moving charged particles.
In a more recent study, scientists showed how the temperature at which water freezes can be changed using electric charges.
The result was a contorted sandwich that could hold as much as 10 times the electric charge of conventional metal-insulator-metal capacitors.
Since it lacked both mass and electric charge, the neutrino was sure to be very difficult to detect, assuming it existed at all, and for a quarter of a century it remained a kind of "ghost particle," with theoretical reasons for existing but backed by no observational evidence.
Nanotubes feature excellent electrical conductivity and transport the electric charge at the lowest possible levels of current consumption.
It works by applying an electric charge to a metal - say a gun or bullet - which has been coated in a fine conducting powder, similar to that used in photocopiers.
Electric charge is considered as a form of imaginary energy.
By irradiating the carbon particles with ultraviolet light, the device imparts a positive electric charge to them.
The production gets an electric charge as the three Cobbs - with bats in sync - recount a typical Ty Cobb trip around the bases.