How do objects become electrically charged?

Answer

Objects become electrically charged by gaining or losing electrons, so that they have unequal numbers of protons and electrons. Gaining excess electrons causes a negative charge, while losing electrons causes a positive charge. A charged object behaves differently than an object with neutral charge, attracting objects with an opposite charge and repelling objects with a similar charge.

There are many processes that cause an object to become electrically charged. Charge occurs in discreet units, with each positive or negative charge being equal to some multiple of the charge of individual protons or electrons. Individual charged particles are known as ions. These occur in table salt, for instance, which is a crystalline lattice of sodium and chloride ions, held together by their opposite charges. Despite being composed of charged particles, salt itself has little charge, since the positive and negative charges in it are nearly equal.

Mechanical processes, such as rubbing a balloon on hair, also cause electrical charges. Different elements have different electron affinities. When a substance with a greater electron affinity rubs against one with a lesser affinity, it steals some of the electrons, causing both to gain a charge.

Excess charge can be dangerous. Lightning, for instance, occurs due to a charge difference between the atmosphere and the ground. This difference in charge builds until it exceeds the electrical resistance of the air, and then a stream of electrons travels between the air and the ground, equalizing the charges.

Q&A Related to "How do objects become electrically charged?"
Electricity is a basic form of energy. It is found throughout the day-to-day world and beyond, into the universe and galaxy. Electricity plays a part in light, heat, technology and
http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4923806_object-become...
By adding or losing eletrons (friction)
http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_does_an_object_becom...
Electric charge is a fundamental conserved property of
http://www.chacha.com/question/what-is-electric-ch...
This paradox should be understood as an exercise in logic, not as t...
http://www.chacha.com/question/how-can-the-immovab...
Explore this Topic
When an object loses electrons the electrical charge will change. The charge will become more positively charged. This is because the protons and electrons no ...
The frictional charging of objects involves a process that results in a transfer of electrons between the two objects that are being rubbed together. The materials ...
An electrically polarized object differs from an electrically charged object because electrically polarized object usually has its charges divided and thus they ...
About -  Privacy -  Careers -  Ask Blog -  Mobile -  Help -  Feedback  -  Sitemap  © 2014 Ask.com