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# What causes electric fields?

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Electrical fields are caused by the attraction and repulsion of electrical charges. Electrical fields are measured using volts per meter and are central to the functioning of electrically-powered devices, such as televisions, light bulbs and computers.

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The electrical field is always directed away from positive source charges and towards negative source charges. The attraction-repulsion quality of electrical fields takes place when a balloon generates static electricity after being rubbed against hair or fur. In this instance, a charged balloon attracts an oppositely charged balloon even when they are not in contact. The unit of static electricity was created to describe the non-contact force observed on objects with static charges and was central in defining the concept of electric fields, according to The Physics Classroom.

The intensity of an electric field in an electronic appliance, such as a lamp, is affected by the power supply of the appliance -- the higher the power supply, the greater the intensity of the electrical field. A common power supply is an AC power plug and socket, although batteries are also used to generate electrical fields within electronic devices. An electrical field is also similar to the gravitational field because both are forces that act over a distance separating two objects, or action-at-a-distance forces.

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## Related Questions

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Static electricity is caused when objects or particles make contact and either gain or lose electrons due to friction, and the charged object discharges into a nearby object. Rubbing objects together increases the contact area. Examples of static electricity include touching a doorknob in cold weather and receiving a shock.

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Fluctuation in line voltage can be caused by loose or corroded lines in either the house or the power lines, according to Northpower. It is also caused by insufficient wiring installation and even lightning strikes on or in the vicinity of power lines.

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A short circuit is caused when two or more uninsulated wires come into contact with each other, which interferes with the electrical path of a circuit. The interference destabilizes normal functioning of electricity flow. The resistance generates a lot of heat in the wires and can lead to a fire.