Q:

What happens when you rub an ebonite stick with a wool cloth?

A:

When an ebonite stick is rubbed with a woolen cloth, electrons are transferred from the wool to the stick, giving it a surplus of electrons. Because neutral materials have equal numbers of electrons and protons to balance out their charge, the rubbed stick possesses a net negative static charge.

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Full Answer

The woolen cloth becomes positively charged by the same magnitude that the stick becomes negatively charged to conserve the total charge in both materials. These charges create static on the surfaces of the two materials, so the resulting phenomenon is called static electricity. Electrification by friction is one of three ways that static charge on the surface of a material can be induced.

When a material is connected to a source of positive or negative potential, such as the terminals of the battery, the material gains the same potential as the source. This process is called charging by conduction.

When a charged material is brought close to an isolated neutral material without contact, it causes an opposite charge to form on the neutral material. This is called charging by induction. If the material with the induced charge is grounded, the charge dissipates to the ground either by electrons flowing into the material for a positive charge or electrons flowing into the ground for a negative charge.

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