Positive and negative charges

1. To understand the concept of electric charge and electrostatics
2. To observe electrostatics
3. To deduce how electrostatics is used in technology.
Basic Principles
Electricity starts at the very level of the atom and its constituents. An atom is a group of
smaller particles (protons and neutrons) held tightly together, surrounded by even tinier
particles called electrons. Protons and electrons have charge, but these charges are opposite in
nature, where protons have a positive charge and electrons have a negative charge. Neutrons
have no charge and are neutral (hence their name). When an atom has an equal number of
protons to electrons, the positive and negative charges balance, and the atom is said to have
no charge, and is considered to be electrically neutral. However, atoms can easily lose or gain
outer electrons. An unbalanced number of protons and electrons for an atom will mean the
atom has a charge. When an atom has lost at least one electron, the atom is said to be
positively charged, since there is more protons than there are electrons (and therefore creates
a total net charge that is positive). An atom can also gain extra electrons, and if this happens,
the atoms is said to be negatively charged (giving a total net charge that is negative).

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