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# Chapter 17: Electric Fields

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Credit: Andrew Gatt
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewinraleigh/346102140/

When two objects are electrically charged, they exert a force on each other. If the objects have like charges, they repel and if they have different charges, they attract. The child above has become negatively charged by sliding down the slide. Since each of his individual strands of hair is negatively charged, they repel each other. The force of the attraction or repulsion can be calculated by Coulomb's Law. On some occasions, however, it is difficult to identify and/or quantify one of the charges involved in the attraction or repulsion. To work with such a situation, physicists consider what they call an electric field. These fields exist in the area around charged particles and exert forces on all charges within the field. By using the field for calculations, we need not know anything about the charge itself.

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1. [1]^ Credit: Andrew Gatt; Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/andrewinraleigh/346102140/; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Oct 11, 2013