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The Enormously Strong Electric Force

May 30th Fact-of-the-Day

Electrical forces within atoms are enormously strong compared to gravitational forces, but are normally almost non-existent at a distance, because equal positive and negative charges almost perfectly balance where distance differences are extremely small. That normal balance can be altered slightly by rubbing-off a small amount of negative or positive (usually negative) charge from matter. However, the force of the electric charge that results is trivial compared to the electrical forces within the atoms, because atomic electrical charges still nearly balance. To understand how strong atomic electrical forces are, consider that if like forces attracted, rather than repelled, so opposite charges didn't balance, there would be 3,000,000 U.S. tons of electric attraction force between two grains of sand at a distance of 30 meters! ©2005 Martek International All rights reserved.


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