Processing, please wait...
It was processed successfully!
It was processed successfully!
Login Create Free Account
Create Free Account

Electric Charge Definition

Electric charge is the imbalance of positive and negative particles in an object. For example, electrons transfer between objects, altering charge.

View Lesson on Electric & Magnetic Fields
Grades 6-8 VideoElectric & Magnetic Fields player orange
Preview Only
Oops! It looks like your security settings are blocking this video 🙁

If you are on a school computer or network, ask your tech person to whitelist these URLs:
*.wistia.com, fast.wistia.com, fast.wistia.net, embedwistia-a.akamaihd.net

Sometimes a simple refresh solves this issue. If you need further help, contact us.


Electric & Magnetic Fields

Fun Facts

  • Clothes stick together due to transferred electrons creating opposite electric charges.
  • Toner in laser printers sticks to paper due to opposite electric charges.
  • Objects usually become electrically charged by rubbing against each other and transferring electrons from one area to another.

Why Do We Need To Know About Electric Charge

Studying electric charge helps us understand why devices we use every day work and why jobs in engineering and electronics matter. For example, our phone speakers make sound because of magnetic fields from electric charges, showing us how key electromagnetism is in tech.

Laser printers work by using electric fields. A drum with an electric charge pulls negatively charged toner onto paper. This use of electric charge is what allows us to print like we do today and creates jobs in making and bettering electronic gadgets.

Frequently Asked Questions

How can you increase the strength of the magnetic force on an object like a paper clip?
Magnetic forces get stronger as the magnet moves closer to the object it is attracting or repelling. If two magnets are made of the same material, then the larger magnet will have a stronger magnetic field. The strength of a magnet also depends on the material from which it is made. For example, neodymium magnets will have a stronger magnetic field than magnets made from Alnico (an alloy of aluminum, nickel, and cobalt).
Why can iron filings be used to visualize a magnetic field?
Each tiny piece of iron becomes magnetized, and its poles align with the lines of the magnetic field. Therefore, the iron filings will line up to show the field lines and can be used to determine the relative strength of the field. Closely packed lines indicate a stronger field; widely spaced lines indicate a weaker field.
How can two balloons repel each other without touching?
Balloons that have been rubbed with the same material will take on the same charge. Charged objects are surrounded by electric fields that can exert a force on other charged objects. Two balloons with the same charge will repel each other.
Explore More Science Topics
We’ve sent you an email with instructions how to reset your password.
Choose Your Free Trial Period
3 Days

3 days to access to all of our teaching resources for free.

Continue to Lessons
30 Days

Get 30 days free by inviting other teachers to try it too.

Share with Teachers
Get 30 Days Free
By inviting 4 other teachers to try it too.
4 required

*only school emails accepted.

Skip, I will use a 3 day free trial

Thank You!

Enjoy your free 30 days trial