# Thread: What exactly IS charge?

1. Positive and negative is it just direction of current flow because thats what
I've been hearing. How can the motion of an electron determine its charge and likewise with a quark in a proton and neutron determine the charge?

2.

3. When i consider charge I look at it as how much a particle will interact with the fundamental force applied to it.

From a chemical view
Na+ has a charge of +1
Mg2+ has a charge of +2

This means when negative ions such as Cl- with a charge of -1 come along.

MgCL2 has a higher melting point than NaCl because the charge on the magnesium is greater so it "interacts" more with the negative Cl. giving it higher melting points as there is more electrostatic attraction.

4. Charge is understood through its interactions. Go any further and no-one has the answer. You will only find speculation. It is a fundamental property.

Charge is independent of motion though...that is, an electrons motion does not dictate its charge...though its charge will often dictate its motion, through interaction with other charge/electric fields.

5. bit4bit's explanation is the best one you will find no matter where else you look.

A charge shows how much the charged particle will interact with the respective fundamental force.

6. Originally Posted by jacketate
bit4bit's explanation is the best one you will find no matter where else you look.

A charge shows how much the charged particle will interact with the respective fundamental force.
So the actual charge of something is only detectable by its interation with other objects? OK.

7. yeh i think thats right. like most of the fundamental forces. If you look at gravity. Its very hard to actually say what it is but you can see how it interacts with other objects

8. Originally Posted by svwillmer
Positive and negative is it just direction of current flow because thats what
I've been hearing. How can the motion of an electron determine its charge and likewise with a quark in a proton and neutron determine the charge?
Actually, when it comes to charge, electrons are always negative, protons are always positive, neutrons are always relatively neutral.

To generate power, all you need to do is create an excess of electrons by using chemical reactions (as in chemical batteries) to cause one metal to steal electrons from the other, or, use magnetic fields (like an alternator in a car) to excite the electrons in a coil of (usually copper) wire. The excess negatively charged electrons are attracted to positively charged atoms that are missing some electrons. This attraction is what causes the electrons to flow through the wires and generate the energy needed to power electronic devices.

Much confusion of how this works stems from when electricity was first being discovered. People thought that the positive end was sending the current and that the 'negative' end was receiving it. After the discovery of electrons we now know that the opposite is true.

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