Conservation of Charge

A charge is the property associated with matter due to which it produces and experiences electrical and magnetic effects. The basic idea behind conservation of charge is that the total charge of the system is conserved, As we know, the system is the group of objects and its interaction with charges is similar to conservation of energy and momentum, But this conservation law is more intuitive because the net charge of an object depends on the number of electrons and protons. The protons and electron cannot just appear or disappear out of nowhere, the total charge has to be the same. That’s the reason there is always the same number of electrons and protons in a body.

It is known that every atom is electrically neutral, containing as many electrons as the number of protons in the nucleus. Bodies can also have any whole multiples of the elementary charge: Electrical charge resides in electrons and protons, the smallest charge that a body can have is the charge of one electron or proton.

ie. –  1.6 x 10-19 C  or + 1.6 x 10-19 C

Let’s try to understand it in more depth. There is a list of basically two ideal states for a system for multiple object, the first one is that all the object has a net neutral charge. So in the whole system there is the same number of protons and electrons, for each proton there is an electron to balance it. Another ideal state would be the net charge of the system being distributed uniformly in the objects. So rather than concentrating negative charge in a few bodies, the charge on the body is evenly distributed throughout by the transfer of the electron, and this can be achieved by the transfer of electrons from higher to lower polarity. Only electrons can be involved in the transfer charges, not proton.

Let’s take an example

Charge Transfer

From the example above we can say that if our system is not in the influence of any other charges, the net internal distribution among charge will go on in such a way that the entire net charge of the system will remain same.

In other words, we can say that Charge can neither be created nor be destroyed and there is a total conservation of charge.

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Practise This Question

The minimum charge on an object is