electric charge of a body is quantised

Asked by garimasingh | 30th Apr, 2010, 10:17: AM

Expert Answer:

Dear student,

Charge quantization is the statement that every stable and independent object (meaning an object that can exist independently for a prolonged period of time) has a charge which is an integer  multiple of the elementary charge e: A charge can be exactly 0, or exactly e, –e, 2e, etc., but not, say, 12e, or –3.8e, etc.

This is the reason for the terminology "elementary charge": it is meant to imply that it is an indivisible unit of charge.

At the macroscopic level, one deals with charges that are enormous compared to the magnitude of charge e. Since e = 1.6 × 10–19 C, a charge of magnitude, say 1 μC, contains something like 1013 times the electronic
charge. At this scale, the fact that charge can increase or decrease only in units of e is not very different from saying that charge can take continuous values. Thus, at the macroscopic level, the quantisation of charge has no
practical consequence and can be ignored. At the microscopic level, where the charges involved are of the order of a few tens or hundreds of e.

Hope this helps.



Answered by  | 30th Apr, 2010, 02:08: PM

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