What are the differences and similarities between gravitational and electrostatic forces

Asked by harinder | 1st Sep, 2008, 05:25: PM

Expert Answer:

Similarities between electrostatic and gravitational forces:

  1. Both act in a vacuum.
  2. Both are central and conservative.
  3. Both obey an inverse-square law .
  4. Both propagate with finite speed c.


Differences between electrostatic and gravitational forces:

  1. Electrostatic forces are much greater than gravitational forces .
  2. Gravitational forces are always attractive in nature, whereas electrostatic forces may be either attractive or repulsive.
  3. Gravitational forces are independent of the medium whereas electrostatic forces depend on the medium. This is due to the fact that a medium contains charges; the fast motion of these charges, in response to an external electromagnetic field, produces a large secondary electromagnetic field which should be accounted for. While slow motion of ordinary masses in response to changing gravitational field produces extremely weak secondary "gravimagnetic field" which may be neglected in most cases .

Answered by  | 2nd Sep, 2008, 01:29: PM

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