What are the similarities and dissimilarities between gravitational force and electrostatic force?

Asked by Michelle | 7th Feb, 2012, 10:03: AM

Expert Answer:

Gravitational force is the force generated between two masses, such as the Earth and the Moon, an apple and the Earth, or anything else possessing mass in the universe. As a matter of fact, Mars is exerting a gravitational force on you - it extends forever. The formula for gravitational force is: Fgrav. = (Gm1m2)/(d2) where G is the gravitational constant 6.67 x 10-11 m1 is one mass in kilograms, m2 is the other mass d is the separation distance in meters between the two masses. Electrostatic forces: Electrostatic force exists between two charged objects. Unlike gravitational force, electrostatic force can be either a force of ATTRACTION or one of REPULSION, depending on the nature of the two charges; like charges repel, opposites attract. But this force also extends forever and its formula is surprisingly similar to the gravity formula: Felectrostatic = (Cq1q2)/(d2) where C is Coulomb's constant 8.99 x 10-9 q1 is one charged object in coulombs of charge, q2 is the other. d is the separation distance in meters. But question is , whether the two objects in question will attract or repel. For instance, a proton has a charge of +1.60 x 10-19 C. An electron has a charge of -1.60 x 10-19 C. They are opposite, so they will attract. The electrostatic force per unit Q2 exceeds the gravitational force per unit M2 by a factor of almost 1040.

Answered by  | 7th Feb, 2012, 10:27: AM

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