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Definition

charge quantity

Charge quantity is an expression of the extent to which an object is electrically charged. It is also an expression of the relative number of charge carriers in a given region or volume.

The force with which two electrically charged bodies attract or repel depends on the product of the charge quantities in both objects, and also on the distance between the charge centers of the objects. If the polarities are the same, the force is repulsive; if the polarities are opposite, the force is attractive. For any two charged bodies, the force decreases in proportion to the square of the distance between their charge centers, assuming the charges on the objects do not change.

The most common unit of charge quantity is the coulomb (symbolized C). This is the charge unit in the International System of Units ( SI ) and represents approximately 6.24 x 10 18 unit electric charges. The statcoulomb (statC) is the cgs (centimeter/gram/second) unit of charge quantity, and represents approximately 2.082 x 10 9 unit electric charges. A unit electric charge is the charge quantity contained in a single electron or proton . By convention, electrons are assigned negative charge, and protons are assigned positive charge.

The tables below facilitate conversion among coulombs, statcoulombs, and unit electric charges.

Unit (and symbol) To convert to coulombs,
multiply by:
Conversely, multiply by:
statcoulomb (statC) 3.3356 x 10 -10 2.9980 x 10 9
unit charge 1.60 x 10 -19 6.24 x 10 18


Unit (and symbol) To convert to statcoulombs,
multiply by:
Conversely, multiply by:
coulomb (C) 2.9980 x 10 9 3.3356 x 10 -10
unit charge 4.803 x 10 -10 2.082 x 10 9

Also see coulomb , statcoulomb , small-unit metric system , and International System of Units ( SI ).

This was last updated in September 2005

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