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7 Electrostatic Force Examples In Everyday Life | Physics

Electrostatic Force examples in physics and daily life featured

Top 7 Electrostatic Force Examples In Physics & Daily Life

Here are the top 7 Electrostatic Force examples In Physics and real Life.

  1. Van de Graaff Generator

  2. Charge Comb touched with Paper Pieces

  3. Photocopiers

  4. Static Shock

  5. Electrostatic Painting

  6. Television Screen

  7. Lightening

The electrostatic force is also known as Coulomb’s Law. It is the attraction or repulsion between electrically charged objects due to their charge difference.  In this article, we will explore 7 examples of electrostatic forces in our daily lives.

But before you read any further, it might be a good idea to briefly understand What are electrostatic Forces. We will cover them very briefly. So it is recommended to read it, as it will help you to understand the examples better. If you are already familiar with the concept, you can skip it by clicking on the link below.

Skip to examples:

What is an electrostatic force in physics?

The electrostatic force, also known as Coulomb’s law, is a fundamental force in physics that describes the interaction between electrically charged objects. It is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, along with gravity, the weak nuclear force, and the strong nuclear force.


The electrostatic force arises when two objects with electric charges exert a force on each other. The strength of this force depends on two main factors:

  1. Magnitude of the charges: The force is directly proportional to the product of the magnitudes of the charges on the two objects. Mathematically, if you have two point charges, q1 and q2, separated by a distance r, the electrostatic force (F) between them is given by Coulomb’s law:

    F = (k * |q1 * q2|) / r2

  • F is the electrostatic force between the charges.
  • k is the Coulomb’s constant, approximately equal to 8.988 × 109 N m2/C2.
  • |q1| and |q2| are the magnitudes of the charges.
  • r is the distance between the charges.
  1. Distance between the charges: The electrostatic force between two electrically charged objects is inversely proportional to the square of the distance between them, as described by Coulomb’s law. This means that as you increase the distance between the charges, the force diminishes rapidly.

    For instance, if you double the distance, the force becomes one-fourth of its original strength. This property makes charged objects interact more strongly when close and progressively weaker as they move apart, analogous to how gravity works.

Now let’s dive into our top 7 electrostatic force examples in physics & daily life.

7 Electrostatic Force examples in physics & daily life Explained

I am certain that the concept of electrostatic is clear to you now. If not, you can comment below. Let us now move on to our top 7 examples of the electrostatic force in physics & in real life.

  1. Van de Graaff Generator:

    Van de Graaff Generator. Electrostatic force examples in daily life

    A Van de Graaff generator demonstrates the power of electrostatic charge. It consists of a metal sphere mounted on a stand with a continuously moving rubber belt inside.

    As the belt moves, it rubs against rollers, generating a negative charge on the belt due to friction. This negative charge is transferred to the metal sphere, creating a strong electrostatic field around it.

    When a person touches the sphere, they acquire a positive charge due to electrostatic induction, causing their hair to stand on end as like charges repel each other. This striking demonstration illustrates how electrostatic forces can generate powerful effects.
How Van De Graaff Generators WorkHow Van De Graaff Generators Work
Interesting Short Video Illustrating How Van De Graaff Generator Works
  1. Charge Comb Touched with Paper Pieces:

    Charged Comb touched with paper pieces. Electrostatic force examples in real life

    When you rub a comb through your hair and then use it to attract small pieces of paper, you’re observing the principles of static electricity at work. This phenomenon occurs due to the triboelectric effect, which is the transfer of electric charge between materials when they come into contact and then separate.

    In this case, as the comb moves through your hair, it picks up electrons from your hair, becoming negatively charged. When you bring the charged comb close to small pieces of paper, the negatively charged comb repels the electrons in the paper, leaving it with a net positive charge.

    Opposite charges attract, so the positively charged paper pieces are attracted to the negatively charged comb, causing them to cling to it. This simple yet fascinating demonstration illustrates the fundamental principles of electrostatic force.

  2. Photocopiers:


    Photocopiers rely on the principles of electrostatics to create copies. In this process, a photosensitive drum is charged with a negative electrostatic charge.

    A document is then exposed to light, creating an electrostatic image on the drum. The toner, which is positively charged, adheres to the negatively charged areas on the drum.

    The toner is then transferred to paper, and heat is applied to fuse the toner, producing a copy. This technology demonstrates how electrostatic forces can be harnessed for practical purposes in everyday office equipment.

  3. Static Shock:

    Static Shock

    Static shocks occur when there is an excess of electrostatic charge on an object or person, which then discharges suddenly upon contact with another object or person.

    It happens frequently in dry conditions when friction between two surfaces generates charge separation.

    For instance, walking on a carpet can charge your body, and when you touch a metal object, the excess charge discharges as a small electric shock. This experience serves as a reminder of the presence and effects of electrostatic forces in our daily lives.

  4. Electrostatic Painting:

    Electrostatic painting is a technique used in industries like automotive manufacturing and metal coating. It involves charging paint particles positively and the object to be painted negatively or grounding it.

    This electrostatic attraction ensures that the paint adheres uniformly to the object’s surface, reducing waste and producing high-quality finishes. Electrostatic painting showcases how electrostatic forces are employed in industrial processes to achieve efficient and even coatings.

    Reference: How Electrostatic Painting Works?

  5. Television Screen:

    Television screen. examples of Electrostatic force in daily life

    Television screens, particularly CRT (cathode-ray tube) TVs, emit electromagnetic radiation and generate electrostatic fields while in operation.

    These fields can interact with the charged particles in the air, including any static electricity that may have built up on nearby objects, such as your hair.

    When the charged particles in your hair feel the influence of the electrostatic field from the TV screen, they can be attracted or repelled, causing your hair to stand on end due to electrostatic forces. This effect is similar to what happens when you rub a balloon against your hair and it sticks to the balloon due to static electricity.

  6. Lightning:

    Lightning Electrostatic force examples in everyday life

    Lightning is a dramatic natural phenomenon driven by electrostatic forces. It occurs during thunderstorms when charge separation in clouds results in a buildup of electrical potential.

    When the electric field becomes strong enough, it can create a discharge, forming a lightning bolt. Lightning is a manifestation of the immense electrostatic forces generated in the atmosphere, showcasing the power of charged particles.

References – Electrostatic Force examples

  • Khan Academy: Electrostatic Force

    If you are interested in learning about Electrostatic forces, this Khan Academy article could be a valuable educational resource to explore.


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