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Good 'conductors', such as metals, allow an electric charge to pass through them, but insulators, such
as plastic, do not. A substance that gains electrons becomes negatively charged, while a substance
that loses electrons becomes positively charged.
Metals are good conductors, which mean that electric charges move easily through them. Materials
such as plastic, wood, glass and polythene are insulators. This means they do not allow electric
charges to move through them. Some insulators can become electrically charged when they're
How can you tell if an insulator is charged?
If a plastic rod is rubbed with a duster it attracts small pieces of paper.
When a balloon is rubbed on a jumper it can stick to a wall.
Some dusters are designed to become charged so that they attract dust.
Positive and negative charges
Objects can be positively charged, negatively charged or neutral (no charge). A substance that gains
electrons becomes negatively charged, while a substance that loses electrons becomes positively
When a charged object comes near to another object they will either attract or repel each other.
If the charges are the same - they repel
If the charges are opposite - they attract
If one is charged and the other is not - they attract
An atom is made up of two parts - a positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged
electrons. In an uncharged (neutral) atom there are the same numbers of positive and negative
When an acetate rod is rubbed with a duster,
electrons are transferred from the
rod onto the duster, making the rod positively charged.
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You can get an electrostatic shock if you're charged and you touch something that is earthed or if
you're earthed and you touch something that is charged. For example:
When you walk on a vinyl floor or one covered with a nylon carpet you charge up because of friction.
You can earth yourself, and so get an electrostatic shock by touching a metal door handle, water pipe
or even another person.…read more