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Science Form 3

Unit 7

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Electrostatics is the study of static electrical
Electrical charges are produced in material
through friction.

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Example of phenomena happens as a
result of electrical charges
When a plastic pen is rubbed with some wool, the pen will
attract dust and small pieces of paper.

When you clean a mirror or glass window with a dry cloth

on a hot, dry day, dust and fine threads will stick to the
mirror or glass.

When you comb your hair with a plastic comb, the plastic
comb may pull against your hair.

When you remove your nylon or terylene shirt on a dry

day, you will hear a crackling sound.

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Types of electrical charges and their properties

All substances are made up of atoms.

An atom contains
a. protons that are positively charged
b. neutrons that are neutral
(do not have charges)
c. electrons that are negatively
charged and orbit around
the nucleus of an atom.

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Types of electrical charges and their properties

There are two types of electrical charges

a. positive charges and
b. negative charges
A neutral material has the same number of
protons and electrons.

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Types of electrical charges and their properties

When two different materials are rubbed together, electrons

will be transferred from one material to another.
a. The material that loses electrons will
become positively charged.
b. The material that receives electrons will
become negatively charged.

Rub the plastic rod with fur to negatively

charge the rod.

Rub the glass rod with silk to positively charge

the rod.
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Electrostatic Force
The effects of electrostatic force:
a. Object with same type of charges repel (push part) each
b. Object with different type of charges attract each other
The strength of the electrostatic force depends on the
quantity of charges that are present in the object.

Objects will Objects will attract

repel each other each other if they
if they have the have different
same charge charges

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Producing and detecting electrical charges

Table below shows the type of electrical

charges that produced when two different
materials are rubbed against each other.
Negatively charged Positively charged
Polythene Wool
Wool Cellulose acetate
Ebonite Animal fur
Silk Glass
Amber Animal fur
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An electroscope is a device that
is used to detect the electrical
An electroscope consists of a
metal cap and a gold leaf.
The gold leaf is attached to the
end of the metal rod.
When a charged substance is
brought close to the metal cap,
the gold leaf repels from the
metal plate.
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Study electrostatic ~
Van de Graaff generator
The Van de Graaff
generator is a highly
efficient electrostatic

It produces electrical
charges which are stored
on the metal dome.

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Natural phenomena related to electrostatic

a. Lightning is an electric
b. During a thunderstorm,
electrical charges are
produced when air that
flows quickly rubs against
the rain clouds.
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c. Negative charges build up at the bottom of the
d. The top of the cloud becomes positively charged.
e. The Earth's surface and the buildings underneath
the clouds are positively charged.
f. Lightning occurs
i. when the electrons that collect at
the bottom of the cloud move to the
positively charged areas of the cloud.
ii. when sparks jump between clouds
and the surface of the Earth.

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Phenomena related to electrostatic
I. Petroleum tankers
Petroleum tankers may become charged as a result of
i. between the tankers and the surrounding air on a dry day.
ii. between the exhaust gases and the exhaust pipe.
These charges can heat up the tanker and result in an
An iron chain is usually hung from the tanker to enable the
electrical charges to flow to the ground.

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Phenomena related to electrostatic
II. Aeroplanes
Aeroplanes become charged as they fly in the air. The body of
the aeroplane comes in contact with the hot, dry air.
The tyres of aeroplanes are made of carbon and this enables
the charges to flow to the ground during landing.
Aeroplanes are also fitted with strips of metal conductor to
enable charges to flow to the ground during landing

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Static Discharge Reels


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Source of electrical energy
 Electrical is generated from two main source:
a. electric cells,
b. generators.

 An electric generator converts kinetic energy and potential

energy into electrical energy.

 Electric cells convert chemical energy into electrical energy.

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Examples of electric cells
1. dry cells,
2. mercury cells,
3. lithium cells,
4. nickel- cadmium cells,
5. lead acid accumulator.

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Electric Current, Voltage and

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There are two forms of electricity
i. electrical charges (electrostatic)
ii. electric current.
Electrostatic charges are stationary and have
limited use.
Electric current is the flow of electrons through a
circuit and it can defined as the rate of flow of

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Measuring electric current
The quantity of electric current is measured
using an ammeter.
An ammeter has to be connected in
series in an electric circuit.
The S.I. unit for electric current is amperes (A),
While measuring electric current,
a. the positive terminal of the ammeter must be connected to
the positive terminal of the electrical supply.
b. the negative terminal of the ammeter must be connected

to the negative terminal of the electrical supply.

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The voltage ( potential difference ) between
two points is the energy needed for the
electrical charges to flow between the two

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Measuring voltage
The potential difference (voltage) is measured with a
The S.I. unit for voltage is volts (V).
A voltmeter is always connected in parallel across the
electrical components in a circuit.
The positive and negative terminals of the voltmeter are
connected to the positive and negative terminals of the
electrical component respectively.

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Resistance is the property of a substance that

opposes the flow of electric current through
Resistance influences the size of the electric
current that flows in a circuit.
The S.I. unit for resistance is ohms (Ω),
named after Georg Simon Ohm (1787- 1854),
a German physicist.

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The Relationship between

Current, Voltage and Resistance
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Ohm’s Law
 Ohm's law states that the current ( I ) that
flows through a metal conductor is directly
proportional to the potential difference or
voltage (V) across it, if the temperature
remains constant.
Ohm's law is expressed in the following

V is the voltage in volt, V.

I is the current in ampere, A.
R is the resistance in ohm, Ω.

Electric Circuits

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Electrical circuits and components
• The symbols of electrical component make it
easier for us to draw electric .
• An electric circuit is a complete pathway formed from
connecting wires and other electrical components that allow
the flow of electric current.
• A complete electric circuit consists of :
a. an electrical source such as dry cells,
b. connecting wires such as copper wires,
c. a switch that controls
current flow,
d. other electrical
components such as
ammeters, voltmeters,
resistors or bulb
Series circuits and parallel circuits
• Electrical components in a circuit can be connected in
series or parallel.

Electrical components Electrical components

in a series circuit are in a parallel circuit are
connected one after connected in several
another in one path path.

Series circuits

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The advantages of a series circuit
 One switch can control all the electrical appliances,
such as fans and lights, in the circuit.

 A battery that supplies more power can be built

from cells connected in series. Example, car battery.

When more cells are connected in series, the voltage

across the circuit and the current increases.
The disadvantages of a series circuit
If one of the bulbs fuses or burns out, the other
bulbs will not light up because the current flows
along one path only.

 Each bulb in a circuit does not receive the full

voltage from the electrical source. If more bulb are
added, the bulbs will become dimmer.

 The current that flows in a circuit decreases if more

electrical devices are connected in series.

Parallel circuits

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The advantages of a parallel circuit
o If one bulb fuses, the other bulbs in the parallel circuit can still
light up because current can flow through the other complete

o Each bulb receives the full voltage from the electrical source
and has the same brightness.

o If more bulbs are added in parallel, the brightness of the bulbs

will remain the same.

o Electrical appliances are controlled individually through their

own switches.

o Cells connected in parallel supply energy for a longer time

compared to one cell of the same voltage.
The disadvantages of parallel circuits
o Each electrical appliance is controlled by its
own switch.
It is not suitable for use in places, like a large
hall, that have many lights and fans.
o If too many resistors are connected in parallel,
a high current flows through the main circuit.
This is dangerous as it may cause fires.
Similarities of series circuit and parallel
Differences of series circuit and parallel circuit
Differences of series circuit and parallel circuit


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Magnetic Fields
The area surrounding a magnet where
magnetic forces act is known as a magnetic
The pattern of a magnetic field consists of
curved lines of forces called magnetic field
Characteristics of the magnetic field lines

1. begin from the north pole and end at the

south pole.
2. do not cut across each other.
3. from the same pole repel each other.
4. are strongest at the
poles of a magnet.
5. is closer if the magnetic
field is stronger.
The compass
The compass is useful:
a. in finding directions as it always points
towards the magnetic north pole ,
b. for navigation by sailors and pilots,
c. In finding and mapping magnetic fields.
d. To detect metal pipes hidden underground.

The compass has a magnetised needle that

fixed at its centre of gravity


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Electromagnetism is the combination of an electric field
and a magnetic field and their interaction to produce a

The magnet produced when current flows through a

conductor is known as an electromagnet.

An electromagnet is a temporary magnet.


The direction of the magnetic field is determined by the

direction of the flow of the current.
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The magnetic field of a straight wire
carrying electric current
The direction of the magnetic field through a
straight wire is determined by :

a. Maxwell's corkscrew rule

b. The right- hand grip rule.

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Maxwell's corkscrew rule

If a cockscrew is turned
clockwise, the direction
of the screw represents
the direction of the
magnetic field.

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Right-hand grip rule
• When a straight wire is
gripped with the right
hand, the thumb points
in the same way as the
• Your curved fingers
show the direction of
the magnetic field

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