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How does an electroscope work to detect static electricity?

Updated: 9/15/2023

Wiki User

13y ago

Electroscopes detect electric charge by the motion of a test object due to the Coulomb electrostatic force. The electric potential or voltage of an object equals its charge divided by its capacitance, so electroscopes can be regarded as crude voltmeters. The accumulation of enough charge to detect with an electroscope requires hundreds or thousands of volts, so electroscopes are only used with high voltage sources such as static electricity and electrostatic machines.

Wiki User

13y ago

Wiki User

10y ago

When the probe of the electroscope is brought near a charge, free charges in the electroscope rod are either attracted to or repelled from the probe. This leaves a net charge at the other end of the rod (since the electroscope as a whole is electrically neutral). Since the other end of the rod is charged, its parts repel each other (since like charges repel). Thus, the gold-leaf indicators spread apart.

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Q: How does an electroscope work to detect static electricity?
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