IIT JEE Electrostatics Study Material 

Electrostatics is a vital branch of Physics. It is an interesting branch and questions are often asked from it in the JEE. It is important to have a strong grip on the topics of electrostatics in order to remain competitive in the JEE.

Electrostatics is the branch of Physics which is concerned with the study of those electric charges which are at rest or are stationary. It goes way beyond the study and exploration of the various properties of electricity and its applications. We illustrate this concept with the help of an example. When a rod of plastic is rubbed with fur or a glass rod is rubbed against silk, then it is generally observed that the rods start attracting some pieces of paper and seem to be electrically charged. While the charge on plastic is defined to be negative, that on silk is considered positive. The vast amount of charge in an everyday object is usually hidden, comprising equal amount of two kinds – positive and negative. The imbalance is always small compared to the total amounts of positive charge and negative charge contained in the object. 

Electrostatics involves the building up of charge on the surface of the objects as a result of contact with other surfaces. The charge exchange occurs only when two surfaces come in contact and then finally separate. The effects as a result of this exchange can be noticed only when at least one of the two surfaces who came in contact is highly resistive to the electrical flow. The reason behind this is that these kinds of charges which are transmitted to or from highly resistive surface remain trapped there for a sufficient duration so that their effects can be observed. These charges stay there and ultimately they either ooze out in the form of bleeding to the ground or need to be immediately neutralized by a discharge.

The electromagnetic forces are vital forces which interact with particles in a variety of ways and this includes the minimal reactions of electrostatics.

Types of charges and their nature….   

We have already discussed that there are two types of charges- positive and negative. It is a fundamental fact that while like charges repel, the unlike charges attract each other. This law forms the base of electrostatics. If two unlike charges are brought close to one another, they are pulled towards each other whereas if two like charges are brought close they are pulled away from each other.
The behavior of like and unlike charges
Electric charge 

 We discuss some of the characteristic features of an electrically charged object:

Firstly, the law which has already been discussed applies i.e. like charges repel and unlike charges attract. Main point to be note here is that the charge is conserved. As discussed in the earlier example of rod and fur, the net negative charge on the rod is same as the net positive charge on the fur. 

View this video for more on electrostatics

Concepts of conductor and insulator...

As the name suggests, a conductor is the material which conducts electric charges or through which the charges can easily pass. Contrary to this is the concept of insulators. Insulators do not allow electric charges to pass through them easily. The charges on a conductor always assemble at the sharp points as a result of properties of electric fields. Let us consider the example of a metal cone. Obviously, due to the result explained just now, the charged cone will have maximum charge on its sharp edge and less charge elsewhere.


1. Human body acts like a conductor and lets current to easily flow through it. It is for this reason that one should be careful with the useful of electrical appliances.

2. Each type of material has a different arrangement of atoms, electrons and protons. This arrangement makes it a conductor or an insulator.

3. Metals are considered to be very good conductors while rubber is an insulator as it does not allow electric current to pass through it easily.

4. We list some of the items which are considered to be positively charged:

·    Human hair
·    Wool
·    Silk
·    Nylon
·    Cotton
·    Teflon
·    Wood 

Applications of Electrostatics

Electrostatics deals with electromagnets and is used in numerous fields. Its major application is in paint spraying. Other uses include:

  • Smokestacks

  • Air fresheners

  • Xerography

  • Painting cars

  • Insecticide spraying

  • Inkjet printers

  • Photocopiers

askIITians provides IIT JEE electrostatics study material. The comprehensive material covers various physics questions of IIT level. All the vital areas like the gauss law of electrostatics have also been touched along with some best problem for JEE on electrostatics.  

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