In the last installment of science Friday we questioned how all issue is made of much more than 99% empty space. We finished the blog write-up by posing this question: If all issue is made up of mainly of north space, why can not my hand pass v the weld I simply made?

Every time i think about this topic, i think that the opened to the Cohen brothers movie, The guys Who rigid at Goats. If you haven’t seen the movie, here is the opening scene:

As funny together it is to clock a grown guy run complete speed right into a wall and end up on his backside, this clip does illustrate a great scientific concept. If that wall surface is mostly empty space, why can not he run v it? Why does it feeling solid? Why walk it leaving him through a wicked headache, a black eye, and no dignity?

The price is the electrostatic force.

You are watching: Electrostatic forces hold which of the following together

The electrostatic pressure holds electrons and protons together in atoms and allows the atom of different facets to bond together to type new substances. It is also responsible for the solidity of heavy objects. The electrostatic force is synthetic up in the legislation of charges: opposite dues attract and also like charges repel, just like the opposite end of a magnet.

Here’s just how it works:

The inconceivably tiny atoms that combine to make every one of the living and also non-living things roughly us are made the the same three particles: protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons have actually a confident charge and also electrons have a negative charge. Neutrons, as their name suggests, have actually no charge. The protons and neutrons room tightly packed in a main nucleus. Electrons, which are nearly 2,000 times smaller than protons and neutrons, are discovered whizzing around outside the cell nucleus in regions that scientists speak to shells or orbitals. If the nucleus to be the size of a golf round then the nearest electron would be around a mile away. The space in between is mostly empty space!

The negatively charged electrons are held in orbit approximately the nucleus due to the fact that they room attracted to the positively fee protons. Electrons play an electrical balancing act; do the efforts to obtain as close together they have the right to to the cell nucleus while maintaining as much away indigenous each other as possible. The liked-charged proton in the nucleus nothing repel every other because protons themselves are made of also smaller particles dubbed quarks. These quarks create a strong nuclear pressure that holds the nucleus together.

The actions of magnets gives us a sense of the attractive and repulsive electrostatic pressures at play inside atoms. If you host the north pole of one magnet close to the southern pole of one more magnet, an invisible but very real magnetic pressure will pull every of them together. If you upper and lower reversal the magnet about and shot to push the southern poles of every magnet together, the very same magnetic pressure will cause them to repel each other. Unlike poles attract and also like poles loss the method that opposite charges attract and also like charges repel.

This is a fun small experiment, but what does it have to do v walking v a wall? after all, how plenty of of us wouldn’t love to be able to walk through any wall surface or door? Well, atoms might be make of mainly empty space, however their external edges—the part of the atom that you come in call with once you touch a wall, a door, or any other heavy object—is a collection of electrons. That course, people are also made that atoms, so as soon as the man in the movie tries come run through the wall, the electrons on the external edges of his atoms space repelled by the electron on the outside edges the the atoms that make up the wall. It doesn’t really matter that atom are largely empty room between the nucleus and the electrons because when it concerns everyday objects we’re really only taking care of electrons!

If girlfriend head has not exploded yet, that will…

This is why you never really touch anything. Take 2 fingers and push lock together. That feels as though they room touching, right? every finger feeling solid. You deserve to feel the finger pushing against each other. However, if you were to look at her fingers in ~ the atom level friend would see that they never ever come into contact with one another! her fingers are actually emotion the electrons in the atom of one finger pushing against the electron in the atom of the various other finger. This is similar to the repulsive behavior of a magnet when you shot to bring like poles together. You feel the resistance that the magnetic force however the magnets never ever actually touch. This is the illusion of solidity!

When you pick up a welding torch, it feels solid, it has actually mass and weight. However, you space not in physical contact with the torch. Instead, the electron in the atom of the torch are repelled—at one infinitesimally near distance—by the electron in the atom of your hand.

Thus the electromagnetic force describes why you don’t fall through the floor even though the floor is consisted of of more than 99% empty space. This is likewise the factor why us can’t run v walls… which sort of sucks because I’d choose to have the ability to scare my wife in the kitchen by simply popping in v the wall.

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If you feel choose you let go something below is a quick little video I discovered that sums this every up: