Electromagnetic force

The electromagnetic force is one of the four fundamental forces in nature. The other forces are the strong nuclear force, the weak nuclear forces and gravity.

  • The electromagnetic force is the interaction between electrically charged particles, such as electrons, photons and other sub-atomic particles. Oppositely charged particles exert an attractive force, while particles with the same charge exert a repulsive force.
  • The electromagnetic force is carried by photons and creates electric and magnetic fields which are responsible for electromagnetic waves and chemical bonding.
  • The electromagnetic force binds electrons to atoms by attracting the negative electrons to the positive nucleus. This is what keeps atoms together and prevents them from flying apart.
  • The electromagnetic force maintains molecular cohesion by attracting the positive and negative ends of molecules to each other. This is what makes solids and liquids hold their shape.
  • The electromagnetic force governs the emission of light (photons or electromagnetic waves):
  • When electrons in an atom or molecule are excited, they can emit photons, which are particles of light.
  • Photons can also be absorbed by atoms or molecules, which can cause their electrons to change their energy levels.
  • Photons carry electromagnetic force through electric and magnetic fields, propagating at the speed of light.
  • The electromagnetic force has an infinite range, unlike the strong and weak nuclear forces.
  • The electromagnetic force can be attractive or repulsive, depending on the charges involved.
  • This force is much stronger than gravity, but less strong than the strong nuclear force.
  • The electromagnetic force obeys the inverse square law, meaning the force decreases with the square of the distance between the charges.
  • Whenever there is a push-pull interaction between two objects, forces are exerted on both of them. Once the interaction ceases, the forces no longer act, and the momentum of the objects continues unchanged.
  • On a macro-scale, concentrated matter in planets, stars, and galaxies leads to significant push-pull interactions.
  • Everything everywhere is in motion. Nothing in the whole Universe is stationary unless its temperature is reduced to absolute zero. (In reality, nothing can be cooled to exactly absolute zero).
  • Objects, bodies, matter, particles, radiation, and space-time are all in motion. The concept of motion also applies to the movement of images, shapes, and boundaries.
  • Motion signifies a change in the position of the elements of a physical system including translational motion, rotational motion, vibrational motion, and oscillatory motion.

There are four fundamental forces that account for all the forms of pulling and pushing between things in the Universe.

Electromagnetic Force
  • The electromagnetic force is responsible for interactions between charged particles, such as electrons and protons, and is fundamental to electrical and magnetic phenomena.
  • The strong nuclear force binds atomic nuclei together and is responsible for the stability of matter.
Weak Nuclear Force
  • The weak nuclear force is involved in processes like radioactive decay and plays a role in the interactions of subatomic particles.
  • Gravity governs the interactions between massive objects and is responsible for phenomena like planetary motion and the attraction of objects towards Earth.
Electromagnetic Force & Chemical Bonding
  • The electromagnetic force is not the direct cause of chemical bonding.
    • Chemical bonds occur when atoms share, donate, or accept electrons to achieve a more stable state.
    • These interactions between electrons (negatively charged) and atomic nuclei (positively charged) are governed by the electromagnetic force.
    • While the force itself doesn’t form the bond, it sets the ‘rules of the game’ for the charged particles involved in bonding.