Metalwork - Materials - Electrostatic Forces

Electrostatic Forces hold almost everything together. Electrostatic Forces work in much the same way as magnetic forces. Like forces repel and unlike forces attract. They are Secondary Bonds, and because of this are held together weakly. Below you can see a simple representation of how one molecule of water joins up to others and on a big scale forms flowing water.
A water molecule Water molecules joined by Electrostatic Forces

As you can see from the first diagram there is a concentration of electrons at the end of the molecule where the Hydrogen atoms are connected to the Oxygen atom. This gives this area of the molecule a higher negativity. If you remember that, like forces repel, then you should see that the opposite side of the Oxygen atom should be positive, and so it is. Now remembering that, opposite forces attract, if another water molecule comes along the two molecules are going to want to join up positive end to negative end. This happens and flowing water forms.

How does water flow, you might ask, or you might not, but I'm going to tell you anyway. The water molecules bond by the Oxygen end (positive) of a molecule joining to one of the Hydrogen atoms (negative) by means of Electrostatic Force. Because Electrostatic Forces are weak very little force is needed to break them, and so the Oxygen end of a molecule can easily slip to another Hydrogen atom. When this goes on with a massive amount of water molecules you end up with flowing water.

Electrostatic Induction is what occurs in cases such as when you rub a balloon on your jumper and then it can stick to a wall, or when you rub a plastic pen in your hair and then pick up small pieces of paper with the pen. What happens is that a negative charge is caused by the rubbing, and this negative charge repels the negative charge in the wall or the pieces of paper so that the area nearest the balloon or pen has a higher positive charge. Thus they stick. Another example that you should try, (in order to impress your friends of course!), is if you rub a plastic pen or rod and hold it close to a thin constant stream of water. The water actually moves towards the plastic item!

Balloon held to wall by means of Electrostatic InductionPen picking up paper by means of Electrostatic InductionA rod bending water by means of Electrostatic Induction