Coulomb's Law: Electrifying electrostatics Virtual Lab

Experiment with tensions and charges to uncover the secrets of Coulomb's law, the cornerstone of electrostatics.

  • High School

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About This Simulation

No wonder Coulomb's law would spark your interest! In this simulation, you will learn how charges interact through the electrostatic force, how different factors influence the strength of that force, and how to determine its direction.

Dr. One's hair-raising new look 

Your helpful science assistant, Dr. One, is considering powder coating their case, a process that involves electrostatic forces. Join the lab to learn all about the law that governs those forces: Coulomb's law. Use scientific equipment to measure different values of the electrostatic force and play this sim's minigames to figure out the effect of the charges' signs on its direction.

Charges, distances, and the electrostatic force

Measure, collect, and graph data to figure out the effect of the value of distance and charge on the electrostatic force using realistic scientific equipment, experimenting freely with different values of the parameters. Visualize the impact of the charges' signs on the force through fun graphics and interactive activities. This simulation allows the student to measure the effect of Coulomb's law using a realistic lab setup without the risks electricity entails in real life. Starting from the measurable physical phenomena, the simulation guides the student through increasing stages of mathematization, highlighting the physical meaning behind the algebraic expression of Coulomb's law. 

Master Coulomb's law

By the end of the sim, you will have built a qualitative and quantitative understanding of Coulomb's law through the interactive activities in the lab. Do you know what the force between the two charges tells us about Dr. One's new coating?

Explore Coulomb's Law: Electrifying electrostatics Virtual Lab Simulation

By interacting with different parts of the setup to the left, the student can graph the magnitude of the electrostatic force against distance and charge. The graph to the right of this image shows three data points of the "Electrostatic force vs. distance" graph and the current values of charges, distance, and electrostatic force.
Once the student has obtained all graphs, they can continue experimenting with the setup to the left and see how the electrostatic force changes for the different values of charges and distance. The last values that have changed appear highlighted in blue.
A 2D minigame in which the student is tasked to select the correct direction of the electrostatic forces between two charges given their sign.
A 2D minigame in which the student is tasked to select which of four different illustrations better represents the forces between two charges.

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