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Q & A: Spatial dependence of attractive and repulsive forces

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Most recent answer: 02/20/2014
Theory says repulsion force between 2 object's electrons prevents contact, so there's always a little space between 2 objects. If we apply larger force than the repulsion force, wouldn't the electrons touch? since the electron's charge is very small, therefore the repulsion force is very small. Thanks.
- Sam (age 22)

Hi Sam,

The 'theory' you refer to is a classical theory and holds when the two bodies are separated by more than a few atomic sizes.   In the electrical case it is Coulomb's Law.  For gravitational forces, it is Newton's law of of universal gravitation.  When the two bodies get too close you have to use quantum theory to get sensible predictions and results.  The classical theory is just not suitable.



(published on 02/20/2014)

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