What does it mean a negative, positive or neutral charge?



People/Teachers/Books say that an atom is formed by protons who are *positive*, neutrons who are *neuter* and electrons who are *negative* . What does it mean?

In: Physics

They assignment of negative and positive charges is in reality quite arbitrary. We could have easily switched it, calling electrons positive, and protons negative.

The fact that they’re separated is based on their behavior. An object has a positive charge when it has more protons than electrons. Therefore when an object has a negative charge, then that object contains more electrons than protons. An atom that is neutral has an equal number of electrons and protons. Neutrons are considered “neutral” because adding or removing neutrons doesn’t appear to affect the charge of the atom.

Both positive and negative charges create electric fields which surround particles an exert force. ALL CHARGED PARTICLES have an electric field. The observation is that field lines come out of positive charges and go into negative charges.

All of this definition comes from observation. We observed the behavior of particles of different concentrations of protons and/or electrons, and saw that something with more protons than electrons will attract something with more electrons than protons, which is why we determined that opposite charges attract. Whether we call protons positive or negative is arbitrary, the important part is that they attract electrons, and vice versa, and neutrons aren’t attracted or repelled by either charge.