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Physics/Reg: Electrons and Protons



1.Why electrons are not get attracted by protons?
2. In van de graff generator, the dome is made of metal (conductor), then how its possible for the accumulation of electrons? Static electricity can happen only in Insulator, right?

Hello Subash,

1. They are attracted by the protons. The question is why don't they crash into the nucleus? It seems so obvious that the electrons should crash into the nucleus.
This is a difficult question to answer in a forum like this. I don't know the level of your education. The best answers are carefully written and quite extensive. They involve difficult math and concepts. I can't claim to fully understand it either.

I will give you links to several discussions of the physics of atoms related to your question. I'll try to start with basic discussions and save the more difficult discussions for later. The later discussions are not strictly limited to your question, but parts of the material in the later discussions support parts of the earlier discussions.

2. The dome is conductive, that's true, but it is isolated because the mounting hardware holding it in place is made of insulator. Because the dome is a conductor, the charges that were placed on the dome distribute themselves around the surface of the dome. This accomplishes maximizing of the separation from the other charges. As more charges are added, they have to crowd closer together to achieve the new maximum possible distance from similar charges. But they can't get off the dome because the dome is insulated - they are trapped on the dome.

I apologize for this being late - no excuses.

I hope this helps,


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Steve Johnson


I would be delighted to help with questions up through the first year of college Physics. Particularly Electricity, Electronics and Newtonian Mechanics (motion, acceleration etc.). I decline questions on relativity and Atomic Physics. I also could discuss the Space Shuttle and space flight in general.


I have a BS in Physics and an MS in Electrical Engineering. I am retired now. My professional career was in Electrical Engineering with considerable time spent working with accelerometers, gyroscopes and flight dynamics (Physics related topics) while working on the Space Shuttle. I gave formal classroom lessons to technical co-workers periodically over a several year period.

BS Physics, North Dakota State University
MS Electrical Engineering, North Dakota State University

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