What are the negatively charged electrons attracted to?

1 Answer
Jan 8, 2017

Electrons are attracted to just about anything that carries a positive charge, and often to neutral objects as well.


Electrons in atoms are attracted to the nuclei of that atom. This attraction helps make the atom a stable body. However, in the case of bonding, the electrons of one atom are drawn toward the nuclei of both of the bonded atoms. This simultaneous attraction to two nuclei is the basis for covalent bonding.

If a body is neutral, an electron can induce a charge on the surface of that body by repelling other electrons way from the area closest to itself, resulting in a region of positive charge at this location. This is called an induced dipole (because the opposite side of the neutral object will be negatively charged). This type of interaction plays a role in creating forces that (weakly) hold together the molecules in a liquid or molecular solid. They are known as dispersion forces.

Electrons will also be attracted to larger objects that are positively charged. This accounts for many of the static electricity effects that we know.