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published by the Florida State University
supported by the National Science Foundation
edited by Kristen Coyne
technical implementer: Matthew J. Parry-Hill
This tutorial from the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory explores the historic device known as a torsion balance. By carefully recording the measurements he obtained with his torsion balance, Coulomb was able to establish the law that bears his name. Coloumb's law states that the attraction or repulsion force between two electrical charges is proportional to their product and inversely proportional to the square of their distance apart.

Magnet Academy is part of a large collection of web-based educational materials for K-20, developed by the National High Magnetic Field Laboratory at Florida State University.

Please note that this resource requires Java Applet Plug-in.
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Intended Users:
General Public
Access Rights:
Free access
© 2007 http://micro.magnet.fsu.edu/micro/legal.html
Coulomb, Coulomb's Law, charge interaction, charge measurement, electrostatic charge, electrostatics, historical instruments, history of electricity, history of science, science history, static charge, torsion balance
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created May 25, 2010 by Caroline Hall
Record Updated:
November 5, 2015 by Caroline Hall
Last Update
when Cataloged:
December 30, 2009

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: Electricity and Electrical Energy
Unit Title: Electricity: A Historical Perspective

In this Java simulation, your students play with a replication of Coulomb's historic torsion balance: a device used to measure electric force between charges. Coulomb's methodical measuring laid the foundation for Coulomb's Law, a fundamental principle of electricity and magnetism.

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AIP Format
, edited by K. Coyne (Florida State University, Tallahassee, 2007), WWW Document, (https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785).
Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance, , edited by K. Coyne (Florida State University, Tallahassee, 2007), <https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785>.
APA Format
Coyne, K. (Ed.). (2009, December 30). Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance. Retrieved June 21, 2018, from Florida State University: https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785
Chicago Format
Coyne, Kristen, ed. Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance. Tallahassee: Florida State University, December 30, 2009. https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785 (accessed 21 June 2018).
MLA Format
Coyne, Kristen, ed. Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance. Tallahassee: Florida State University, 2007. 30 Dec. 2009. National Science Foundation. 21 June 2018 <https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Title = {Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance}, Publisher = {Florida State University}, Volume = {2018}, Number = {21 June 2018}, Month = {December 30, 2009}, Year = {2007} }
Refer Export Format

%A Kristen Coyne, (ed)
%T Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance
%D December 30, 2009
%I Florida State University
%C Tallahassee
%U https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785
%O text/html

EndNote Export Format

%0 Electronic Source
%D December 30, 2009
%T Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance
%E Coyne, Kristen
%I Florida State University
%V 2018
%N 21 June 2018
%8 December 30, 2009
%9 text/html
%U https://nationalmaglab.org/education/magnet-academy/history-of-electricity-magnetism/museum/torsion-balance-1785

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Magnet Academy Museum: Torsion Balance:

Accompanies Magnet Academy: Charles-Augustin de Coulomb

A short biography on Charles-Augustin de Coulomb (1736-1806), appropriate for high school and middle school levels.

relation by Caroline Hall

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