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Point Charge Forces in 1D Model
written by Andrew Duffy
The Point Charge Forces in One-Dimension model investigates the electric force that one charged particle exerts on another. It is a very simple representation that promotes understanding of Coulomb's Law in three ways: First, students can set the amount of charge on each particle and view vector arrows showing the force on each particle. Second, particle 2 can be dragged left or right to sample the force at various locations. Third, users can click to see a graph that shows electric force as a function of position. The numerical value of each force is shown in a table at the bottom.

See Annotations (below) for an interactive student tutorial on Coulomb's Law, which provides additional content support on electric force.

This item was created with Easy Java Simulations (EJS), a modeling tool that allows users without formal programming experience to generate computer models and simulations. To run the simulation, simply click the Java Archive file below. To modify or customize the model, See Related Materials for detailed instructions on installing and running the EJS Modeling and Authoring Tool.

Please note that this resource requires at least version 1.5 of Java (JRE).
1 source code document is available
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Electricity & Magnetism
- Electric Fields and Potential
= Electric Field
- Electrostatics
= Coulomb's Law
- High School
- Lower Undergraduate
- Upper Undergraduate
- Instructional Material
= Interactive Simulation
- Audio/Visual
= Movie/Animation
Appropriate Courses Categories Ratings
- Physics First
- Conceptual Physics
- Algebra-based Physics
- AP Physics
- Activity
- New teachers
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Intended Users:
Access Rights:
Free access
This material is released under a GNU General Public License Version 3 license.
Rights Holder:
Andrew Duffy, Boston University
Java Archive File
EJS, Easy Java Simulation, Open Source Physics, charge, charge particles, coulomb's law, electric, electric field, electric force, electrostatics model, electrostatics simulation, field, interactive simulation
Record Cloner:
Metadata instance created April 16, 2010 by Wolfgang Christian
Record Updated:
August 8, 2021 by Bruce Mason
Last Update
when Cataloged:
April 16, 2010
Other Collections:

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (2008 Version)

11. Common Themes

11B. Models
  • 6-8: 11B/M1. Models are often used to think about processes that happen too slowly, too quickly, or on too small a scale to observe directly. They are also used for processes that are too vast, too complex, or too dangerous to study.

AAAS Benchmark Alignments (1993 Version)


G. Forces of Nature
  • 4G (9-12) #3.  There are two kinds of charges?positive and negative. Like charges repel one another, opposite charges attract. In materials, there are almost exactly equal proportions of positive and negative charges, making the materials as a whole electrically neutral. Negative charges, being associated with electrons, are far more mobile in materials than positive charges are. A very small excess or deficit of negative charges in a material produces noticeable electric forces.
The Physics Classroom: Coulomb's Law (Author: Tom Henderson)
Date: 06/07/2010

Before employing this simulation, students may need some help in how to determine the direction of electrical force vectors and a conceptual discussion of Coulomb's Law. This interactive tutorial helps them understand force as a vector quantity before attempting the calculations associated with Coulomb's Law.  
The Physics Classroom: Coulomb's Law (html)

This resource is part of a Physics Front Topical Unit.

Topic: "Static" Electricity
Unit Title: Electric Force

Many students have difficulty understanding the interactions that cause an electric force between charges. It helps if they begin their investigation with a very simple 1-D representation of the electric force that one particle exerts on another. The user sets the amount of charge so that the particles can either attract or repel; then vector arrows appear to show the amount of force on each particle. One particle can be moved left or right along the line to see the effect of distance on the force. With one click, students can see a graph of the electric force as a function of position.

Link to Unit:
ComPADRE is beta testing Citation Styles!

Record Link
AIP Format
A. Duffy, Computer Program POINT CHARGE FORCES IN 1D MODEL (2010), WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603).
A. Duffy, Computer Program POINT CHARGE FORCES IN 1D MODEL (2010), <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603>.
APA Format
Duffy, A. (2010). Point Charge Forces in 1D Model [Computer software]. Retrieved May 23, 2024, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603
Chicago Format
Duffy, Andrew. "Point Charge Forces in 1D Model." https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603 (accessed 23 May 2024).
MLA Format
Duffy, Andrew. Point Charge Forces in 1D Model. Computer software. 2010. Java (JRE) 1.5, Java Archive File.23 May 2024 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603>.
BibTeX Export Format
@misc{ Author = "Andrew Duffy", Title = {Point Charge Forces in 1D Model}, Month = {April}, Year = {2010} }
Refer Export Format

%A Andrew Duffy %T Point Charge Forces in 1D Model %D April 16, 2010 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603 %O Java Archive File %O application/java %O Java Archive File

EndNote Export Format

%0 Computer Program %A Duffy, Andrew %D April 16, 2010 %T Point Charge Forces in 1D Model %8 April 16, 2010 %9 Java Archive File %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=9977&DocID=1603

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