Charge on Proton
Name: Sarah W.
Date: Thursday, April 25, 2002
How would one devise an experiment to find the charge of a proton?
Finding a charge on a proton directly would be difficult, for two reasons.
First, producing free protons to work with is not easy. Protons tend to
stick to their nuclei. Ionizing hydrogen might do the trick. Second,
protons are too massive. A great deal of force (on the particle scale) is
needed to make a proton do anything significant.
One way to deal with this is to find the charge of an electron. The charge
of the proton and electron have charges of the same magnitude, but opposite
sign. If this were not the case, most atoms would have a net charge. The
most popular experiment I know of for this is the Millikan Oil Drop
Experiment. It is not easy, but equipment for the experiment can be
obtained. I know PASCO offers such a device, but I have never used it. I
do not know whether it works well.
Dr. Ken Mellendorf
Illinois Central College
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Update: June 2012