Electric force is stronger than gravitational force yet gravitational forces holds the Sun and planets in their orbits around the Sun


No contradiction, it just depends on the scale you're looking at :)

The electric force between electrons and protons is indeed really huge, and if we had any planet-sized chunk of pure electrons or pure protons then that would blow everything else out of the water. Fortunately, electric forces come in attractive and repelling varieties, and since all matter is basically equal amounts of positive and negative change, these two types cancel each other out.

On the other hand, gravity only comes in one variety, so it can only grow stronger as we get more matter together. Even though the force is still incredibly weak, a planet-sized chunk of matter is a lot, so you're able to feel it.

By the way, if you want to see how much stronger the electric force is, just think that a tiny bit of stray static electricity can make a balloon stick to things, even though it's up against a whole planet's worth of gravity!

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Updated on December 13, 2020


  • Qmechanic
    Qmechanic over 2 years

    The electric force between an electron and a proton, between two electrons, or between two protons is much stronger than the gravitational force between any of these pairs of particles. Yet even though the sun and planets contain electrons and protons, it is the gravitational force that holds tha planets in their orbits around the sun. Explain this seeming contradiction.

    • StephenG - Help Ukraine
      StephenG - Help Ukraine over 4 years
      Hint : Have you tried calculating the relevant forces ?
    • Triatticus
      Triatticus over 4 years
      Think about how when you put two opposite charges together what happens to their net effect at far distances