What Is the Definition of Electrostatic Attraction?

By Staff WriterLast Updated Mar 27, 2020 4:56:35 AM ET

Electrostatic attraction is the phenomenon where a negatively charged atom or molecule is attracted to a positively charged atom or molecule. Electrostatic repulsion occurs between two atoms of the same charge.

The strength of the electrostatic forces between two atoms is determined by the size of each atom's charge and the distance between the two atoms. A very positive atom right next to a very negatively charged atom will have a strong electrostatic attraction while they would have a much smaller attraction if spaced far apart. The atoms may be drawn to each other depending the the strength of other forces acting on the atoms.