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Ion Engine Interactive

Before you begin playing with the Ion Engine simulations, it's a good idea to learn about electric charges. There's really not much to know!

First, electric charges come in two flavors:
Positive: charge plus icon   and   Negative: charge negative icon

Most things in the world have the same number of charge plus icon and charge negative icon charges, which means they have neutral charge.

If something has more charge plus icon than charge negative icon it's Positively charged.

In these simulation games, the more extra charges something has, the bigger we draw it. For example, we'll draw something with lots of Positive charge like this: charge plus icon

Below is a gun that shoots out Positive charges: Launcher charge plus icon

We call these Test Charges.

Click the Launch button a few times to watch them.

When you are done, click the Next button below to proceed to the next step.

Now we've added a Negative charge charge negative icon to the board. Click the Launch button to watch the path of the Test Charge now.

Notice how the charge negative icon attracts or pulls on the Test Charge charge plus icon. The closer the charges, the more they interact with each other.

Can you pick up and drag the charge negative icon so the Test Charge ends up in the Target?

When you're done, proceed to the next step.

Now the charge negative icon Negative charge is too close to the Test Charge. It attracts the Test Charge too much.

Can you move the charge negative icon so the Test Charge hits the target?

When you're done, proceed to the next step.

This time, you cannot move the charge negative icon .

Can you still hit the target?

Hint: Remember, the stronger the charge, the more it attracts.

Try changing the strength of the charge negative icon .

When you're done, proceed to the next step.

Now, let's play with a Positive Charge: charge plus icon

Like charges repel/push each other.

Can you move the charge plus icon so the Test Charge hits the target?

When you're done, proceed to the next step.

Yikes, now we have two charges on the board! charge plus icon charge negative icon

You cannot move the charge negative icon

Can you figure out how to move charge plus icon so the Test Charge hits the target?

Hint: What happens if you put a charge plus icon and a charge negative icon near each other? Might they cancel each other?

When you're done, proceed to the next step.

Here's a crazy setup.

Press the Launch button to see what happens.

The Test Charge goes into orbit around the charge negative icon

Does this remind you of anything in the Solar System?

When you're done, proceed to the next step.

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You have finished the Electric Charge Tutorial. Back to the Table of Contents

Launch
Charge Strength:

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