What is exactly charge apart from an intrinsic property. What is that thing/property on electrons or property due to which we can run devices or new compounds are made? I mean if electric charge is a property that causes a force of attraction/repulsion, then how is it different from any mass? What is charge and why it flow causes electric current and how can a property generate energy?

Like we know mass is the amount of matter. But what about charge, can we have a an intuitive explanation like that?

And if it is just a property, whatever that means, how can the flow of a simple property cause electric current and ultimately electric energy?

And if charge is just a property how can you even, measure it? (I mean is it some relative calculation because how can you actually calculate a characteristic? It is very perplexing to understand.

Can anyone please provide an insight? I am beginner so i apologise for my overbearing ignorance.

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ How can the flow of a simple property cause electric current and ultimately electric energy? Note that a flow of mass (say, water flowing downhill) can generate electric energy in a turbine. $\endgroup$
    – Ghoster
    Apr 28, 2023 at 21:18
  • 3
    $\begingroup$ Please edit your post to ask one question, not ten. Otherwise, it may get closed for being unfocused. $\endgroup$
    – Ghoster
    Apr 28, 2023 at 21:22
  • $\begingroup$ Agreed. I voted to close for that reason $\endgroup$
    – Dale
    Apr 28, 2023 at 21:28

1 Answer 1


I don't think there is a meaningful difference between "mass is the amount of matter" and "mass is an intrinsic property of matter". And just like that, charge is an intrinsic property. It differs from mass because it comes in two flavors: positive and negative.

Why does the flow of charge cause electric current? This is just the definition of electric current: the flow of charge (more precisely, the rate at which charge moves through a given surface). How can charge generate energy? Electric energy can be thought of as being due to the way charges interact, the way they apply forces on each other. This isn't exclusive to electricity. You can bring masses together in a controlled manner to convert their gravitational potential energy into a useful form, see for instance a gravity battery. Electric current is like transporting the mass to where energy is needed, where the mass is then dropped to generate a useful kind of energy.

How do we measure mass? The common method is to use a scale or balance, making use of the fact that the force of attraction on an object is proportional to its mass. There are different methods to measure charge, but historically it was measured the same way, using the fact that the Coulomb force on an object is proportional to its charge. See for instance Coulomb's torsion balance.


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