He also discovered that a body charged with positive or negative electricity repels a body free to move when the latter is charged with electricity of like sign, but attracts it if it is charged with electricity of opposite sign, i.e.
Positive repels positive and negative repels negative, but positive attracts negative.
A very small sphere is said then to possess a charge of one electrostatic unit of quantity, when it repels another similar and similarly electrified body with a force of one dyne, the centres being at a distance of one centimetre, provided that the spheres are in vacuo or immersed in some insulator, the dielectric constant of which is' taken as unity.
The explanation is as follows: the charge (-}- Q) of positive electricity on the ball creates by induction an equal charge (- Q) on the inside of the canister when placed in it, and repels to the exterior surface of the canister an equal charge (+ Q).
Having a charge Q repels a unit charge placed at a distance x from its centre with a force Q/x 2 dynes, and therefore the work W in ergs expended in bringing the unit up to that point from an infinite distance is given by the integral W = Q x 2 dx = Hence the potential at the surface of the sphere, and therefore the potential of the sphere, is Q/R, where R is the radius of the sphere in centimetres.