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Modification in the distribution of electric charge on one material under the influence of an electric charge on a nearby object. It occurs whenever any object is placed in an electric field. When a negatively charged object is brought near a neutral object, it induces a positive charge on the near side of the object and a negative charge on the far side. If the negative side of the original object is momentarily grounded, the negative charge may escape, so that the object becomes positively charged by induction.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on electrostatic induction, visit Britannica.com.