How does the magnitude of electrostatic force compare to the magnitude of the force of gravity?
The magnitiude of electrostatic force is greater than than of gravity. This was illustrated in our lab when we rubbed a straw with fur and attempted to pick up small scraps of paper. Since the scraps of paper have very little mass, the experiment showed which was stronger, the force exerted by the straw picking up the paper by way of static electricity or the force of gravity, 9.8 meters/seconds squared. The straw easily picked up several scraps of paper, thus illustrating that the magnitude of electrostatic force is greater than the force of gravity.
Is the electrostatic force an inverse square relationship?
The electrostatic force is an inverse square relationship. In other words, the electrostatic force between two objects grows larger as they become closer. For example, when you bring two magnets which are attracted to each other closer together, it becomes increasingly harder to keep them apart. Similarly, if the two magnets repel each other, it is increasingly difficult to push the two magnets together the closer they get to each other.