Sunday, May 22, 2005

Electricity, Eeee-Lec-Tricity

Dear Internet Diary,

This is for the benefit of my readers.

From Bangor Hydro Kids' Outlet

How Is Electricity Created?

When electrons move from one atom to another (voltage) creating unbalance
or flow, you have electrical current.

There are two kinds of electricity:

Static Electricity

A condition that exists when electrons are
displaced and remain so. Static electricity is usually the result of
friction. Lightning is an example of static electricity. Static elec-
tricity makes your hair stand
on end. If you take an inflated balloon and rub it on your head, it will cling to your clothes. Or try turning on the faucet a bit and hold a comb close to -- but not in -- the water. Notice how the water is "pulled" toward the comb. This is because the static electrical charge in the comb is attracting electrons
in the water.

Current Electricity

A constant flow of electrons.
Direct current (DC) means the electrons move in one direction.
Alternating current (AC) means the electrons flow in both directions.

There are two ways to produce electricity

1. Batteries
Chemical reactions (two dissimilar metals in acid) force electrons to move. This creates direct current electricity.

2. Generators
This machine converts the mechanical energy of a rotating turbine shaft into electrical energy through use of magnetic fields.

How electricity is generated...

Three basic elements are required to produce electricity:

  1. Motion (required to rotate a turbine)
  2. Magnetic Field
  3. Conductors

A form of energy is required to rotate a turbine which is attached to the shaft of the generator rotor. The rotor spins through the stator producing electricity.

There are several ways to turn the turbine. Some of the most common ways include burning fossil fuels to produce steam. Some of the fossil fuels might be coal, gas or oil. Nuclear energy is used to produce steam by the splitting of atoms (nuclear fission) which turns the turbine. Hydropower turns the turbine when water falls through it. Other less common sources used to produce electricity include: solar power, wind power, biomass (using organic material to produce steam), geothermal power, ocean or tidal power and fuel cells.

Check out Energy Quest for more about how electricity is created!

1 comment:

breakerslion said...

Trivia: Benjamin Franklin coined the term "battery" because his primitive array of glass storage cells reminded him of an array of guns in a battery. A battery can store electricity and discharge it slowly and at a relatively constant rate, but it requires charging from some power source, usually a generator.