What is Electricity?

Published on Jul 15, 2016

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Electricity is a very important phenomenon that is studied in physics. Electricity arises from electric charges which can either be moving or stationary. A lightning occurrence during a rainy day is a form of natural electricity. In the case of a lightning, there is a flow of electrons from one place to another. Another form of electricity is static electricity which you might have observed in the form of a slight shock that one feels when they have been sitting on a plastic chair for a long time, while wearing woolen clothes. As the woolen clothes rub on the plastic chair, there is a transfer and accumulation of electrons on one side which lead to static electricity.

Conductors and insulators

There are certain objects which allow electricity to flow through them without offering them much resistance, such as water, copper, aluminum etc. These are known as conductors of electricity. On the other hand, there are some substances which do not allow electricity to pass through them in their native condition. Few examples of insulators are wood, rubber, plastic etc. Both of these are important when dealing with electricity. While the former allows an unhindered path to be created in order to allow electricity to pass through it, the latter resists electricity and helps to keep it localized.

Invisible field

Every electric charge creates an invisible field around it called the electric field. The electric field consists of electric field lines. These are lines of force along which another charged particle would move if kept along that particular line of force. We know that like charges repel each other and opposite charges attract each other. Thus, if a positively charged particle is kept anywhere near a negatively charged particle, it will start moving towards the negatively charged particle along the line of force as given by the electric field.

Electric current

Apart from static electricity, there is another form of electricity called electric current which is the dynamic electricity or moving electricity. Everyone in today’s world is familiar with electric current but until the 19th century it was only found in nature, untapped by any human. Eventually, humans were able to master this raw power of nature and use it to power their own inventions and devices which helped propel the human race towards digital age. The electric current always runs in an electric circuit, from a place of high concentration of charges to low concentration.

More power to you

There are several ways to generate electricity. In most of the developing countries, the traditional methods are employed wherein conventional sources of energy are used to obtain electricity. The conventional sources of energy are used to boil water in a boiler, to convert it into steam and drive the turbine which works on a machine called generator. This generator helps in converting the mechanical energy of the turbine to electrical energy in the form of electricity. The electricity thus obtained can be distributed and sold to the people. These days there is a tendency to adopt non-conventional sources of energy which even pollute less.


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