Nobody really understands what electricity is which is quite a strange concept considering that most of us the entire world over actively rely on this energy source every minute of the day even when we sleep, this is evident in the cases of extended power cuts or even with those that of intermittent drops in power and can cause massive disruptions not only to our own lives but for those of commerce, industry, science and medical sectors.
We cannot see electricity in its purest form but can view the effects of it from powering a simple table lamp or watching a TV set in our homes, in the street with billboards and onto massive Electrical Arc Furnaces (EAC) that use a high powered electrical arc that is formed between a cathode and anode electrode.
Electricity comes in two forms that we can understand being static, this is where two items are rubbed together with friction and a build up of energy is created – this can be done by rubbing a latex balloon on a woollen sweater, the result is that the balloon will be able to pick up or collect light objects such as tissue paper, it is possible to get the balloon to stick to a wall temporarily or lift up someone’s hair from their head with no risk of a big electric shock. Sparks are able to be produced with this method should there be enough of a charge that has been built up due to the imbalance in positive and negative electrons.
It is the same with lighting, where the positive and negative charges grow big enough after some time, a giant spark between two clouds or even between the earth and clouds occur concentrating around anything that sticks up from the earth acting as conductors or to charged points in the clouds.
We cannot control lighting but efforts have been made to try to conquer this natural phenomenon through science and military means, we can, however, generate usable electricity from not only fossil fuel burning but also from earth-born nuclear elements and resources in powerplants, highly enriched Uranium oxide is a common medium but there are other types of reactor core fuel for use both in commercial as well as in experimental reactors – whatever the energy source the main way to create energy from a powerplant is through the heating of water in a closed system to then drive huge enclosed turbines that are made from magnets and normally copper wire that is wound around a central core, as the core spins around, electrons are excited and move to create usable electricity.
Current electricity it the type that comes from our sockets and is due to the flow of electrons, it is measured in amperes and must flow through some sort of conductor, usually, copper wire chosen due to its abundance in nature, its hardiness and as well as for its good conductivity qualities, silver and gold are really good for conductivity but due to the rareness of these elements as well as the expense, they are not used commonly in household wires but are used in computer components and specialized science applications, in small amounts.
Electricity current is measured by the flow of electrons just like a river can be measured by the amount of water flowing through it, as the current flows from one spot to another it is the same as with electricity, the speed that it moves is also measured and the energy transferred can be measured over time, when a heating element in a kettle heats up this is due to the flow of the current. We all know that water and electricity don’t mix but similarities between the two can be seen clearly.
There are two different main sources of electricity being Direct current (DC) and Alternating Current (AC).
DC comes from the wall sockets and outlets in our homes, offices and schools. AC comes from batteries we use in devices like remote controls, smoke alarms and mobile phones. DC electricity is a constant flow of energy while AC can be turned on or off with the flow of electrons being reversed.
Without electricity from tiny batteries to massive amounts of ‘main’ currents that are required for industrial applications, the world would just not be the same – as the world and its population grows, more electricity is required with new ways being found to produce it, there is not such a reliance anymore on traditional forms such as the burning of fossil fuels but green energies are utilised like solar, hydro and wind power to take up the strain, there will always be a fine balance between the use of electricity and the efficient uses of it with devices and appliances using less power to do the same jobs but we should still conserve it where we can not only from an economic standpoint but also looking to the future where it could well become scarce.