Modern society relies on electricity. It powers your TV, lights, microwave, and computer, amongst many other appliances you use every day. But how much do you know about electricity? Test your knowledge and impress your family and friends with these 10 fascinating facts.
- Electric current is measured in amperes (amps for short). Electric potential energy is measured in volts.
- Electricity that gathers in one place and doesn’t move is called static electricity. Electricity that moves is called current electricity and is the flow of electric charge.
- Direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC) describes the way the electrons flow in an electrical current. In DC, electrons flow in a single direction, but in AC they change directions, alternating between forward and backwards.
- When an electric charge builds up on the surface of an object, it creates static electricity in the form of an electric shock. This occurs when an electric charge is quickly neutralised by an opposite charge.
- Electricity is a secondary energy made from other energies such as coal, water, and wind. The world’s biggest source of energy for producing electricity comes from coal. In a power plant, coal burns in a furnace and heats water until it boils. This creates steam which then spins turbines attached to generators. The generator converts the energy from the spinning turbine into electricity. Electricity comes from the power plant through underground and overhead lines to your home.
- Electricity can also be produced by renewable sources such as water and wind. Hydropower generates electricity by using water to spin turbines attached to generators. Likewise, wind power harnesses the wind to turn turbines attached to generators that create electricity.
- Lightning is a discharge of electricity in the atmosphere that is caused by static electricity. Lightning bolts can travel at 130,000 mph, reach 30,000℃, and create up to 3 million volts.
- Benjamin Franklin proved that lightning is a form of electricity and invented the lightning rod which protects a building if lightning strikes it.
- Electricity travels at the speed of light - it travels faster than 186,000 mph.
- Electricity plays a role in the way your heart beats. Electricity causes muscle cells in the heart to contract. An electrocardiography (ECG) machine measures the electricity going through the heart.
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