Benjamin Franklin studied electricity in the 18 century
Modern society relies heavily on the convenience and versatility of electricity. It powers your microwave, helps light your house, lets you watch TV and so much more.
•Electric current is measured in amperes (amps).
•Electric potential energy is measured in volts.
•Two positive charges repel each other, as do two negative charges. Opposite charges on the other hand attract each other.
•When an electric charge builds up on the surface of an object it creates static electricity. You have probably experienced static electricity in the form of a small electric shock, which is what happens when the electric charge is quickly neutralized by an opposite charge.
•Electric eels can produce strong electric shocks of around 500 volts for both self defense and hunting.
•Electric circuits can contain parts such as switches, transformers, resistors and transformers.
•A common way to produce electricity is by hydropower, a process that generates electricity by using water to spin turbines attached to generators.
•The world’s biggest source of energy for producing electricity comes from coal. The burning of coal in furnaces heats boiler water until it becomes steam which then spins turbines attached to generators.
•Lightning is a discharge of electricity in the atmosphere. Lightning bolts can travel at around 210,000 kph (130,000 mph), while reaching nearly 30,000 °C (54,000 °F) in temperature.
•Electricity plays a role in the way your heart beats. Muscle cells in the heart are contracted by electricity going through the heart. Electrocardiogram (ECG) machines used in hospitals measure the electricity going through someone’s heart, when the person is healthy it usually shows a line moving across a screen with regular spikes as the heart beats.
•You may have heard of direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). The difference between the two is in the way the electrons flow. In DC electrons move in a single direction while in AC they change directions, switching between backwards and forwards. The electricity use in your home is AC while DC comes from sources that include batteries.
•Back in the 1880’s there was even a ‘war of currents’ between Thomas Edison (who helped invent DC) and Nikola Tesla (who helped invent AC). Both wanted their system to be used with AC eventually winning out due to the fact that it is safer and can be used over longer distances.
•Electric fields work in a similar way to gravity with an important exception being that while gravity always attracts, electric fields can either attract or repulse.
•American Benjamin Franklin carried out extensive electricity research in the 18th century, inventing the lightning rod amongst his many discoveries. Lightning rods protect buildings in the event of lightning by conducting lightning strikes through a grounded wire.
•Learn about some of the interesting ways we generate electricity with our wind energy facts, geothermal energy facts, hydropower facts and solar power facts for kids