What Does Electricity Do?


Quick Answer

Electricity, the flow of electric charge, powers much of the technology used in modern society. The Energy Information Administration explains that electricity is a secondary source of energy, meaning that it comes from the conversion of other energy sources.

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What Does Electricity Do?
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Full Answer

Wikipedia enumerates the many uses of electricity in both human technology and the natural world. Electricity provides heat and private and public lighting. Electricity is vital to many appliances, like televisions, radios, computers, refrigerators and washing machines. Even automobiles use electricity and have a battery for this purpose. In nature, animals use voltage pulses to transmit information along their cell membranes. Additionally, electricity can be used to revive someone. When a person's heart stops beating, physicians often stimulate it with a device known as a defibrillator, which sends an electrical pulse.

Energy Quest of California states that the flow of electric charge occurs when atoms lose and gain electrons, the charged particles that surround the nucleus.

According to energy provider Pacific Power, electricity travels through the path of least resistance. Materials that allow the free flow of electricity are called conductors. Common insulators are metal, water and moist objects like plants and people. Insulators are materials that do not conduct electricity; they include rubber, plastic and glass.

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