Electricity

A:

While there are many different methods of generating electricity, most electricity that powers homes and businesses comes from electric turbines. These devices spin a magnetic core through copper wiring, creating a charge through magnetic induction. In many cases, the energy to turn the turbine comes from steam generated by coal, natural gas or nuclear fission. In more sustainable cases, moving water or wind turns the turbine and generates electricity.

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  • Why Is a Current-Carrying Wire Normally Not Electrically Charged?

    Q: Why Is a Current-Carrying Wire Normally Not Electrically Charged?

    A: A current-carrying wire is not electrically charged because there are as many electrons as protons in the wire. As electrons flow in from one side, they flow out from the other, leading to no buildup of charge.
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  • How Does Electricity Travel Through Wires?

    Q: How Does Electricity Travel Through Wires?

    A: According to the Union University Department of Physics, when an electric current passes through a solid copper wire, the electrons move forward, but the protons within the positive atoms of copper do not. Electricity travelling through a wire moves at an extremely fast speed and is capable of powering anything from a light bulb to a laptop.
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  • What Color Is Lightning?

    Q: What Color Is Lightning?

    A: Lightning is usually white, but it can be a variety of colors depending on what the light travels through to get to the viewer’s eyes. In snowstorms, lightning can appear pink or green. Particles in the atmosphere affect the color by absorbing or diffracting a portion of the white light.
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  • How Is Wind Power Made?

    Q: How Is Wind Power Made?

    A: Wind power harnesses the movement of the wind to turn electrical turbines, generating power. Large windmill-like turbines with canted blades catch the wind, rotating around a central axle. This axle connects to the central rotor of an electric turbine. As the turbine spins, the interaction of copper wires and magnets creates an electrical current.
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  • How Does a Switch Work on a Circuit?

    Q: How Does a Switch Work on a Circuit?

    A: A switch works by interrupting current flow around an electrical circuit. A basic switch is a binary device: it is either open (off) or closed (on). The simplest type of switch is one that comprises two metal strips that are brought into contact by a spring or some other form of actuating mechanism.
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  • Where Is Nuclear Energy Used?

    Q: Where Is Nuclear Energy Used?

    A: Nuclear energy is mostly used for electric power generation. According to the World Nuclear Association, there were over 430 commercial nuclear power reactors operating in 31 countries as of April 2014, with over 370,000 MW of total capacity. Approximately 70 more reactors were under construction as of April 2014.
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  • What Are Some Real Life Examples of Series Circuits?

    Q: What Are Some Real Life Examples of Series Circuits?

    A: The most common series circuit in everyday life is the light switch. A series circuit is a loop that is completed with a switch connection sending electricity through the loop.
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  • How Far Does Light Travel in One Year at 3 X 108 M/s?

    Q: How Far Does Light Travel in One Year at 3 X 108 M/s?

    A: According to Universe Today, light travels approximately 9.5 trillion kilometers or 5.9 trillion miles in a year. Light years are commonly referenced units, but astronomers tend to use a unit known as the parsec, equivalent roughly to 3.26 light years.
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  • What Causes Static Electricity in the Body?

    Q: What Causes Static Electricity in the Body?

    A: Static electricity occurs when the body builds up an imbalance of electrical charges. When an object moves against an insulating surface like carpet, weakly bound electrons can move from one surface to another, creating a charge. When that charged object touches a conductor, it releases the electrons, creating a spark.
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  • What Does the "C" Stand for in E=mc^2?

    Q: What Does the "C" Stand for in E=mc^2?

    A: The c in Einstein's famous equation stands for the speed of light. Light travels constantly at a speed of 186,000 miles per second, meaning that c equals 186,000 miles per second.
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  • How Was Electricity Discovered?

    Q: How Was Electricity Discovered?

    A: Although knowledge about the existence of electricity existed as early as 600 B.C., it was not until 1600 that William Gilbert published "De magnete, Magneticisique Corporibus," or "On the Magnet" and coined the term "electrica." Before Gilbert, knowledge was limited to that of the magnetic charges of a loadstone and that rubbing an amber or a jet rod with wool caused particles to stick to the rod.
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  • What Is Static Electricity and How Does It Affect Everyday Life?

    Q: What Is Static Electricity and How Does It Affect Everyday Life?

    A: Static electricity results from an imbalance between positive and negative charges in an object, according to the Library of Congress. It affects daily life in numerous ways, such as causing hair to rise when a person removes his hat as the electrons get transferred from the hat to the hair.
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  • Who Invented Neon Lights?

    Q: Who Invented Neon Lights?

    A: At the beginning of the 20th century, French engineer, chemist and inventor Georges Claude invented the neon lamp. He sent electricity into a tube of neon gas, which had been discovered by William Ramsey and M. Travers in 1898.
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  • How Many Volts Are in a Lightning Bolt?

    Q: How Many Volts Are in a Lightning Bolt?

    A: According to the National Severe Storm Laboratory, a single lightning bolt can have 100 million to 1 billion volts, and it contains billions of watts, depending on whether it is positive lightning or negative lightning. Lightning strikes ground in the United States approximately 25 million times each year.
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  • Does Lemon Juice Conduct Electricity?

    Q: Does Lemon Juice Conduct Electricity?

    A: According to the California Science Center, lemon juice can both conduct and produce electricity. Lemon juice contains citric acid, which is a strong electrolyte. The electrolytes in lemon produce electricity by allowing two metals to react with each other.
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  • How Does Softball Relate to Physics?

    Q: How Does Softball Relate to Physics?

    A: According to the University of Sydney, softball is related to physics through hitting and pitching. The University notes that many players are aware of certain physics-related phenomena in softball but do not know much about the physics-related concepts they are using in almost every game.
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  • How Fast Does Light Travel?

    Q: How Fast Does Light Travel?

    A: In a vacuum, the speed of light is 186,282 miles per second. This is equal to 299,792 kilometers per second or about 670,616,629 miles per hour.
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  • What Happens to the Current in a Short Circuit?

    Q: What Happens to the Current in a Short Circuit?

    A: When a short circuit occurs, electrical current experiences little to no resistance because its path has been diverted from its normal direction of flow. This in turn produces excess heat and can damage or destroy an electrical appliance. It can also create a fire hazard and an electrical shock hazard if left unattended
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  • What Is a Voltmeter Used For?

    Q: What Is a Voltmeter Used For?

    A: A voltmeter is an instrument used to measure the voltage between two points in an electrical circuit. Some voltmeters register direct current while others measure alternating current.
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  • What Is the Best Conductor of Electricity?

    Q: What Is the Best Conductor of Electricity?

    A: Silver is the best metal conductor, but graphene is the best overall material at conducting electricity. Graphene consists of carbon atoms arranged in extremely thin sheets, and has the lowest electrical resistance of any commonly known material.
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  • What Causes Electric Fields?

    Q: What Causes Electric Fields?

    A: Electrical fields are caused by the attraction and repulsion of electrical charges. Electrical fields are measured using volts per meter and are central to the functioning of electrically-powered devices, such as televisions, light bulbs and computers.
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