In this section, we start off with the first question we must always ask before learning anything new. And that is what? What is electricity? For this we will ask our good friend Spark. Once again, our timing is perfect; there he is right now. "Hello Spark!"
"Hello. You must be the Wizard character that spoke to me on the phone."
"That would be me. I was wondering if you could help answer some questions on electricity and magnetism?"
"Well you know I am an electrical engineer, and I am really busy right now. Well I guess I can help you, but only if you leave your hat on.
"Why thank you. Anyway, could you tell me what electricity is?"
"Of course! Electricity is the ... wait, I
forgot, most of you don't know what an atom is! Well, lets start with the
basics. Atoms are fundamental particles that all objects in the universe
are said to consist of. An atom, like the planet Saturn, has protons and
neutrons (sub-atomic particles that make up the surface of the planet) and
electrons that orbit the center body like the particles in Saturn's rings.
Now, where electricity comes in play is through the electron. (Note the
similarity in words.)
"Wait a second, your talking too fast! What your saying is a little too complicated for me. Perhaps you could simplify a bit."
"For you Wizard, anything. Okay, an electron is negative. An atom with fewer electrons than it normally has, is positive. Now what we can do is put these positive atoms on one end of a wire, and these negative electrons on another. Since electrons move more easily that atoms, mainly because of mass, the negatively charged electrons move towards the positively charged atom through the wire. This flow of electrons is electricity."
"Ah ha! Now that makes sense! Well then could you tell us a bit more about electricity? For instance, how we can get these separation of charges in the real world?"
"Yes I can. The simplest example is the battery. Because of chemical reactions in the battery, there is a separation of charges. You end up with one end of the battery being positive(+) and one end being negative(-). We attach the batteries to wires which go in a loop - negative to positive. Now the best part is what happens in the middle. Since the electrons want to complete the loop, or circuit, we can make the electrons do work for us on their journeys. For example, we can put a light bulb on the wire and make the electrons light the bulb up. Or we can put an electric motor on the wires, and let the current move the motor. We refer to the objects that we connect to electrical wires as loads."
"Wow that's a load full of info! Thanks for the info Spark."
We will get back to Spark in the next section. It covers the specific terms that relate to electricity. So, if you want to impress your peers with some cool electric talk, then click away to the next section!
An atom has a nucleus (made up of neutrons and protons)
Electrons orbit the atom