Eli5: How do electrical generators work on an atomic level?

392 views

As I understand it electricity is the flow of delocalised electrons, so where do they come from in the first place?

In: Chemistry

When an electrical conductor passes through a magnetic field, a voltage potential is created and current is said to be induced.

On another note, if you reverse this process, you get an electrical motor, by which current running through a conductor near a magnetic field causes the conductor to pass through the field (motion).

[Delocalized_electron](https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delocalized_electron) is just elections that have an orbit that is not associated with a single atom or a pair of atoms. They are created when atoms form together and crate bound between them. In a molecule, if it is not a covalent bond they are delocalized.

So if you for example have a ring of carbon with 6 atoms and 6 hydrogens on the outside you have Benzene. The elections that are involved in the bonds between the carbon can move around between multiple atoms.

For metal, the electrons that move around like that are a part of how the atoms are connected together.

So electrical generators do not create delocalized electrons they existed in the metal when it was formed. The is the reason the metal can conduct electricity.
The generator uses a magnetical field to create an electrical field. An election has a charge and will move in an electrical field. So the elections that can move in the metal are the delocalised electrons that already existed there.

The electrons are already there – held to the nearby atoms. In conductors, the outer electrons can pass effortlessly from one atom to the next. Electrical generators use magnetic fields to move these electrons in bulk one direction or another.

Magnets in motion are capable of herding electrons through specific materials arranged in a specific way. Herding the electrons creates a potential difference, like lifting a heavy ball above your head. The faster/stronger the magnet is, the higher/heavier the ball. A generator then stores the energy and lets electrical devices “drop the heavy ball” to perform work.