What is electricity, and how is it made?


What is electricity, and how is it made?

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Everything is made up of atoms, and atoms have something called electrons. Sometimes some atoms have too many or too few electrons and want to give away or take electrons.

If you take a bunch of atoms that want electrons and group them together, and make a second group of atoms who want to get rid and of electrons, then put them close enough together or connect them with something conductive, the electrons will pass from one group to another. If you’re smart about the materials the electrons pass through, you can make them do other work like powering lights and motors on their way. Electricity is just the movement of electrons, when you feel a static shock that is simply electrons moving in your fingertip.

There is a wonderful episode of ‘Story Bots’ that explains it well. Also, I think Edward Norton was in the episode

Electricity is energy that is transmitted as an impulse by electrons displacing each other between atoms in matter. Electrons respond to magnetic fields (magnetic fields displace electrons, displaced electrons also create magnetic fields). To create electricity, you pass a wire through a magnetic field. This changes the electrical potential along the wire. If the wire forms part of an electrically circuitous path, then current will flow.

Electrical energy can also be produced chemically. Some chemical reactions yield a surplus of electrons in one kind of metal and a deficit in another metal. These surplus electrons will readily displace those in a nearby conductor. Like in the magnet wire analogy above, if the conductor forms an electrically circuitous path between the two metals, then current will flow.