What is electricity and why does it defy gravity?


Yesterday i started wondering, what is electricity on a material level? It’s not an element nor a molecule, right?

And how can it defy gravity? Why does a power cord that goes upwards still work?

In: Physics


Simply put.

Electricity is moving electrons.

Why do they move? You create an area of positive charge or negative charge. Electrons will then flow from charge to no charge because there is a potential difference between the two and electricity wants to be 0, it doesn’t want to exist.

It doesn’t exactly defy gravity, the electromagnetic force is just way way stronger than gravity and exists on a much much smaller scale. For all intents and purposes, gravity is irrelevant to electromagnetism.

This applies for DC voltage mostly
An often used compaison would be thinking of it like water flowing through boses or pipes. You have pressure (voltage) that flows if tbere is somewhere for it to go.

Resistance (ohms) would be if there was a bottleneck somewhere in the system that restricts the volume (amps) that can get through.

Loads will have some degree of resistance, and make use of the pressure and volume in order to do work. In a DC circuit, all of the voltage/pressure is consumed through resistance and the load itself. The volume moving through the system remains the same at all points

To explicitly explain why gravity doesn’t matter to electrons: the electromagnetic force acting on an electron is on the order of 10^(-19) Newtons — an electron’s charge is around 1.6*10^(-19) coulombs, and the force is directly proportional to the charge, but the gravitational force is on the order of 10^(-31) Newtons — an electron’s mass is around 9.1*10^(-31) kilograms, and the force is, again, directly proportional to mass. Even if we round down and up to the nearest power of ten respectively, there’s still a difference of 11 orders of magnitude between the forces. The electromagnetic force overpowers the gravitational force with ridiculous ease.

Electricity is the flow of moving charged particles called electrons. These are really small.

Now imagine if an electron were the size of a car. The force of gravity is on the electron would be like tying a small thin thread to the car and pulling on it. The electromagnetic force is like an iron chain tied to the car and pulling on it. There is simply no way for earth’s gravity to overcome the other forces on an electron, it is just too weak.