We use electricity every single day and enjoy the comfort this invention provides us, but do we properly know what it is? How it first came about? Why is it called electricity and not something else? How has it evolved so much that it has now been incorporated in practically everything around the world? If you are unaware of the answers, do not fret. Let us take a look at some interesting facts about electricity and explore the answers to these questions together.
Electricity has got to be one of the greatest results of the evolution of science and technology. It is most simply referred to as the flow of electrons, which is also called an electric charge. It carries energy; this allows the electric energy of electricity to be transformed into heat and mechanical energy.
It travels at the same speed as light.
The word electricity comes from the word “elektron,” which is part of the Greek vocabulary. When translated, this word means amber, a stone that is used to make jewelry.
Greek scientists had found amber to give off a static charge, and this was the first time that a phenomenon related to electricity was studied in the 19th century.
Hence, over time the name for flow of charge was called electricity.
Michael Faraday, known as the father of electricity, is the one who invented electricity. He placed a magnet around a current-carrying wire and noticed that the current exerted a force on the magnet. This force was then called the field of current.
However, it is argued that electricity was not invented but was discovered. This is because electricity exists naturally and is not made by humans. We will learn more about this later on through the article.
Michael Faraday went on to invent the first electric motor and dynamo. He laid the foundation for all electrical commodities that we have today.
Production and sources
Production of electricity occurs on a mass scale. While the first power plant, called the Edison Electric Light Station, was built in 1890 in the United States, we now have them across the world. To learn more about the history of power plants, click here.
Power plants are huge facilities, and they run generators that convert mechanical energy into electric energy. Yes, electricity comes from movement!
Most power plants are the same, but the sources that they generate power from are different. The main sources are hydropower, thermal, wind power, nuclear power, and solar power.
Hydropower comes from water. A dam is built to store water. Later, this water is led to the powerhouse where turbines and generators convert the energy from water pressure into electric energy.
Thermal power comes from heat. Water is heated beyond its boiling point. The steam that is formed powers turbines which power generators that create an electromagnetic field that produces electricity.
Wind power comes from the force of the wind. Windmills are installed in windy areas so the wind can turn the blades and power the generator. The generator converts the mechanical energy of the blades into electric energy. This is a renewable and clean source of electricity and needs to be encouraged. Why? Click here.
Nuclear power comes from radioactive elements. The disintegration of these elements produces massive amounts of heat. This heat produced from the disintegration of these elements is used to convert water into steam. The steam powers the turbine and generator, which leads to electricity.
Solar power comes from the sun. Solar panels are set up to trap the Sun’s rays. They are later used to power houses and industries with electricity. Portable versions are also made to power electric devices easily. How? Let us tell you here.
To learn more about the use of solar panels at home, click here.
There the two types of electricity are static and current.
This one is rather commonly experienced by humans and can leave you with a strange feeling. Static electricity exists when certain surfaces are rubbed. For example, when a warm sweater rubs against your hair on a winter night or when you touch somebody and immediately jerk away because you feel like you were electrocuted. All of this happens due to the creation of static electricity.
A conductor is needed for the successful flow of current electricity. This type is produced by flowing electrons, and this can also be measured in Amperes. It powers our houses and different electric appliances because it has that capability, unlike static electricity.
Naturally found electricity in living things
Electric current is found among living organisms, and this comes under the umbrella term of bioelectricity.
All cells in the human body are bioelectric. Information is carried through the body in the form of an electric pulse, and similar electric pulse aids in the contraction of muscles.
Likewise, the human heart has an electric system of its own, and our pulses result from the presence of electricity inside our bodies. Ironically, an electric-powered ECG machine is used to trace the electricity inside our bodies! Our lives would truly cease to exist without the presence of electricity.
Over 200 fish species have bioelectric organs, which help them to survive. Marine animals with the highest electric potential are the torpedo, electric eel, and the electric ray. The power of their organs is such that they can give humans a nasty electric shock.
In recent times, electricity has been used to power batteries, appliances, machines, and much more to keep human life going. However, there is a lot of history about electricity usage and how it has slowly been normalized.
When general masses first used electricity, the most common appliances powered were fans, kettles, sewing machines, and toasters.
The first instance of the usage of electricity in Ethiopia was for punishing criminals in an electric chair.
Electricity was transmitted over a long distance for the first time in 1895. The transmitted electricity was from Niagara Falls to Buffalo in New York and covered a distance of 40 kilometers.
The first city that was lit up by electricity in a bulb was Chesterfield Street, in Chesterfield. One incandescent light bulb was installed, and an electric current powered it. However, a street to be fully lit by multiple lightbulbs for the first time was Mosley Street in Newcastle.
The concept of an electric car first came to fruition in 1891. Now electric vehicles are more commonly built; learn more.
It turns out electricity is a lot more complex and interesting than we all thought it to be. In this technology-dependent era, electricity is essential to carry out everyday life tasks. Almost everything requires electricity, from preparing your morning coffee in a Keurig to surgeries and treatments powered by electricity. Now that you have learned everything about it, it is time to dive into a trivia round about electricity with your friend. We already know our readers will be leading the way there!