The study of the presence and flow of electric charge. Charges, currents, fields, potentials.

learn more… | top users | synonyms

6
votes
3answers
414 views

What happens if I throw a battery into water?

Today I have by accident thrown a AAA battery into a bucket of water. I fished it out of the water immediately (within 20 seconds or so) and nothing notable had happened and the battery is still full ...
6
votes
4answers
446 views

What is the current of a capacitor when the derivative of voltage is undefined?

This is from the textbook I am reading: I know this equation for capacitors: $$i=C\cdot \frac { dv }{ dt }$$ Here is my question: how can diagram (a) be allowed if the derivative of the voltage ...
6
votes
5answers
631 views

Why does electricity need wires to flow?

If you drop a really heavy ball the ball's gravitational potential energy will turn into kinetic energy. If you place the same ball in the pool, the ball will still fall. A lot of kinetic energy will ...
6
votes
2answers
275 views

why is a resistor frequency independent

I had a doubt that why is a resistor, frequency independent? Since, as frequency increases the movement of electrons increases so heat increases which causes change in resistance. So my question is ...
6
votes
2answers
491 views

Conservation of Energy in a Capacitor

Consider a parallel-plate capacitor in free space. A negatively charged point particle with initial velocity $v$ passes through the space between the pair of parallel plates (with an initial path ...
6
votes
3answers
174 views

Why does Joule heating not occur when no current flows through a conductor?

Joule heating happens every time when the conduction electrons transfer kinetic energy to the conductor's atoms through collisions, causing these conductor's atoms to increase their kinetic and ...
6
votes
4answers
2k views

How do electrons “know” to share their voltage between two resistors?

My physics teacher explained the difference between voltage and current using sandwiches. Each person gets a bag full of sandwiches when they pass through the battery. Current = the number of people ...
6
votes
3answers
715 views

Why do charges enter the capacitor in the first place?

I have been studying Capacitors for the past year now and the one thing I don't understand is how a charge is stored on the capacitor. Essentially, a circuit with a capacitor is an incomplete circuit ...
6
votes
2answers
366 views

Ionized Depletion Region, Why aren't those charged being excited?

Ok so I understand the PN junction, and how when 2 Semiconductor materials are placed together the Electrons will jump into the Holes near the junction creating a Negatively Ionized Atoms on the ...
6
votes
2answers
139 views

Will I get a shock when I try to use my hair-dryer under water?

Occasionally people get killed in their bathtubs by having an electrical device such as a hair-dryer take the bath with them - in movies. It seems to be a common belief that this is realistic, even ...
6
votes
2answers
4k views

What causes fluorescent light bulb to light up when it is near a plasma globe? Can this phenomenon be used to generate electricity in a circuit?

When a fluorescent light bulb is placed near a plasma globe, despite the fact there isn't a closed circuit, a part of the light blulb would light up. I tried measuring the voltage of the air ...
6
votes
3answers
247 views

When mutual inductance is occurring between two coils, is self inductance always occurring in each individual coil?

When a coil connected to an AC generator creates an EMF in another nearby coil (mutual inductance), is self inductance simultaneously occurring in both coils?
5
votes
4answers
515 views

How are electric flux calculations not double integrals?

A disk of radius 0.10 m is oriented with its normal unit vector $\hat{n}$ at 30$^{\circ}$ to a uniform electric field $\vec{E}$ of magnitude 2000 N/C. What is the electric flux through the disk? ...
5
votes
4answers
8k views

Electrical force vs gravitational force

Given that the electrical force is so much stronger than gravitational force at atomic levels, why is it that it's the gravitational force between you and the earth that keeps you on the ground rather ...
5
votes
3answers
492 views

Can electricity transfer radioactivity?

If a cable used to power something is exposed to a radioactive source will it over time make the entire cable radioactive?
5
votes
5answers
1k views

What voltages are used to “safely” shock someone (as in a carnival game)

I've had this debate with some coworks. What voltage (rough order of magnitute) is used to safely shock people? "Safe" is a vague term, but as an example, there are arcade games where you hold onto ...
5
votes
6answers
9k views

Difference between current and voltage sources

I am confused about the current and voltage. My intuitive example would be that of a pipe of say water. The diameter of the pipe determines the amount of water flowing per second but the pressure is ...
5
votes
3answers
188 views

Why don't we use beta radiation for making electricity?

Why don't we use beta radiation to make our electricity? Since it is an electron being released/made, it would make sense to try and capture it. But, we obviously don't so. What am I missing in my ...
5
votes
6answers
13k views

In an alternating current, do electrons flow from the source to the device?

If electrons in an alternating current periodically reverse their direction, do they really flow? Won't they always come back to the same position?
5
votes
3answers
6k views

What happens when we connect a metal wire between the 2 poles of a battery?

As I remembered, at the 2 poles of a battery, positive or negative electric charges are gathered. So there'll be electric field existing within the battery. This filed is neutralized by the chemical ...
5
votes
3answers
3k views

Can the Earth's magnetic be used to generate electricity?

Since the Earth has a magnetic field, can it, in theory, be run through a conductive metal coil to create electricity?
5
votes
4answers
10k views

Why can electricity flow only in one direction through a diode?

A few days ago I was soldering a small thing which contained a diode, a battery and some other useless things. Unfortunately, I soldered the diode reversed and it didn't work. When I reversed it ...
5
votes
4answers
608 views

Help fill in my understanding of the Polywell fusion reactor

Polywell is a proposed new type of fusion reactor, which is designed to use magnetic fields to overcome the problems with the Elmore-Tuck-Watson fusor. I'm trying to understand exactly how it works. ...
5
votes
5answers
800 views

How long would it take for electricity to flow from one terminal to other, via a 1 LY long wire?

Basically, how long does it take for electricity to determine there is a closed circuit and how does it know that the circuit exists? I'm curious to know how it knows there is a closed circuit at any ...
5
votes
1answer
491 views

why sometimes touching old flickering tube lights starts them properly

In my old house there are two old tube lights. Some times they don't start properly, (specially at evening time, may be it is because of low voltage), they starts flickering i.e. on and off ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

how calculate resistance between two points for arbitrary resistor grid?

I need to calculate resistance in an electrical grid. Grid is a graph. Edges of a graph are resistors. How calculate resistance between any two vertexes for arbitrary graph? I know Kirchoff law and ...
5
votes
2answers
4k views

What happens to a fully charged battery, when you continue to charge it?

If I leave my cell-phone charging the whole night, it will be fully charged after a while. What happens with the battery and the excess energy I add? Also, I noticed my charger emitting a different ...
5
votes
2answers
625 views

What happens if you connect a hot resistor to a cold resistor?

Kind of an extension to this question: If you heat up an object, and put it in contact with a colder object, in an ideal insulated box, the heat from one will transfer to the other through thermal ...
5
votes
3answers
22k views

Why do birds, sitting on electric wires, not get shocked?

If we would touch electric wires, we would get a shock, even if we are not touching ground (so that no connection is complete form wire to ground through us). I always see that birds sit on electric ...
5
votes
3answers
229 views

Why does a faraday cage protect you from high currents?

In an electrostatic case it is clear that that in a space enclosed with a conductor (without charge in it) the electric field is zero. This is often demonstrated in physics shows like on the ...
5
votes
1answer
835 views

Salt water conduction

Does salt water conduct mostly by the ions travelling through the solution, or by electrons collectively flowing or hopping through the solution like in metals?
5
votes
1answer
580 views

How much of current flows through a bird sitting on a power line?

I've been googling for hours and went through over a hundred answers. Now, some say the bird doesn't form a closed loop, some say the current is so small that it doesn't kill the bird. From as much as ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Calculating engine starter’s energy use

During a discussion on start-and-stop vehicle technology some bloke began pushing the point that re-starting the car uses stored energy from the battery, which needs to be replenished by increased ...
5
votes
2answers
3k views

What happens to capacitor’s charge when the plates are moved further apart?

In my physics textbook there is an example of using capacitor switches in computer keyboard: Pressing the key pushes two capacitor plates closer together, increasing their capacitance. A larger ...
5
votes
3answers
836 views

What's the difference between Capacitors, Ultra-Capacitors and Batteries

Capacitors are known to hold and release energy very quickly, unlike the slower release that batteries exhibit. If one were to bunch many (1000's of) capacitors together could they function as a ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Where do electrons in electricity come from?

Where do the electrons come from when an electric generator is making electricity? Is from the air? Would a generator work in a vacuum? Electrons have mass so where would they be pulled from if ...
5
votes
2answers
1k views

How to calculate required current and specifications for a “wet coil” to generate x Tesla of magnetic field?

A water management project requires a "wet coil" (coil will be submerged in aqueous media) designed to generate a steady-state electromagnetic field of adjustable magnetic magnetic flux density at the ...
5
votes
3answers
105 views

Charge signs in current

I've had recently an argument with my friend about different charge carriers in an electric current. Suppose that electrons and holes are moving in the same direction. It effectively means we have ...
5
votes
4answers
832 views

Does current flow back to the source through earth?

We know that if Single Line to Fault occurs, then fault current flows to the earth. I want to know whether the current will return to the source or not. For the current to flow we need a closed path. ...
5
votes
1answer
124 views

Can I feel (the results of) electromagnetic induction from overhead rail lines in the human body?

A few weeks back, I was standing at a Hornsey rail station (in the UK) which uses overhead lines, and particularly has a number of parallel rail lines, all close to the platform. While I was standing ...
5
votes
1answer
1k views

Why does electrical current start to flow?

What happens microscopically when an electrical current starts to flow? I'd like to understand microscopically what happens in detail when electrons start moving (quasi-classically). Electrons can ...
5
votes
2answers
146 views

How does current flow in a irregularly shaped heterogeneous resistor?

The motivation for my question is understanding how electricity gets through your skin as opposed to running along it, and how the presence of things like water on the skin affect the relative ...
4
votes
5answers
491 views

This sentence makes no sense, electrostatics and electrons moving in a conductor - current

I highlighted the part where the confusion is. The sentence said that the potential difference is 0, yet it then immediately talks about how electrons can have motion. What are they trying to ...
4
votes
4answers
5k views

A circuit with no voltage difference, but current flowing

From Michael on Skeptics Stackexchange: How about a wire that's grounded? Safe to touch, right? WRONG. ...
4
votes
4answers
697 views

Are square wave really square or are they always relative approximations using harmonics

I'm studying the properties of waves through different mediums, and got hung up on this. Is a square wave always a sum of harmonics or can we produce a square wave by quickly changing voltage? Is ...
4
votes
4answers
3k views

Is a signal traveling through fiber faster than a signal traveling through copper?

Does the transmission medium affect the speed of a signal? For instance does light traveling through a fiber cable get a bit from A => B faster than copper can transmit a bit the over the same ...
4
votes
2answers
199 views

Why doesn't a neon sign seem that hot?

I heard that neon signs contain plasma, why aren't they hot? is it because the electrons and ions do not hit the lamp's wall? Is it because it is non thermal plasma and electrons and ions are not in ...
4
votes
4answers
2k views

Is there a travelling speed of for electric field? If yes, what is it?

Consider a conducting wire of 1M and 1000KM. Now if we connect a battery and a bulb to both these wires. Bulb glows instantaneously its because (my guess:) electric filed travels from positive ...
4
votes
2answers
162 views

Is a billion volt electrical transmission line possible?

Because $$ P_{loss}=\frac{P^2R}{V^2} $$ in an electrical line where R is total resistance Why not use a 1 billion volt line instead of a 800kv line? Is there a maximum voltage that copper can carry? ...
4
votes
2answers
498 views

How do stun guns not kill people?

Now, I've seen a lot of answers to this sort of question, but most of them provide answers that don't actually make sense from a physics perspective. As an example of such an answer, I've commonly ...