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

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Why does a glass rod when rubbed with silk cloth aquire positive charge and not negative charge?

I have read many times in the topic of induction that a glass rod when rubbed against a silk cloth acquires a positive charge. Why does it acquire positive charge only, and not negative charge? It ...
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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 ...
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811 views

Desperately Need Help with Grade 9 Static Electricity

I am preparing to teach Grade 9 Static Electricity next week and am going crazy trying to figure out what is happening in one of my experiments. I have a short piece of PVC pipe, 4 inches diameter, ...
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1answer
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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 ...
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288 views

Temperature and resistance?

Why does resistivity increase with temperature? The explanations I have heard so far are that increasing temperature increases vibrations in the lattice structure resulting in the number of ...
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Tying knots in power cables to prevent power surge from lightning strikes

There are plenty of references to this claim on the internet that tying knots in power cables will prevent a piece of equipment e.g. television or computer from a power surge. How can this be ...
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Why is electric current dangerous to humans? [closed]

How does a strong electric current harm our body? A strong electric current will posses a great charge. But how does that charge injure us?
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687 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? ...
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Which dissipates more power, a small or big resistor?

I was talking to someone about trying to dissipate the most heat from a metal crucible (essentially just a resistor $R$). He argued that you wanted the resistor to have a high resistance because ...
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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 ...
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607 views

Why were the SI base quantities chosen as such?

The reasons for choosing length, mass, time, temperature, and amount as base quantities look (at least to me) obvious. What I'm puzzling about is why current (as opposed to resistance, electromotive ...
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824 views

Of all the electrical energy used in a home, is there any portion that won't eventually become thermal energy in the home?

Considering all of the appliances that the average home uses--microwaves, light bulbs, dishwashers, refrigerators--is it safe to say that all of the electrical energy in a home will be converted to ...
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How do you produce electricity from a wind mill?

How does a spinning windmill produce electricity?What is the principle behind the windmill?
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473 views

Can resistance be directional?

When we think of resistance, we always think of a scalar value associated with a piece of a material. After all, resistance is but resistivity times surface geometry. But can resistance be ...
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38k views

Why does a salt solution conduct electrical current?

How does e.g. sodium chloride (aq) conduct electricity? By accepting electrons (unlikely since they already have a full outer shell)? But they can't be hopping around themselves, can they? I mean, if ...
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How can I prevent being zapped by static electricity every time I touch a doorknob or handle in the office?

I don't know what it is about this office, but it seems everything I touch (doorknob, bathroom faucet, edge of kitchen sink in the break room), I get zapped by static electricity. It's getting old. ...
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Why is electrical energy so difficult to store?

Does anyone know a general answer to these questions? (I've asked them together because they're all pretty related, it seems.) Why is it that we find electrical energy so difficult to store? Do we ...
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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 ...
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605 views

Why does electric field intensity $E$ can be uniquely determined by its divergence and curl? [duplicate]

My question is, the number of following equations $$\nabla\cdot E=\frac{\rho}{\varepsilon}$$ $$\nabla\times E=-\frac{\partial B}{\partial t}$$ is 4 while the number of unknown variables ...
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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 ...
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What's the source of electricity for the human brain?

I keep hearing that there's always electrical activity taking place inside the human brain. Our heart and various other organs function because it receives electrical signals called impulse. But, ...
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1k views

Does Tesla's photoelectric “solar cell” really work?

Tesla patented a device for gathering energy from light, using the photoelectric effect. (US 685,957 - Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy): Basically just a sheet of "highly polished ...
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What’s the relationship between thermal radiation and Johnson thermal noise?

All objects above absolute zero emit radiation due to random collisions between the atoms they are made of. The spectrum of radiation emitted varies according to the temperature of the object, I ...
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111 views

What experiment disproved single fluid theory of electricity?

I just can't understand how history of electricity goes on. What experiment disproved Benjamin Franklin's fluid theory of electricity?
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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?
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801 views

Relativistic drift velocity of electrons in a superconductor?

Is there a formula for the effective speed of electron currents inside superconductors? The formula for normal conductors is: $$ V = \frac{I}{nAq}$$ I wonder if there are any changes to this ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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?
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why does increasing the temperature of a thermistor decrease it's resistance?

Surely, upon an increase in temperature, the atoms within the thermistor would vibrate with more energy and therefore more vigorously, hence making the electrons flowing through the electric circuit ...
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How can there be a current and an electric field in an idealized wire with no voltage drop?

In an ideal circuit, How can there be a current b/w points a & b, when there is no potential difference and thus no electric field between a & b? If there is no current, then where does ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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317 views

How do bathroom scales measure body fat percent?

My bathroom scale has 2 metal strips each for a foot and the producer claims that it can measure body fat percent. There is a warning in the manual, that if I have heart problems (I guess pacemaker), ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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582 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 ...
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722 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 ...
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Weird phenomenon on aluminum laptop casing [duplicate]

A couple of days ago I observed a phenomenon which I'm not sure I understand correctly. My brother-in-law has recently bought an ASUS gaming laptop in an aluminum casing. When the power supply is ...
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4answers
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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. ...
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How does insulating footwear prevent an electric shock?

The reason I have always heard to explain the reduction of electric shock when we wear insulating footwear goes as follows: When electricity passes from our body to the ground, an electric circuit ...
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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 ...
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431 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 ...
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606 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?
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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 ...