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

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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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Why don't electric workers get electrocuted when only touching one wire? [duplicate]

I know that when electricians work on the poles on the streets, if they only touch one wire at a time they will be fine. However, from my understanding, the negative wire is connected to a large ...
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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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Is there a travelling speed of for electric field? If yes, what is it?

Consider two circuits containing a battery, bulb, switch and conducting wires but of length 1 meter in one case and 1000KM in other. When switched on at the same time both the bulbs glow ...
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997 views

Why is there an electric field in a wire even though it is a conductor?

If you take a perfect conductor, there cannot be a field across it since if there were, the particles would arrange themselves in a way to cancel out the field right? Yet, why does the same not hold ...
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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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How exactly does a solar flare cause a power line surge?

There are occasional large scale electrical blackouts caused by solar flares. Quebec Solar Flare Blackout My question is: what affects the severity of the problem? It obviously depends on the ...
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Why do two connected 1.5-volt batteries become a 3- volt battery?

Why two connected 1.5 volt battery become 3 volts? If one battery plus side is connect to minus side of another battery, there should be a current flow between them until no free charge move anymore, ...
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Why is the charge transferred by electrons and not by protons?

Charges are transferred by electrons which we all know. But why can't it be transferred by protons? Well, I searched on Google where I found similar questions already being asked on many sites. ...
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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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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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What is the difference between induced and motional emf?

At least from their names, it seems motional emf is induced, so what's the difference?
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Is the Earth negatively or positively charged?

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs. Does that mean the Earth is negatively charged?
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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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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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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 ...
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131 views

If increasing applying energy to an atom excites electrons, why does electrical conductivity decrease as temperature increases?

Applying energy to an atom makes the electrons jump up to higher energy levels. This is known as excitation. Electrons on higher energy levels are easier to remove from an atom than those on lower ...
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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 ...
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Can Gases conduct Electricity?

Liquid electrolytes ionize and hence a current can pass through them. So if a gas can ionize, can it conduct electricity too? If so, what are a few such gases?
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Is there something like the Poynting vector for hydraulic circuits?

The Poynting vector is a representation of the energy flux in electromagnetics, showing the amount and direction of power flow at different points in space. In electric circuits, the energy is not ...
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Is there mechanical strain on a wire along the direction of current flow?

The (attractive) magnetic force on two parallel wires can be seen by the two wires bending towards each other. This can be explained by the Lorentz force acting on the charges and the charges ...
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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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356 views

Shot noise at high frequencies (can it really be ideal white noise?)

Quantum shot noise (either optical intensity noise or electrical current noise) described by the noise spectral density of $2 e I$ (electrically) or $2 h \nu P$ (optically). So it is white noise. I ...
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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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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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Physical interpretation related to a non-linear partial differential equation

I am doctoral student in pure mathematics working on a particular problem. My question is if this problem has applications to real world phenomena. I will try to explain the direct problem starting ...
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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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Do electric and magnetic lines of force physically exist?

As per my imagination any thing can't impose force on the other by not giving even a touch(i,e action at a distance). So I thought there must be some physical existence of lines of force. Although ...
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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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540 views

Why does the electron volt seem inconsistent with mass?

If I understand correctly, an electron volt is the work done when an electron is moved from a plate with a voltage of 0V to another plate with a voltage of +1V. This is represented by $V = W/Q$, or $W ...
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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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How can you have a negative voltage?

How can you have a negative voltage? I don't really understand the concept of negative voltage, how can it exist?
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Understanding the relationship between electricity and magnetism

I keep on hearing that magnetism is just another form of electricity and vice versa. If that's the case why can't we use magnets as batteries, and why aren't my batteries magnetic?
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How is Kirchhoff's voltage law understood in the water flow analogy?

I met the Kirchhoff circuit laws in the past, but now I'm trying to associate them with a practical representation to be sure to understand them. Let's start with the Kirchhoff current law: If I say ...
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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 ...
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Is it possible to flow current in open circuit?

As I know a battery is an example of a closed circuit where it can then produce electricity , electrons will flow from negative pole to positive. A chemistry representation of this battery is for ...
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How much energy is in a lightning strike?

According to Wikipedia an average lightning has 1TW, the whole world used 16TW in 2006. (I suppose this means the same as 16TWh in one year?) Sometimes the lightning reaches 100kA. This peak last for ...
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Why doesn't an electron accelerate in a circuit?

Why don't electrons accelerate when a voltage is applied between two points in in a circuit? All the textbooks I've referred conveyed the meaning that when an electron traveled from negative potential ...
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Calculating electric motor's weight lifting ability knowing power. What else do I need to know?

So, my company works with electric motors, and my boss wanted me to calculate how much weight could be lifted by a motor rated at 750W. I know that I can't just calculate the work done by it without ...
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If an electric car were to drive without having to stop, would the range be greatly affected by the speed at which the vehicle is moving?

Of course aerodynamics factors into this question, and the faster you are moving the more air you have to push out of your way, the more energy you use. But would the difference be only a small ...
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Can the lightning be captured and used as power source?

I would like to update my knowledge in this area, that is really out-of-dated and stopped somewhere like ten years ago. I asked the very same question on my physics lecture at my studies and got the ...
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577 views

Why do physicists believe protons and electrons are present in equal numbers?

I tended to consider that negative and positive charges are present in equal numbers in the universe to be a known, obvious fact. But is it so? How can we rule out the possibility that there is some ...
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983 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 ...
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714 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. ...
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Charge of an electric wire

If an electric current is flowing through an electric wire, can we consider that wire charged? The answer is required with a proof. Can we consider the wire to be charged positively or negatively?
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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 ...