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

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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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492 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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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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567 views

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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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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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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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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266 views

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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532 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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832 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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685 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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Does rubber insulate lightning more effectively than air?

Last week, an Ars Technica writer was struck by lightning. He says that the 911 operators were concerned about whether or not he was wearing shoes at the time, but he didn't think it would make much ...
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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 ...
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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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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 ...
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825 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 ...
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How fast do electrons move through a conductor?

If I apply $1 \text{ V}$ across a $1 \text{ }\Omega$ resistance, I'd get $1 \text{ A}$ flowing. $1 \text{ A}$ is defined as $1 \frac{\text{C}}{\text{s}}$, and $1 \text{ C}$ is equivalent to ...
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Do high voltage power lines attract lightning strikes?

I always thought that high voltage power lines would attract a lightning strike more than other structures in the same area. Turns out I was wrong. My neighbor's chimney got struck by lightning and it ...
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Why doesn't the electric field inside a wire in a circuit fall off with distance from the battery?

We studied electric fields due to point charges. The magnitude of these fields decreases with the square of the distance from the point charge. It seems to me that we could treat the positive ...
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Why does welding produce UV light?

Looking directly at a welder is dangerous because large amounts of UV light is produced. What makes this light? Is it electrons from the current that excites metal atoms, and these atoms sends out UV ...
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How electricity, and generating electricity works on the atomic level?

I am trying to understand the basics physics as to how electricity works. Unfortunately it seems most online material is either complex full blown mathematical equations, or water pump analogies. I ...
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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?
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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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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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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 ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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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. ...
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Why and how exactly is electric motor torque limited?

Inspired by this question and specifically this answer to it. From my experience there's always some very specific limit to how much torque an electric motor can output. For example, an electric ...
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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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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 ...
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How Special Relativity causes magnetism

So my physics teacher assigned us an article about how special relativity causes magnetism in a wire with a current, even with the low drift velocities of electrons in a current. It seemed that the ...
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The possibility of free electrical energy?

Please excuse my lack of knowledge/understanding. Question: Why Nikola Tesla's Free Energy concept was never worked upon? Even today. Context: Now that we know Nikola Tesla was a genius and did ...
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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 ...
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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 ...
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Why chewing a battery increases its power? [closed]

I know almost nothing about physics. Last night my TV remote was not working. I chewed the batteries and woh! It still had power left. How does chewing a battery increases its power? I think it's a ...
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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 ...
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990 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 ...
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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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433 views

Is a billion volt electrical transmission line possible?

Because $$ P_{\,\displaystyle\rm loss}=\frac{P^2R}{V^2} $$ in an electrical line where $R$ is the total resistance Why not use a $1$ billion volt line instead of a $800\,\rm kv$ line? Is there a ...
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Why is the steam from cooling towers not used?

If I see the steam coming out of cooling towers at an altitude of 200 meters, I cannot help but think that this energy is wasted. My question is: Why isn't this steam cooled enough to become water and ...
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Sign of Work and potential energy in electrostatics

Conceptual question: Suppose we have a configuration of point charges. If the potential of the energy of the system is negative, this means work is positive. I'm kind of rusty with my mechanics, ...
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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 ...