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

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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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Does a Tesla coil work in space?

If I took a Tesla coil into space, and then turned it on near, but not touching metal objects- would charge jump to the metal objects? It's my understanding I wouldn't see a flash, since the lightning ...
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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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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 does the comb attract the pieces of papers if they're neutral?

When we rub our hairs with a comb, and then try to attract small pieces of paper, they're attracted by the comb. The pieces of the paper were not electrified before they were attracted. Then they ...
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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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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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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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Levitating capacitor

As the title already says, I would like to make a large capacitor levitate. Before you dismiss this question please hear me out: In essence, this is intended to be a way to avoid the constrains of a ...
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Potential difference between Earth's surface and 2 meters above

Assuming Earth is a charged sphere of radius $R = 6400\times10^3$ m with uniform surface charge density $\sigma = -10^{-9}$ C/m2 and with $\epsilon_0 = 8.85\times10^{-12}$ F/m I find that ...
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Why do some (older) wind generators have more than three blades?

Based on my personal observations, newer windmills seem to have three blades while older ones tend to have four or even more. This question has excellent discussion on my three is an optimal number. ...
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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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How can a conductor be grounded yet there are induced charges on it?

A classic example for the method of images is the following, quoted from Griffiths's Introduction to Electrodynamics, page 121: Suppose a point charge $q$ is held a distance $d$ above an infinite ...
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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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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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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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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 does connecting a battery's positive terminal to the negative terminal of another battery not create a short circuit?

This is a question regarding the physics behind the observation. I have guessed the answer to the question, but I may be wrong, so I want to wait for the responses before posting it. Some major ...
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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 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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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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Voltage in a circuit

Suppose I have a following circuit: I do not understand, why the potential difference between the points $c$ and $d$ is equal to the potential difference between the points $b$ and $a$? That is, ...
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General integral to find resistance

My question is: is there a simple and truly general equation for the resistance between two electrical equipotential surfaces?. Obviously, if so, what is it, and if not, why? It would be very ...
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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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Why is the voltage drop across an ideal wire zero?

I'm having trouble conceptualizing why the voltage drop between two points of an ideal wire (i.e. no resistance) is $0~V$. Using Ohm's Law, the equation is such: $$ V = IR \\ V = I(0~\Omega) \\ V = ...
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Why are $\mu_0$ and $\epsilon_0$, which appear in electrostatics and magnetostatics, related to the speed of light which appears in electrodynamics?

$\epsilon_0$ and $\mu_0$ appear in electrostatics and magnetostatics. When we include time varying fields we have electrodynamics and the appearance of c which turns out to be related to $\epsilon_0$ ...
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Why do electric pickles only glow at one end?

The electric pickle is often used as an example of a non-ohmic resistor. In the experiment, electric current excites the sodium ions inside pickle, producing very bright and intense light effect. What ...
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How can a material conduct heat but not electricity

Mica is a good conductor of heat but an electrical insulator. According to free electron theory (which applies only to metals) free electrons carry heat and electricity. Therefore, thermal ...
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Will the current carrying solid conductors emit light?

If we pass current through a gas, like in the discharge tube, the electrons will accelerate in the electric field. The accelerated electrons will collide with gas molecules, and transfer some of their ...
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How does lightning “know” where to go?

If lightning comes down in, say, a large flat field with a lightning rod sticking out of the middle, the lightning will strike the rod. How does it "know" the rod is there? Will it always strike the ...
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Voltage drop due to a resistor

I'm afraid this question is going to sound rather dumb but here it is: Suppose I have a very simple circuit: one battery and one resistor. The sum of the voltages in this circuit has to equal zero. ...
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Why does a Resistor cause a potential drop?

I need to know the underlying physics of what exactly happens different with the electric field in the resistor than in superconducting wires. Why is it that when I connect a resistor, potential ...
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Why do batteries work?

Consider diagram A. In diagram A a car is at the top of a cliff. Gravity is pulling it down, but it does't move since its on a flat surface. Even though it would be at a lower potential at point B, ...
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why do lightbulbs sometimes unscrew by themselves?

I've seen some light fixtures which exhibit the behavior of lightbulbs gradually unscrewing by themselves.
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Why does electricity flowing through a copper coil generate a magnetic field?

Can some one please explain to me why electricity flowing though a copper coil generates a magnetic field or where I could possibly find that information? Are there other materials that produce a ...
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Derivation of Ohm's Law

Is it possible to derive Ohm's law (perhaps in some appropriate limit) from Maxwell's Equations?
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Sum total distance of electrons on a spherical surface

What is the sum total distance between every possible pair of point charges when there are n point charges on a spherical surface? All point charges can only and are located on the infinitesimal ...
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How can there be a path to ground with thick shoes and a carpet?

I'm connecting a test light to one pin of an halogen lamp. When I touch the metallic part on the back of the test light, the light glows, as it is supposed to. However, I have thick shoes and I am ...
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How is the current same on both the sides of a resistor?

I am wondering that how can current be equal on either side of a resistor as the work of a resistor is to resist the flow of electrons i.e. decrease the current. How is this possible?
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What happens when the frequency of A.C becomes infinite?

In an alternating current, the flow of electric charge periodically reverses direction, and the number of times it does that is called the frequency of the current. However, if the frequency of an AC ...
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Electric Field from Dielectric Shell

This is a question taken from a past E&M exam A thick spherical shell (inner radius $R_1$ and outer radius $R_2$) is made of a dielectric material with a "frozen in" polarization ...
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Will there be any force of attraction or repulsion between an electrified body and a non-electrified body?

Up to my knowledge an electrified (charged) body can attract a non-electrified (neutral) body. I thought this because, when we bring a charged (suppose negatively charged) body near a neutral one. ...
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When does voltage drop occur?

Why or when does it occur in a circuit? What does it imply when you speak of a voltage drop across a resistor? (Obviously, it probably means that the current's voltage before the resistor is higher ...