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

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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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8k views

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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1k views

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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362 views

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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433 views

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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149 views

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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678 views

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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297 views

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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377 views

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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131 views

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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1k views

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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422 views

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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1k views

Speakers and Static from Hands

Why is it that when you touch the a bare male end of a speaker feed that the speaker makes hissing noises? Is it just (eddy?) currents running through you?
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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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466 views

Balloon rubbing; where do the electrons go?

If you rubbed a balloon with a towel, where would the electrons go: the balloon or the towel? Why? I'm guessing the electrons would go to the object with a larger mass, but it's just a guess. :)
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59 views

What causes the electrical reaction between two carbon rods touching?

I recently watched this video in which carbon rods from a 6V lantern battery are removed and then touched together to create a makeshift arc reactor furnace. This produces electrified plasma which can ...
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54 views

Why does my shirt make a crackling noise when it is static?

I thought that when clothing becomes "static" (used as a colloquial adjective for that state when clothing fresh out of the drier sticks to everything) it's because of a build up of electrons. That's ...
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985 views

Why does an electric motor burn up when you physically stop it?

As an electric motor spins, the energy from the electricity is 'conducted' to the rotor by the magnetic fields. However, when the motor is stopped, the energy becomes heat and burns up to motor. ...
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137 views

Applicability of the concept of voltage in electrodynamic circuits

In electrostatics, we have $$\nabla \times \vec{E} = 0$$. Hence, we can define a scalar potential $V$, where $$\vec{E} = -\nabla V$$. We know from Faraday's law that $$\nabla \times \vec{E} = ...
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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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161 views

maximum positive electric charge of solid body

What are the limiting factors on the positive charge of a solid body? If I assume a 'perfect insulator' environment that would not exchange charge with my solid body, I would guess that I can remove ...
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5k views

How to know what materials are good conductors of electricity?

I'm not asking a question like "Is the wood conductive?". No. I'm asking what properties do they have to have to be good conductors. Theoretically I mean. Thanks.
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522 views

Algorithm of Lightning Strikes? [duplicate]

Given an array of charge for a given area (2D or 3D), what algorithm would describe the path that lightning takes? An example algorithm would be from the highest charge of the cloud, find the lowest ...
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121 views

Thermal conductivity affected by electrical current

Does anyone know of any materials whereby the thermal conductivity can be changed by passing an electrical current through the material?
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Using Electrostatic Force to Repel Dust From an Object

I have two 4,000V, 2.5mA, DC power supplies and am attempting to use them in such a way to cause a 6x4x1-inch ABS plastic object to repel dust from the ambient air and prevent this dust from settling ...
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685 views

Does light induce an electric current in a conductor?

I know that electromagnetic waves induce electric currents in conductors and that's the basis for radio, wi-fi etc. I also know that light is also an electromagnetic wave. So, can light induce a ...
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573 views

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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286 views

If atoms have specific energy levels, why do opaque solids absorb all visible light, not just some? [duplicate]

Here's my question: if atoms have well defined energy levels and those differences correspond to the frequencies of light that can be absorbed, how is it that opaque objects absorb all or most visible ...
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131 views

What exactly is ''electric energy''?

If the two fundamental types of energy are kinetic and potential energy, is electric energy simply the kinetic energy of charge carriers? Also, is the statement "A cell converts chemical potential ...
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129 views

Question on static electricity & electron transfer

Static electricity is caused by the transfer of electrons between substances right? For example, take a balloon and your hair. Both are stable and electrically neutral. So why would electrons jump ...
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84 views

How to get a function for the voltage across a capacitor connected to an AC voltage source? [closed]

I am looking for the way of obtaining a solution for $V_{c}$ ,as a function of $t$ depending of $\omega$, of the following differential equation related to an electrical circuit involving a low-pass ...
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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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196 views

What happens to this potential energy?

Let's say I turn on a Van de Graaff which creates a large positive charge. Now let's say I have an object with a positive charge in my hand and I start walking toward the Van de Graaff from $x$ meters ...
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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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Superconductors and electrical fields

I have been looking around to figure out how superconductors are made. What ways are there to create a superconductor that don't involve a coolant like liquid nitrogen? Is it possible to cause a ...
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What is the source of high-frequency squeal in faulty CRT monitors and TV, and what is physics of generating this sound?

Sometimes old faulty CRT monitors generate nasty high-frequency squeal sound. What element might be responsible for generating such sound? I have heard that it might be dry electrolytic capacitor; ...
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147 views

Why can't an excess of electrons or holes by themselves cause current flow?

I am a beginner in electrical engineering. Often times (most cases actually), the underlying physics aren't really explained to us and we are just left to assume that it works "because it works." This ...
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191 views

DC current in ideal conductor and skin effect?

I know that the skin depth derived for AC current goes as $$\delta \propto \sqrt{\frac{1}{\omega \sigma}}$$ where $\omega$ is the angular frequency of the field and $\sigma$ is the conductivty. Now: ...
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132 views

Electric arc due to static discharge in a T-Shirt possible?

Yesterday, when I came home, I went to the bathroom (lights off) and i took off my T-Shirt (100% cotton) which I wore under a Shirt (50% cotton, 50% polyester). I believe to have seen a small but well ...
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288 views

(Why) would unmaintained water heater use more electrical energy?

I'm specifically thinking about lime/sedimentation at the bottom of water heater, and calcification of heating elements (and not possible thermal insulation deterioration). It is very often claimed ...
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170 views

Why do power lines buzz more when it is low-humidity outside?

I have observed that the power lines buzz louder when there is less moisture in the air. Why is this? If it will help the lines are located on the foot hills of a nearby mountain.
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309 views

Why does hair stand up when standing under power lines?

My initial guess would be the immense electric field around the lines, that causes hair to get charged and due to each hair having the same charge they start to repel each other. So what is exactly ...
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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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874 views

lifetime of a PN junction in a diode

diodes are made of silicon, which have been enriched in phosphorus and boron to create the PN junction. Since the electrons are always going in the same direction, from N to P in the junction, I was ...
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116 views

Current Electricity and E.M.F of a cell

The E.M.F of a cell is the work done in moving a unit positive charge in a loop or from the terminal to the same terminal. The force it experiences is a conservative force. Therefore, the work-done in ...
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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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336 views

Impurity scattering temperature dependence

Is there any temperature dependence of relaxation time in impurity scattering of conducting electrons? It seems to me that there is none. But, some people claim that there is. So if you could ...
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1k views

Why are downed power lines dangerous?

A friend of mine was telling me about a storm that knocked down a power line over at their place, and it got me to thinking. Why are downed power lines dangerous? I don't see any good reason for it. ...
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Does a capacitor ever get fully charged?

The time $t$ taken by a capacitor of capacitance $C$ in a charging circuit with a resistance $R$ in series with it to accumulate charge $q$ is given by the equation $$t = \tau ...
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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 ...