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

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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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226 views

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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Different batteries connected in parallel

If we have 2 batteries one of emf x and the other is of emf y and we connect them in series we get an effective emf of x+y. But what if we connect them in parallel, how to calculate the emf now?
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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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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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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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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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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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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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Capacitor circuits with light bulb

Let's say we have a normal circuit with a light bulb, with wires and a battery. When one places a capacitor in this circuit, how is the light bulb able to light up, even when the capacitor prevents ...
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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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658 views

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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261 views

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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408 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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466 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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165 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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348 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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160 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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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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499 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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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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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 ...
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498 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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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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102 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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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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377 views

Batteries and voltage?

The voltage of a battery gives you the difference in potential energy 1C of charge would have at the positive terminal vs the negative terminal. If I connect a wire to both terminals, the battery ...
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155 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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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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Using Electrostatic Force to Repel Dust From an Object [closed]

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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178 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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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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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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60 views

Why an inductor parallel with a light bulb makes it flash as a key closes the circuit?

The title is a simplified form of my question. To be precise, I'm talking about the following circuit: The inductor has a resistanse equal to the resistor in the circuit. So, the question is that, ...
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127 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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834 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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615 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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Graph of Electrical Resistivity of Air vs Air Pressure

I've search many place ( Google, forums etc ) but can't seem to find anything that explains the Relationship between: Electrical Resistivity of Air vs Air Pressure Constant Variable: ...
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1answer
305 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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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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367 views

If the current is increased, is there more charge flowing or is it moving quicker?

Problem Current is the amount of charge that is flowing through a component per unit of time. For a given voltage, Ohm's law tells us that if we increase the resistance, then the current must ...
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164 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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1answer
467 views

What determines how much electrical charge an object can hold?

What determines how much electrical charge an object can hold? Does increase voltage force more electrical charge to be store in an object (Van de Graaff generator), since electric field increase as ...
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89 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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5answers
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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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210 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 ...