Questions tagged [electricity]

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

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59
votes
10answers
40k views

Why is the charge naming convention wrong?

I recently came to know about the Conventional Current vs. Electron Flow issue. Doing some search I found that the reason for this is that Benjamin Franklin made a mistake when naming positive and ...
9
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6answers
96k views

What causes an electric shock - Current or Voltage?

Though voltage and current are two interdependent physical quantity, I would like to know what gives more "shock" to a person - Voltage or Current? In simple words, will it cause more "electric - ...
13
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4answers
48k views

Can the Earth's magnetic field be used to generate electricity?

Since the Earth has a magnetic field, can it, in theory, be run through a conductive metal coil to create electricity?
14
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3answers
113k views

Why do birds sitting on electric wires not get shocked?

When we touch electric wires, we get shocked. Why don't birds sitting on electric wires not get shocked?
3
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1answer
217 views

High Voltage Powerlines - clarification of energy loss

I've been having a bit of trouble understanding the High-Voltage powerlines. If I was sending power from $A \rightarrow B$, we have: Ohm's law $V = IR$ Power lost in the form of heat $P = I^2 R$ ...
18
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3answers
40k views

What happens when we connect a metal wire between the 2 poles of a battery?

As I remembered, at the 2 poles of a battery, positive or negative electric charges are gathered. So there'll be electric field existing inside the battery. This filed is neutralized by the chemical ...
24
votes
10answers
170k views

How to avoid getting shocked by static electricity?

sometimes I get "charged" and the next thing I touch something that conducts electricity such as a person, a car, a motal door, etc I get shocked by static electricity. I'm trying to avoid this so if ...
10
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5answers
19k views

Resistor circuit that isn't parallel or series

What's the equivalent resistance in this circuit (between points A and B)?
9
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7answers
4k views

Is electricity instantaneous?

My question is basically what exactly is electricity? I've simply been told before that it's a flow of electrons, but this seems too basic and doesn't show that electricity is instant. What I mean is ...
36
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6answers
10k views

Does alternating current (AC) require a complete circuit?

This popular question about "whether an AC circuit with one end grounded to Earth and the other end grounded to Mars would work (ignoring resistance/inductance of the wire)" was recently asked on the ...
22
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11answers
29k views

What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? All of them have ...
19
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6answers
76k views

In an alternating current, do electrons flow from the source to the device?

If electrons in an alternating current periodically reverse their direction, do they really flow? Won't they always come back to the same position?
15
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2answers
4k views

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 ...
19
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5answers
66k views

Why does my wife's skin buzz when she's using her laptop?

When my wife uses her laptop, if I touch her skin, I can feel a buzz. She doesn't feel the buzz, but she can hear it if I touch her ear. So I'm guessing it's a faulty laptop, and she's conducting an ...
28
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10answers
72k views

Electricity takes the path of least resistance?

Electricity takes the path of least resistance! Is this statement correct? If so, why is it the case? If there are two paths available, and one, for example, has a resistor, why would the current ...
22
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2answers
16k views

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 ...
10
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3answers
1k views

Current in a simple circuit

I was going over my notes for an introductory course to electricity and magnetism and was intrigued by something I don't have an answer to. I remember my professor mentioning, to the best I can ...
8
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1answer
4k 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 ...
42
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2answers
4k views

Wind generators - why so few blades?

Why commercial wind generators usually have just 2-3 blades? Having more blades would allow to increase power OR decrease diameter. Decreased diameter would also reduce stress due to different wind ...
23
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8answers
95k views

Difference between live and neutral wires

In domestic electrical circuits, there are 3 wires - live, earth and neutral. What is the difference between the live and neutral wires? As there is AC supply, it means that there are no fixed ...
2
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3answers
33k views

Definition of electric charge and proper explanation

Is there a definition of electric charge and proper explanation of it? It is said "Electric charge is the physical property of matter that causes it to experience a force when close to other ...
1
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1answer
8k views

Current against the inverse of resistance graph, $I = V/R +c$

If I have a plot of current ($y$ axis) against 1/Resistance ($x$ axis). The circuit it is measured from is a simply 2 resistors connected in parallel to battery, where the potential across the ...
2
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2answers
271 views

Ambiguity on the notion of potential in electrical circuits?

As everybody else I have been taught elementary electrical circuits from secondary school to engineering level in analog electronics at university. Invariably, the notion of potential used to ...
1
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2answers
964 views

Is there no electric field inside a conductor?

I came across this statement while studying electric currents and I am confused: "There is no electric field inside a conductor. Hence no current can flow through it". Is there a fallacy in this ...
3
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1answer
8k views

Why does rubbing feet against sheets create a spark?

Sometimes when I'm in bed at night, I rub my feet against the sheets and light is created. What exactly is going on? I'm familiar with static electricity, and the triboelectric effect (creating a ...
2
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1answer
2k views

Excess charge on an insulator and conductor

So I was recently wondering what happens to the excess charge when it is placed on an insulator or conductor e.g. rubbing two objects together. I know in the conductor the electrons are free to move ...
50
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9answers
46k views

Does electricity flow on the surface of a wire or in the interior?

I was having a conversation with my father and father-in-law, both of whom are in electric related work, and we came to a point where none of us knew how to proceed. I was under the impression that ...
19
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4answers
6k views

Can a third type of electrical charge exist?

Upon reading my book on physics, it mentions that there are only two discovered types of electric charges. I wonder if there could be a third type of elusive charge, and what type of effects could it ...
18
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3answers
117k views

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?
13
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6answers
26k views

Are Fresnel lenses widely used for solar electricity? If not, why not?

I was just wondering why Fresnel Lenses are not widely used in the production of solar electricity. Their use there would mean that you could produce heat within a fraction of a second, up to a few ...
11
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3answers
68k views

Is the Earth negatively or positively charged? [duplicate]

The Earth carries a negative electric charge of roughly 500 thousand Coulombs. Does that mean the Earth is negatively charged?
10
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5answers
115k views

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 ...
17
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2answers
21k views

What causes fluorescent light bulb to light up when it is near a plasma globe? Can this phenomenon be used to generate electricity in a circuit?

When a fluorescent light bulb is placed near a plasma globe, despite the fact there isn't a closed circuit, a part of the light blulb would light up. I tried measuring the voltage of the air ...
4
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4answers
8k views

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, ...
3
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2answers
9k views

Path of least resistance vs. short circuit

Some sources on the web claim that "electricity follows the path of least resistance" is not true, e.g. this physics SE question. However, in every explanation of "short circuits", the author says ...
9
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3answers
26k views

Which dissipates more power, a small or big resistor?

I was talking to someone about trying to dissipate the most heat from a metal crucible (essentially just a resistor $R$). He argued that you wanted the resistor to have a high resistance because $P=I^...
2
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4answers
1k views

Justification of root mean square [duplicate]

In the top answer to the question Why do we use Root Mean Square (RMS) values when talking about AC voltage, the following was stated: This RMS is a mathematical quantity (used in many math fields) ...
12
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3answers
12k views

Is it possible to mathematically derive the formula for resistance?

Resistance is given by $\rho L/A$, where $\rho$ is the material constant, $L$ is the length, and $A$ is the area. Is there any way that this can be derived mathematically, or is the only way ...
5
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3answers
9k views

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 ...
7
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6answers
20k views

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?
3
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4answers
6k views

Do electric and magnetic lines of force physically exist? [closed]

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 ...
12
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3answers
4k views

Is there an electric field around neutral atoms?

Even if the atom is neutral (equal numbers of protons and electrons), the electrons and nucleus form an electrical dipole, so there is still an electric field around them, even though the total charge ...
9
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4answers
10k views

Is there any example where electric and magnetic fields are not perpendicular?

Perpendicular electric and magnetic field creates light or other electromagnetic waves. Is it a necessary property to have a perpendicular fields? If not what would happen when the fields are not ...
6
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2answers
5k views

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 ...
3
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1answer
995 views

Induced magnetic field produces electric field and vice versa forever!

So here are the two of Maxwell's laws that I am interested in: So we have the simple circuit (from google): So, before the system goes into steady-state we know that charge slowly accumulates on the ...
11
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5answers
12k views

Why does lightning emit light?

What exactly is causing the electric discharge coming from the clouds to emit light while traveling through the air. I've read and thought about it a little but with my current knowledge I cant really ...
7
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5answers
21k views

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 ...
2
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5answers
2k views

The Difference Between voltage and current

I know that this question has been asked many times before, and I have read over several of the threads asking this question, but they do not include the gripe I have with my problem of understanding ...
1
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3answers
681 views

pattern of moving electrons in wire under AC

when we use a DC battery into a circuit the flow of electrons in wire creates a clear picture as they flow from negative terminal to positive terminal. under AC(Alternating current) we know how energy ...
3
votes
1answer
721 views

Would Beetee's electrocution plan work and kill the tributes in the lake?

In Catching Fire, the second episode of the Hunger Games trilogy, one of the characters (Beetee) proposes a plan to kill some of the remaining tributes. He proposes wrapping a special wire that he has ...