# Questions tagged [electricity]

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

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### 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 ...
9k views

### How fast does an electron travel in a circuit?

How is it possible to calculate the speed of an electron in a circuit? What factors does it depend on?
45k views

### 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 ...
490 views

### What's the shape of the flame for a candle in parallel plate capacitor?

Let me show a figure first about the shape of flame for a candle without any external electric field in the dark night: Now consider the following physical configuration: If you put this lighted ...
5k views

### Why does all the current flow through a short circuit if its voltage drop is considered zero?

Path of least resistance vs. short circuit I know the path of least reisistance has been clarified already However, to derive the equations you need to assume that the voltage of each parallel ...
15k views

### Birds sitting on electric wires: potential difference between the legs

We have seen birds sitting on uninsulated electric wires of high voltage transmission lines overhead without getting harmed, because sitting on only one wire doesn't complete any circuit. But what ...
37k views

### Why do we use AC for long distance transmission?

Why do we use AC (Alternating Current) for long distance transmission of electrical power? I know that AC is such a current that changes polarity (magnitude and direction) and has fixed poles.
2k views

### Can lightning be used to solve NP-complete problems?

I'm a MS/BS computer science guy who is wondering about why lightning can't (or can?) be used to solve NP complete problems efficiently, but I don't understand the physics behind lightning, so I'm ...
5k views

### Why are the electric force and magnetic force classified as electromagnetism?

I confuse the four kinds of fundamental interactions, so I think the electric force and magnetic force should not be classified as a big class called electromagnetism. Here is my evidence: The Gauss ...
17k views

### How can one derive Ohm's Law? [duplicate]

I am looking for the derivation of Ohm's Law, i.e., $V$ is directly proportional to $I$. Can someone help me with it?
31k views

### If air cannot conduct electricity, how can lightning happen?

If air cannot conduct electricity, how can lightning happen?
54k views

### 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?
3k views

### Relativistic drift velocity of electrons in a superconductor?

Is there a formula for the effective speed of electron currents inside superconductors? The formula for normal conductors is: $$V = \frac{I}{nAq}$$ I wonder if there are any changes to this ...
10k views

### Is a capacitor in an open circuit charged?

Say I have a circuit consisting of a battery, a wire, an open switch, and a capacitor. The circuit is open since the switch is open. My book says that the capacitor will only be charged when the ...
7k views

### 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 ...
17k views

### How can I calculate the wave propagation speed in a copper wire?

First of all: I am a computer science student, so I don't have much knowledge of physics. So please keep your answers simple. I recently learned something about circuit design and its problems (...
11k views

### What voltages are used to “safely” shock someone (as in a carnival game) [closed]

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 ...
2k views

### 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 ...
1k 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 ...
16k 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. ...
5k views

### Why are ammeters used in series and voltmeters in parallel?

As I'm reading a course on electricity, this one says that an ammeter should be branched inline and not on a bridge. Can someone explain to me physically why we branch a amperemeter inline and a ...
6k views

### Can energy be extracted from clouds?

Can cloud charge imbalance be used as an energy source? First off quite some energy must be present in clouds: a lightning path is quite long, and electrical breakdown of air requires about 1MV/m. ...
14k views

### How to calculate temperature of an incandescent bulb filament?

Suppose we have a light bulb, for which we know its power rating, like voltage of $12\mathrm V$, and power consumption of $10\mathrm W$. We also know it's a halogen bulb with a tungsten filament ...
2k views

### What kills you: Voltage or Electric current? [duplicate]

Possible Duplicate: What causes an electric shock - Current or Voltage? When someone gets electrocuted, what kills them; a high Voltage or a high Electric current, and why?
9k views

### How do I calculate the power consumed by a lightbulb?

I'm studying a lightbulb and its variable resistance, given by the expression: $R(T) = Ro[1 + α(T-T_0)]$, where $R_0$ is the resistance of the lamp at $T_0$. In this case, $R$ is not given by Ohm's ...
10k views

### Why the electric bulb turns on almost instantly when the switch is closed? [duplicate]

The electron drift speed is estimated to be very low.How could there is current almost the instant a circuit is closed?? By the discussions it is known that The information about beginning of the ...
5k views

### Drift velocity of electrons in a conductor

How does the drift velocity of electrons in a conductor depend on the temperature? I have two contradicting views for this. First, we can say that increasing the temperature of the conductor will ...
23k views

### How does current flow from the emitter, through the base and to the collector in a NPN transistor?

So, I understand that for a NPN transistor to work the emitter-base junction needs to be forward biased and the collector-base junction needs to be reverse biased. I understand how current flows from ...
26k views

### How can I prevent being zapped by static electricity every time I touch a doorknob or handle in the office?

I don't know what it is about this office, but it seems everything I touch (doorknob, bathroom faucet, edge of kitchen sink in the break room), I get zapped by static electricity. It's getting old. ...
120k views

### Would you die if you put your hands on a powerline?

You know how birds perch on powerlines without getting electrocuted? What if by some chance that I find myself falling and I grab on one of them? Let's say both of my hands are on the same line, would ...
233 views

### Is a flow of ionized water an electric current?

If $H_2O$ ions have a net electric charge and electric current is the flow of electric charge, can a stream of water ions be considered an electric current? If so, is it conceivably possible (not ...
9k views

### Why do circuits work so fast?

Drift velocity (explained to me as how fast the electrons are moving) is really slow. My book says the electrons move at around 10 mm/ s. If electrons move so slowly how do circuits work so fast? If ...
2k views

### Relativistic charge density in a closed loop

When charges of conductance are at rest, there is an average distance between them. The relativistic origin of magnetic field says that distances between electrons shrink when they are set into a ...
484 views

### Photocurrent's dependence on frequency [duplicate]

Sounds like a rookie question, this, but could someone please explain to me why doesn't photocurrent increase when we increase the frequency of the incident radiation? I mean, an increase in frequency ...
373 views

### What is the reason for extremely high speed of electric current?

I know that electric current is the flow of electrons but electrons have a very slow drift speed (about 2mm/s). How is it that electric current reaches its destination at almost the speed of light?
23k views

### Speed of light vs speed of electricity

If I arranged an experiment where light raced electricity what would be the results? Let's say a red laser is fired at the same time a switch is closed that applies 110 volts to a 12 gauge loop of ...
82k views

### How does load affect frequency on the power grid?

This story about the use of battery/freewheel based Frequency Regulators confused me about how the 60hz frequency of the North American power grid was set--saying that it was kept at that frequency by ...
82k views

### Why do power lines buzz?

When near high tension power lines, particularly after a good rain, the lines themselves emit a buzzing noise. A similar noise can be heard coming out of the electric meters attached to my apartment. ...
201k views

### Why does a glass rod when rubbed with silk cloth aquire positive charge and not negative charge?

I have read many times in the topic of induction that a glass rod when rubbed against a silk cloth acquires a positive charge. Why does it acquire positive charge only, and not negative charge? It ...
29k views

### Can electricity flow through vacuum?

People say yes, and give a wonderful example of vacuum tubes, CRTs. But can we really say that vacuum (..as in space) is a good conductor of electricity in a very basic sense?
20k views

For some reason, I feel like the concept of voltage is escaping my grasp. I've done much research on these forums and through texts, and come across answers that seem quite well thought out, but still ...
66k views

### Why is the charge transferred by electrons and not by protons?

Charges are transferred by electrons which we all know. But why can't it be transferred by protons? Well, I searched on Google where I found similar questions already being asked on many sites. ...
68k views

### Why does voltage remains same over Parallel Circuit

Why does voltage remains same over parallel circuit. If a resistor is connected in the circuit some of the charge should be transformed into heat and make a lack of charge after the resistor (in my ...
30k views

### Why current through all the resistors in series is considered to be same? [duplicate]

Consider the circuit shown, where $R_{1} > R_{2}$. I meant to say that resistance offered by the resistor 1 is greater than the resistance offered by the resistor 2. Keep $t$ constant i,e calculate ...
2k views

### Why does lightning generate multiple branches?

Everyone have seen and knows how lightning occurs. But then I realized that lightning never occurs in straight lines but it follows branching. But Why is that so? Why can't lightning goes in straight ...
140k views

### How can a salt solution conduct electrical current?

How does a sodium chloride solution conduct electricity? I know that sodium chloride dissociates into sodium and chloride ions in water, so when a voltage is applied, those ions can move. However, if ...
11k views

### Why is there an electric field in a wire even though it is a conductor?

If you take a perfect conductor, there cannot be a field across it since if there were, the particles would arrange themselves in a way to cancel out the field right? Yet, why does the same not hold ...
699 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 ...
19k views

### Difference between current and voltage sources

I am confused about the current and voltage. My intuitive example would be that of a pipe of say water. The diameter of the pipe determines the amount of water flowing per second but the pressure is ...
6k views

### 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 ...