Electricity Fundamentals Explained

Electricity is a fundamental part of nature. Everything, from water and air to rocks, plants and animals, is made up of minute particles called atoms. They are too small to see, even with the most powerful microscope. Atoms consist of even smaller particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. The nucleus of the atom contains protons, which have a positive charge, and neutrons, which have no charge. Electrons have a negative charge and orbit around the nucleus. An atom can be compared to a solar system, with the nucleus being the sun and the electrons being planets in orbit.

Electrons can be freed from their orbit by applying an external force, such as movement through a magnetic field, heat, friction, or a chemical reaction.

A free electron leaves a void, which can be filled by an electron forced out of its orbit from another atom. As free electrons move from one atom to another, an electron flow is produced. This electron flow is the basis of electricity.

The cliché, "opposites attract," is certainly true when dealing with electrical charges.

Charged bodies have an invisible electrical field around them. When two likecharged bodies are brought close together, they repel each other. When two unlike charged bodies are brought closer together, their electrical fields work to attract.


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Basic Electricity Handbook, Vol. 1
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