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Transcript of Electricity
What is Electricity?
History of Electricity
Electricity is energy created by moving charged particles.
A form of energy that occurs naturally (example... Lighting) or produced (example...Generator).
Electricity is expressed in terms of the movement and interaction of electrons.
Using zinc, copper and cardboard, this Italian professor invented the first battery. Volta's battery produced a reliable, steady current of electricity. The unit of voltage is now named after Volta.
Michael Faraday, a British physicist and chemist, was the first person to discover that moving a magnet near a coil of copper wire produced an electric current in the wire.
American inventor Thomas Edison purchased Henry Woodward's patent and began to work on improving the idea. He attached wires to a thin strand of paper, or filament, inside a glass globe. The filament began to glow, which generated some light. This became the first incandescent light bulb. A thin, iron wire later replaced the paper filament.
Electricity is made from many different resources, including non-renewable and renewable sources.
Non-renewable sources include uranium and fossil fuels, like coal and natural gas. When they're used to generate power, these sources produce waste, and will eventually run out.
On the other hand, renewable sources can be used over and over again to produce energy without creating waste. That makes these resources environmentally friendly. Some examples of renewable sources include solar and wind power. Remember, they only work when the wind blows or when the sun shines.
Some power plants have machines called nuclear reactors where the heat is produced. Within these reactors are atoms of a radioactive metal called uranium. Heat is created when these atoms are split apart. This heat boils water, creating steam that turns turbines to generate electricity.
James Watt was a Scottish inventor who made improvements to the steam engine during the late 1700s. Soon, factories and mining companies began to use Watt's new- and- improved steam engine for their machinery. This helped jump start the Industrial Revolution, a period in the early 1800s that saw many new machines invented and an increase in the number of factories. After his death, Watt's name was used to describe the electrical unit of power.
A Serbian inventor named Nikola Tesla invented the first electric motor by reversing the flow of electricity on Thomas Edison's generator. In 1885, he sold his patent rights to an American businessman who was the head of the Westinghouse Electric Company. In 1893, the company used Tesla's ideas to light the Chicago World's Fair with a quarter of a million lights.
Let's begin with non-renewable sources. These resources are used to produce heat in order to convert water into steam. The steam turns an engine called a turbine. And as the turbine spins, electricity is generated.
Making Electricity continued...
This fossil fuel is burned in large boilers that are found in power plants. The burning coal heats water in a boiler. And this produces steam, which spins a turbine engine.
There are generally two ways natural gas is used to create electricity. One way involves burning it to heat water, which produces steam that turns a turbine. It may also be burned directly in a turbine as a way of creating gases that will spin turbine blades.
Now let's look at the ways that renewable power resources are used to create electricity. Remember, these resources are considered clean because they can be used over and over again without any negative effects on the environment.
Making of Electricity Continued
Solar power is energy that is created directly from the light or heat of the sun. One method uses special solar panels to capture the sun's light and convert it directly into electricity. The other uses the sun's heat to produce the steam that will spin turbines and generate electricity.
Wind is used to spin turbines, modern windmills, which generate the power. There's one drawback with using wind. Since it comes and goes, we can't always rely on it to produce electricity when we want it.
Water Power (Hydro Power)
To generate electricity with this renewable source, water from a river or dam is sent through a turbine. This moving water causes the turbine's blades to spin, which generates power.
It sounds complicated but geothermal power basically means using the heat from below the Earth's surface. To use this renewable source, underground water is converted into steam that will spin turbines and generate power.
Biomass is a renewable source of energy that uses organic materials to produce heat. To do this, wood by-products, plants, crops and animal waste are used instead of fossil fuels like coal and natural gas. Burning this organic waste creates the heat and steam that spins electricity-making turbines. For example cow manure is a source of biomass energy because animal waste gives off methane gas.
How Electricity Gets to Building and Homes
Electricity is a type of energy that was discovered over 100 years ago. One of the most common ways to make electricity is by converting other energy sources, such as coal, natural gas, and oil or solar, wind and falling water. You may not even realize that electricity is a huge part of your everyday life.
For starters, it keeps your home and school warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Without it, you would never be able to watch your favorite TV show or listen to your MP3 player. After all, you need electricity. Imagine a world where you couldn’t turn on a light, a computer, or even use the phone! Obviously, electricity is important to us.