We use electricity everyday, but most people know very little about the physical phenomena. Electricity is the most versatile energy source on the planet, but we’ve only depended on it for about 100 years.
Electricity is a type of energy that builds up in one place, or flows from one place to another. When electricity gathers in one place it is known as static electricity. Electricity that moves from one place to another is called electric current.
Static electricity usually happens when you rub things together. It’s why a balloon will stick to you after rubbing it against your clothes. Or why you get a shock when walking across carpet and touching something metallic. It’s also the cause of lightning. As rain clouds move through the sky, they rub against the air around them.
An electric current is a flow of electric charge. In electric circuits this charge is often carried by moving electrons in a wire. It is involved in powering the electrical appliances you use every day: computers, smartphones, washing machines, flashlights and any other common electric device.
Here are a few more cool facts about electricity:
1. Electricity travels at 6,696,000 miles per hour.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) machines are used in hospitals to measure the electricity flowing through a patient’s heart, displaying a line that spikes with every heartbeat.
3. What’s a Volt? A unit of electric force, measuring the potential strength of current.
4. The typical lightning bolt packs 100 million volts.
5. The average taser emits 50,000 volts.
6. A spark of static electricity can measure up to 3,000 volts.
7. Electric eels can produce shocks of 500 volts or more.
9. Fossil fuels are the largest source of electricity, but wind, water and the sun can also produce it.
10. The first successful electric car was built in 1891 by American inventor William Morrison.
11. Benjamin Franklin didn’t discover electricity, but he did prove that lightning is a form of electricity.
Thanks to his revolutionary lightning-rod invention during the 18th century, electricity was understood better than ever before.