|How is electricity made?
|Question Date: 2006-01-13|
Thank your for your question. Electricity can be
made in a variety of ways. It is important to
remember that electricity is just a form of
energy. If you've ever rubbed your feet along the
carpet in your socks and then touched a metal
doorknob or another person you would have
experienced static electricity. This is the same
as rubbing a balloon on your hair and then getting
it to stick or make your hair stand up. However
there are other ways of making the electricity
that we use in our homes and buildings. Power
plants may use natural gas or coal to make steam,
which then powers a large fan to generate
electricity. Some power plants use nuclear energy
from splitting apart uranium atoms. 'Renewable'
sources of energy are becoming more popular.
Examples of these are using water or wind to power
Here are a few websites
designed for students around your age that have
more information about electricity and how it is
Electricity is the flow of electrons. Electrons
will flow in a direction in which there is an
electric field sending them that way and there is
a means by which to get there (i.e. a conductor).
Electric fields can be created by placing electric
charges on objects(an excess of electrons or
protons), or alternatively by creating a changing
magnetic field, which generates an electric field.
Electricity that is produced in a power plant is
done with magnets, but lightning is caused by
There are a variety of ways to get electricity,
but the basic method is to use some form of
mechanical energy like pressurized steam or
running water to rotate a loop of conducting wire
through a magnetic field (like from a magnet). If
you do this in the right way, an electrical
current can be generated in the conducting loop.
It's a little more complicated in practice but
this is a basic outline. Have you ever ridden on a
bicycle connected to alight bulb (at a museum,
perhaps)? This is the method used to light the
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