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Why is electricity so powerful? Also, why does electricity like iron & metal?
Question Date: 2000-05-19
Answer 1:

That's a big question. Electricity is sort of a big river of tiny electrons flowing through wires and things. There are electrons in every atom, but some atoms hold onto their electrons really tightly, and the electricity - the river of electrons - can't flow through things that are made up of those types of atoms. But the atoms in iron and other metals usually don't hold onto their electrons so tightly - those atoms are 'happy' to to give some of their electrons to the atoms next to them, and then they get electrons from the atoms 'upstream' from then, and that's an electric current.

Why is electricity so powerful? I guess it's like wind and water and other sorts of things that flow - when there's just a little flow (or, 'electric current,' to be more scientific about the flow of electricity) these things are pretty harmless, but too much can be very dangerous - or very helpful, if you want to cook something in your microwave or toast some bread, to give some examples from electricity.

There are lots of directions you can go with this. If you like to just think about things and look at books and the internet, you might ask about how wind and rivers are used to make electricity. We have a friend in Hawaii who uses a windmill to run his lights and his microwave oven.

If you like to do experiments, buy a couple of batteries and flashlight bulbs at some place like Radio Shack and do some experiments with how to get the bulbs to light and how to make them glow brighter or dimmer. You can make a wire for your experiment by putting a strip of Scotch tape on one side of a strip of aluminum foil. The side without the tape is your 'wire,' and the tape keeps the wire from breaking.

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