What is Electricity?

Electricity is found in nature, like in lightning bolts, and it also is used to power our electronic products. Electricity is the flow of an electric charge.

  • All matter contains both positive and negative charges
  • Charge is either positive or negative
  • Atoms, which are made up of neutrons, electrons, and protons, make up matter
  • Electrons carry negative charge
  • Protons carry positive charge
  • Neutrons have no charge

Electrostatic force causes positive and negative charged types ot be attracted to each other, whereas like-charged types will repel.

So electrons are attracted to protons, rotating around an atom’s charged protons. If we exert electrostatic force on atoms, we can eject electrons far from their protons to create free electrons.

The free electrons can be moved by electrostatic force. The movement of the electrons is called electrical current

Atoms that are particularly prone to release their electrons are good conductors, like copper or gold. Those that aren’t are called insulators, like glass and rubber.

If opposite charges build up on an an object this is called static electricity. It is released when an opposite charged item connects with it, creating the shock you feel when you touch a metal car in winter, sometimes.

If charges are allowed to flow constantly we have electrical current.

We can create circuits to allow current to flow freely and in a controlled manner.

We push electrons around by means of an electric field: a large source of negative charges that can push electrons around towards a positive charge.

A battery is a source of voltage that can push electrons.

For a more detailed writeup on electricity, visit SparkFun.