Electricity Overview, Essay Example
Modern Day Electricity
Electricity powers almost every modern piece of equipment that is used in homes and businesses around the globe on a daily basis. While it has long been discovered, the advances in technology have allowed people to have the benefit of light without fear, difficulty or high costs. In yesteryear homes were not wired with electricity was their only means of light. It was not uncommon to find families only source of light from a fire, which presented great hazards to the family. The primary form of light was from lanterns or kerosene lamps, which was not the safest or most convenient alternative. Food was not stored in a refrigerator plugged into the wall, nor was the heater conveniently heating the home. The introduction of electricity was a notable benefit; however it took years to develop into the technology that is known today. This paper will explore a brief history of electricity, uses, how it works and its importance to everyday life.
History of Electricity
The discovery of electricity is not credited by one person as it took many years and series of developments. There are a number of people that were involved in the discovery process. Beginning in 1800 with the identification of an electric cell, Alessandro Volta, was able to further the progress the study of electrical current. Later it was determined that when electric cells are paired with batteries, that an electric current is produced. Along with the discovery of the electric cell it was important to have a means of transmission, which was furthered by Thomas Doolittle, who was able to draw copper wire. Michael Faraday identified the fact that magnetic action put through a copper wire created electricity. From this point and numerous discoveries the ability to create a power plant in order to generate electricity was born. This gave way to modern day electricity that now powers millions of home across the world.
Uses of Electricity
The use of electricity is a basic part of life and along with human assisted it is also found in nature. Natural resources such as coal, oil and natural gas are converted into energy which provides the main sources of electricity in the world currently. Today electricity is used in just about every facet of life. It is a valuable resource that allows additional technology to be created through research. If it weren’t for electricity labs or exploratory means would not be possible. Think for a moment about the operating room or the water filtration plant if there were no electricity. It certainly would not be as safe or productive in the world without the abilities that electricity brings. It provides a way of life that individuals have become accustom too as well as dependent on.
Benjamin Franklin Experiment
Benjamin Franklin’s kite experiment is probably the most common theory associated with form of electricity that we know today. In 1752 Franklin was attempting to understand and explain lightning bolts and their relationship to electrical currents. He believed that the bolts were actually electrical currents and was attempting to prove his theory through determining whether or not the lightening would pass through a metal rod. In order to test his theory he used a kite with an iron key at the end of it. He then used a metal wire in a Leyden jar, which was commonly used for storing electrical charge. A silk string was attached to the kite, in which
Franklin held during the storm. Most do not realize the Franklin was actually shocked when he moved his hand close to the key, which is incredible that it did not seriously injure him. It was not until his hand got near the key, but it shocked him because of the positive charge that moved from the iron to his body. While he was not seriously injured, he did prove that lightning, as he suspected, was electrified air. The experiment was quite dangerous, however he was able to prove his theory and spark an understanding of electricity, as well as developments of other interests such as lightning rods.
Why Electricity is Important
The need and importance of electricity has grown substantially over the past several years. It has grown because our whole life depends on electricity. In order to provide heat into homes and keep medical equipment powered in hospitals, electricity is a way of life that is also lifesaving in today’s times. Not only does it provide necessities to homes and businesses across the globe it also makes life more convenient. Instead of hand powered tools that depended on the cycle of the sun, today we are able to power anything regardless of day or night. Individuals are capable of powering equipment and shaping the way that jobs are completed within society. Electricity is vital to community services such as the medical field, law enforcement and even water supply. without electricity, individuals would have to revert back to the way of life of many years ago, which would increase work, stress levels and decrease convenience greatly.
How Electricity Works
Electricity works on three basic principles; voltage, amperage and resistance. Atoms are a basic of electricity, and each atom contains electrons. The atoms contain electrons, protons and neutrons which are what creates the push for an electrical current. The positive charge is called protons and the negative or no charge is known as the neutron. Electrical current is powered through the movement by charged particles or electrons. As the atoms electron is stimulated it begins to move and creates a current. These electrons are a form of energy. In order to have a current there must be some type of force to power that current. The force is known as electromotive force, but most often referred to as voltage. The voltage is what causes the electrons to move in their respective direction. In order to carry the current there is a circuit, which also involves some type of source. The source, like a battery will have two wires, which allows the current to reach the source. For example, a battery that is powering a lamp or other type of light; the batter will have both a positive and negative charge to carry the electricity. The negative is what actually carries the electron to the electrical source and the positive carries it back to the battery source.
There are different amounts of force or voltage and that is what determines the amount that is carried to the source. That force or voltage carried through the circuit is called amps. Because electrons and protons are considered, they actually attract or repel, which causes a charge. The particle then begins to move in order to return to its original position. This pressure is the actual voltage. The third property of electricity is known as resistance, which is the opposition of flow of current in a conductor, or the opposition to the electrical current. Simply put, electricity is the movement of positively and negatively charged atoms. In science, the natural tendency is for energy to neutralize. As the energy held in electrons moves from one polarity to the other, electricity is generated.
In a more literal sense, electricity refers to the energy that is harnessed and directed though wires and plugs that can be used to operate some types of machinery and expend. In this manner, electricity depends on three different components. First there is voltage which is the force which moves the energy along a defined circuit, like a conductive wire. Second, there is amperage or current. Amperage is basically the movement of free electrons that are traveling along the given path. The last piece of the puzzle deals with resistance. Resistance refers to the ease or difficulty with which the amperage moves in the conduit or wire; the larger the conduit, the easier the movement of energy. Likewise, when the resistance if very great, the energy or electrons tend to become more dense. In the case of a light, the wires leading to the bulb move the energy very easily. Once the energy meets the increased resistance of the light bulb, the energy is concentrated. The excess energy is emitted as light.
In conclusion, electricity has been an important addition to the American way of life. Not only does it make life more convenient, but it also allows for further technology. Without electricity research, efficient ways of life and convenience benefits would all end. Individuals are able to have modern means of communication and abilities that had never before been possible. Beginning from the early discovery of the electric cell to the kite flying experiment of Benjamin Franklin, a benefit was born that changed the way that people lived their lives. Today we have the benefit of electricity in our homes, offices and general public that create a great benefit to society in general.
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