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Electricity


What is electricity?
Electricity is a type of energy. It is made when electrons move from one atom to another. We cannot see electricity, but we can always see it at work all around us.

How many types of electricity are there?
There are two main types of electricity. They are static electricity and current electricity.

What is static electricity?
Static electricity occurs when there is an imbalance of positive or negative charge in the atoms of an object. Static electricity often occurs with friction. For example, rubbing a balloon against a jumper will separate the positive and negative charges. As the balloon and the jumper now have opposite charges, they will be attracted to each other.

What is current electricity?
Current electricity is a flow of electrons. Current electricity works in two ways:
(1) Direct current (DC)
(2) Alternating current (AC)

In direct current, all the electrons in the electrical current travel in one direction. The electricity produced by a battery is an example of direct current.

In alternating current, the electrons can move in two directions. The current changes direction back and forth repeatedly. It is the type of electricity that is being delivered through the power lines to our home.

What are conductors?
Electricity can flow through some materials, but not others.
Materials that allow electricity to flow through are called conductors. Conductors contain loosely held electrons that can move to other atoms to create an electric current. Copper is an example of a good conductor.

What are insulators?
Materials that electricity cannot flow through are called insulators. Insulators have atoms with tightly held electrons that cannot move to other atoms. Rubber and glass are examples of insulators.

Why is there lightning?
During a thunderstorm, wind whirls around. This movement of air causes buildups of static electricity in some parts of the clouds. When a strong enough negative charge forms, it is attracted to the ground and we see it as lightning.

External links
The National Academy of Sciences
U.S. Energy Information Administration
Wikipedia





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