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Static Electricity
Electricity is often described as being either static or dynamic. The difference
between the two is based simply on whether the electrons are at rest (static) or in motion
(dynamic). Static electricity is a build up of an electrical charge on the surface of an object. It
is considered static due to the fact that there is no current flowing as in AC or DC
electricity. Static electricity is usually caused when non-conductive materials such as rubber,
plastic or glass are rubbed together, causing a transfer of electrons, which then results in an
imbalance of charges between the two materials. The fact that there is an imbalance of
charges between the two materials means that the objects will exhibit an attractive or
repulsive force.
If an object has no charge then the number of negative charged particles called
electrons is equal to the number of positively charged particles. Positively charged particles
are tightly held in the centre of atoms called the nucleus but negatively charged particles
called electrons are not and as a result are relatively easily separated from the nucleus.
All matter is made from atoms that contain electrically charged components. The
atoms that join together to form everything around us, have positively charged protons in the
atomic nucleus, with the negatively charged electrons orbiting around that nucleus in shells
like a solar system. The amount of electrical charge a proton has is equal in size to the
amount of charge an electron has but the charges are opposite. It is the electrons in the outer
orbit shells around the nucleus that create the chemical bonds that hold atoms together.
Usually the amount of positive charge in the nucleus is equal to the amount of negative
charge from the orbiting electrons. This normally leaves the material uncharged, i.e. it has
total of zero or no net electrical charge.
Attractive and Repulsive Forces
One of the most fundamental laws of static electricity, as well as magnetics, deals
with attraction and repulsion. Like charges repel each other and unlike charges attract each
other. All electrons possess a negative charge and as such will repel each other. Similarly, all
protons possess a positive charge and as such will repel each other. Electrons (negative) and
protons (positive) are opposite in their charge and will attract each other.
For example, if two pith balls are suspended, as shown in Figure 10-5, and each ball is
touched with the charged glass rod, some of the charge from the rod

is transferred to the balls. The balls now have similar charges and, consequently, repel each
other as shown in part B. If a plastic rod is rubbed with fur, it becomes negatively charged
and the fur is positively charged. By touching each ball with these differently charged
sources, the balls obtain opposite charges and attract each other as shown in part C.
Phenomena Related to Electrostatics
Electric charges accumulate when the air particles rub against the rain clouds during a
thunderstrom. Lightning occurs when the electrons that collect at the bottom part of the cloud
jump to the positively charged areas of the ground or nearby clouds. Opposites charges attract
each other and a spark is seen as lightning flash. Lightning conductors installed at tall
buildings are used to direct the charges flow straight down to the ground and hence prevent
damage to the buildings.
Dust Storms
The impact between dust grains and the separation of grains during storm produces
electrostatic charges in clouds of dust. Sometimes electric sparks can be seen during dust
Sea spray
Sea spray is a spray of waterthat fomrs when ocean waves crash against rocks. Each
time a bubble bursts in water, an up wardly moving jet is produced. This jet water breaks up
into a number of droplets, the smallest being at the tip of the jet. These tiny droplets are
electrically charged and can eveporate to form beautiful crystalline structures.
Electricity, or electrical energy, is a form of energy produced by electrict current. An
electric current is a flow of charged negative particles or electrons. In short, electricity
difined as the continous flow of charged particles throught a conductor. The flow continues
until energy source is used up, or disconnected. The rate at which an electric current flows is
measured in Amperes (A). To allow the flow of electrical charges form where they are
produced o where they are needed to be used, conductors such as metal, wires are used.
Current increases when more electrons are flowing through a conductor. The movement of
electrons through a conductor is driven by voltage, produced by batteries or generators.
Voltage is the diffence in potential energy that causes electrons to flow from an area with
more electrons to an area with fewer, producing an electric current.
Electricity is a flow of electric charges along a wire.

Source of electrical energy

Electrical energy is produced from many different energy sources. Some of these
energy sources are renewable and others are non-renewable. Our main source of electrical
energy comes from huge generators in power stations. There are other sources of electrical
energy. These includes electric cells, batteries, small generators and solar cells.

Conductors, semiconductors and insulators

Electron are bonded closely to the nuclei, difficult to move around in insulators while in
conductors, the electrons are free to move about. When electricity is applied, the electrons
move towards the positive therminal conductor. Examples of conductors are metals such as
cuprum, iron, alumunium, zinc, chromium and so on. Glass, ceramic and other non-metals
are insulator (except carbon). Semiconductors such as silicon, germanium have conductivity
intermediate between conductors and insulators. A gas can act as a conductor in the same
way as a wire. It conducts the flow of charged electrons from the negative terminal to the
positive terminal. Gases usually insulate, but some gas atoms can be excited by electricity
and they can act as conductors. These include neon, argon and helium. For the neon gas
advertising tube, electricity travels all the way through the neon gas and it glows.

Current, voltage and resistance

Current is the rate of flow of electrons/charge. Current or I is measured in amperes
(A). One ampere is defined as one coulomb of electrons flowing past a point each second


I = Current in Amperes (A)
Q = Charges in coulomb (C)
T = Time in second (s)

Voltage is a force that pushes/drives the electrons/charge. It is also referred to as
electromotive force or difference in potential. Voltage is measured in volts (V). Voltage
source will have a polarity (negative and positive side). Current flows from negative to
positive (changing conventions). AC/DC: Alternating current (polarity of source reverses) or
Direct current (polarity is constant)

Resistances are the barriers to the flow of charge It is abbreviated as R It is measured in ohms

The relationship between Current, voltage and resistance.

The relationship between Current, voltage and resistance in any direct current
electrical circuit can be related by using Ohms Law. Ohms Law states that the current that
flows through any conductor is directly proportional to the voltage across it and is inversely
proportional to the resistance. By knowing any two values of the voltage, current or
resistance quantities, we can use Ohms Law to Find the third unknown value.

Ohms Law Relationship.


() =

To find the current, (I) To find the resistance ()

() ()
() = () =
() ()
To find the voltage, (V)
V (volts) = I (amps) x R ()
Electric circuit
A circuit is a pathway that allows the flow of electricity. Most electrical circiuts use
wires (as conductors). A circuits has four basic parts :
Source provides energy and supply of electrons for the circuits
Conductor provides a path for the current
Switch controls the current flow, turning it of and on
Load device which uses the electrical energy
A closed circuit is a complete circuit in which the pathway of the electrical current is
complete and unbroken. An open circuit is an incomplete circuit iin which the pathway of the
electrical current is broken.
A switch is a device in the circuit in which the circuit can be closed (Turned on) or
opened (turned off). When the switch is opened, there is no flow of current. When the switch
is closed, the switch allows the flow of electrons to continue. To change the electron flow
gradually. In a closed electric circuit, current flows from the positive terminal to the negative
terminal. However, electrons flows from the negative terminal to the positive terminal.
Basic Circuit Symbols.
Circuit Diagram
Circuit diagrams are a pictorial way of showing circuits. Electricians and engineers use
circuit symbols to draw circuit diagrams to help them design the actual circuits.

Series circuit
A series circuit is a circuit in which all the electrical components are arranged in sequence,
from end to end. Hence a series circuit only provides a single pathway for the current to flow
through all of its components. If the circuits breaks, all component using the circuit will fail
to function.

Parallel circuit
A parallel circuit is a circuit in whic all the electrical components are not arranged in
sequence. Hence a parallel circuit provides more than one pathway for the current to flow
through. If the circuit is broken, the circuit may pass through other pathways and other
devices will continue to work.