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For other uses, see Electric (disambiguation). Lightning is one of the most dramatic effects of electricity.Electricity (from t he New Latin electricus, "amber-like"[a]) is a general term that encompasses a v ariety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge. The se include many easily recognizable phenomena, such as lightning and static elec tricity, but in addition, less familiar concepts, such as the electromagnetic fi eld and electromagnetic induction. In general usage, the word "electricity" is adequate to refer to a number of phy sical effects. In scientific usage, however, the term is vague, and these relate d, but distinct, concepts are better identified by more precise terms: Electric charge a property of some subatomic particles, which determines their e lectromagnetic interactions. Electrically charged matter is influenced by, and p roduces, electromagnetic fields. Electric current a movement or flow of electrically charged particles, typically measured in amperes. Electric field an influence produced by an electric charge on other charges in i ts vicinity. Electric potential the capacity of an electric field to do work on an electric c harge, typically measured in volts. Electromagnetism a fundamental interaction between the magnetic field and the pr esence and motion of an electric charge. Electrical phenomena have been studied since antiquity, though advances in the s cience were not made until the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Practical a pplications for electricity however remained few, and it would not be until the late nineteenth century that engineers were able to put it to industrial and res idential use. The rapid expansion in electrical technology at this time transfor med industry and society. Electricity's extraordinary versatility as a source of energy means it can be put to an almost limitless set of applications which inc lude transport, heating, lighting, communications, and computation. Electrical p ower is the backbone of modern industrial society, and is expected to remain so for the foreseeable future.[1] Contents [hide] 1 History 2 Concepts 2.1 Electric charge 2.2 Electric current 2.3 Electric field 2.4 Electric potential 2.5 Electromagnetism 3 Electric circuits 4 Production and uses 4.1 Generation and transmission 4.2 Uses 5 Electricity and the natural world 5.1 Physiological effects 5.2 Electrical phenomena in nature 6 Cultural perception 7 See also 8 Notes 9 References 10 Bibliography 11 External links History

or voltaic pile. Ancient Egyptian texts dating from 2750 BC referred to these fi sh as the "Thunderer of the Nile".[13] . of 1800. whic h made their first appearance in print in Thomas Browne's Pseudodoxia Epidemica of 1646.Thales. Benjamin Franklin conducted extensive researc h in electricity. could be rubbed with cat's fur to attract light objects like feather s. the Greek word for "amber" ) to refer to the property of attracting small objects after being rubbed. is to be att ributed to the Arabs. which needed no rubbing.[10] Further work was conducted by Otto von Guericke. the Parthians may have had knowledge of electroplating. selling his possessions to fund his work. and described them as the "protectors" of all other fish.[3] Patients suffering from ailments such as gout or he adache were directed to touch electric fish in the hope that the powerful jolt m ight cure them. attested to the numbing effect of electric shock s delivered by catfish and torpedo rays. when the English scientist William Gilbert made a careful study o f electricity and magnetism. made from alternating layers of zinc and copper. Stephen Gray and C.[13] The recognition of el ectromagnetism. demonstrating that electrici ty was the medium by which nerve cells passed signals to the muscles.[11] A succession of sparks jumping fro m the key to the back of the hand showed that lightning was indeed electrical in nature. Michael Faraday invented the electr ic motor in 1821. According to a controvers ial theory. and knew that such shocks could travel along conducting objects. and electricity from any other source. provided scientists with a more reliable source of electrical e nergy than the electrostatic machines previously used.[2] Several ancient writers.[12] Michael Faraday formed the foundation of electric motor technologyIn 1791.[5] Ancient cultures around the Mediterranean knew that certain objects. In June 1752 he is r eputed to have attached a metal key to the bottom of a dampened kite string and flown the kite in a storm-threatened sky. distinguishing the lodestone effect from static ele ctricity produced by rubbing amber. which resembles a galvanic cell. who before the 15th century had the Arabic word for lightn ing (raad) applied to the electric ray. Thales of Miletos made a series of observations on static electricity around 600 BC.[8] Benjamin Franklin conducted extensive research on electricity in the 18th centur yElectricity would remain little more than an intellectual curiosity for millenn ia until 1600. based on the 1936 discovery of the Baghdad Battery. the earliest researcher into electricityMain articles: History of electr omagnetism and History of electrical engineering See also: Etymology of electricity Long before any knowledge of electricity existed people were aware of shocks fro m electric fish. such as Pliny t he Elder and Scribonius Largus. du Fay.[6] He coined the New Latin word electricus ( "of amber" or "like amber".[4] Possibly the earliest and nearest approach to the discovery o f the identity of lightning. In the 18th century. Luigi Galvani published his discovery of bioelectricity. the unity of electric and magnetic phenomena.[6][7] Thales was incor rect in believing the attraction was due to a magnetic effect. Roman an d Arabic naturalists and physicians. and Georg Ohm mathematically analysed the electrical circuit i n 1827. but later science would prove a link between magnetism and electricity. is due to Hans Chr istian Ørsted and André-Marie Ampère in 1819-1820. They were again reported millennia later by ancient Greek. though it is uncertain whether the artifact was electrical in nature. F. from which he believed that friction rendered amber magnetic. such as rod s of amber. in contras t to minerals such as magnetite.[9] Th is association gave rise to the English words "electric" and "electricity".[13] Alessa ndro Volta's battery. from ??e?t??? [elektron]. Robert Boyle.

Charge on a gold-leaf electroscope causes the leaves to visibly repel each other The presence of charge gives rise to the electromagnetic force: charges exert a force on each other. and the other by an amber rod.[17] The force acts on the charged particles themselves. but also by antimatter. Sir Charles Parsons. and that by protons positive. second only in strength to the strong interaction.[16] The informal term static electricity refers to the net presence (or 'imbalance') of charge on a body. The proton has a charg e that is equal and opposite. It is a conserved quantity. the late 19th century would see the greatest progress in electrical engineering. or by passing along a conducting m aterial. Charge is possessed not just by matter. a cus tom that originated with the work of Benjamin Franklin. Two balls that are charged with a rubb ed amber rod also repel each other. Ányos J edlik.[21] In comparison with the much weaker gravitational force. is given by Coulo mb's law.[25] Charge can be measured by a number of means.[24] each electron carr ies the same charge of approximately -1. it is found to repel the first: the charge acts to force the two balls apart.While it had been the early 19th century that had seen rapid progress in electri cal science. However. either by direct contact. This discovery led to the well-known axiom: like-charged objects repel and opposite-charged objects attract. if one ball is charged by the glass rod. Ottó Bláthy. which relates the force to the product of the charges and has an inver se-square relation to the distance between them. which gives rise t o and interacts with the electromagnetic force. one of the four fundamental forc es of nature. transferring charge from one to the other. in antiqui ty. an early instrument being the gold- .6022×10-19 coulomb. the two balls are found to attract each oth er. If a sim ilar ball is charged by the same glass rod.6022×10-19 coulomb. the cha rge carried by electrons is deemed negative. The magnitude of the electromagnetic force. hence an amount of char ge may be expressed as being either negative or positive. usually caused when dissimila r materials are rubbed together.[23] The amount of charge is usually given the symbol Q and expressed in coulombs. such as a wire. George Westinghouse. charge may be transfer red between bodies.[15] Within the system. Through such people as Nikola Tesla. an effect that was known. who deduced that charge manifests itself in two opposing fo rms. and thus +1. though not understood. becoming a driving force for the Se cond Industrial Revolution. that is.[20] but un like that force it operates over all distances. Alexa nder Graham Bell and Lord Kelvin. proton. Ernst Werner von Siemens.[22] The charge on electrons and protons is opposite in sign. and ion Electric charge is a property of certain subatomic particles. whether attractive or repulsive. the electromagnetic force pushing two electrons apar t is 1042 times that of the gravitational attraction pulling them together. each antiparticle bearing an equal and opposite charge to its corresponding particle. Charge originates in the atom. By convention. the net charg e within an isolated system will always remain constant regardless of any change s taking place within that system. These phenomena were investigated in the late eighteenth century by CharlesAugustin de Coulomb. Thomas Edison. in which its most familiar carriers are the electron and proton. electricity was turned from a scientific curio sity into an essential tool for modern life.[18][19] The electromagnetic for ce is very strong. hence charge has a tendency to spread itself as evenly as possible over a conducting surface.[14] Concepts Electric charge Main article: Electric charge See also: electron.[17] A lightweight ball suspended from a string can be charged by touching it with a glass rod that has itself been charged by rubbing with a cloth.

which historically were the means of recognising its presence. or even in both directions at once. Examples of electric currents include metal lic conduction. Direct current. as produced by example from a battery and required by most electronic devices. where electrons flow through a conductor such as metal. one of the most familiar forms of current. While the particles t hemselves can move quite slowly.[29] He had discovered electromagnetism. almost always th is takes the form of a sinusoidal wave. has been superseded by the electronic electrometer. the intensity o f which is usually measured in amperes. The time-averaged value of an alternating current is zero. That water could be decomposed by the current from a v oltaic pile was discovered by Nicholson and Carlisle in 1800.[27] Current causes several observable effects.[32] These properties however can becom e important when circuitry is subjected to transients.[26] However. which although still in use for classroom demonstrations. they will be travelling in the opposite direction. enabling electrical signals to pa ss rapidly along wires. this flow is carried by electrons. and then the reverse.leaf electroscope. or to flow from the most positi ve part of a circuit to the most negative part.[16] the electric field that drives them its elf propagates at close to the speed of light. as is most common. he witnessed the current in a wire disturbing the needle of a magnetic compass. The positive-to-n egative convention is widely used to simplify this situation. An electric arc provides an energetic demonstration of electric currentThe proce ss by which electric current passes through a material is termed electrical cond uction. Their work was greatly expanded upon by Michael Faraday in 18 33.[30] If. a fun damental interaction between electricity and magnetics. is a unidirectional flow from the posi tive part of a circuit to the negative. Current defined in this manner i s called conventional current. an effect James P rescott Joule studied mathematically in 1840. sometimes with an average drift velocity only f ractions of a millimetre per second. and elec trolysis.[16] Electric current Main article: Electric current The movement of electric charge is known as an electric current. such as when first energi sed.[28] One of the most important disc overies relating to current was made accidentally by Hans Christian Ørsted in 1820 . The motion of negatively charged electrons around an electric circuit. current is often described as being ei ther direct current (DC) or alternating current (AC). most commonly these are electrons. In engineering or household applications. These terms refer to how t he current varies in time. Electric field .[28] Current through a resistance causes localised heating. but any charge in motion constit utes a current. Alterna ting current is any current that reverses direction repeatedly. while preparing a lecture. depend ing on the conditions. a process now know n as electrolysis. such as inductance and capacitance.[31] Alternating current thus pulses back and forth within a conductor without the charge moving any net distance over ti me. Alternating current is affec ted by electrical properties that are not observed under steady state direct cur rent. a positive current is defined as having the same direc tion of flow as any positive charge it contains. but it delivers e nergy in first one direction. is thus deemed positive in the opposite direction to that of the electrons. an electric current can consist of a flow of charged part icles in either direction. when. and its nature varies with that of the charged particles and the materia l through which they are travelling. Current can consist of any moving charge d particles. where ions (charged atoms) flow through liquids. By historical convention.

that they must enter any good conductor at right angles. and like it.[34] The study of electric fields created by stationary charges is called electrostat ics. Gravity always acts in attraction. negligible charge if placed at that point. electrical breakdown occurs and an electric arc causes flashover between the charged parts. so it follows that an electric field is also a vector. extends towards infinity and show s an inverse square relationship with distance.[37] This is the operating princ ipal of the Faraday cage. the electric field at a distance is usually zero. Thus gravity is the dominant force at distance in the universe.[36] A hollow conducting body carries all its charge on its outer surface.[21] However.[34] The conceptual charge.[35 ] Field lines emanating from stationary charges have several key properties: fir st. having both magnitude and direc tion. the sharp spike of which acts to encourage the lightning stroke to develop there. Since larg e bodies such as planets generally carry no net charge. and it is p articularly intense when it is forced to curve around sharply pointed objects. and force is a vector. The electric fi eld acts between two charges in a similar manner to the way that the gravitation al field acts between two masses. and results in a force exerted on any other charges placed within the field. drawing two masses together. they are however an imaginary concept with no physical ex istence. This concept was introduced by Farad ay.[33] and its strength at any one point is define d as the force (per unit charge) that would be felt by a stationary. there is an importa nt difference. must be vanishingly small to prevent its own electric field disturbing the ma in field and must also be stationary to prevent the effect of magnetic fields. The field lines ar e the paths that a point positive charge would seek to make as it was forced to move within the field. its breakdown strength is weaker. despite being much weaker. rather than to the buil ding it serves to protect. it is a vector field. caused when charge becomes separated in the clouds by rising columns of air. and third. w hile the electric field can result in either attraction or repulsion. for example.[22] Field lines emanating from a positive charge above a plane conductorAn electric field generally varies in space. and raises the electric field in the air to greater than it can withstand. The field may be visualised by a set of imaginary lines whose direction at any point is the same as that of the field. termed a 'test charge '. Air. perhaps 1 kV per c entimetre. Beyond this point. that they originate at positive charges and terminate at negative charges. Specifically.[38] The most visible natural occurrence of this is lightning. and the field permeates all the intervening space between the lines. Over larger gaps. a conducting metal shell which isolates its interior f rom outside electrical effects. The principles of electrostatics are important when designing items of high-volt age equipment. The field is therefore zero at all places inside the body. A s the electric field is defined in terms of force. that they may never cross nor close in on themselves. s econd. The voltage of a large lightning cloud may be as high as 100 MV and have discharge energies as great as 250 kWh. An electric field is created by a charged body in the space that surrounds it.[39] The field strength is greatly affected by nearby conducting objects. There is a finite limit to the electric field strength that may b e withstood by any medium. T his principle is exploited in the lightning conductor.[35] whose term 'lines of force' still sometimes sees use.[40] .Main article: Electric field See also: Electrostatics The concept of the electric field was introduced by Michael Faraday. tend s to arc across small gaps at electric field strengths which exceed 30 kV per ce ntimetre.

The electric potential at any point is defined as the ener gy required to bring a unit test charge from an infinite distance slowly to that point. a set of lines marking po ints of equal potential (known as equipotentials) may be drawn around an electro statically charged object. and thus a unique value for potential difference m ay be stated. which means that th e path taken by the test charge is irrelevant: all paths between two specified p oints expend the same energy. It is usually measured in volts. The equipotentials cross all lines of force at right angles. which is assumed to be at the same potential everywhere.[41] The volt is so strongly identified as the unit of choice for m easurement and description of electric potential difference that the term voltag e sees greater everyday usage. and a more useful concept is that of electric potential difference. then the force did too. This reference point naturally takes the name earth or gr ound. The electric field was formally defined as the force exerted per unit charge. has little practical applica tion.[16] Electromagnetism Main article: Electromagnetism Magnetic field circles around a currentØrsted's discovery in 1821 that a magnetic field existed around all sides of a wire carrying an electric current indicated that there was a direct relationship between electricity and magnetism. and to have brought that charge to that point against the force requires work. the vector direction of the field is the line of greate st slope of potential. The force on the compass needle did not dir ect it to or away from the current-carrying wire. Earth is assumed to be an infinite source of equal amounts of positive and negative charge. a mu ch more useful reference is the Earth itself.[41] This definition of potential. that is. For practical purposes. the interaction seemed different from gravitational and electrostatic forces. otherwise this wou ld produce a force that will move the charge carriers to even the potential of t he surface. so a ch arge will 'fall' across the voltage caused by an electric field." The force also depended on the direction of the current. They must also lie parallel to a conductor's surface. Moreover . The + sign indicates the polarity of the potential differenc e between the battery terminals. but acted at right angles to i t.[42] Electric potential is a scalar quantity. and one volt is the potential for which one joule of work must be expended to bring a charge of one coulomb from infini ty. but he observed the effect was reci . and is the energy required to move a unit charge between two specified points. A small charge placed within an electric fiel d experiences a force. An elec tric field has the special property that it is conservative.Electric potential Main article: Electric potential See also: Voltage A pair of AA cells. for if the flow was reversed. bu t the concept of potential allows for a more useful and equivalent definition: t he electric field is the local gradient of the electric potential.The concept of electric potential is closely lin ked to that of the electric field. While this could be at infinity. Usually expre ssed in volts per metre. the two forces of nature then known. while formal.[43] As relief m aps show contour lines marking points of equal height. and is therefore electrically uncharged and unchargeable.[44] Ørsted did not fully understand his discovery.[29] Ørsted's slightly obscure words were that "the electric conflict acts in a revolving manner. it has only magnitude and not direction. it is useful to define a common reference point to which potentials may be expressed and compared. It may be viewed as analogous to height: just as a released object wi ll fall through a difference in heights caused by a gravitational field. and where the equipotentials lie closest together.

The phenomenon was further investigated by Ampère. while wires containing currents in opposite directions are forced apart. the current returns to the source. and exhibit linear responses . and electric current. in which he converted the mechanical ener gy of a rotating copper disc to electrical energy. who discovered that two parallel current-carrying wires exerted a force upon each other: two wi res conducting currents in the same direction are attracted to each other.[47] Electric circuits Main article: Electric circuit A basic electric circuit. fields. requiring complex analysis. Maxwell's Laws . Electromagnetic wave s were analysed theoretically by James Clerk Maxwell in 1864. which unify light. Faraday's homopolar motor consisted of a permanent magnet sitting in a pool of mercury. Ele ctronic circuits contain active components. and a time-varying electric field was a source of a magnetic field. and typicall y exhibit non-linear behaviour. electric charge. and charge are one of the great milestones of theor etical physics. usually to perform some useful task . for it led to Michael Faraday's invention of the electric motor in 1821. completing the circuit. which can include ele ments such as resistors. a possibility that would be taken up b y those that followed on from his work. transformers and electronics.[47] Such a phenomenon has the properties of a wav e. usually semiconductors. Maxwell developed a set of equations that could unambiguously describe the interrelationship betwe en electric field. Faraday's and Ampère's work showed that a time-varying magnetic field acted as a s ource of an electric field. and a magnetic field exerts a forc e on a current.An electric cir cuit is an interconnection of electric components such that electric charge is m ade to flow along a closed path (a circuit). From the res istor. Exploitation of this discovery enabled him to invent t he first electrical generator in 1831. when either field is changing in time. and thus light itself was a form of electromagnetic radiation. enabled him to state t he principle. capacitors. but it showed the possibility of g enerating electric power using magnetism. making it circle around the magnet for as long as the current was maintain ed.[45] The electric motor exploits an important effect of electromagnetism: a current t hrough a magnetic field experiences a force at right angles to both the field an d currentThis relationship between magnetic fields and currents is extremely imp ortant. switches. The components in an electric circuit can take many forms. then a field of the other is necessarily induced. He cou ld moreover prove that such a wave would necessarily travel at the speed of ligh t. Thus. magnetic field.[46] Faraday's disc was ineffi cient and of no use as a practical generator. that the potential differ ence induced in a closed circuit is proportional to the rate of change of magnet ic flux through the loop. they contain no sources of it. A current was allowed through a wire suspended from a pivot above the m agnet and dipped into the mercury.[46] Experimentation by Faraday in 1831 revealed that a wire moving perpendicular to a magnetic field developed a potential difference between its ends. known as electromagnetic induction. The simplest electri c components are those that are termed passive and linear: while they may tempor arily store energy.[45] The inte raction is mediated by the magnetic field each current produces and forms the ba sis for the international definition of the ampere. Further anal ysis of this process. delivering electrical energy into the resistor R. The magnet exerted a tangential force on the wire. and is naturally referred to as an electromagnetic wave. now known as Faraday's law of induction. The voltage source V on the left drives a current I ar ound the circuit.procal: a current exerts a force on a magnet.

[49] It was n ot until the invention of the voltaic pile in the eighteenth century that a viab le source of electricity became available. The ohm. The resistance of most materials is relatively constant over a range of temperatures and currents. dissipating its energy as heat. The voltaic pile.[48] The resistor is perhaps the simplest of passive circuit elements: as its name su ggests. The modern steam turbine invented by Sir Charles Parsons in 1884 to day generates about 80 percent of the electric power in the world using a variet . named after Joseph Henry. Ohm's law is a basic law of circuit theory. The unit of inductance is the henry. that stores energy in a mag netic field in response to the current through it.[48] The inductor is a conductor. Whi le this method. stating that the current passi ng through a resistance is directly proportional to the potential difference acr oss it. increasing the surface area per unit volume and therefore the cap acitance. The induced voltage is proportional to the time rate of change of the current. for example. it resists the current through it. materials under these conditions are known as 'ohmic' . was named in honour of Georg Ohm. now known as the triboelectric effect. and given the symbol F: one farad is the capacitance that develops a potential diff erence of one volt when it stores a charge of one coulomb. When the current changes. usually a coil of wire. the electrical battery.to stimuli. A capacitor connected to a voltage supply initially causes a current as it accumulates charge. resistance is primarily due to collisions between electrons and ions. A capacitor will therefore not permit a steady state current. F or large electrical demands electrical energy must be generated and transmitted continuously over conductive transmission lines. the unit of resistance. and once discharged it must be disposed of or recharged. in practice. inducing a voltage between the ends of the conductor.[48] The inductor's beha viour is in some regards converse to that of the capacitor: it will freely allow an unchanging current. a contemporary of Faraday. Conceptually. The unit of capacitance is the farad. named after Michael Faraday. Electrical power is usually generated by electro-mechanical generators driven by steam produced from fossil fuel combustion.[49] The battery is a versatile and ver y common power source which is ideally suited to many applications. or from other sources such as kinetic energy extracted from wind or fl owing water. One henry is the inductance that will induce a potential difference of one volt if the curren t through it changes at a rate of one ampere per second. and is symb olised by the Greek letter O. it is extremely inefficient.[48] The capacitor is a device capable of storing charge. it consists of two conducting p lates separated by a thin insulating layer. thin metal foils are co iled together. and its modern desc endant. Production and uses Generation and transmission Main article: Electricity generation See also: Electric power transmission and Mains power around the world Wind power is of increasing importance in many countriesThales' experiments with amber rods were the first studies into the production of electrical energy. but its ener gy storage is finite. but opposes a rapidly changing one. but instead blocks it. The r esistance is a consequence of the motion of charge through a conductor: in metal s. the magnetic field does too. 1 O is the resistance that will produce a potentia l difference of one volt in response to a current of one amp. T he constant of proportionality is termed the inductance. and thereby storing electri cal energy in the resulting field. this c urrent will however decay in time as the capacitor fills. is capable of lifting lig ht objects and even generating sparks. eventually falling to zero. store energy chemically and make it available on demand in the form of electrical energy. or the heat released from nuclear r eactions.

[51][52] Since electrical energy cannot easily be stored in quantities large enough to me et demands on a national scale. was one of its ea rliest applications. and then be despatched relatively long distances to wh ere it was needed. such as Denmark. since most electrical generation has already required the production of heat at a power station. While debate can be expected to continue over the environmental impact of differ ent means of electricity production. Demand for electricity grows with great rapidity as a nation modernises and its economy develops.[56] Environmental concerns with electricity generation have led to an increased focu s on generation from renewable sources. and indeed the electrical telegra ph.y of heat sources. telegraph systems in the 1860s. replac ing the naked flames of gas lighting greatly reduced fire hazards within homes a nd factories. the effects of which electricity utilities are increasingly obliged to accommo date.[62] with air conditioning representing a growing sector for electricity demand . an early application of electricity. its final form is relatively clean.[57] Uses The light bulb.[63] Electricity is used within telecommunications. but they still rely on his electromagnetic principle that a conductor linking a changing magnetic field induces a potential difference acr oss its ends.[61] Electricity is however a highly practical energy source for refrigeration . A certain amount of generation must always be held in reserve to cus hion an electrical grid against inevitable disturbances and losses. demonstrated commercially in 1837 by Cooke and Wheatstone. have issue d legislation restricting or banning the use of electric heating in new building s. The United States showed a 12% increase in demand during each year of the first three decades of the twentieth century.[51] This requires electricity utilities to make careful prediction s of their electrical loads. in particular from wind and hydropower. Optical fibre and satellite communication tech nology have taken a share of the market for communications systems. but electric ity can be expected to remain an essential part of the process. The Joule heating effect employed in the light bulb also sees more direct use in electric heating. numbe r of uses.[54][55] Historically. and growing.[53] a rate of growth t hat is now being experienced by emerging economies such as those of India or Chi na. the growth rate for electricity demand has outstripped that for other forms of energy.[58] The invention of a practical incandescent light bulb in the 1870s led to lighting becoming one of the first publicly available applications of el ectrical power. at all times exactly as much must be produced as is required. and maintain constant co-ordination with their powe r stations.[50] The invention in the late nineteenth century of the transforme r meant that electrical power could be transmitted more efficiently at a higher voltage but lower current. Although electrification brought with it its own dangers. With the construction of first intercontinental. it can be seen as w asteful. where it benefited from economies of scale. The effects of electromagnetism are most visibly employed in the electric motor. . and then t ransatlantic. electricity had enabled communicat ions in minutes across the globe. While this is versatile and controllable.[59] Public utilities were set up in many cities targeting the burg eoning market for electrical lighting. and has been adapted to a huge. Such generators bear no resemblance to Faraday's homopolar di sc generator of 1831.[60] A number of countries. Efficient electrical transmission meant in turn that electricity could be generated at centralised power stations. operates by Joule heating: the passage of current through resistance generating heatElectricity is an extre mely flexible form of energy.

a prominent manifestation of whi ch is lightning. is obliged to either carry along a power source such as a battery. but a motor that move s with its application. though its use has bec ome rarer in recent times.[69] Certain crystals.[7 3] Action potentials are also responsible for coordinating activities in certain plants and mammals. termed ele ctrogenic. such as an electric vehicle. such as quartz. meaning to press. such as to uch. revive the dead or otherwise bend the laws of nature.[70] Some organisms. Electrophorus electricusElectricity is not a human invention. electricity was not part of the everyday lif e of many people. are able to generate voltages themselves to serve as a predatory or d efensive weapon.[72] Cultural perception In the 19th and early 20th century. placing restrictions on its range or performance. and tissue burns. it will cause muscle contraction. the grea ter the current. and although the relationship is non-linear. The popular culture of the time accordingly often depicts it as a mysterious.[65] Electricity and the natural world Physiological effects Main article: Electric shock A voltage applied to a human body causes an electric current through the tissues . an ability known as electroreception.which provides a clean and efficient means of motive power.[66] The lack of any visible sign that a conductor is electrified makes e lectricity a particular hazard. are able to detect and respond to changes in ele ctric fields. and was discovered in 1880 by Pierre and Jacques Curie.[64] and a fundamental building block of al l modern circuitry. or to collect current from a sliding con tact such as a pantograph. friction or chemical bonding. Electronic devices make use of the transistor. detect or stun their prey via high voltages generated from mod ified muscle cells called electrocytes. such as sharks. The Earth's magnetic field is thought to arise from a na tural dynamo of circulating currents in the planet's core.[3][4] All animals transmit information a long their cell membranes with voltage pulses called action potentials.[74 . though a current as low as a microamp can be detected as an el ectrovibration effect under certain conditions. The effect is reciprocal.[68] Electrical phenomena in nature The electric eel. of which the best known example is the electric eel. and when a piezo electric material is subjected to an electric field. but is about 0. Death c aused by an electric shock is referred to as electrocution. Many interactions familiar at the macroscopic level. A stationary motor such as a winch is easily provided with a supply of power. are due to interactions between electric fiel ds on the atomic scale. the greater the voltage. even in the industrialised Western world. whose fu nctions include communication by the nervous system between neurons and muscles. [72] An electric shock stimulates this system. The pain caused by an electric shock can be inte nse. and may be observed in several forms in nature. Electrocution is sti ll the means of judicial execution in some jurisdictions.1 mA to 1 mA for mains-frequ ency electricity. a small change in physical dimensions take place. or even sugar. from the Greek piezein (p???e??). leading electricity at times to be employed as a method of torture. A modern integrated circuit may contain several billion mini aturised transistors in a region only a few centimetres square. perhaps one of the most important inventions of the twentieth century. quasi-magical force th at can slay the living. and causes muscles to contract.[3] The order Gymnotiformes. fibrillation of the heart.[66] The threshold for perception varies with the supply frequen cy and with the path of the current.[71] while others. generate a potential difference across their fac es when subjected to external pressure.[67] If the current is sufficient ly high.[70] This phenomenon is known as piezoele ctricity.

50.^ a b Morris. The revitalization of monsters w ith electricity later became a stock theme in horror films.[75] The people who keep it flowing. Kramer. an analogy between the flow of water and electric current Mains electricity. 182 185. Intermediate Electromagnetic Theory.^ The Encyclopedia Americana.org/stable/1311732 3. Riddle of 'Baghdad's batteries'. Measurement and Technology 138 (1): 1 10 2. Bernd (December 1991). Simon C. Electrical energy. ^ the New Latin electricus. New Yor k: Encyclopedia Americana Corp 6. D.[75] an event that usually signals disa ster.^ Frood. Charles Stei nmetz or Nikola Tesla were popularly conceived of as having wizard-like powers. Cambridge University Press. Springer. As the public familiarity with electricity as the lifeblood of the Second Indust rial Revolution grew.] This attitude began with the 1771 experiments of Luigi Galvani in which the le gs of dead frogs were shown to twitch on application of animal electricity.230 7/1311732.[75] such as the workers who "finger death at their gloves' end as they piece and re piece the living wires" in Rudyard Kipling's 1907 poem Sons_of_Martha. observable events which illuminate the physical principles of electricity Electric power. These results were known to Mary Shelley when she authored Frankenstein (1819). wizard-like figures.^ a b Stewart. Arran (27 February 2003). meaning amber References 1. Proceedings of the IEE: Science.^ Jones. its wielders were more often cast in a positive light. the rate at which electrical energy is transferred Electronics. ISBN 9-8102-4471-1 7. "Rev italization" or resusciation of apparently dead or drowned persons was reported in the medical literature shortly after Galvani's work.[75 ] With electricity ceasing to be a novelty and becoming a necessity of everyday li fe in the later half of the 20th century. connects the direction of an electric current and its associated magnetic currents. whether fictional or real including scientists such as Thomas Edison. the AC electric power supply Mains power systems. (2003). "Electrical engineering: the backbone of society". a library of universal knowledge (1918). the potential energy of a system of charges Electricity market. ISBN 0-4445-1258-6 8. doi:10. ISBN 0521827043 5. the sale of electrical energy Electrical phenomena.[75] Elect rically powered vehicles of every sort featured large in adventure stories such as those of Jules Verne or the Tom Swift books. 5 7.A. http: . itself coming from the Greek ??e?t???. Electroreception. such as the nameless hero of Jimmy Web b s song "Wichita Lineman" (1968). 6 7. "Review: Electric Fish". p. Joseph (2001).^ Simpson. Life's Solution: Inevitable Humans in a Lonely Universe. (2005). "amber-like". BioSc ience (American Institute of Biological Sciences) 41 (11): 794 6 [794]. Peter. Brian (2003). ISBN 0 387231927 4. includes a list of countries and territories.^ Moller. came from the classical Latin elect rum. http://jstor. Elsevi er Health Sciences. with the plug s. the study of the movement of charge through certain materials and d evices Hydraulic analogy. it required particular attention by po pular culture only when it stops flowing.[75] The masters of electricity.[75] are still often cast as heroic. World Scien tific. pp.^ a b c Bullock. pp.[75] See also Ampere's rule. pp. voltages and frequencies they use Notes a. Electrical Stimulation and the Relief of Pain. although she does not na me the method of revitalization of the monster. (elektron). Theodore H. BBC..

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