Moving Electrons and ChargesElectricity is related to charges, and both electrons and protons carry a charge. The amount of the charge is the same for each particle, but opposite in sign.
Electrons carry a negative charge while protons carry positive charge. The objects around us contain billions and billions of atoms, and each atom contains many protons and electrons.
The protons are located in the center of the atom, concentrated in a small area called the nucleus.
The electrons are in motion outside of the nucleus in orbitals.
The protons are basically trapped inside the nucleus and can't escape the nucleus. As a result, it is moving electrons that are primarily responsible for electricity.
There aren't a lot of places that you can see electricity. The most commonly- observed form of electricity is probably lightning.
- Lightning is a big spark that occurs when lots of electrons move from one place to another very quickly.
- There are three basic forms of lightning:
- cloud to cloud
- cloud to surface
- surface to cloud.
- All are created when there is an unequal distribution of electrons. You can also see smaller sparks of electricity in science labs that contain Van de Graff generators, and can see even smaller arcs of electrons at home when you scuff your feet and then touch something like a metal doorknob (static electricity).
It's easy to see the uses of electricity around you. In fact, there are charges around your computer, your house, and your city.
- Electricity is constantly flowing through all of the wires in your town. There is also electricity in your flash light. That kind of electricity created by batteries is called direct current. The other major type is found in the outlets of your house. That household form of electricity is called alternating current.