Electricity is a type of energy that features charged particles. It can be static or dynamic. Everything that exists is electrical in some way because every atom, even the simple hydrogen atom, has at least one electron and one proton. Atoms sometimes gain or lose electrons. When that happens, they’re called ions and have a positive or negative charge. Atoms that have the same charge repel each other, while those that have opposite charge attract each other.
Static electricity is what happens when you feel a shock after touching a metal doorknob. Current electricity, however, is what runs the world. The only difference between them is that the electrons in the atom aren’t moving much in static electricity. Current electricity happens when electrons or ions are moving. Metal is a great conductor of electricity because its electrons can move freely. Glass is a bad conductor of electricity because its electrons are bound tightly to its atoms.
Units of Electricity
You might be confused when one of our electricians talks about the units that measure the electricity in your home. These units include:
An ampere measures an electrical current’s rate of flow. The watt measures electric power. When one volt of electric potential drives one ampere of current through an electrical device, that equals one watt. Since all materials resist electrical current flowing through them in some manner, the ohm measures that resistance. Materials that have little resistance to electrical current are conductors, while those that resist it strongly are insulators. The volt is the force that drives one ampere of current through a resistance of one ohm.
By the way, all of these units were named after scientists or in the case of James Watt, an engineer. The volt was named after Alessandro Volta; the watt was named after James Watt; the ampere was named after André Marie Ampere, and the ohm was named after George Simon Ohm.
More Electricity Fun Facts
William Gilbert, who was the physician to Queen Elizabeth I, performed experiments with static electricity. He showed how a piece of amber attracts objects after it is rubbed with a piece of cloth. Indeed, the word electric comes from the Greek and Latin words for amber. The Greek word is elektron and the Latin word is electrum. The word electricity came into use around 1646. It’s believed to have been coined by the British physician Sir Thomas Browne.
In 1897, Joseph Kohn Thomson, an English physicist, discovered that every atom contains tiny bits of electricity. Though he called them corpuscles at first, we now call them electrons.
Call Paxton Electric to Learn More
Electricity makes nearly everything in your home possible. This includes your kitchen appliances, your lights, your air conditioning that keeps you comfortable in the summer, and your heating that protects you from Rochester’s hard winters. If you ever need electrical service, don’t hesitate to call our professionals at Paxton Electric.