• Question: what is electricity made from

    Asked by joshuaoconnor to Aggelos, Andrew, Eileen, Shane on 21 Nov 2012.
    • Photo: Eileen Diskin

      Eileen Diskin answered on 21 Nov 2012:

      Hi Joshua!

      Electricty can come from lots of different sources. Waaaay before we had things like lightbulbs, people were a bit aware of electricty – at least in some form – because of electric fish! And in some cases, doctors even used these kinds of fish as treatments for people with certain conditions, like headaches (which makes me really happy that paracetamol was invented!)

      A while after that, people began to link electricty to a magnet-like effect, and investigated static electricity. In the 1750s, Benjamin Franklin did lots of experiments to figure out how electricty flowed…using a kite (he managed to attract energy from a storm with his kite). With this, he figured out that electricty has postive and negative elements to it, and that it can flow. When these elements (electrons) flow, it produces a charge…and so we get electricity. This is called current electricity (because it flows), and is a bit different than static electricity.

      The energy we use in our homes can come from a lot of different sources. More and more, people are trying to use renewable energies – things like solar power (which doesn’t always work so great here in Ireland), as well as wind and wave power.

      Hope that answers your question!? 🙂

    • Photo: Aggelos Zacharopoulos

      Aggelos Zacharopoulos answered on 21 Nov 2012:

      @ joshuaoconnor,
      electricity is what you get when electrically charged matter moves. It is commonly electrons (the small particles found around the atomic nucleus) that move along a metallic object (like a wire). To get electrons moving of course you need to have them available and free to do so. This is why metals are good “conductors of electricity”. They can provide the free electrons which can then move to conduct the electricity.

    • Photo: Andrew Jackson

      Andrew Jackson answered on 21 Nov 2012:

      i like aggelos answer. Thinking about the free moving flow of tiny electrons along metal wires creates such a simple yet powerful picture in my mind.