Electricity

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Electricity

Electricity travels at the speed of light. Electric cars aren’t quite that fast.

Electricity

Electricity comes from electrical energy. This is energy that is caused by moving electric charges.

Electricity can either build up in one place (static electricity) or flow from one place to another (current electricity).

Burning Questions

What is electricity?

Electricity is a type of energy that comes from electrical energy.

If this energy gathers in one place, it's called static electricity (the word 'static' means something that doesn't move).

If the energy moves or flows from one place to another, it's called current electricity.

Electron Flow Diagram

Charged particles moving through a wire in a circuit create electricity.

What is electrical energy?

Electrical energy is caused by moving particles that have a negative or positive charge. These charged particles are called electrons.

The faster the electrons are moving, the more electrical energy they carry. Electrical energy commonly moves through a wire in an electrical circuit.

How is static electricity formed?

Static electricity happens when electrons build-up on an object, but can't flow any further, which creates an electric charge.

This charge is released as static electricity if the charged object is touched by another object that can conduct electricity.

Try it yourself! Rub a balloon against your jumper about 20-30 times – then hold it against your jumper and let go. The balloon will stick to you because of the static electricity released when it comes into contact with your jumper.

How is current electricity formed?

Current electricity happens when electrons flow from one place to another, usually within an electrical circuit.

This is because electrons carry electrical energy from one place to another.

What are some examples of electrical energy?

Electrical energy is all around us, from our home appliances to our cars.
Here are some everyday examples of electrical energy in action:

oven

The moving electrical energy flows through the wire, forming electrical energy, which is then converted to thermal (heat) energy for cooking.

mobile charger

A mobile phone battery supplies chemical energy to electric charges, causing them to move and become electrical energy. This energy then travels through the phone and supplies it with electricity.

lamp

Think of a lamp plugged into the wall. The electric current moves through the wire, forming electrical energy. When the electric charges slow down in the light bulb, light energy is created.

lightning

Lightning bolts can travel at around 210,000 kilometres per hour while reaching nearly 30,000 degrees Celsius in temperature.

What Do You Mean?

Electrical energy is caused by moving particles that have a negative or positive charge. These particles are called electrons.

Current electricity is electrical energy that flows from one place to another, usually through a wire.

Electricity is a type of energy that comes from electrical energy.

An electric circuit is a closed path or loop around which an electric current flows.

Static electricity is electrical energy that builds up in one place.

Cool Facts

Static electricity was discovered over 2000 years ago, by a Greek philosopher called Thales.

Cool Facts

Electricity travels at the speed of light – that's about 300,000 kilometres per second!

Cool Facts

Some lightning flashes are made up of as many as 25 or more lightning bolts (strokes). They move so fast that your eyes only see one flash!

Speedy Summary

Electricity

A close up of an electron.

Electricity comes from electrical energy, a type of energy caused by moving charged particles. These charged particles are called electrons.