Background Info

About Electricity

 Electricity is a form of energy and it can be converted into other forms of energy. For example, when you are listening to music on you MP3 player, electricity is converted into sound energy so that you can listen to your music. Your heater converts electrical energy into heat energy.

How Does Electricity Work?

Electricity is created when particles become charged. For example, in the picture on the left, you can see a battery. Electricity is created inside the battery because a chemical reaction inside it creates a build up of electrons at the anode. Electrons are negatively charged particles, and so there is an electrical difference between the anode and the cathode. The electrons want to correct this difference, and so they want to get to the cathode, but the electrolyte in the middle prevents it from doing so. When the wire that you can see is attached to both the anode and the cathode, it creates a path for the electrons to go through, and so the electrons are released into the wire and create a flow of electron right to the cathode, and they light up the bulb along the way.

Metal is a good conductor of electricity, which is why it is used in wires. Lets look at how a copper wire would conduct electricity. When an electron is released into the wire, it will bump against another electron in one of the copper atoms. Because the electrons have the same charge (negative), the electron inside the atom will get repelled and bump into another electron inside another atom, which will make a flow of electrons inside the wire, and an electric current.

Water Conductivity

Water conduct electricity in a different way. H2O can’t create a flow of electrons. But the water that we used everyday contains ions, special atoms that contain more or less electrons than protons. This means that they have a charge, either a positive or negative charge. When water is part of a circuit, the negatively charged ions (anions) move to the positive pole and the positively charge ions (cations) move to the negative pole, and the electricity is conducted in that way.