Monday, April 30, 2012

We use electricity for a lot of things. If we didn't have it, life as we know it wouldn't exist. However, we cannot see electricity directly, but we can observe its effects. For example, if you walk across a carpet, then touch something metal, you might feel a slight spark. This is called static electricity. It is "static" because it is at rest. It stays on you until you touch the metal. Eventually, if something is charged for long enough and the energy stays on it, the something is "discharged", loosing the charge.

There are two types of electric charges, negative and positive. Positive charges repel each other. As do negative. Negative and positive charges attract, however. The particles that make up all matter, atoms, contain these charges. Atoms are composed, however, of even smaller particles. There are protons, positively charged, electrons, negatively charged, and neutrons, which do not have any charge. Protons and neutrons are in the center of the nucleus of an atom. Electrons move around these in various orbits. If the atom contains the same amount of electrons and protons, they cancel each other out and the atom is neutral. If not, it has an electric charge. An atom with a charge is called an ion. A negative ion has a negative charge, and a positive ion has a positive charge.

Electrons can be transferred between two objects. If two objects rub together, one looses electrons and the other gains. Now they both have a charge. Some objects are more likely to lose or gain electrons.

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