The Basic concept of electricity
- Electric Charge
- Electric Current
- Electric Circuit
Two of tiny particles make up atoms – protons and electrons are the bearers of electric charge.
There are two types of charge – positive and negative. Protons have a positive charge and electrons have a negative charge.
Electric charge is one of the basic forces of nature that hold the universe together. Positive and negative charges are irresistibly attracted to each other. Thus, the attraction of negatively-charged electrons to positively charged protons hold atoms together.
When an atom has a net positive charge, it goes looking for an electron to restore its balanced charge.
When this happens, the atom goes looking for a way to get rid of the extra electron to once again restore balance.
Electric current refers to the flow of the electric charge carried by electrons as they jump from atom to atom. Electric current is a very familiar concept: When you turn on a light switch, electric current flows from the switch through the wire to the light, and the room is instantly illuminated.
Electric current flows more easily in some types of atoms than in others. Atoms that let current flow easily are called conductors, whereas atoms that don’t let current flow easily are called insulators.
The insulator serves two purposes. First, it prevents you from touching the wire when current is flowing, thus preventing you from being the recipient of a nasty shock. But just as importantly, the insulator prevents the conductor inside the wire from touching the conductor inside a nearby wire. If the conductors were allowed to touch, the result would be a short circuit, which brings us to the third important concept.
An electric circuit is a closed-loop made of conductors and other electrical elements through which electric current can flow.