We are in 2020 by far, we are all at our homes as it is not safe to go out. What are we doing right now? What is everybody up to in this year? Watching TV, using a mobile, laptop, PC, video games, PlayStations, etc. We are time-passing with electronic gadgets and Internet. Now, what is making them to work? Why is your phone ringing? how is your laptop working? why the ACs, fans, etc. are performing? What is running them-Electricity! Without which we have nothing these days, no online classes, no YouTube, no Facebook, no WhatsApp we can’t talk to our friend who is far away. Or even I can’t write this article without electricity. Everything becomes stuck in our world without electricity.
Imagine a life without electricity—no fan, no AC to keep you cool in summer, no refrigerators to keep food preserved, no TV for watching cartoons. This has become an essential tool for our living and it is getting more and more interacting to every aspect of our lives, without which our life we go back to the times of kings and kingdoms. Electricity is everything for us in the 21st century. Let us know more in detail.
The Quantum World
To learn about electric current we need to go down to the size of an atom. “Atoms are the tiniest blocks of matter which can’t be further divided into pieces”, everyone might have learned this in the school. But what it actually means how small is an atom? Think in this way – take any object and break it into parts make those parts even smaller, break them again, make them even smaller at one point we reach the size of the particles where we can’t grab those with our bare hands, but if we could use a piece of sophisticated equipment and keep on making smaller and tiny parts we come to a point where there won’t be two. There will be only one piece which we cannot divide further that’s called an atom (1 grain of sand contains around 1019 atoms!).
An atom is too small to even imagine, that is assumed to exist many thousands of years in ancient Indian texts named “Paramanu” and only a few years back the first image of the atom has been taken, having a size of 10-10 m.
I know, these numbers are hard to visualize for ease of understanding, take an orange and make it as big as the earth now the size of an atom would be at the size of a blueberry. An atom is 99% empty space. As atoms cannot be broken further (unless it’s the bomb) it doesn’t mean that atoms are the smallest things in the universe because there are particles present inside an atom too, they are subatomic particles and electrons are one of them. These electrons have a negative charge.
Here is a TED-ed video which explains how small is an atom
Basically, What is Electricity? What is Current?
Electricity is the energy that exists due to charged particles, which can be static or flowing (current). Current is a general word for flow, anything flows we can call as current (Water currents, wind currents). Electrons are the carriers of current, their flow is said as electric current. These electrons are negatively charged so they flow from negative charge to the positive charged side of the circuit. The flow of current is said to be from the positive terminal to the negative terminal. If there is an electric potential difference existed in between and two ends of a conductor there the electrons can move and thus current is said to be flowing. Potential difference can be well explained and understood if we look at this as a difference in height. If there is a difference in height, water (current) flows there. If there is a difference in charge, potential difference arises, therefore electrons move to nullify the effect.
How Do We Know About Electricity?
Keeping all the other things aside, electricity is not something we created the first time. It already exists in nature in the form of thunders and lightnings, even before humans existance. It was just a few hundred years ago human beings learned how to use and produce it (It was mentioned in the Rig Veda that copper and zinc electrodes can be used for the production of electricity, which dates back to over 3,000 years). It had become an asset from there on when Benjamin Franklin invented the first electric motor. Things took an exponential increase in that arena.
Electricity and Magnetism
If we talk about electricity and moving charges inevitably magnetism comes into the picture, they can’t be inseparable. Every moving charge produces a magnetic field and the converse effect is, every magnetic field can move electrons in its field. This was first observed when compasses deflected when came near current-carrying wires it was first performed by Hans Christian Oersted, famously known as the Oersted’s Experiment. Magnetism is fun; this science is not a new thing to us. It is in the small magnets we used to play in childhood days and the joy we used to get when we lift a small needle with it. From there, we have come a long way. We now know that magnetic power drives the fastest train in the world (Maglev) and it works on the levitation effect due to the magnetic nature of materials. Particle accelerators use quadruple magnets to generate intense magnetic fields so that subatomic particles can be accelerated to speeds near to the speed of light, to study the first particles after the Big Bang.
We have integrated our lives with electricity and we are now so-called “digitalized humans”.
For the first time in the history of mankind, we are in times where even no one is coming outside from homes we can still get connected to a person who is seven seas away and can operate robots on the Moon and Mars. This is a superpower for all of us, now anyone can do anything by just sitting at home. All thanks to electricity, the next time you charge your phone, don’t forget that billions of electrons are moving inside, just for you to read this article.
This is the future
One thing is clear that our present trend in using fuels should come down if we were to have a healthy climate in the next 100 years. We can’t use fossil fuels for running vehicles and keep polluting ozone and environment, we should either use nuclear or electrical. Nuclear energy is the cleanest and most efficient energy source we have. But it has a very high amount of risk if there is a disaster, it can wipe off the entire city at once and the radiation will affect generations. The worst disaster was the Chernobyl that had left an impression in minds of the public that it’s not safe. Even after knowing that 1 kg of uranium (nuclear fuel) can produce energy equivalent to 1000 kg of coal. The next best alternative is the electric world, we are already very much into electric cars, trains, trams, even buses, autos, and motorcycles. Not only these we have experimental successes in electric flights too.
We have no other best alternative this is cheaper and a bit tough to adapt in the beginning but it can only get better. The world is electrifying. Robots to perform precise and repetitive tasks, drones to conquer the sky, even other parts of the solar system before humans go there. So we are chan(r)ging if this continues who knows a robot might be talking just like a friend, in the distant future. What do you think about this?
– Srujith BSR
Narsipatnam, Vishakapatnam – 531116