Electricity

February 15, 2005
 
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                                      ELECTRICITY GLOSSARY

Alternating current
Electric current that changes direction continually. There are two kinds of current: alternating current and direct current. 

Amber
Gum or resin from fossilized trees. The word "electricity" comes from the Greek word "elektron" meaning amber.

Ampere
The basic unit of measurement for electric current.

Atom
The smallest particle of any element. Everything around us is made of atoms.

Battery
A group of electric cells that provide electric current. A battery is an example of a direct current.

Capacitor
A device that stores electricity for future use.

Charge
A buildup of electricity that causes objects to push or pull. There can be positive charges and negative charges. Sometimes there is no charge and it is called a "neutral charge".

Circuit
A path electricity follows from a source through a connection to an output device. For example: a circuit can be made from a battery through a copper wire to a lightbulb and back to the battery.

Conductor
A substance through which electrical charges can easily flow. Conduction happens when an electric current passes between two points that are physically connected. Some examples of good conductors are: wool, salt water, metals.

Coulomb
The unit of measurement of an electric charge.

Direct Current
Electric current that flows in only one direction. A battery is an example of direct current.

Electrical Charge
The amount of electrical energy stored in a battery, capacitor, or any insulated object that can hold energy for a time.

Electric Current
A steady flow of electric charges through matter.

Electricity
A form of energy produced by the movement of electrons.

Energy
The ability to do work and produce power.

Electrons
Particles orbiting the outside of atoms. They carry a negative charge.

Generator
A machine that produces electrical current by spinning a magnet inside a coil of wire.

Hydroelectricity
The production of electricity by water power.

Insulator
A material through which electric charges cannot move. Some examples of good insulators are: rubber, wool, and glass, plastic, and dry air.

Negative charge
A charge due to a buildup of electrons.

Positive charge
A charge due to an absence of electrons.

Protons
A tiny particle in the nucleus of an atom. Protons have a positive charge.

Static electricity
The buildup or imbalance of the same charges. Static electricity is at rest until discharged.

Switch
A device that opens or closes a circuit. This prevents or allows a current to flow.

Transformer
A device that changes the intensity of electric current.

Voltage
The pressure behind the flow of electrons in a circuit.

 

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