Introduction to electricity
What makes the lights in your room turn on? Why does the flashlight come on when you press that switch button? They happen because there is energy flow in the form of electrical energy. Electrical energy exists and can be experienced in many ways and amounts. For example, you may feel a little shock when you touch a metal part of your TV, or feel a shock when you touch clothing from the laundry. Electricity can also be in lightning bolts. To understand this very powerful thing, let us first learn where and how it all comes together.
What is electricity?
Electricity exists in the smallest particle in nature called the atom. The atom is the basic building block of matter. An atom is so small that human eyes cannot see it. We only see them with the help of very powerful magnifying devices.
Below is an illustration of an atom.
In the atom, there are three sub-atomic particles — Protons, Neutrons and Electrons. Protons and Neutrons are located right in the nucleus (centre or core) of the atom. Around the nucleus, there are electrons that are constantly moving very quickly. The electrons move because they have some energy.
Neutrons have no charges. Protons are positively charged. Electrons are negatively charged, and they encircle the nucleus. Electrons encircle the nucleus because opposite charges (negative charge electrons and positive charge protons) are attracted to each other, and alike charges tend to move away from each other.
The encircling electron can move from one atom to the other. When Protons and fast moving Electrons interact, electricity is produced.
In simple terms, electricity is the interaction of Protons in the atom and the fast moving of Electrons around it. It is the flow of electrons.