Introduction to Electricity

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Subatomic Particles

  • The only particle that moves when an electric circuit is completed is the electron.
  • In the atom, there are 3 fundamental particles – proton, electron, and neutron. The proton and neutron give the atom its mass.
Atom showing the nucleus (colored red) and orbiting electrons (blue circles).
  • The proton and electron are collectively designated as electrical particles because each is surrounded by an invisible field of force that reacts with adjacent matter in either an electrically negative or positive manner. This field gives the particle its characteristic electrical charge. This invisible field of force around the electrical particle is called the electrostatic field.
  • The electron has a negative charge, while the proton has a positive charge.
  • The mass of the proton is 1800 times the mass of the electron, but each electrical particle has a unit (one) electric charge, i.e + and -.
  • The basic law of charges:

Like charges repel, unlike charges attract.

  • Because of differences in mass, the proton remains stationary when it attracts the electron, which implies that only the electron moves. This ordered flow of electron is called current. Likewise, in terms of mass-to-charge ratio, the electron has a stronger field of force than the proton.

Ion and Field Strength

  • When an atom loses or gains an electron it becomes an ion. If it loses an electron, it becomes a positive ion. If it gains an electron, it becomes a negative ion.
  • The power of the electrostatic field is called the field strength. This field strength varies inversely with the distance of the field from the electrical particle as shown in this equation:

Field Strength α 1 / (distance squared)

  • The field strength of electrical particles is directly proportional to the number of these particles.

Field Strength α Number of electrical particles

  • When an electron moves, it moves with its electrostatic field, and this moving field creates dynamic electricity.
  • To cause an electron to move, it needs to be pushed by a negative field strength or be pulled by a positive field strength.

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