Stuff About Electricity , Atoms, And Electrons

1249 words - 5 pages

ElectricityHistory of ElectricityIn 1660 Otto von Guericke invented a machine for producing static electricity. It was a ball of sulfur that was rotated by a crank with one hand and rubbed with the other hand. The Van de Graaf generator is a highly developed descendant of that and other machines. It is sometimes used as a particle accelerator. Robert Boyle found out that attraction and repulsion were jointed and that electric force was sent through a vacuum. Stephen Gray distinguished between conductors and nonconductors. C. F. Du Fay recognized two kinds of electricity and Benjamin Franklin and Ebenezer Kinnersley later named them positive and negative. Also during the early 1700s, ...view middle of the document...

The actual discovery of the electron was made in 1897 by J. J. Thomson. He showed that cathode rays are composed of electrons and measured the ratio of charge to expand for the electron. In 1909, R. A. Millikan measured the charge of the electron. Combining these two results gives the mass of the electron. In 1903, Ernest Rutherford showed that beta rays are high-energy electrons. In 1927, Davisson and Germer discovered that electrons sometimes show the wave property of diffraction. This approved L. V. de Broglie's hypothesis that electrons also own certain wave properties. The electron is the lightest particle having a non-zero rest mass. It belongs to the lepton class of particles. Together with its antiparticle, the positron, and its associated neutrino and antineutrino, it constitutes a subfamily of the leptons. According to the conservation laws, in any particle reaction involving any of the four members of the electron family, the total electron family number must be conserved. As a consequence, an electron and a positron can annihilate each other to give two or more photons or a neutrino-antineutrino pair, but not two neutrinos.Electric CurrentsAn electric current is the flow of electrons through a wire conductor. The electric charge in a current is carried by minute particles called electrons that orbit the nuclei of atoms. Each electron carries a small electric charge. When a stream of electrons moves from atom to atom, the flow of the charge they carry is called electric current.Electric currents flow because atoms and molecules contain two types of electrical charge, positive and negative. These opposite charges attract each other. If there is a difference in the overall charge of atoms between two points, for example, between two ends of a wire, the negatively charged electrons will flow toward the positively charged end of the wire, creating an electric current. Direct current, or DC, is the flow of electricity in one direction. Alternating current, or AC, intermittently reverses direction because of the way it is generated.Electric currents flow easily in some substances but don't flow at all in others. Solids, liquids, and gases that carry electric currents are called conductors. Many metals are good conductors. More than one conductor may be needed to build an electric circuit, a path for electric current to move from one place to another.The rate at which electric charge flows in a current is measured in amperes. The unit of measurement is named for...

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