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Nature Of Electricity

It is comparatively easy to describe electricity by its action than by its nature. Electricity is a convenient form of energy and have got numerous applications, as for lighting, transportation, communication, heating, elevators and for driving various types of machine tools.

Although no one knows precisely what electricity is, it has been possible to develop theories about electricity through experiments and by observations of its behavior. As a result, it is now believed that all matter is essentially electrical in nature.

In order to appreciate the nature of electricity it is necessary to consider the structure of matter. Matter has been defined as any thing that occupies space and has weight such as copper, iron, water, air smoke, aluminum, silver etc. Matter is made up of extremely small particles known as molecules. A molecule is the smallest particle into which a given substance may be divided without changing its identity. Molecules can further be sub-divided chemically into still minute particles known as atoms. An atom may be regarded as the smallest particle of an element that can exist. The substances, whose molecules consist of similar atoms, are known as elements where as the substances whose molecules consist of dissimilar atoms are known as compounds.

According to modern electron theory, the atoms of all elements are composed of two parts, namely, the central nucleus and the surrounding or orbital electrons. The nucleus formed of sub atomic particles known as protons and neutrons. The protons carry positive charge and neutrons carry no charge i.e. neutrons are electrically neutral. Neutron is as heavy as proton and the mass of each proton or of each neutron is nearly the same as that of hydrogen atom. The protons and neutrons are very closely held together with tremendous forces. The electrons are considered to be traveling around the nucleus in the same way as the planets of the solar system around the sun. Electrons are consider having negative charge and the charge, each electronics associated with, is 1.602 x 10-19 coulomb. The mass of each electron is 9.107 x 10-31 kg, i.e. only 1 that of the hydrogen atom. The normal atom of matter consists
of a small positively charged nucleus with which enough electrons are associated to give an equal-ve charge and therefore resultant charge of the entire atom is zero. A body containing equal number of electrons and protons is said to be neutral. However, nearly all atoms have some electrons which are loosely bound to their nuclei. These electrons are knows as free electron and may be dislodged by one means or another and transferred form one atom to another. The body, that contains unequal number of electrons and protons is said to be electrically charged, If a body contains electrons more than its normal number then the body is said to be - vely charged. Similarly a body containing electrons less than its normal number is said to be + vely charged.

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