Generation of Electricity

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by Eternal Student, May 7, 2009.

  1. Eternal Student

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2009
    Where does Electricity really come from?
  2. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
  3. Eternal Student

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2009

    Thanks but that really doesn't answer the question... WHERE does it come from?

    Is it in just in the air? Why can moving a magnet through a coil produce EMF? WHERE does the electricity come from? Is the electricity already present on the coil? Is it alredy present in the magnet? According to what I have been told about energy, it can neither be created nor destroyed. If that is true, then the electricity must reside somewhere in some form waiting for someone to turn a rotor inside a stator and "release" the electons.

    I am serious. I have been an electrician for 20 years but until recently I never thought about WHERE it comes from. The power company doesn't "produce" it they simply extract it. But from WHERE? I can fire up my generator and viola! Electricity! But from WHERE? I'm pretty sure I didn't "create" it in the generator. the generator simply extracted it, but from WHERE?
  4. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
    Sorry, but that magnetic field cutting a conductor will cause the electrons in the conductor to move. Complete the circuit, and the electrons move in a big set of oscillations.
  5. Wendy


    Mar 24, 2008
    You're being obtuse. Think conversion. Electricity is energy, it started as some other form of energy, such as water flowing over a cliff, or steam turning a turbine. At the end of the long chains of conversions it ends up as heat, or electromagnetic radiation.

    The example of moving the magnet through a coil, for example, the source of the energy is the movement itself.

    The big secret of the modern age of technology, how to convert one form of energy into another. Some of the concepts are hard, but the information is available to all who are willing to study.
  6. PRS

    Well-Known Member

    Aug 24, 2008
    Think of all the energy stored in a single hydogen atom! The energy is an integral part of the bond. Asking where energy comes from is like asking where matter comes from. God Did It. That satisfies me, but there are alternative explanations involving appeal to (ultimately) our "patch" of the universe is merely a fragment of a larger universe. More if you want it. You've asked a pretty darn deep question.
  7. mik3

    Senior Member

    Feb 4, 2008
    How you pump water through a pipe? You use a pump which pushes the water molecules (gives them energy or applies a force) and they flow through the pipe.

    Electricity works in a similar manner. However, the thing which flows are electrons inside conductors. Electrons flow due a pump action like in a water system. The pump can be a voltage difference between two points or a changing magnetic field which causes the electrons to move.

    The basic idea is that electric energy is caused by the movement of electrons inside conductors (wires) by some kind of force. People invent some machines/devices (batteries, generators, etc) which are able to produce this force and create electricity.
  8. Eternal Student

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2009
    Where does the water come from?
  9. Eternal Student

    Thread Starter Member

    May 7, 2009
    OK! So Electricity is energy... where does it come from? what form is it converted from? Why does it only move with a magnet and a coil and not with some other material and a coil? If it is the movement that "converts" the energy Why can't you achieve the same effect using wood or plastic?:rolleyes:
  10. CDRIVE

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 1, 2008
    Plastic, Wood, Rubber and Glass don't have enough Free Electrons to conduct electricity well. Be happy about that because they fall into the category of Insulators. When talking about wood, it's a relative thing because all wood holds moisture and minerals that will conduct, especially at very high voltages.
  11. onecraftydude

    New Member

    May 7, 2009
    I like the pump analogy for electron flow. I also like the conductor idea for the flow. One thing I would add is the flow of electrons through air. It is obvious it can be done by stealing power from power companies or operating a Tesla coil. Higher voltages are present in air all of the time from wind, etc. but they cause us no harm. When we concentrate and focus that high voltage through the air it can cause us damage if we give it a path to ground. Tesla coils generate the positive energy and distribute it through the air to secondaries with the same frequency the same as radio waves. If you ground the secondary through a load you give the positive electrons a conduit to be pumped through back to ground where they can prosper once again. I hope my explanation helps.
  12. DonQ

    Active Member

    May 6, 2009
    In the beginning, the very beginning... there were a lot of rules set up, call them laws, call them laws of nature, call them physics, whatever. Things happened, there were interactions, then psssfffttt! it fizzled out! Scratch that universe! The laws in that universe didn't work so it blinked back into non-existence. No one there to see it, and maybe there were "billions and billions" of other sets of laws that just didn't work.

    Fortunately, in this universe, the laws that showed up here did work, and interacted in a way to create the things we see around us. In fact, they even allow us to see things at all.

    No one told anybody what the rules were, but after some millions of years of seeing the way things worked, some began to understand what the laws were, if not why they were. So they gave them names and wrote them down.

    One subset of these laws involve electro-magnetism. There isn't a set of laws about electro-wood or plasti-magnetism, simply because, no matter how often anybody looked, it just wasn't that way. I think it may have been that way in some of those universes that didn't work... but nobody is there to see it. (In fact there isn't even any "there" there.)

    As the laws of electro-magnetism turn out, pushing a magnet around a coil of wire turns the mechanical energy of pushing the magnet into the electrical energy of a current in the wire. So be it!

    Your earlier statement of "the electricity must reside somewhere in some form waiting for someone to turn a rotor inside a stator and "release" the electons" is wrong in that the electrons are not "released", they only move if they are pushed. It is like thinking that you car will blast down the highway if you simply "release" the emergency brake. Nope! You've got to burn gas. Burn more, go faster. In the same way, the more electrical energy you want from the wire, the harder you have to push on the magnet.

    There are other ways to make a car move other than gas. Tow it; A hill; Blow on it real hard; Hit it with another car; Already be moving when we create it, etc. In the same way, there are different ways to make electrons move. So write down some more laws and call them chemistry, photoelectrics, and a few others.

    Taking the analogy a little further, the electrons in an insulator have the emergency brake set. Even if you push them with a magnet, they don't move... no current. The electrons in a conductor have the emergency brake "released". Even though they don't move "for free", if you push them they will move. Thus the difference between an insulator and conductor.

    All the other ways to push electrons involve converting one type of energy to another. Some of the energy binding different elements together in a molecule can be released by breaking it apart or joining them together in different configurations. The difference in the binding energies between what you started with and what you end with are sometimes converted into electricity. Let's call this the invention (discovery) of the battery and write down some more laws.

    Other times that energy is converted to heat, or light, or whatever, so we write down even some more laws. Still, in the end, all the different energies add up to exactly what you had when you started. If they don't add up, then you forgot something. We are always converting, never creating. All the creating was done "up front".

    An exception to one form of energy being converted to another form of energy is when mass is turned into energy (or visa-versa). Thus the famous equation documenting how much of one turns into how much of the other. Really, this is just saying that mass itself is just another form of energy, just like light, electricity, chemical, physical, etc., it just looks really different.

    In the end, the laws just are. We only know this because we've seen it often enough to finally get it.

    If it wasn't this way... well... psssfffttt!