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Sunday, 9 October 2011

Fascinating Facts about Electricity II

Fascinating Facts about Electricity

  • The first windmills were developed in Persia in about 600 B.C.
  • About 200 years ago, Alessandro Volta discovered that when two strips of different metals were put in a sulphuric acid solution and connected with a wire, electricity began to flow. Voila! The first electric battery was developed! Think of him the next time you pick up your battery-operated CD player or Game Boy.
  • In 1879, just over 100 years ago, Thomas Edison invented the first light bulb. Think of the incredible changes it has brought to our current world!
  • The first windmill to produce electricity was in Denmark in 1890.
  • In the past, frightened sailors voyaging at night saw ghostly phantoms of bluish light dancing on the masts of ships. Called Saint Elmo's fire, the light is actually a form of static electricity.
  • In 1986, an accident at Chernobyl, USSR, sent radioactive material into the atmosphere and raised concerns about the production and storage of radioactive waste

  • Energy cannot be created or destroyed. It can only be converted from one form to another.
  • Find an elastic band, and stretch it out. The stretched rubber band has potential energy. If you let it go, it moves and has kinetic energy.
  • Have you ever wondered how you might get a hot air balloon to float up and down? How would you launch it? How would you get it back to earth? The balloon rises by warming up the air inside it. It descends by letting the air inside it cool down. It all works because of heat energy.
  • Electricity travels at 300,000 km/sec. If you travelled that fast, you could travel around the world eight times in the time it takes to turn on a light switch.
  • The energy produced by the atom-splitting of one kilogram of uranium is equivalent to the burning of 1.3 million kilograms of coal or 1.35 million litres of oil.
  • People run on energy too, and food is our fuel. The unit we use to measure expended heat energy is the calorie.
  • Calorie expenditures comparison:
  • Lying at ease – 1.5 cal/min
  • Tennis – 7 cal/min
  • Playing drums – 4–6 cal/min
  • Golfing – 6 cal/min
  • The most powerful power station is the Itaipu power station on the ParanĂ¡ River near the Brazil/Paraguay border. Opened in 1984, the station has attained its ultimate capacity of13,320 MW. (Ten times the size of Limestone!)
  • Refrigerators with side by side doors use the most energy, while one door units without self-defrost use the least.
  • In 15 minutes, the sun radiates as much energy onto our globe as humans use during an entire year. Just imagine if we could channel the sun's energy effectively!
  • The sun is a huge ball of hot gases, and the temperature at the centre of the sun is more than20,000,000 C. Tremendous pressure causes tiny particles, the nuclei of hydrogen atoms, to smash into each other so hard that they fuse or combine. This nuclear fusion releases energy in the form of intense light and heat.
  • Fireflies produce light using chemical energy from their food. The light they give off is more efficient than that of a light bulb. Fireflies lose only 1/15 of their energy to heat, whereas 95% of the energy used by an ordinary light bulb is wasted as heat energy. Some deep-sea squids and glowworms in caves also change the chemical energy from food into light.
  • Have you ever bought a light stick at a fair and wondered what makes the stick glow? When you bend the stick, a seal breaks and two chemicals in the stick mix. As they mix, energy is released and this energy produces light. Zap! Chemical energy changes to light energy.
  • In Sweden, heat is pumped out of the ground north of the Arctic Circle and used to heat buildings. Sweden has more than seven times as many heat pumps in operation than Canada.
Alternative Energy
  • The bicycle is the most efficient form of transportation known. It uses five times less energy than walking.
  • B.C.'s forest industry obtains 25% of its electricity from biomass — in this case, the waste material from their own industry.
  • A system of distribution and transmission lines brings electricity to southern Manitoba through70,000 km of lines. That's enough lines to circle the globe five times!
  • 16% of Canada's electricity is produced by nuclear fission.
  • In terms of nominal capacity, the largest solar electric power plant is the Harper Lake Site in the Mojave Desert, California. The site covers 1,280 acres, and has two solar electric generating stations which have a nominal capacity of 160 MW.
  • Wind tunnels are used to test models of cars and bridges to see if they can stand up to strong winds. Olympic skiers use them to determine the crouch position with the least wind resistance.
  • The city of San Francisco gets 25% of its electricity from wind energy.
  • A wind turbine at Fort Severn on the shores of Hudson Bay supplies power to 30 homes when the winds are high, reducing the need for costly fuel from the community's diesel generator.
  • Wave power has been successfully tested off the coast of Scotland. Its use is limited to coastal areas where wave action is reliable and strong and other energy sources are expensive.
  • Water provides the power to meet 1/5 of the world's electrical demands.
  • The electric energy (electrical energy, electricity) is the potential energy associated with the conservative Coulomb forces between charged particles contained within a system, where the reference potential energy is usually chosen to be zero for particles at infinite separation.

  • The movement of electric charge is known as an electric current, and intensity of which is usually measured in amperes. Current can consist of any moving charged particles - most commonly these are electrons, but any charge in motion constitutes a current.

  • The energy sources we use to make electricity can be renewable or non-renewable, but electricity itself is neither renewable or non-renewable.

  • A generator is a device that converts mechanical energy into electrical energy. The process is based on the relationship between magnetism and electricity.

  • The cost of electricity is going up (both in dollars and in environmental and health impacts) and it doesn’t show any signs of doing otherwise. About half of the energy in the American grid is coal generated.
  • Electric energy is easily transportable via integrated electric grids. Click on picture for full size.
  • Electric energy is an intermediate form of energy. It is produced in thermal power stations (where fuel oil, gas, coal, biomass, etc. are burnt), in hydroelectric power stations and nuclear power stations. Smaller quantities are produced by wind, photovoltaic solar panels, sea tides, etc.

  • Electricity travels in closed loops, or circuits. It must have a complete path before the electrons can move. If a circuit is open, the electrons cannot flow.

  • When electricity was first introduced into the domestic environment it was primarily for lighting.

  • Electricity is an extremely flexible form of energy, and it may be adapted to a huge, and growing, number of uses.

  • Demand for electricity grows with great rapidity as a nation modernises and its economy develops. The United States showed a 12% increase in demand during each year of the first three decades of the twentieth century.

  • In the late-1800s, Nikola Tesla pioneered the generation, transmission, and use of alternating current (AC) electricity, which can be transmitted over much greater distances than direct current. Tesla's inventions used electricity to bring indoor lighting to our homes and to power industrial machines.

  • Electricity is a general term that encompasses a variety of phenomena resulting from the presence and flow of electric charge.

  • Before electricity generation began over 100 years ago, houses were lit with kerosene lamps, food was cooled in iceboxes, and rooms were warmed by wood-burning or coal-burning stoves.
  • Lightning is aprominent manifestation of natural electricity. Click on picture for full size.

  • The fact that electricity can’t be easily stored means that production must be fine-tuned to consumption levels on a short term basis.

  • Electric energy is easily transportable via integrated electric grids. After transportation, electric energy is converted into mechanical energy, thermal energy, light energy, chemical energy, etc.

  • Demand for solar electric energy has consistently grown by 20-25% per year over the past 20 years.

  • A battery produces electricity using two different metals in a chemical solution. A chemical reaction between the metals and the chemicals frees more electrons in one metal than in the other.

  • There are several advantages and disadvantages to hydro electric energy production. One big advantage is that energy is free once the dam is built.

  • In 1882 water was used to electrify two paper mills and a house on the Fox River. This was the first application of hydro electric energy.

  • Electricity is by no means a purely human invention, and may be observed in several forms in nature, a prominent manifestation of which is lightning.

  • In 1791 Luigi Galvani published his discovery of bioelectricity, demonstrating that electricity was the medium by which nerve cells passed signals to the muscles.

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