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Name: Ashey P.
Status: stdent
Age: 13
Location: N/A
Country: N/A
Date: 9/12/2004


Question:
What is electricity made of?


Replies:
Ashley,

Thanks for your question! Electricity is a natural phenomenon of attracting and repelling charges -- you notice it in the form of "static electricity" when you get a shock after walking across a carpet and touching a metal door knob or when your hair is attracted to your comb. This static electricity can also build up in clouds and discharge to the earth as lightning.

The electricity that runs appliances in your house is "current electricity" and it comes from the movement of electrons. In a battery-operated flashlight, these electrons move in one direction -- called "direct current" -- at least until the batteries are dead! The electrical outlets in your house are supplied by "alternating current" where a generator at the power company causes electrons to move back and forth in a wire. Alternating current is available from your electrical outlets as long as the generator is operating and the connecting wires to your house are all connected.

You can read more about electricity at these web sites:

http://www.eia.doe.gov/neic/a-z/electrica-z.htm

http://science.howstuffworks.com/electricity.htm

I hope this answers your question!

Todd Clark, Office of Science
U.S. Department of Energy



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