Understanding How Electricity Powers Your Appliances | PartSelect.com

Understanding How Electricity Powers Your Appliances


There are multiple correct definitions for the term, electricity. This is because of its vastness as a subject and its varying impact on lives. One good definition however is this- electricity is the flow of electrons. Most times, these terms are used to define electricity: electric charge, electric current, electric field, electric potential and electromagnetism. Explaining these terms one by one, electric charge is the property of smaller units of an atom which gives rise to the production of electromagnetic field. The flow of electric charge is known as electric current and the environment where electric charges operate is called the electric field. The electric field has the ability to work and this ability is called the electric potential. Electromagnetism is the term used to explain the relationship that exists between the movements of electric charges in a magnetic field.

The Background And Discovery Of Electricity

Although the study of electricity can be traced back to ancient times, no satisfactory discovery had been made until late 19th century when a revolution in the industrial sector of the world began as a result of the use of electrical-driven facilities.

The first knowledge of electricity can be traced back to the times of the Greeks and the Romans when people felt shocks as they came in contact with electric fish. This phenomenon caused some ancient scientists to make researches. Thales of Miletos for example, around 600 BC made a discovery on static electricity proposing that amber could be magnetic after undergoing friction. Around 1700, Benjamin Franklin made more research on electricity. On June 1752, he was able to prove that lightning had a connection with electricity. Other scientists who worked around this time were Oton von Guericke, Robert Boyle and Stephen Gray.

In 1791, Luigi Galvani discovered that electricity in animals existed and played a vital role in making nerve cells pass information to the muscles. In 1800, Alessando Volta invented a battery made of zinc and copper. This battery became a source of electrical energy and it was used for more discoveries such as the discovery of electromagnetism by Christian Orsted and Andre-Marie Ampere in 1820 and Michael Faraday’s electric motor in 1821.

As the 19th century approached its end, greater discoveries were made by people such as Nikola Tesla, Thomas Edison, Otto Blathy, Sir Charles Parsons, George Westinghouse and Graham Bell. Their work led to the discovery of electrons in 1897 and this marked the beginning of electricity. Later on, it was discovered that most metals possessed free electrons. Free electrons were described to be those electrons that could be separated from their parent material and move about. Free electrons became the major cause of electrical conductivity and this led to the widespread use of metals (example copper, zinc and silver) as electrical conductors even till this day.

How Electricity Runs Appliances We Run In The Home

Electricity comes alive when a fuel cell, solar cell or a battery is available to act as a source. The source of electricity must have a positive and negative terminal so that negatively charged electrons will have the force to leave the negative terminal for the positive one. The movement of the electrons is directed by wires (for example, copper wires) to make the electrons flow in the needed direction. If the electricity provided is desired to do work, the load/appliance can be placed at the middle of the electric circuit (the connection). A light bulb for instance will begin to shine instantaneously. The same is also applicable to televisions, fans and radios. The outlets are supplied with electricity that has been generated by solar energy, wind power and hydro power.

The amount of work done/the kind of appliance or load that will work at any given time depends on the number of electrons leaving and entering the different terminals. This number can also be called electrical current. The movement of electrons is made possible only when there is a force to push the electrons. This force is called the voltage. Current and voltage are measured in Amperes and Volts respectively. The rate of current flow is also determined by the resistance (to flow). If the resistance is high, it means that less work will be done because the current will be low. As a precaution, it is advisable to use thick wires in the electric circuit.


It is difficult to have a developed society without electricity. The use of electricity does not apply to just watching televisions and listening to radios. It is also used in heating the home, cooking, industrial processes and in providing a fast and efficient means of communication. Understanding how electricity powers appliances is very relevant in the sense that acquiring such knowledge will help in fixing any problems that may arise at any time, thereby preventing home accidents. Furthermore, it is important to know how to connect these electrical appliances to develop self satisfaction and pleasure.

How Electricity Works: Electricity is the movement of electric charges.

Sources of electricity: There are different sources of electricity. Some of them are renewable.

Glossary of electricity terms: Here is a detailed definition of helpful words to meet in the electrical industry.

How electricity works: To connect appliances, four things at least must be involved: the battery or source, two wires and the appliance.  

The history of electricity: The study of electricity was believed to have started in 1752 by Ben Franklin after his famous kite experiment. In 1957, the first nuclear power plant to provide electricity was made.

Home wiring techniques: Some tools used in wiring a home are electrical boxes and gauges for measuring the thickness of wires.

A basic circuit: The electrical circuit begins and ends at the same place. Information contained in this site also includes some helpful links on electrical installation.

The importance of electricity: Electricity is widely applied in the homes and for business purposes.

Basics of electricity: There are important points to note about electricity. For instance, electrons which generate electricity are gotten from atoms.

Home wiring basics: Some components to know for effective connection of the home are the service entry, branch circuit and panel board.  

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