THE “ELECTRICITY” WHICH FLOWS IN WIRES IS SUPPLIED BY BATTERIES OR GENERATORS?
November 15, 2010 Leave a comment
Wrong. Electric currents in copper wires are a flow of electrons, but these electrons are not supplied by batteries. They come from the copper atoms in the wire. The electrons were already in the circuit before the battery was connected. They were even there before the copper was mined and made into wires! Batteries and generators do not create these electrons, they merely pump them, and the electrons are like a pre-existing fluid that is always found within all wires. In order to understand electric circuits, we must imagine that all the wires are pre-filled with a sort of “liquid electricity.” To clarify this, get rid of the battery. Instead, use a hand-cranked generator as your power supply. Ask yourself exactly where the “electricity” comes from when a generator powers a light bulb. A generator takes electrons in from one terminal and simultaneously spits them out the other one. At the same time, the generator pushes electrons through the moving coil of wire inside itself and through the rest of the circuit. Unlike a battery-powered circuit, all we have is wires. Where is the source of “electricity?” When we include the generator in the circuit, we find that the circuit is a continuous closed loop of wire, and we can find no original source of the “electricity.” A generator or battery is like a closed-loop pump, but it does not supply the substance being pumped. But we were all taught that “batteries and generators create current electricity.” This phrase forms a serious conceptual stumbling block (at least it did for me!) To fix it, change the statement to read like this instead: “batteries and generators cause electric charge to flow.” To complete the picture, add this: all conductors are full of movable charge. A battery or generator is like your heart: it moves blood, but it does not create blood. When a generator stops, or when the metal circuit is opened, all the electrons stop where they are, and the wires remain filled with electric charges. But this isn’t unexpected, because the wires were full of vast quantities of charge in the first place.