Georgia is no stranger to thunderstorms, lightning, and tornados. If you’re a resident of Georgia, you’ve probably observed lightning in a thunderstorm and just how powerful and terrifying it can be.
Like plumbing, electricity is one of the most cherished modern-day conveniences. Without it, we wouldn’t be able to light our homes and businesses, cool our food, run our dishwashers, pay our bills online, and rely on the banks to closely and accurately calculate our balances and manage our transactions.
What is electricity exactly? In simple terms, it’s a type of energy that can accumulate in one place or it can flow from one place to another. There are two types of electricity: static electricity and current electricity. So, what’s the difference between the two?
Static vs. Current Electricity
Static and current electricity are how they sound: The word “static” refers to something that does not move, whereas current electricity has to do with something that travels and moves. Here are some examples:
- With a storm, when static electricity builds up it turns into current electricity and creates lightning. So, lighting is initially caused by static electricity.
- When you rub a balloon against your sweater 20 or 30 times, the balloon will eventually stick to you because the rubbing has created a small electrical charge. By doing this, the sweater builds up an opposite electrical charge, which makes the balloon stick to the sweater like a magnet. This is a form of static electricity.
- When you walk across a nylon carpet and you touch something metal, you can feel an electric shock in your hand. When you walked across the rug, your feet rubbed against it and created an electrical charge buildup in your body. As you touched the metal, the charge ran to the Earth, causing the electrical shock sensation that you felt in your hand. This is static electricity.
- With current electricity, electrons (the tiny electrically-charged particles that float around atoms) move and in effect, electrical energy travels; this process is called current electricity. Electrical currents traveland they are responsible for powering all of the electrical appliances and devices in your home from flat screen TVs to coffee makers to washing machines and laptops.
For an electrical current to occur, there has to be what’s called a circuit. What is a circuit? It refers to a path or a loop that the electrical current flows. Circuits can be created by linking electrical components with wire cables. If you switch on a light, electricity is flowing through the circuit, but if there is a break in the circuit, the electricity cannot flow and it will stop. For example, if a wire is broken in a lamp, it won’t work.