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CareerEd LibreTexts

1: Basic Concepts of Electricity

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  • [ "article:topic-guide", "license:gnudls", "authorname:tkuphaldt" ]

    • 1.1: Static Electricity
    • 1.2: Conductors, Insulators, and Electron Flow
      The electrons of different types of atoms have different degrees of freedom to move around. With some types of materials, such as metals, the outermost electrons in the atoms are so loosely bound that they chaotically move in the space between the atoms of that material by nothing more than the influence of room-temperature heat energy. Because these virtually unbound electrons are free to leave their respective atoms and float around in the space between adjacent atoms, they are often called fr
    • 1.3: What Are Electric Circuits?
      You might have been wondering how electrons can continuously flow in a uniform direction through wires without the benefit of these hypothetical electron Sources and Destinations. In order for the Source-and-Destination scheme to work, both would have to have an infinite capacity for electrons in order to sustain a continuous flow! Using the marble-and-tube analogy from the previous page on conductors, insulators, and electron flow, the marble source and marble destination buckets would have to
    • 1.4: Voltage and Current
      As was previously mentioned, we need more than just a continuous path (circuit) before a continuous flow of electrons will occur: we also need some means to push these electrons around the circuit. Just like marbles in a tube or water in a pipe, it takes some kind of influencing force to initiate flow. With electrons, this force is the same force at work in static electricity: the force produced by an imbalance of electric charge.
    • 1.5: Resistance
      The circuit in the previous section is not a very practical one. In fact, it can be quite dangerous to build (directly connecting the poles of a voltage source together with a single piece of wire). The reason it is dangerous is because the magnitude of electric current may be very large in such a short circuit, and the release of energy very dramatic (usually in the form of heat). Usually, electric circuits are constructed in such a way as to make practical use of that released energy, in as sa
    • 1.6: Voltage and Current in a Practical Circuit
    • 1.7: Conventional Versus Electron Flow