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28 Jan Electrical Current

The source of electrical power derived from electrons breaking free and being recaptured. The passing of electrons between atoms in an element or substance causes electrical current. Remember that electrons revolve around the positively attractive nucleus in orbits at various distances. Centripetal force constantly tugs at the electrons, pulling against the attraction of the nucleus. This gives these smaller particles a tendency to detach from the atom. But the attraction force between negative electrons and positive nucleus is normally strong enough to keep them bounded in the atomic orbit. The centripetal force tugging at the electrons increases at greater distances of the electrons’ orbit from the nucleus, and magnetic force between electrons and nucleus weakens. The attraction further weakens for electrons in outer orbits because of a repulsion force from other electrons in inner cells. That explains why electrons in outer most orbit are most loosely bonded with the nucleus and vulnerable to detachment.

For some elements and substances, the outermost electrons are so loosely bonded that very little force is needed to detach them from their parent atom. Atoms in their normal state are electrically neutral as they possess an equal number of positive protons and negative electrons, creating balance. But escaping electrons create imbalance, and until the atoms thus deprived can grab a free atom from somewhere, the stable number of protons make the atoms become positively charged. After detaching from parent atoms, electrons move about freely, attracted by whatever force intersects their inertial trajectory. Other positively charged atoms in the vicinity opportunistically   pull in free electrons. In general, the outermost electrons in metal atoms are very loosely bonded, so free electrons are always available in metal, which makes the metal a good conductor of electric current. Water molecules, which constitute a significant portion of the human body, are also very good conductors.

Learn about Electricity

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