Can you imagine life without electricity? I don’t think so! Somehow we all depend on our electrical gadgets that make our everyday life simpler. Even though we’ve only relied on electricity for about a hundred years, it has become an essential part of our existence and seems impossible to live without this versatile energy source.
But what do we really know about electricity? Is it a type of energy that builds up in one place, or does it flow from one place to another? What is static electricity? To satisfy your curiosity, here are 41 interesting facts about electricity, that’ll provide you the answers you seek…
Static electricity happens when electricity gathers in one place.
Static electricity usually occurs when you rub things together, like when a balloon sticks to you after rubbing it against your clothes.
3,000 volts are measured in a sparkle of static electricity.
The electricity that flows from one place to another is called electric current.
In electric circuits, this electric charge is often carried by moving electrons in a wire. It powers the electrical appliances we use every day.
Electricity travels 186,000 miles per second or at the speed of light.
Lightning is a release of electricity in the atmosphere. A lightning bolt travels at about 130,000 miles per hour and reaches almost 54,000 °F in temperature.
Two positive and two negative charges repel each other, while opposite charges attract each other.
One of the world’s biggest source of energy for producing electricity is coal.
Electricity is important for our heartbeats. It causes the contraction of the muscle cells in the heart.
Electrocardiogram (ECG) machines, measure the electricity going through the heart.
Sometimes electricity is used as electroconvulsive therapy (ECT), where patients are given electrically provoked seizures to treat psychiatric illnesses.
Our nerve cells use electricity to pass signals to our muscles, so we can say that electricity is present in our bodies.
For both self-defence and hunting, electric eels can produce strong electric shocks of around 500 volts.
Humans and animals both use electricity in their bodies. This doesn’t mean that we can be plugged into a wall to receive energy, but we do use bioelectricity.
Ancient Egyptians were aware that lightning and shocks from electric fish were very powerful before electricity was a way of life.
We can create electricity by using water, wind, the sun, and even animal waste.
The “war of currents” between Nikola Tesla and Thomas Edison happened in the 1880s.
Nikola Tesla invented the alternating current while Edison invented the direct current.
They both wanted their currents to be popularized. Alternating current won the battle because it’s safer and can be used over longer distances.
The country that uses the most electricity annually is Iceland. Their utilization is about 23% more than the U.S.
In Edison, New Jersey, you can find the world’s biggest light bulb. It is 14 feet tall, weighs 8 tons, and it’s located on top of the Thomas Edison Memorial Tower.
11,000 kWh of electricity are used by the average U.S. home, every year.
In the 18th century, Benjamin Franklin invented the lightning rod amongst his many discoveries. To protect the building in the event of a lightning strike, the lighting rod conducts the strike-through a grounded wire.
The British scientist Michael Faraday discovered the basic principles of electricity generation during the 1820s and early 1830s.
In 1878, in Sydney, Australia, the first use of electricity was to light the General Post Office.
Mosley Street, Newcastle upon Tyne was the first street in the world to be lit by electric light bulbs in 1879.
Pearl Station, in Manhattan, was the first central power plant in the U.S. It served 85 customers and it was built in 1882.
American inventor William Morrison built the first successful electric car in 1891.
In 1896, Emperor Menelik II got two newly created electric chairs as a form of humane penance. Soon after he realised they were useless in his country without electricity.
In a Western Sydney suburb, there’s a bunker where a handful of people control the entire National Electricity Market. People there work 24/7 to ensure Australians have enough power.
In Albertville, France they make electricity from Beaufort Cheese! A bacterium is added to remove the whey, which causes a release of biogas. The gas is used to heat water and create energy!
Weather causes most power outages. The most common causes for these outages are strong winds and storms.
In Sweden, ore trains traveling down the shore produce 5 times the amount of electricity they use, fuelling nearby towns, and the return trip for other trains.
The sewing machine, fan, kettle, and toaster were the first 4 home items to be powered by electricity.
LED light bulbs last about 40 times longer and use about one-sixth of the electricity that conventional bulbs use.
A typical microwave oven uses less electricity to heat food than powering its digital clock.
Even when they’re switched off, appliances use electricity. The average PC idles at 80 watts, while the average laptop idles at 20 watts.
A Sony PlayStation 3 uses about 200 watts, both when it’s active and when it’s idle.
Modern electrical appliances are now much more efficient. For example, a fridge from the mid-80s, uses 4 times more electricity than a modern one, around 1400 kWh a year compared to 350 kWh.
You would need about 648 AA batteries to power a human being for a day, based on the following calculation, 1 calorie = 4.2 Joules!
Do you have any interesting or fun facts about electricity that we’ve missed? Share them here in the comments section below!