Alaskan Aviation

Valdez, AK, 99686



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Fundamentals of Electricity - How it works

Carbon Atom - Electricity Everything tangible is matter, matter is made of atoms. Atoms are an element at its smallest level. Elements are things such as; oxygen, copper, gold, carbon, aluminum, and so on. Remember the periodic table of elements? It contains all the elements scientists have identified. Atoms are made of a nucleus (consisting of protons and neutrons) and electrons. Electrons orbit the nucleus. An atom is like the solar system where as the nucleus is like the sun and electrons orbit around the nucleus like planets do the sun. The orbital area of an electron is call a valence orbit or shell. Most times a valence shell has more than one electron to it. The next step up from an atom is a Molecule. Molecules are a group (two or more) of atoms attached together. Molecules can consist of one element or different elements.

An atom with its proper amount of electrons is a happy atom. If an atom is missing its proper amount of electrons it is positively charged. If an atom has more than the proper amount of electrons it is negatively charged. An atom with a positive or negative charge then becomes an ion. Atoms missing electrons are positive ions, atoms with extra electrons are negative ion. (Go figure subtracting electrons leaves you with a positive charge while adding them leaves you with a negative charge.)

Gold Atom - Electricity

Each element transfers electrons with different ease. Matter or materials (Elements and Molecules) that transfer electrons easily such as gold, silver, and copper are called conductors.  Materials that are more resistant to accept or give up electrons such as rubber, plastic, and silicon are insulators.

Electrons that move from one atom to another are free electrons.  It’s normal for free electrons to move between atoms regularly. Only when electrons are moving from atom to atom in the same direction does it become electricity.

For aviation electricity is often created by magnets and conductive coils being rotated in order to get electrons moving through the coils in the same direction and onward to the electrical system, or through chemical means from batteries.