Meaning of Electricity

What is electricity:

Electricity is a set of phenomena produced by the movement and interaction between positive and negative electrical charges of bodies.

That is, electricity is a force that results from the attraction or repulsion between particles that contain positive and negative electric charge, and can manifest itself both at rest (static) and in motion.

Electricity is also the branch of physics that studies this type of electrical phenomena.

The word electricity comes from the Latin electrum and in turn from the Greek elektron (ήλεκτρον), which means ‘amber’. It is related to electricity because amber is a resin that, when rubbed, acquires electrical properties.

Characteristics of electricity

It is a phenomenon in which the following characteristic elements are manifested:

  • Electrical charge: property of subatomic particles that is expressed in the attraction and repulsion between them by means of the electromagnetic field.
  • Electric field: It is the physical field in which the interaction between the electrical charges of the bodies is inscribed.
  • Electric current: refers to the movement of electrical charges, that is, it is the flow of electrical charges that are distributed or propagated through a material that conducts electricity.
  • Electric potential: refers to the work potential or effort required in an electrostatic field to set a positive charge in motion from one point to another.
  • Magnetism: One of the ways in which electricity manifests itself is through magnetism, since it is a type of electric current that produces magnetic fields. These, in turn, can produce electrical current.
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See also:

  • Electric field.
  • Magnetism.

Getting the electricity

Electricity comes from calls primary energies. Therefore, electricity is a source of secondary energy. The primary energies that participate in the generation of electricity can be of two types:

  • Nonrenewable energysuch as coal, oil, and natural gas.
  • Renewable energy, which come from natural sources such as the sun, wind and water, among others. That is, they correspond to wind, hydroelectric, tidal, solar, geothermal, wave energy, etc.

The primary energies are processed in the power plants to obtain energy (thermoelectric, hydroelectric, solar, etc.). This energy puts into operation a system of turbines that generates electrical energy.

The energy produced is received in transformers, which allow the distribution of electricity to an electrical voltage system or power lines.

From that point on, the electricity is managed by the electricity distribution companies for its commercialization.

See also Energy.

types of electricity

There are different types of electricity. Let’s get to know the most important of them.

Static electricity

Static electricity is a phenomenon that arises in a body that has electrical charges at rest. Normally the bodies are neutral (same number of positive and negative charges), but when they are electrified they can acquire a positive or negative electric charge. One of the ways to get static electricity is through rubbing.

The process by which a body acquires a charge is called electrostatic induction. Bodies with an electrical charge of the same type repel each other and those of different types attract each other. Some examples of materials with a tendency to lose electrons are cotton, glass, and wool. Some materials with a tendency to capture electrons are metals such as silver, gold and copper.

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For example, the Lightning. In everyday life, we can see static energy when we rub a balloon on a woolen surface.

dynamic electricity

Dynamic electricity is that produced by a permanent source of electricity that causes the permanent circulation of electrons through a conductor. These permanent sources of electricity can be chemical or electromechanical.

An example dynamic electricity is the one that exists in an electrical circuit that uses a battery or a dynamo as a source of electricity.


Electromagnetism or electromagnetic electricity refers to that electrical energy that is stored in space due to the presence of a magnetic field. This type of energy propagates or diffuses as radiation.

As an examplewe can mention radio and television signals, infrared radiation and waves from the domestic microwave oven.

uses of electricity

Electricity has many uses. The most obvious are: generating lighting, heat, movement and signals, all of which allow benefits and activities of daily use.

For example,

  • public and home lighting;
  • the operability of machinery, including electrical appliances;
  • the air conditioning of closed environments (heating and air conditioning), etc.

units of electricity

According to the International System (SI), the units that express electricity are:

  • Volt (V): expresses the electromotive force, the electric potential and the voltage;
  • Ampere (A): expresses the intensity of the electric current.
  • Ohm (Ω): expresses the electrical resistance.

conductors of electricity

Conductors of electricity are materials that offer little resistance to the passage of electric current. Metals such as copper, silver, gold, and aluminum are conductive materials. Some liquid compounds such as acids, bases, and dissolved salts are also conductors.

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electrical insulators

Electricity insulators are materials that offer a lot of resistance to the passage of electric current. Some examples of insulators are plastic, glass, and distilled water.

See also:

  • Electric resistance.
  • Coulomb law.