black sconce lamp turned on on white wall

The History of Electricity

For our fourth and final article of ‘History of Energy Sources’, we have the History of Electricity. This one is a little more diverse as electricity has several different sources. Read about electricity’s journey from the sky to everywhere around you.

 

Darth Sidious, master wielder of Force Lightning

Discovery of Electricity

Like all other energy sources, electricity has been around since the dawn of time. It was only in lightning and static charge. Unlike other sources, it wasn’t used until 1752. Ben Franklin discovered the powerful energy source with his kite lightning rod. Franklin conducted his electricity experiment by attaching a metal rod to a kite. Hemp and silk rope strung the kite. Eventually, Franklin noticed little threads of the hemp rope upright. Then, he felt a spark with his finger. People now have a way to draw electricity from the sky.

After Franklin’s experiment, scientists globally became very interested in electricity. Then, Italian physicist Alessandro Volta created the first battery in 1800. Apparently, an argument with a physicist pushed him to create the battery. It was made from zinc, copper, and silver. With this battery, he discovered positive and negative charges. Thus, also electric current.  “Volta” turned into volts/voltage. He also discovered methane.  Now that Volta discovered how to make electricity, it made way for our things today. A couple of decades after Volta’s battery came the first electric motor. Here is a timeline covering electric inventions.

 

Electricity Now

Electricity started appearing in homes in the 1880s. It is debated whether Nikolai Tesla or Thomas Edison invented the first lightbulb. Regardless, lightbulbs came out in 1882. The wealthy were the first to ditch dim lamps and candles for the bulbs. By 1940, nearly all homes have electricity, thanks to Roosevelt’s 1936 Act. GreenSun LED Lighting vintage light bulbs

Now electricity is everywhere, especially in the digital age. Every city has a power plant. They’re usually in a body of water to keep cool. Other electric sources are wind turbines and solar panels. Panels are becoming more popular. Solar is cheaper and more effective than wind. As electricity becomes more important, so does solar power. Soon, we will see electric cars and 5G. Biden hopes to replace oil and gas with electricity.

Thanks for reading about the history of electricity. Let us know what you think about our everyday electricity use.

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black and blue vacuum cleaner

Electric Cars: How Do They Work?

Today’s automobile technology and engineering is impressive. Specifically, electric cars and how they work. From the first experience with electric automobiles in the 1800’s, here’s how electric cars work today.

Hybrids: Gas and Electric

First, electric cars use different types of batteries. This depends on if the car is hybrid or purely https://afdc.energy.gov/vehicles/how-do-hybrid-electric-cars-work#:~:text=Hybrid%20electric%20vehicles%20are%20powered,in%20to%20charge%20the%20battery.&text=The%20extra%20power%20provided%20by,allow%20for%20a%20smaller%20engine.electric. Hybrids use Lithium Ion, Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH), and Lead Acid batteries. These batteries are similar to regular car batteries. Just as a regular battery recharges itself, so do these. Because these batteries have two sources of power, they can last roughly up to 10 years. Surprisingly, most hybrid cars do not have the plug-in option. U.S. Dept. of Energy says, “Hybrid electric vehicles are powered by an internal combustion engine and an electric motor, which uses energy stored in batteries. ” DC/DC electrical current recharges the battery. Also, hybrids have an electric generator. The electric power helps reduce gas emissions, especially when stopped. So, less fuel emissions in the air when you pull one of these through a long drive-thru.

Hybrid cars use electric power until it needs the gas. Then, the gas fuels the engine itself and the electric generator for restoring electric energy. The transmission transfers mechanical power from the engine or electric traction motor. Hybrid cars do use oil.

 

Electric

Unlike hybrids, the only way to power your car is by plugging it into an electric grid. According to EDF Energy, there are five components that make up an all-electric engine. First, the current is typically AC, but can be DC/AC. The inverter takes care of the electrical currency. Then, the drivetrain is responsible for the single-speed transmission. However, the batteries do not recharge while the car is in motion. Newer electric cars will last roughly 250 miles before it has to stop at a charging station. There is talk about “electric roads” that will recharge cars from pavement to car in the future. Electric cars are purely electric as they don’t require oil.

 

And that is how electric cars work. They are becoming increasingly popular as electric automobile engineering and technology improve. Soon, they’ll be all over the road and we can reduce our carbon dioxide emissions! Would you buy a hybrid/electric car? Let us know in the comments!

 

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