What is electric power?
We explain what electrical energy is and what it is for. In addition, how it is produced, types of electrical energy and examples.
What is electric power?
Electricity or electricity is the current of energy that originates from the difference in electrical potential between two specific points , when they are contacted by an electric transmitter.
This current consists of the transmission of negative charges ( electrons ) through a material conducive to it, such as metals , from the point of generation (and / or storage) to the point of consumption, which usually takes advantage of it for convert it into other forms of energy: light, mechanical or thermal.
In everyday life, the electrical energy we consume comes from a power line or network , which we access through plugs or outlets, as well as from the installation of electrical circuits in our homes, such as those we activate by turning on a power switch. light. This network is powered by the companies that provide this service, which are usually in charge of the generation and distribution of electricity in cities , regions or entire countries.
Electricity exists in nature and is an important part of numerous biological processes , including the body of man. The neurons of our brain and the nerve impulses of our spinal cord, for example, are electrical in nature, as is the small discharge that certain eels are able to transmit when they feel threatened. Another perfect example of this is thunderstorms, in which lightning strikes.
The field of physics in charge of the study of this type of energy is electrical physics or electricity, and dates back to the 18th century, although there are traceable antecedents since ancient times.
Types of electrical energy
We can talk about different forms of electricity:
- Basic . The one produced by the contact of a positive and a negative charge, is the type of current that we use in our everyday devices and that allows the operation of the bulbs.
- Static . That produced by the friction of two bodies capable of being electrically charged, as happens when rubbing a comb with a handkerchief of certain materials, or when approaching an arm to the screen of an old television.
- Dynamic . Hand in hand with other forms of energy such as chemistry , it is the form of manageable and controllable electricity, from the constant flow of electrons through a conductor.
- Conductual . That electric current that is kept in continuous movement by the conductors, as it happens in the circuits.
- Electromagnetic . The electricity of electromagnetic fields, as in large industrial magnets.
On the other hand, two forms of electric current are known, thanks to Nikola Tesla’s experiences and studies: ordinary and alternating current, the latter being the one that varies cyclically in its magnitude and meaning.
What is electric power for?
The great power of electricity is its ability to transform into other forms of energy , making it an extremely versatile resource. It can be powered with electricity to a machine that performs certain tasks, both physical and calculation, or light a room with a light bulb, or heat it during the winter thanks to a resistance.
How is electricity produced?
There are several ways to generate electrical energy, a process that is normally carried out in a power plant, or in small quantities in specialized devices.
- Solar installations . They convert the sun’s caloric energy into electrical energy, using a system of panels that receive the radiation directly (see: solar energy ).
- Power plants . They produce electricity from the turn of turbines driven by water vapor , heated by various combustions: coal, hydrocarbons, nuclear reactions, heat from the earth, etc.
- Renewable resources . There are also power plants that take advantage of waterfalls (hydroelectric), or strong winds (wind) to mobilize their turbines and generate electricity.
Once this electricity is produced, it is transmitted through the power lines to the cities and facilities that require it or is stored in various types of circuits.
Examples of electrical energy
Some everyday examples of the use of electricity are:
- Urban lighting . The incorporation of electric energy into the cities was a revolution, which replaced the gas lamps and allowed to expand the useful hours of urban life for several more hours.
- The use of a television . As well as any appliance powered by the plug to the zonal power grid: a blender, a microwave, a toaster, etc.
- The medical defibrillators . In the emergency rooms these devices are used that accumulate electrical voltage and allow it to be discharged on the body of patients in cardiac arrest, to reactivate their pulses.
- Lightning . During a thunderstorm, the difference in electrical potential between the ground and the air is such that compensatory discharges, known as lightning, are generated. We can see them with the naked eye.