COME ON, WHAT IS ELECTRICITY, REALLY?
|ELECTRIC CHARGE||---||E.M. ENERGY|
|Flows very slowly, and can even stop.||-----||Always flows incredibly fast, almost at the speed of light.|
|The flow is called "electric current," measured in Amps.||-----||The flow is called "electric power," measured in Watts.|
|Flows through light bulbs||---||Consumed by light bulbs (and converted into light)|
|In AC cables, it wiggles back and forth||---||In AC cables, it flows continuously forwards|
|Supplied by metals (and by all other conductors)||---||Supplied by generators, batteries, etc.|
|It's a component of matter||---||A form of energy|
|Doesn't usually leave a circuit.||---||A "Source" injects it into a circuit, while a "load" removes it again.|
|Composed of movable charges from conductor atoms||---||Composed of electromagnetic fields|
|Electrons and protons are particles of CHARGE||---||Photons are particles of E.M. energy|
|Flows inside of wires||---||Flows in the space adjacent to wires|
|Generators pump it through themselves||---||Generators create it|
|Circular flow. It flows around and around the circuit, and never leaves it.||---||One-way flow, from a "source" to a "load".|
|VISIBLE: it is the silvery part of a metal||---||INVISIBLE: the EM energy can only be seen if you use iron filings, etc.|
|Measured in units called Coulombs||---||Measured in units called Joules|
|Occurs naturally||---||Produced and sold by electric companies|
|Scientists of old called it "electricity."||---||Today, electric companies call it "electricity."|
Still confused? Well, there's one way to connect all this stuff into a single coherent whole. Just realize that electrical energy is wave-energy, and charge is the "medium" for these energy-waves. Waves-versus-medium.
This idea becomes clearer in AC circuits, where the charge wiggles
back-and-forth inside the wires, while the electrical energy zooms forward
at the speed of light. (This is much like sound, where the air is
wiggling forwards and back, yet the sound-waves move forward in one
direction through the air.) If electrons inside metals were like air
molecules, then electrical energy would be like sound waves! Well,
approximately. Sorta. It's just an analogy.
Perhaps some pictures would help? Here are two diagrams below. More can
be found at Where does the Energy flow?
Electric charge flows along wires. So does electromagnetic energy. If
you ask "what is electricity", the answer is which one?