Electrical Energy

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Electricity Electron Flow Diagram

Electricity Electron Flow Diagram

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Electrical energy

Electrical energy is caused by moving electric charges called electrons. The faster the charges move, the more electrical energy they carry.

As the charges that cause the energy are moving, electrical energy is a form of kinetic energy.

Lightning, batteries and even electric eels are examples of electrical energy in action!

Burning questions

What is electrical energy?

Electrical energy is a type of kinetic energy caused by moving electric charges.

The amount of energy depends on the speed of the charges – the faster they move, the more electrical energy they carry.

Let's imagine an electric charge is represented by a ball being thrown against a window.

If you don't throw the ball very fast, it won't have enough energy to break the window.

But if you throw the ball faster, it will have more energy and will be able to smash through the window.

The faster you throw the ball, the more energy it will have to break the window.

Is electrical energy always generated in the same way?

Electrical energy is generated in the same way regardless of the starting form of energy.

For example:

Electron Flow Diagram

Nuclear energy plants create steam to turn turbine blades that generate electricity.

In a nuclear power plant, nuclear energy heats water into steam The steam is used to turn a turbine blade, which fires up a generator to give electric charges their energy.

Hydropower Plant

Moving water spins turbine blades, creating electrical energy.

In a hydroelectric plant, falling water is used to spin the turbine blades. The blades turn the generator to create electrical energy.

Wind Turbine

Wind energy power stations are called wind farms.

In a windmill, wind power turns the turbine blade, which – you've guessed it! – makes the generator create electrical energy.

Electric Eel

An electric eel can create up to 600 volts of energy with its own body.

What are some examples of electrical energy?

  • In a car battery, a chemical reaction creates an electron which has the energy to move in an electric current. These moving charges provide electrical energy to the circuits in the car.
  • During a thunderstorm, lightning is an example of electrical energy – what we can see is electricity in the atmosphere being discharged.
  • Electric eels generate electrical energy, which they use to defend against predators and to stun their prey.

What do you mean?

Electrical energy is caused by moving electric charges called electrons.

Electricity is a type of energy that comes from electrical energy.

Kinetic energy is the energy of a moving object.

Cool Facts

Electric eels can generate a power of 600 volts – that's five times stronger than the electricity generated by a standard wall socket!

Cool Facts

As lightning heats the air, it creates a shockwave that causes the sound we know as thunder.

Cool Facts

Electricity travels at the speed of light - more than 299,000 kilometre's per second. If you could travel at the speed of light, you could go around the Earth 7.5 times in one second!

Speedy summary

Electrical energy is caused by moving electrical charges. These charged particles are called electrons.