Electricity can be measured and controlled. It circles around three basic factors: voltage, current, and resistance. Each of these measurements are quantified and has their respective units. So before you go looking for home appliances and wiring devices in the Philippines and elsewhere, you better know this stuff first. Read on below!
Voltage is the force that pushes the electrons in the wires from one point to another. In short, it is the difference in electric charge between two places.
For example, you have two clumps of metals, one loaded with electrons and the other not so much. Using a conductor, you can connect these two clumps to transfer some electrons to the second clump. But you won’t be able to do that fast enough without voltage! You see, electrons in its natural state freely move between atoms, but they do so randomly. By using voltage, you can nudge them all to move in a single direction.
Voltage is measured in volts or V, after Alessandro Volta, an Italian physicist who possibly invented the first chemical battery with his voltaic pile. You can find out the exact amount of voltage in wires using a device called voltmeter.
Current, on the other hand, is the rate of flow of the electric charge in the wire. While voltage is the force that pushes the electrons to move from one atom to the next, current is the factor that enables them to flow through the conductor.
To better understand how current works, line up 15 balls in a pool table in a straight line and hit the one in front with the cue ball. As you’ll see, doing that will cause the ball at the rear to move. Something similar happens in current flow. Electrons move from one atom to another, displacing electrons from the second atom which will then move to a third atom to displace the electrons there. And on it goes!
Current is measured in amperes or A, in honor of French mathematician, physicist and well-known father of electrodynamics André-Marie Ampère. One ampere is equivalent to around 6,240 quadrillion electrons per second, and it can be measured using an ammeter.
Resistance, however, restricts the passage of electric current through the conductor. In short, it controls how many electrons can go through the wire. It’s an important factor in electricity, as too much electric current yield too output power, which may cause damage to various electric and electronic devices.
Resistance is created by adding a component known as resistors, a device made from an amalgamation of conductors and insulators. Due to its nature, it only allows a certain amount of current to pass through it, thereby controlling how much can flow to the output section of the system.
Resistance is measured in Ohms or Ω, after German mathematician and physicist Georg Simon Ohm, who is best known for his law on the relationship of current with voltage and resistance (Ohm’s Law).
Knowing these three factors is extremely important, especially since they affect the amount of electricity flowing in and around your home’s electric system as well as determine the power it could give your appliances and devices. So better learn it!