What is Electricity? Definition and Types of electricity.

what is electricity
Here are some common meanings and consequences of the word ‘Electricity.  Think about these carefully, because if one of these meanings is correct, then all the others contradict them. Unfortunately, our dictionaries and encyclopedias contain all of these contradictions. According to the scientific definition, Electricity is the package of charge. So If we consider Electricity as a ‘charge’ then there are some contradictions and important consequences in our mind:
  • Electricity should not be a form of energy.
  • Electricity does not travel at the speed of light.
  • The only ‘kinds’ of electricity are negative and positive (charge).
  • Electricity in wires travels in closed circles only.
  • Electricity should not be ‘converted’ into other forms.
  • The path for electricity is not from source to consumer.
  • Utility companies won’t sell any Electricity.
So the word Electricity has contradictory meanings. But although in Electrical Science we ignore all these literature contradictions and define it technically. Electricity isn’t only a basic part of nature. It is also one of the most widely used forms of energy in the world. This is because in addition to it naturally occurring in the world in the form of lightning (static electricity), it is also a manufactured product. It is generated by a generator (alternator) in an Electrical power plant and transmitted through the transmission network to the consumer end.

Electricity is the flow of electrical charge through a conductor. The electricity that we are using is a secondary source of energy. Because it is produced by converting primary energy sources such as coal, natural gas, nuclear energy, solar energy, wind energy, etc. into electrical energy. This is also referred to as an Energy carrier. This means it can be converted into other forms of energy such as mechanical energy, heat, light, etc. Primary energy sources are either renewable energy or nonrenewable energy.

Despite there is great importance of electricity in our everyday lives. Just imagine what our life would be like without electricity. Like water and air, we tend to take electricity for granted. So in simple words, Electricity is the heart of all the technologies we use in our daily lives.

Definition of Electricity

The Scientist’s definition of Electricity is Electric Charge: The quantity of electricity is measured in Coulomb. So “Electricity” is the package of electrons and protons. It is the electric charge inside the metal. All wires contain electricity all the time, that’s why they are conductors. The Scientist’s definition of Electricity is Electric Charge: The quantity of electricity is measured in Coulomb. So “Electricity” is the package of electrons and protons. It is the electric charge inside the metal. All wires contain electricity all the time, that’s why they are conductors.

Concepts of Electricity

Electricity is a type of Energy which involves the flow of electrons. All the matter is made up of atoms and the center of it is called Nucleus. Nucleus has positively charged particles known as Protons and uncharged particles known as Neutrons. The Nucleus becomes surrounded by negatively charged particles known as Electrons. Electrons revolve in a circular orbit known as a cell. The charge of electrons and protons becomes equal and opposite in nature. So it maintains equilibrium within the atom.

When that equilibrium force between protons and electrons is disturbed by any external force (Electric Field), then the atom may gain or lose electrons. When electrons are lost from an atom, then the free electrons move toward the Electric field. Hence due to the free movement of these electrons, electric current flows through the conductor in opposite to the direction of the flow of electrons.

Types of Electricity

There are mainly two types of Electricity.


  1. Static electricity: It is when electrical charges develop on the surface of the material. It is usually caused by friction when two or more than two materials are rubbed together. Then, as a result, static electricity builds up and due to this these objects may be attracted to each other or may even cause a spark. So let’s consider an example when we rub a balloon on a wool sweater and hold it up to the wall. Then we observe that before rubbing, like all materials, the balloons and the wool sweater have a neutral charge on them. This is because they each have the same number of positively charged subatomic particles (protons) and negatively charged subatomic particles (electrons). However, after rubbing the balloon with the wool sweater, some electrons are transferred from the wool to the balloon material (rubber). Then the balloon becomes negatively charged because it gains electrons from the wool. Whereas the wool becomes positively charged because it loses electrons.
  2. Current Electricity: Current is the rate of flow of electrons. It is produced by moving free electrons and it is measured in amperes (A). While Current electricity is the flow of electric charge across an electric field. Unlike static electricity, current electricity must flow through a conducting material, usually a copper wire. Current electricity is just like current when you imagine the flow of a river. The river flows from one point to another. With respect to electricity, the current is a measure of the amount of energy that is transferred over a period of time. That energy is nothing but a flow of electrons. One of the results of the current is the heating of the conductor due to the resistance of the conductor. When an electric heater heats up, it’s because of the flow of current through the heater wire.
    There are different sources of current electricity including the chemical reactions taking place in batteries. The most common source of current electricity is the generator (alternator). A simple generator produces electricity when a copper coil turns inside the magnetic field. In a power plant, electromagnets spinning inside many coils of copper wire generate huge quantities of current electricity.
    There are two main types of electric current. Direct current (DC) and Alternating current (AC). It is easy to remember. Direct current is like the energy you are getting from a battery. Whereas an Alternating current is like the plugs in the wall. The big difference between these two is that DC continues the flow of energy in the same direction. While AC can turn on and off in a positive and negative direction.


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Hey, I'm Satish Gupta an Engineer by profession and blogger by passion. I am writer and founder of this blog, Here I publish contents related to Electrical and Electronics Engineering..

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