Electricity or an electrical current is a flow of electric charge along a wire. The more charges that are passing along the wire the larger the current. For the charges to flow along the wire a force is needed to push them and this force is called the voltage or potential difference. Charges will flow from regions of high potential to regions of low potential where the potential difference is the difference in potential of the two regions. To get charges to flow from a region of high potential to a region of low potential the two regions have to be connected with a conductor.






There are two types of electricity or electrical current that you will have come across. The first kind is called the direct current (dc) which comes from batteries and the second type is called the alternating current (ac) which comes out of plugs in the wall and is produced in power stations. The type of current that comes out of walls (ac) differs greatly from that which comes out of batteries (dc).

1) To begin with the ac electricity we come across is much more powerful than dc electricity. The voltage coming out of a wall is 120 V while that supplied from a battery is 1.5 V. This means that there is 80 times more pushing power acting on the electons in an ac current compared to a dc current.








Warning: Electriciy from the wall can be dangerious. Never touch a plug or outlet with a wet hands, or insert anything into one.

2) Direct current (dc) the electrons always flow in the same direction but in an alternating current (ac) the current flows in one direction and then another.



Click here to find out more about direct current (dc) electricity.

Click here to find out more about alternating current (ac) electricity.

For electricity to flow objects called conductors are required. A conductor is an object that allows electrical charges to flow easily. Conductors are mainly metals. Objects that do not conduct electricity to flow are called insulators.

Gold, Silver, Glass, Copper, Plastics, Dry Air, Iron, Lead, Wood, Salt Water

Conductors : Gold, Silver, Copper, Iron, Lead, Salt Water.

Insulators : Plastics, Glass, Dry Air, Wood.

Do you know that electrical currents can be produced by light from the sun. This is done through objects called solar pannels. Solar pannels can be seen extending out of the space station below. In solar pannels, energy from the suns rays is converted into electrical currents which can then be used to power electrical items on the space station.