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Electricity Unit Vocabulary
What is electricity?
A form of energy that results from the interaction of charged particles, such as electrons or protons.
What is static electricity?
An electric charge that tends to stay on the surface of an object, rather than flowing away quickly.
What is charging by friction?
A process in which objects made from different materials rub against each other, producing a net static charge on each object.
What is the electrostatic series?
A list of materials that have been arranged according to their ability to hold in to electrons.
What is an insulator?
A material in which electrons cannot move easily from one atom to another.
What is a conductor?
A material in which electrons can move easily from one atom to another.
What is a semiconductor?
A material in which electrons can move fairly easily between atoms.
What is a ground?
An object that can supply a large amount of electrons to, or can remove a very large amount of electrons from, a charged object; thus neutralizing the object.
What is an electroscope?
A device for detecting the presence of an electric charge.
What is charging by contact?
Generating a net charge on a neutral object by touching it with a charged object.
What are laws of electric charge?
Laws that describe how two objects interact with each other when one or both are charged.
What is an electric field?
A property of the space around a charged object, where the effects of its charge can be felt by other objects.
What is induced charge separation?
The movement of electrons in a substance, caused by the electric field of a nearby object that is not in direct contact with the substance.
What is an ion?
A positively or negatively charged atom or groups of atoms.
What is a lightening rod?
A metal sphere or point that is attached to rhe highest part part of a building and connected to ground.
What is an electrostatic precipitator?
A type of cleaner that removes unwanted particles and liquid droplets from a flow of gas.
What is a Van de Graaff generator?
A device that accumulates very large charges.
What is a radiation dosimeter?
A small device that detects and measures exposure to radiation.
What is an electric circuit?
A closed path along which electrons that are powered by an energy source can flow.
What is a voltaic cell?
A source of energy that generates an electric current by chemical reactions involving two different metals or metal compounds separated by a conducting solution.
What is a battery?
A connection of two or more cells.
What is an electrode?
One of two metal terminals in a cell or battery.
What is an electrolyte?
A solution or paste that conducts charge.
What is a dry cell?
A cell that contains an electrolyte made of paste.
What is a wet cell?
A cell that contains a liquid electrolyte.
What is a primary cell?
A cell that can only be used once.
What is a secondary cell?
A cell that can be recharged.
What is a fuel cell?
A cell that generates electricity through the chemical reactions of fuel that is stored outside the cell.
What is a terminal?
A position on a cell that must be connected to other components to form a circuit.
What is a switch?
A control device that can complete or break the circuit to which it is connected.
What is an electric current?
A measure of the number of charged particles that pass by a point in an electric circuit every second.
What is a coulomb(C)?
The quantity of charge that is equal to the charge of 6.25 x 10 to the 18 electrons.
What is an ampere(A)?
The unit of electric current, equivalent to 1 coulomb per second.
What is electrical resistance?
The property of a substance that hinders electric current and converts electrical energy to other forms of energy.
What is a resistor?
A device used in an electric circuit to decrease the current through a component by a specific amount.
What is a load?
A resistor or any other device that transforms electrical energy into heat, motion, sound or light.
What is potential difference (voltage)?
The difference between the electric potential energy per unit of charge at two points in a circuit.
What is a volt?
The unit for the potential difference; equivalent to one Joule (J) per coulomb.
What is a circuit diagram?
A diagram that uses standard symbols to represent the components in an electric circuit and their connections.
What is a series circuit?
A circuit in which there is only one path in which electrons can move along.
What is a parallel circuit?
A circuit in which there is more then one path along which electrons can flow.
What is an Ohm (Ω)?
The unit for resistance, equivalent to one volt per ampere (V/A).
What is a superconductor?
A material through which electric charge can flow with no resistance.
What is non-ohmic?
Not following Ohm's law.
What is direct current (DC)?
Current in which charged particles travel through a circuit in only one direction.
What is alternating current (AC)?
A current in which electrons move back and forth in a circuit.
What is a transformer?
An electrical device that changes the size of the potential difference of an alternating current.
What is a circuit breaker?
A safety device that is placed in series with other circuits that lead to appliances and outlets.
What is a fuse?
A safety device that is found in older buildings and some appliances; like a circuit breaker, it is placed in series with other circuits that lead to appliances and outlets.
What is electrical power?
The rate at which an appliance uses electrical energy.
What is a watt (W)?
A unit of electrical power; 1 kilowatt= 1000 W.
What is a kilowatt (kW)?
A practical unit of electrical power; 1 kW= 1000 W
What is electrical energy?
The energy that is used by an appliance at a given setting; is determined by multiplying its power rating by the length of time it is used.
What is a kilowatt-hour (kW•h)?
The practical unit of electrical energy.
What is a smart meter?
A meter that records the total electrical energy used hour by hour and sends this information to the utility company automatically.
What is time of use pricing?
A system of pricing in which the cost of each kW•h of energy used is different at different times of the day.
What is a phantom load?
The electricity that is consumed by an appliance or device when it is turned off.
What is efficiency?
The ratio of useful energy output to total energy input; expressed as a percentage.
What is a base load?
The continuous minimum demand for electrical power.
What is hydroelectrical power energy?
The production of electricity using a source of moving water.
What is an intermediate load?
A demand for electricity that is greater than the base load that is met by burning coal and natural gas.
What is a peak load?
The greatest demand for electricity, which is met by using hyrdoelectrical power and natural gas.
What is a renewable energy source?
A source of energy that can be replaced in a relatively brief period of time.
What is a non-renewable energy source?
A source of energy that cannot be replaced as quickly as it is used.
What is a wind farm?
Many large wind turbines at one location.
What is solar energy?
Energy that is directly converted from the from the energy of the sun into electricity.
What is the photovoltaic effect?
The generation of a direct current when certain materials are exposed to light.
What is biomass energy?
Biomass Energy is defined by any organic materials that can be burned and used as a source of fuel.