# Understanding Electricity: Atoms, Charge, and Flow

Classified in Chemistry

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## Electricity and Atoms

Electricity is an electric charge. But there is much more behind than the simple statement:

• Where do the charges come from?
• How do we move them? Where do they move?
• How does an electric charge cause mechanical movement or invent things?

### Atoms and Charge

To understand it we start with atoms, one of the basic blocks of life and matter. An atom is three different particles: electrons, protons and neutrons. Each atom has a central nucleus, where protons and neutrons are attached. Around the nucleus there is a group of electrons in orbit. The number defines which chemical element the atom represents. This set is called the atom's atomic number. Electrons are the operation of electricity In its most stable and balanced state, an atom will have the same amount of electrons as protons. A nucleus with 29 protons is surrounded by an equal number of electrons. The electrons of the atom are not always attached to the atom. The electrons in the orbit are called valence electrons. A valence electron can escape the orbit of the atom and break free. Free electrons allow the charge to move, that's what electricity is all about. The load is a property of the matter. You can measure the amount of load it has. There are two types: positive and negative. To move the charge we need charge carriers, electrons and protons are used. Electrons always carry a negative charge, always positive protons. Neutrons are neutral, they have no charge. Electrons and protons have the same amount of charge. Electrostatic force (Coulomb's law) is a force that operates between charges. It causes them to repel each other, while charges of opposites attract and tastes repel.

#### Charge Carriers and Flow

The electrons in the atoms act as a charge carrier, each electron carrier has a negative charge. If we release an electron from an atom and force it to move, we can create electricity. The atomic model is one of the elementary sources for charge flow. Copper has 29 protons in the nucleus with the same number of electrons that orbit around it. They orbit at different distances from the nucleus of the atom. The nearest electrons have more attraction to the center than those in distant orbits. The valence electrons, require the least amount of force to be released from an atom.

##### Electronics and Semiconductors

Electronics is the branch of science that studies the flow and control of electrons and the study of their behavior and effects on semiconductors or semiconductor material and what devices use these electrons. Semiconductors have greater electrical conductivity than insulators but are less good conductors and are used especially as the base material for microchips and other electronic devices.