Everything in our world, including buildings, cars, animals, as well as humans, consists of atoms.Even though we cannot see them, they are a fundamental part of our lives, which allows us to take form.
Atoms hold incredible features that require a specialized microscope for us to see. One of the interesting parts of atoms is the electron, which is responsible for creating electricity.
Based on early studies about the properties of atoms, scientists state that electrons always move around a nucleus. However, we might come to think – how do the electrons move? Do they consume energy as they move?
What is an atom?
Before we study further the more in-depth properties of the movement of electrons, let us first look into the fundamental features of atoms.
An atom is the basic unit of matter, wherein every structures and element in our universe consist of atoms. Initially, scientists believed that atoms are the smallest things in the universe. However, later studies show that three smaller particles create the atom – protons, neutrons, and electrons. Usually, an atom structure has a nucleus in the middle, which sometimes consistsof an equal number of protons and neutrons. Outside the nucleus, we can find the electron moving around.
This movement of the electrons is continuous with the help of quanta, introduced by Neils Bohr. However, since electrons are constantly moving, do they consume energy in the process?
Do electrons consume energy when they move?
As mentioned earlier, electrons are sub-atomic particle that revolves around the nucleus of an atom. Electrons are negatively charged particles and are responsible for producing electricity. Regarding its size, the electron is relatively smaller than the nucleus, which is composed of protons and neutrons.
When we look at Bohr’s diagram of the atom, we can see a resemblance to our solar system, with the nucleus in the middle and the electrons orbiting around it. However, other studies suggest that Bohr’s design of the atom is inaccurate, and the electrons do not revolve around the nucleus. An atom does not have an orbit similar to the planets. Instead, scientists believe that clouds are what surrounds the nucleus. These clouds are where the electrons naturally move around, without an exact track.Therefore, the movement of the electrons around the clouds does not consume energy.
Interestingly, when electrons move, they can generate energy. However, this movement does not only occur inside an atom but across several others. When the electrons flow through atoms, they produce energy in the form of electricity. The rate of flow of the electric charge is what we call the electric current. This flow of electrons requires conductor materials to move freely, like those in copper, silver, and aluminum. In contrast to this, if the electrons come to meet insulator materials, like paper, plastic, rubber, glass, and air, it would automatically cut its flow.
More about how electricity is made
We already know brief information about the generation of electricity. In our modern world, electricity is one of the most vital needs of human. Furthermore, it is somehow unimaginable to live in a world without electricity. Most of us rely on electricity when we are at home, school, office, gym, mall, and many other places. Without electricity means, we would not also have the same technology that we have today.
However, although we use it every day, some of us do not even have an idea of how it works.
For starters, electricity is a product of the movement of electrons. In the world that we are living in, there are several ways to generate electricity, including hydro, wind, solar, nuclear, and many others. The most common way to generate electric energy is through the use of fossil fuels.
Despite the various ways of generating electricity, they all work under the same principle, which is the use of a turbine generator. This device allows the energy from the raw source to convert into electricity. During this process, the electrons also rearrange and ends up flowing outward from the turbine.
The utilization and generation of electricity are only possible because of the early studies of atoms and their sub-atomic particles since it is a result of the movement of electrons.