We use it every day to charge our phones, switch on our lights, chill our refrigerators, turn on our TVs, and power our computers but what do you really know about electricity? We’ve compiled the top six fascinating facts that will blow your fuse!
1. Pretty fast
Electricity travels at an astonishing 300,000 kilometres per second - that’s the speed of light. If we could move that fast, we’d be able to race around the world eight times in the time it takes to turn on a light.
2. Thomas who??
Thomas Edison is to thank for thousands of products that we use every day as he invented almost everything needed for us to use electricity in our homes and businesses, including fuses, switches, meters and sockets. However, it was Nikola Tesla’s safer and further-travelling AC current that won the 1800s ‘battle of the currents’ over Edison’s DC current. To date, DC currents aren’t used in any power grid in the world.
3. Dangerous hobby
Lightning is a form of electrical energy, something that Benjamin Franklin proved in 1752 with his famous kite experiment. Franklin decided to fly a kite in a storm but this was not just any kite. Franklin’s kite was attached to a silk string, at the end of which was tied an iron key. From the key a thin metal wire was inserted into a Leydon jar - a container for storing an electrical charge. Negative charges passed down through the string, to the key, and finally into the jar.
This was a fairly dangerous experiment to carry out as a bolt of lightning can measure up to 3 million volts! However, his theory was proved correct and the results led him to invent the lightning rod, which protects buildings from lightning by conducting bolts through a grounded wire.
4. It's in us
Electricity is used by our bodies - it’s the method by which our nerve cells pass signals to our muscles and is known as bioelectricity. Our cells generally use about 50 millivolts but a number of marine animals, including the electric ray and electric eel, have developed special organs that are capable of generating up to 1,000 volts - a surge of that intensity is stronger than the power any outlet in your home could provide.
5. Vegas baby!
The amount of electricity needed to light up the Las Vegas ‘strip’ each night would power a town of 25,000 residents.
It would take 25,000 fireflies to create the same amount of light as one 60 watt incandescent light bulb.