I wasrecently asked by an 8 yr old gentleman the following question. "Where does the electricity go?" Upon questioning him , he wanted to know where the current goes when it goes back to ground. I wasn't quite sure what to say. Any help?
First of all, it is a great misconception that electricity flows to ground. In fact, a ground connection is not even required in order for electricity to flow. Generally, electrical current flows to it's source. And while the electrical charge is circular in flow, the energy is not. When a lamp is turned on, the charge is literaly "wiggling" back and forth through the conductor without much travel. A single electron may only move a centimeter an hour. The effect of this charge at the lamp is heat and light. So in effect, the electricity isn't going anywhere. A potential is established and utilization equipment is connected in between. All the charge that is available in the conductor will always be there and is not entering and then leaving the wire. This probably didn't clear things up, and it most certainly won't assist explaining the theory of current flow and charge to a child. Good Luck!!
Bryan P. Holland, ECO. Secretary - IAEI Florida Chapter
Thanks Guys, I believe I can explain it know. I think I will shy away from the beer analogy tho. I can't believe in all the years of training and I couldn't answer this. Couldn't find it in any of my theory books either.
It is a little known fact that there has been no new electricity generated in the US for a number of years. Since the electricity goes back to it's source, whatever you use will return back to the power plant suppling you the electricity in the first place. There it will be returned onto the power lines suppling your home, and then back to the plant, then back to you, and so on and on. Each time it returns to you, the power company will charge for it. In other words, you are paying for the same old electricity over and over, again and again!
From LaVern Stenson's FUNdementals of Electricity Video