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ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRONICS ACCORDING TO COMPUTER SCIENTIST

 

FUNDAMENTALS OF ELECTRICITY AND ELECTRONICS



IT WAS DISCOVERED CENTURIES AGO THAT CERTAIN TYPES OF MATERIALS WOULD MYSTERIOUSLY ATTRACT ONE ANOTHER AFTER BEING RUBBED TOGETHER.  FOR EXAMPLE : AFTER RUBBING A PIECE OF SILK AGAINST PIECE OF GLASS, THE SILK AND GLASS WOULD TEND TO STICK TOGETHER.

INDEED, THERE WAS AN ATTRACTIVE FORCE THAT COULD BE DEMONSTRATED EVEN WHEN THE TWO MATERIALS ARE SEPARATED .   GLASS AND SILK AREN'T THE ONLY MATERIALS KNOWN TO BEHAVE LIKE THIS.  ANYONE WHO HAS EVER BRUSHED UP AGAINST A LATEX BALLOON ONLY TO FIND THAT IT TRIES TO STICK TO THEM HAS EXPERIENCED THE SAME PHENOMENON.

 

PARAFFIN WAX AND WOOL CLOTH ARE ANOTHER PAIR OF MATERIALS EARLY EXPERIMETERS RECOGNIZED AS MANIFESTING ATTRACTIVE FORES AFTER BEING RUBBED TOGETHER.  THIS PHENOMENON BECAME EVEN MORE INTERESTING WHEN IT WAS DISCOVERED THAT IDENTICAL MATERIALS, AFTER HAVING BEEN RUBBED WITH SILK WAS EXPOSED TO A PIECE OF WAX RUBBED WITH WOOL,  THE TWO MATERIALS WOULD ATTRACT ONE ANOTHER.  

 

FURTHERMORE, IT WAS FOUND THAT ANY MATERIAL DEMONSTRATING THE PROPERTIES OF ATTRACTION OR REPULSION AFTER BEING RUBBED  COULD BE CLASSED INTO ONE OF TWO DISTINCT CATEGORIES: ATTRACTED TO GLASS AND REPELLED BY WAX,  ATTRACTED TO WAX AND REPELLED BY GLASS.

 

IT WAS EITHER ONE OR THE OTHER: THERE WERE NO MATERIALS TO BE FOUND THAT WOULD BE ATTRACTED OR REPELLED BY BOTH GLASS AND WAX OR THAT REACTED TO BE ONE WITHOUT REACTING TO OTHER.

 

MORE ATTENTION WAS DIRECTED TOWARD THE PIECES OF CLOTH USED TO DO THE RUBBING.  IT WAS THAT AFTER RUBBING TWO PIECES OF GLASS TO TWO PIECES OF SILK CLOTH, NOT ONLY THE GLASS PIECES REPELLED EACH OTHER, SO DOES THE SILK CLOTH REPELLED EACH OTHER.   THE SAME PHENOMENON HELD FOR THE PIECES OF WOOL USED TO RUB THE WAX.

 

NOW, THIS WAS REALLY STRANGE TO WITNESS.  AFTER ALL, NONE OF THESE OBJECTS  WERE VISIBLY ALTERED BY THE RUBBING, YET THEY DEFINITELY BEHAVED DIFFERENTLY THAN BEFORE THEY WERE RUBBED.  WHATEVER CHANGE TOOK PLACE TO MAKE THESE MATERIALS ATTRACT OR REPEL ONE ANOTHER WAS INVISIBLE.

 

SOME EXPERIMENTERS SPECULATED THAT INVISIBLE “FLUIDS” WERE BEING TRANSFERRED FROM ONE OBJECTS TO ANOTHER DURING THE PROCESS OF RUBBING AND THAT THESE “FLUIDS” WERE ABLE TO EFFECT A PHYSICAL FORCE OVER A DISTANCE.  CHARLES DUFAY WAS ONE OF THE EARLY EXPERIMENTERS WHO DEMONSTRATED THAT THERE WERE DEFINITELY  TWO DIFFERENT TYPES OF CHANGES BROUGHT BY RUBBING CERTAIN PAIRS OF OBJECT TOGETHER.   THE FACT THAT THERE WAS MORE THAT ONE TYPE OF CHANGE MANIFESTED IN THESE MATERIALS WAS EVIDENT BY THE FACT THAT THERE WERE TWO TYPES OF FORCES PRODUCED: ATTRACTION AND REPULSION.  THE HYPOTHETICAL FLUID TRANSFER BECAME KNOWN AS A CHARGE.

 

ONE PIONEERING RESEARCHER , BENJAMIN FRANKLIN, CAME TO THE CONCLUSION THAT THERE WAS ONLY ONE FLUID EXCHANGED BETWEEN RUBBED OBJECTS, AND THAT THE TWO DIFFERENT “CHARGES” WERE NOTHING MORE THAN EITHER AN EXCESS OR DEFICIENCY OF THAT FLUID.  AFTER EXPERIMENTING WITH WAX AND WOOL, FRANKLIN SUGGESTED THAT THE COARSE WOOL REMOVED SOME OF THIS INVISIBLE FLUID FROM THE SMOOTH WAX, CAUSING AN EXCESS OF FLUID ON THE WOOL AND A DEFICIENCY OF FLUID ON THE WAX.

 

  THE RESULTING DISPARITY IN FLUID CONTENT BETWEEN THE WOOL AND WAX WOULD THEN CAUSE AN ATTRACTIVE FORCE, AS THE FLUID TRUED TI REGAIN ITS FORMER BALANCE BETWEEN THE TWO MATERIALS

 

POSTULATING THE EXISTENCE OF A SINGLE “FLUID” THAT WAS EITHER GAINED OR LOST THROUGH RUBBING ACCOUNTED BEST FOR THE OBSERVED BEHAVIOUR: THAT ALL THESE MATERIALS FELL NEATLY INTO ONE OF TWO CATEGORIES WHEN RUBBED, AND MOST IMPORTANTLY,  THAT THE TWO ACTIVE MATERIAL RUBBED AGAINST EACH OTHER ALWAYS FELL IN THE OPPOSING CATEGORIES AS EVIDENCED BY THEIR INVARIABLE ATTRACTION TO ONE ANOTHER. 

 

IN OTHER WORDS, THERE WAS NEVER A TIME WHERE TWO MATERIALS RUBBED AGAINST EACH OTHER BOTH BECAME EITHER POSITIVE OR NEGATIVE.  FOLLOWING FRANKLINS SPECULATION OF THE WOOL RUBBING SOMETHING OFF OF THE WAX, THE TYPE OF CHARGE THAT WAS ASSOCIATED WITH THE RUBBING WOOL BECOME KNOWN AS “POSITIVE” ( BECAUSE IT WAS SUPPOSED TO HAVE A DEFICIENCY OF FLUID) WHILE THE TYPE OF CHARGE ASSOCIATED WITH THE RUBBING WOOL BECAME KNOWN AS “POSITIVE” (BECAUSE IT WAS SUPPOSE TO HAVE AN EXCESS OF OF FLUID).

 

LITTLE DID HE KNOW THAT HIS INNOCENT CONJECTURE WOULD CAUSE MUCH CONFUSION FOR STUDENTS OF ELECTRICITY IN THE FUTURE!

 

PRECISE MEASUREMENTS OF ELECTRICAL CHARGE WERE CARRIED OUT BY THE FRENCH PHYSICIST CHARLES COULOMB IN THE 1780’s USING A DEVICE CALLED A TORSIONAL BALANCE MEASURING THE FORCE GENERATED BETWEEN TWO ELECTRICALLY CHARGED OBJECTS.  THE RESULTS OF COULOMB’S WORK LED TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF A UNIT OF ELECTRICAL CHARGE NAMED IN HIS HONOUR, THE COULOMB.

 

IF TWO POINT OBJECTS (HYPOTHETICAL OBJECTS HAVING NO APPRECIABLE SURFACE AREA) WERE EQUALLY CHARGED TO A MEASURE OF 1 COULOMB, AND PLACED 1 METER APART (APPROXIMATELY  1 YARD APART) THEY WOULD GENERATE A FORCE OF ABOUT 9 BILLION NEWTONS (APPROXIMATELY 2 BILLION POUNDS) EITHER ATTRACTING OR REPELLING DEPENDING THE TYPE OF CHARGES INVOLVED.

 

THE OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF A COULOMB AS THE UNIT OF ELECTRICAL CHARGE( IN TERMS OF FORCE GENERATED BETWEEN POINT CHARGES) WAS FOUND TO BE EQUAL TO AN EXCESS OR DEFICIENCY OF ABOUT 625000000000000000 ELECTRONS.

 

OR STATED IN REVERSE TERMS, ONE ELECTRON HAS  CHARGE OF ABOUT 0.00000000000000000016 COULOMBS.  BEING THAT ONE ELECTRON IS THE SMALLEST KNOWN CARRIER OF ELECTRIC CHARGE, THIS LAST FIGURE OF CHARGE FOR THE ELECTRON IS DEFINED AS THE ELEMENTARY CHARGE.

 

IT WAS DISCOVERED MUCH LATER THAT THIS “FLUID” WAS ACTUALLY COMPOSED OF EXTREMELY SMALL BITS OF MATTER CALLED ELECTRONS, SO NAMED IN HONOR OF THE ANCIENT GREEK WORD FOR AMBER: ANOTHER MATERIAL EXHIBITING CHARGED PROPERTIES WHEN RUBBED WITH CLOTH.   EXPERIMENTATION HAS SINCE REVEALED THAT ALL OBJECTS ARE COMPOSED OF EXTREMELY SMALL “BUILDING-BLOCKS” KNOWN AS ATOMS, AND THAT THESE ATOMS ARE IN TURN COMPOSED OF SMALLER COMPONENTS KNOW AS PARTICLES.

 

THE THREE FUNDAMENTAL PARTICLES COMPRISING MOST ATOMS ARE CALLED PROTONS, NEUTRONS AND ELECTRONS.  WHILST THE MAJORITY OF ATOMS HAVE A COMBINATION OF PROTONS, NEUTRONS, AND ELECTRONS NOT ALL ATOMS AVE NEUTRONS AN EXAMPLE IS THE PROTIUM ISOTOPE (1H1) OF HYDROGEN (HYDROGEN – 1) WHICH IS THE LIGHTEST AND MOST COMMON FORM OF HYDROGEN WHICH ONLY HAS ONE PROTON AND ONE ELECTRON.

 

ATOM’S ARE TOO SMALL TO BE SEEN, BUT IF WE COULD LOOK AT ONE, IT MIGHT APPEAR SOMETHING.  EVEN THOUGH EACH ATOM IN A PIECE OF MATERIAL TENDS TO HOLD TOGETHER AS A UNIT, THERE A ACTUALLY A LOT OF EMPTY SPACE BETWEEN THE ELECTRONS AND THE CLUSTER OF PROTONS AND NEUTRONS RESIDING IN THE MIDDLE.

 

THIS CRUDE MODEL IS THAT OF THE ELEMENT CARBON WITH SIX PROTONS, AND SIX NEUTRONS AND SIX ELECTRONS,  IN ANY ATOM, THE PROTONS AND NEUTRONS ARE VERY TIGHTLY BOUND TOGETHER M WHICH IS AN IMPORTANT QUALITY.  THE TIGHTLY BOUND CLUMP OF PROTONS AND NEUTRONS IN THE CENTER OF THE ATOM IS CALLED NUCLEUS, AND THE NUMBER OF PROTONS IN AN ATOMS NUCLEUS DETERMINES ITS ELEMENTAL IDENTITY:  CHANGE THE NUMBER OF PROTON IN AN ATOMS NUCLEUS, AND YOU CAN CHANGE THE TYPE OF ATOM THAT IT IS.

 

IN FACT, IF YOU COULD REMOVE THREE PROTONS FROM THE NUCLEUS OF AN ATOM OF LEAD, YOU WILL HAVE ACHIEVED THE OLD ALCHEMIST'S DREAM OF PRODUCING AN ATOM OF GOLD!  THE TIGHT BINDING OF PROTONS IN THE NUCLEUS IS RESPONSIBLE FOR THE STABLE IDENTITY OF CHEMICAL ELEMENTS, AND THE FAILURE OF ALCHEMISTS TO ACHIEVE THEIR DREAM.

 

NEUTRONS ARE MUCH LESS INFLUENTIAL ON THE CHEMICAL CHARACTER AND IDENTITY OF AN ATOM THAN PROTONS, ALTHOUGH THEY ARE JUST AS HARD TO ADD TO OR REMOVE FROM THE NUCLEUS, BEING SO TIGHTLY BOUND.  IF NEUTRONS ARE ADDED OR GAINED, THE ATOM WILL STILL RETAIN THE SAME CHEMICAL IDENTITY, BUT ITS MASS WILL CHANGE SLIGHTLY AND IT MAY ACQUIRE STRANGE NUCLEAR PROPERTIES SUCH AS RADIOACTIVITY.  HOWEVER, ELECTRONS HAVE SIGNIFICANTLY MORE FREEDOM TO MOVE AROUND IN AN ATOM THAN EITHER PROTONS OR NEUTRONS.

 

IN FACT THEY, CAN BE KNOCKED OUT OF THEIR RESPECTIVE POSITIONS( EVEN LEAVING THE ATOM ENTIRELY!) BIY FAR LESS ENERGY THAN WHAT IT TAKES TO DISLODGE PARTICLES IN THE NUCLEUS.  IF THIS HAPPENS, THE ATOM STILL RETAINS ITS CHEMICAL IDENTITY, BUT AN IMPORTANT IMBALANCE OCCURS.

 

ELECTRONS AND PROTONS ARE UNIQUE IN THE FACT THAT THEY ARE ATTRACTED TO ONE ANOTHER OVER A DISTANCE WHICH CAUSES THE ATTRACTION BETWEEN RUBBED OBJECTS, WHERE ELECTRONS ARE MOVED AWAY FROM THEIR ORIGINAL ATOMS TO RESIDE AROUND ATOMS OF ANOTHER OBJECT.

 

ELECTRONS TEND TO REPEL OTHER ELECTRONS OVER A DISTANCE AS DO PROTONS WITH OTHER PROTONS. THE ONLY REASON PROTONS BIND TOGETHER IN THE NUCLEUS OF AN ATOM IS BECAUSE OF A MUCH STRONGER FORCE CALLED THE STRONG NUCLEAR FORCE WHICH HAS EFFECT ONLY UNDER VERY SHORT DISTANCES.  BECAUSE OF THIS ATTRACTION REPULSION BEHAVIOUR BETWEEN INDIVIDUAL  PARTICLES, ELECTRONS AND PROTONS ARE SAID TO HAVE OPPOSITE ELECTRIC CHARGES.  I.E., EACH ELECTRON HAS A NEGATIVE CHARGE AND EACH ORITIB A POSITIVE CHARGE.  IN EQUAL NUMBERS WITHIN AN ATOM, THEY COUNTERACT EACH OTHERS PRESENCE SO THAT THE NET CHARGE WITHIN THE ATOM IS ZERO.

 

THIS IS WHY THE PICTURE OF A CARBON ATOM HAD SIX ELECTRONS: TO BALANCE OUT THE ELECTRIC CHARGE OF THE SIX PROTONS IN THE NUCLEUS.  IF ELECTRONS LEAVE OR EXTRA ELECTRONS ARRIVE, THE ATOMS NET ELECTRIC CHARGE WILL BE IMBALANCED,  LEAVING THE ATOM CHARGED AS A WHOLE, CAUSING IT TO INTERACT WITH CHARGED PARTICLES AND OTHER CHARGED ATOMS NEARBY,  NEUTRONS ARE NEITHER ATTRACTED TO OT REPELLED BY ELECTRONS, PROTONS OR EVEN OTHER NEUTRONS,  AND ARE CONSEQUENTLY CATEGORIZED AS HAVING NO CHARGE AT ALL.

 

 

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