How is Electricity Produced?
To discuss about producing electricity, we need to know what it is we are talking about. Matter is anything that has weight and occupy a space. Every matter in the normal state is electrically neutral. That is, they have equal number of positive and negative charges in random distribution. When you apply an energy or a force, charge particles (at atomic level) in the matter separates. Negative charges accumulates to one side while positive charges accumulates to the other side. When the charge separates, electricity is produced.
Methods of Producing Electricity
We can produce electricity by any of the following: heat, light and friction. Others are pressure, chemical action, and magnetism.
- Producing Electricity by Magnet. Production of most of our electrical power is by electromagnetic induction, as done in large-scale power plants. Be it a coal-burning plant, hydroelectric plant, windmill generator or a nuclear plant. Besides, the system uses a spinning turbine with magnets to induce voltage in copper coils of an alternator.
- Electricity from chemical actions. Second most common method is through certain chemical actions and reactions that produce free electrons. This is what happens in a cell and battery.
- Electricity from light. The other method to produce electricity is by light. This method uses photovoltaic cells, where sunlight is directly converts into electricity. Electricity from this is known as solar electricity.
- Electricity by heat. This is not common to produce large-scale electricity. However, it serve useful application for remote needs. A Peltier device will produce electricity if it’s two faces are at different temperatures. Essentially, heat energy converts into electricity. Meanwhile, thermocouple employ the same principle to generate electricity from heat in simple way.
- Electricity by pressure. You can convert pressure into electrical energy using simple piezoelectric device.
- Electricity by friction. You can generate static electricity, by rubbing two or more objects to build up friction,
However, electricity from many of the methods are not useful for large-scale applications. For example, electricity from heat, pressure and friction. Nevertheless, they serve useful purposes in instrumentation along with others in transducers, or sensors, transducers is the same as sensor
Examples of transducers converting to electricity include moving coil microphone, quartz microphone and photodiode. Others are light dependent resistor, thermistor, and thermocouple. Further are pressure sensors, capacitive pressure sensors, and yet many others.