Electricity is a vital element to make modern life possible. It’s difficult to imagine a world without power— no cellphones, computers and light switches to turn on. As common as it is, it might be easy for you to ignore anything about it.
As you’re reading this, you might be unconscious where and what power plants generate your electricity. A handful of people work 24/7 in a bunker in a Western Sydney suburb to ensure the Australians have enough power. Did you also know that lighting Sydney’s General Post Office in 1878 was the first recorded use of electricity in the country?
From simple lighting to unusual and weird facts, electricity fills the world with fascinating things that can excite curious minds. On that, take a look at these 12 interesting electrical facts you must know.
Electricity Can Travel At A Speed of Light
It has been proven that electricity can travel as fast as light. It has an astonishing speed of 670, 616, 629 miles per hour or 300 million seconds. Such a rate is evident when you see lightning during stormy weather.
Yes, you’ve read it right. Lightning is an example of a massive electric current. As electricity travels faster than sound, it’s no wonder you can see thunderbolts first before hearing its roaring sound.
Coal Is The World’s Biggest Electricity Source
Coal is the world’s most significant source of electricity, followed by renewable energy and natural gases. Burning the coals at the thermal power plant boils water at the furnace to produce steam. The steam forces the turbines connected to generators to spin, which then creates a massive amount of electricity.
Electricity Causes Heart to Beat
Isn’t it familiar to hear a loud, beeping sound when characters in multiple movies are hospitalised? Medical professionals use that beeping machine called an electrocardiogram (ECG) which measures electricity going through your heart. ECG shows how electricity plays a vital role in your heartbeats.
As electricity causes muscle cells in the heart to contract, the ECG beeps and displays a moving line across the screen. The machine projects regular spikes or moving lines for a healthy person. But when someone dies, there is a flat line with continuous beeping sound from the machine.
What It Means to Get Electrocuted
Many people would say they got electrocuted by just accidentally touching a grounded metal that inflicts a sudden jolt in the body. The word ‘electrocute’ comes from the two words electro and execute, which means you’re killed by electricity. So don’t use the name electrocuted if you’re still alive, and instead say you have an electric shock – many local Sydney electricians say the same thing!
Birds Can Get Electrocuted on Power Lines
It’s no brainer that you need extra care when getting near power lines. But why is it that birds are still okay when they sit on the power lines? You might think they have some superpowers for not getting electrocuted, but they don’t.
Birds sitting on just one power line are safe. But if the bird’s wings or foot touches another line, their body will become the passage of electricity from one power line to the next. Creating such a circuit through the bird’s body will result in electrocution.
Electric Eels Produce Voltaic Shock
The ancient civilisations of Greece, Rome and Egypt were the first to encounter electric eels. Back then, they use the electric eels to treat ailments which include gout, headaches, and childbirth. But they didn’t know that these eels produce an enormous amount of electricity.
After how many generations, scientists had discovered recently that electric eels produce 650-860 volts in their bodies for both self-defence and hunting. Touching this fish can electrocute you, which is the same as holding the live wires in your home.
Original Inventor of Lightbulb
You might think that Thomas Alva Edison invented the lightbulb, but he wasn’t the original inventor. Warren de Larue and Joseph Sue made the earlier concepts of bulbs; however, their versions weren’t suitable for practical use. But that existing lightbulb idea made Edison create a fully-functional lightbulb in 1879.
Using Electricity for Food Hunting
You might use electricity for cooking your food, but other animals use it for hunting food. Animals such as echidnas and platypuses detect electrical impulses of their prey. The platypus’ bill has almost 40,000 stripes of electroreceptors or electrical sensors that are essential to detect movements of small animals as their food.
Power From Cheese
The standard production of electricity is through the use of coal, oil and natural gas. But in Albertville, France, they can create electricity from Beaufort cheese. They add bacteria in the cheese to remove the whey that causes the release of biogas.
With the same process used in coal plants, the biogas operates to boil water. The boiling water produces steam that spin turbines connected to generators. Using cheese for food to energy production, who knows that it has a wide array of uses.
Creating Energy from Poop
The usual renewable sources of electricity are geothermal, wind and solar. But poop can provide biomass gas that is another source of renewable energy. The manure of 500 cows, for example, can release biomass gas that is enough to power 100 homes.
Static Electricity Allows Geckos to Stick on Walls
Who would have thought that electricity is responsible for geckos’ ability to cling on your walls? Such ability comes from the static electricity on gecko’s toe pads. The different charges between its toe and wall’s surface create a weak attraction, helping the small creature to stick on the walls.
Electricity As A Weapon
If direct contact with electricity is deadly, why not use it as a weapon? On that, teasers apply the electricity’s lethality to protect oneself in threatening situations. Teasers are dangerous as they can emit 50,000 volts and fires up to a distance of 35 feet.
Electricity is present everywhere, from lightning to the fishes of the wilderness. The interesting facts about electricity urge people to understand it further. And despite the wonder it provides, it’s a double-edged sword that comes with risks that can harm anyone.
When you encounter electrical risks, Gordon Powers is the best team to call. We have licensed level 2 electricians that can guide you on the significance and dangers of electricity in any place you go. Also, we offer an electrical system upgrade to protect your home at times of thunderstorms and lightning.
Call us at (02) 9199 7480 today, and help us create electrically safe households in Sydney.