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that Westerners knew as long ago as 600 B.C. that amber becomes charged by

rubbing. But other than that, there was little real progress until the English scientist

William Gilbert in 1600 described the electrification of many substances and coined

the term "electricity" from the Greek word for amber.

As a result, Gilbert is called the father of modern electric power. In 1660, Otto von

Guericke invented a crude machine for producing static electricity. It was a ball of

sulfur, rotated by a crank with one hand and rubbed with the other. Successors,

such as Francis Hauksbee, made improvements that provided experimenters with a

ready source of static electricity. Today's highly developed descendant of these

early machines is the Van de Graaf generator, which is sometimes used as a particle

accelerator. Robert Boyle realized that attraction and repulsion were mutual and

that electric force was transmitted through a vacuum. Stephen Gray distinguished

between conductors and nonconductors. C. F. Du Fay recognized two kinds of power,

which Benjamin Franklin and Ebenezer Kinnersley of Philadelphia later named

positive and negative.

Progress quickened after the Leyden jar was invented in 1745 by Pieter van

Musschenbroek. The Leyden jar stored static electricity, which could be discharged

all at once. In 1747 William Watson discharged a Leyden jar through a circuit, and

comprehension of the current and circuit started a new field of experimentation.

Henry Cavendish, by measuring the conductivity of materials (he compared the

simultaneous shocks he received by discharging Leyden jars through the materials),

and Charles A. Coulomb, by expressing mathematically the attraction of electrified

bodies, began the quantitative study of electric power.

Depite what you have learned, Benjamin Franklin did not "discover" electric power.

In fact, electric power did not begin when Benjamin Franklin at when he flew his kite

during a thunderstorm or when light bulbs were installed in houses all around the

world.

The truth is that electric power has always been around because it naturally exists

in the world. Lightning, for instance, is simply a flow of electrons between the

ground and the clouds. When you touch something and get a shock, that is really

static electricity moving toward you.

Power Personalities

Benjamin Franklin

Ben Franklin was an American writer, publisher, scientist and diplomat, who helped

to draw up the famous Declaration of Independence and the US Constitution. In

1752 Franklin proved that lightning and the spark from amber were one and the

same thing. The story of this famous milestone is a familiar one, in which Franklin

fastened an iron spike to a silken kite, which he flew during a thunderstorm, while

holding the end of the kite string by an iron key. When lightening flashed, a tiny

spark jumped from the key to his wrist. The experiment proved

Franklin's theory.

In 1786, Luigi Galvani, an Italian professor of medicine, found

that when the leg of a dead frog was touched by a metal knife, the leg twitched

violently. Galvani thought that the muscles of the frog must contain electric signals.

By 1792 another Italian scientist, Alessandro Volta, disagreed: he realised that the

main factors in Galvani's discovery were the two different metals - the steel knife

and the tin plate - apon which the frog was lying. Volta showed that when moisture

comes between two different metals, electric power is created. This led him to

invent the first electric battery, the voltaic pile, which he made from thin sheets of

copper and zinc separated by moist pasteboard.

In this way, a new kind of electric power was discovered,

electric power that flowed steadily like a current of water

instead of discharging itself in a single spark or shock. Volta

showed that electric power could be made to travel from one

place to another by wire, thereby making an important

contribution to the science of electricity. The unit of electrical

potential, the Volt, is named after Volta.

Michael Faraday

The credit for generating electric current on a practical scale goes to the famous

English scientist, Michael Faraday. Faraday was greatly interested in the invention of

the electromagnet, but his brilliant mind took earlier experiments still further. If

electricity could produce magnetism, why couldn't magnetism produce electric

power.

produced through magnetism by motion. He discovered that

when a magnet was moved inside a coil of copper wire, a tiny

electric current flows through the wire. Of course, by today's

standards, Faraday's electric dynamo or electric generator was

crude, and provided only a small electric current be he

discovered the first method of generating electric power by

means of motion in a magnetic field.

Nearly 40 years went by before a really practical DC (Direct Current) generator was

built by Thomas Edison in America. Edison's many inventions included the

phonograph and an improved printing telegraph. In 1878 Joseph Swan, a British

scientist, invented the incandescent filament lamp and within twelve months Edison

made a similar discovery in America.

Swan and Edison later set up a joint company to produce the

first practical filament lamp. Prior to this, electric lighting had

been my crude arc lamps.

Edison used his DC generator to provide electricity to light his

laboratory and later to illuminate the first New York street to be

lit by electric lamps, in September 1882. Edison's successes

were not without controversy, however - although he was convinced of the merits of

DC for generating electricity, other scientists in Europe and America recognised that

DC brought major disadvantages.

Westinghouse was a famous American inventor and industrialist who purchased and

developed Nikola Tesla's patented motor for generating alternating current. The

work of Westinghouse, Tesla and others gradually persuaded American society that

the future lay with AC rather than DC (Adoption of AC generation enabled the

transmission of large blocks of electrical, power using higher voltages via

transformers, which would have been impossible otherwise). Today the unit of

measurement for magnetic fields commemorates Tesla's name.

James Watt

When Edison's generator was coupled with Watt's steam engine, large scale

electricity generation became a practical proposition. James Watt, the Scottish

inventor of the steam condensing engine, was born in 1736. His improvements to

steam engines were patented over a period of 15 years, starting in 1769 and his

name was given to the electric unit of power, the Watt.

Watt's engines used the reciprocating piston, however, today's

thermal power stations use steam turbines, following the

Rankine cycle, worked out by another famous Scottish

engineer, William J.M Rankine, in 1859.

Andre Marie Ampere, a French mathematician who devoted himself to the study of

electricity and magnetism, was the first to explain the electro-dynamic theory. A

permanent memorial to Ampere is the use of his name for the unit of electric

current.

George

Simon

Ohm,

a

German

mathematician and physicist, was a college

teacher in Cologne when in 1827 he

published,

"The

galvanic

Circuit

Investigated Mathematically". His theories

were coldly received by German scientists

but his research was recognised in Britain

and he was awarded the Copley Medal in 1841. His name

2.

The ability to repair basic house wiring in you home is a skill you can acquire.

Knowing how circuits work and what can be done with them is useful knowledge.

Wiring in a residential house is not that complicated, but it can be dangerous.

Proper understanding and cautions are required.

If you throw a ball (or shoot an arrow, fire a missile or

throw a stone) it will go up into the air, slowing down as it

goes, then come down again ...

... and a Quadratic Equation tells you where it will be!

Example: Throwing a Ball

A ball is thrown straight up, from 3 m above the ground,

with a velocity of 14 m/s. When does it hit the ground?

Ignoring air resistance, we can work out its height by adding up these

three things:

14t

second (5 m/s2):

5t2

(Note for the enthusiastic: the -5t2 is simplified from -()at2 with

a=9.81 m/s2)

Add them up and the height h at any time t is:

h = 3 + 14t - 5t2

And the ball will hit the ground when the height is zero:

3 + 14t - 5t2 = 0

Which is a Quadratic Equation ! In "Standard Form" it looks like:

-5t2 + 14t + 3 = 0

You have designed a new style of sports bicycle!

Now you want to make lots of them and sell them

for profit.

follow this "Demand Curve":

Unit Sales = 70,000 - 200P

For example, if you set the price:

at $0, you would just give away 70,000

bikes

at $350, you would not sell any bikes at

all.

= 10,000bikes

So ... what is the best price? And how many should you make?

Let us make some equations!

How many you sell depends on price, so use "P" for Price as the variable

Costs = 700,000 + 110 x (70,000 - 200P) = 700,000 + 7,700,000 22,000P = 8,400,000 - 22,000P

-200P2 + 92,000P - 8,400,000

Profit = -200P2 + 92,000P - 8,400,000

Example: Small Steel Frame

new product they are launching.

The frame will be cut out of a piece of steel, and to

keep the weight down, the final area should be 28

cm2

The inside of the frame has to be 11 cm by 6 cm

What should the width x of the metal be?

Area = (11 + 2x) (6 + 2x) cm2

Area = 66 + 22x + 12x + 4x2

Area = 4x2 + 34x + 66

Area of steel after cutting out the 11 6 middle:

Area = 4x2 + 34x + 66 - 66

Area = 4x2 + 34x

Here is the graph of 4x2 + 34x :

The required area of 28 is shown as a

horizontal line.

x is approximately -9.3 or 0.8

The negative value of x make no

sense, so the answer is:

x = 0.8 cm (approx.)

A 3 hour river cruise goes 15 km upstream and then back again. The river

has a current of 2 km an hour. What is the boat's speed and how long was

the upstream journey?

boat makes in the water, and the speed relative to

the land:

reduced by 2 km/h)

increased by 2 km/h)

time = distance / speed

(if you travel 8 km at 4 km/h it would take 8/4 = 2

hours, right?)

total time = time upstream + time downstream = 3 hours

Put all that together:

total time = 15/(x-2) + 15/(x+2) = 3 hours

Now we use our algebra skills to solve for "x".

First, get rid of the fractions by multiplying through by (x-2)(x+2):

Expand everything:

3(x2-4) = 15x+30 + 15x-30

Bring everything to the left and simplify:

3x2 - 30x - 12 = 0

It is a Quadratic Equation! Let us solve it using the Quadratic Formula:

Quadratic Equation in "Standard Form": ax2 + bx + c = 0

Solve 3x2 - 30x - 12 = 0

Coefficients are: a = 3, b = -30 and c = -12

Quadratic

x = [ -b (b2-4ac) ] / 2a

Formula:

Put in a, b and c:

x = [ -(-30) ((-30)2-43(-12)) ] /

(23)

Solve: x = [ 30 (900+144) ] / 6

x = [ 30 (1044) ] / 6

x = ( 30 32.31 ) / 6

x = -0.39 or 10.39

Two resistors are in parallel, like in this diagram:

The total resistance has been measured at 2 Ohms, and one of the

resistors is known to be 3 ohms more than the other.

What are the values of the two resistors?

The formula to work out total resistance "RT" is:

1

RT

R1

R2

1

1

=

1

+

R1

R1+3

2R1(R1 + 3)

2R1(R1 + 3)

Get rid of the fractions by 2R1(R1 + 3)

multiplying

=

+

all terms by 2R1(R1 + 3):

2

R1

R1+3

Simplify: R1(R1 + 3) = 2(R1 + 3) + 2R1

Expand to: R12 + 3R1 = 2R1 + 6 + 2R1

Bring all terms to the left: R12 + 3R1 - 2R1 - 6 - 2R1 = 0

Simplify: R12 - R1 - 6 = 0

Yes! A Quadratic Equation !

Let us solve it using our Quadratic Equation Solver.

Enter 1, -1 and -6

The two resistors are 3 ohms and 6 ohms.

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