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Fascinating Facts

Did you know?

  • Electrical current is measured in amperes (amps). Electrical potential energy is measured in volts.

  • Two positive charges repel each other, as do two negative charges. Opposite charges, on the other hand, attract each other.

  • When an electrical charge builds up on the surface of an object, it creates static electricity. You have probably experienced static electricity in the form of a small electric shock, which is what happens when the electrical charge is quickly neutralised by an opposite charge.

  • An electric eel is a long, dark, eel-like fish which is native to South America. It can grow up to 3 metres long and produces strong electric shocks of around 700 volts. It stuns its prey this way. Humans need to take care and should touch this eel only when wearing rubber gloves.

  • New Zealand is number 3 in the world for its use of renewable energy sources.

  • Our country is blessed with an abundance of water from rivers and lakes, making hydroelectric power a great source of energy.

  • Worldwide, coal is the biggest source of energy for producing electricity.

  • Lightning strikes earth around 8 million times a day.

  • A bolt of lightning emits around 3 million volts of electricity.

  • A spark of static electricity can measure up to 3,000 volts.

  • Lightning bolts can travel at around 210,000 kilometres per hour and reach nearly 30,000 degrees Celsius in temperature.

  • Electricity plays a role in the way your heart beats. Muscle cells in the heart are contracted by electricity travelling through the heart. Electrocardiogram (ECG) machines used in hospitals measure the electricity going through someone's heart; when the person is healthy, it usually shows a line moving across a screen with regular spikes as the heart beats.

  • Electrons can flow in different directions. You may have heard of direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). In DC, electrons move in a single direction while in AC they change directions, switching between backwards and forwards. The electricity that is used in your home is AC while DC comes from sources that include batteries.

  • Lightning can cause damage to buildings or even fire and explosions. Benjamin Franklin invented something clever called the lightning rod. A lightning rod is a metal rod that is placed at the top of a building or structure and provides a low-resistance path to the ground. If lightning strikes, the system attempts to carry the harmful electrical current away from the structure and safely to the ground.

    Do you have any of your own fascinating facts?
    If so, Watt would love to hear them! Send him an email.

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