Ch 34: Understanding Electricity

About This Chapter

Use these informative electricity lessons to supplement your knowledge or study for an upcoming exam. The chapter is available online at any time and it includes several self-assessment quizzes to help you practice answering questions about electricity.

Understanding Electricity - Chapter Summary

These bite-sized science lessons offer a quick and easy method for studying the fundamentals of electricity. Each lesson contains concise definitions and illustrative examples to help you review electricity concepts such as electric charge, dipole movements, electric potential, electric circuits and more. The chapter also examines several laws and formulas related to electricity, including Coulomb's law, Gauss' law and Ohm's law. By the end of the chapter, you should be able to:

  • Identify examples of insulators and conductors
  • Recognize electric fields and understand how they charge particles
  • Determine the polarity of a molecule and understand how its related to dipole movements
  • Measure electric potential using a formula and calculate electric potential between two points in an electric field
  • Understand how capacitors are created
  • Define an electrical current and know what causes it
  • Analyze electrical resistance using common appliances
  • Outline the fundamentals and types of electric circuits

The chapter comes with self-assessment quizzes that follow each lesson so you can reinforce your understanding of the material. If you need to re-review a particular topic, you can quickly navigate to it on your course Dashboard. You can also ask our expert instructors if you need any help clarifying an electricity concept or definition. These resources can be be accessed on virtually any Internet-connected device and studied whenever you have free time.

15 Lessons in Chapter 34: Understanding Electricity
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
Electric Charge and Force: Definition, Repulsion & Attraction

1. Electric Charge and Force: Definition, Repulsion & Attraction

Have you ever wondered what electricity is and where it comes from? Have you ever been zapped by static electricity and wondered how it got there? We'll answer all of these questions in this lesson on electric charge and force!

Insulators and Conductors: Examples, Definitions & Qualities

2. Insulators and Conductors: Examples, Definitions & Qualities

In this lesson, we'll explore the reasons that some materials conduct electrical energy with ease while others block it almost completely. We'll also talk about the property of conductivity and some everyday examples of insulators and conductors.

Electric Field & the Movement of Charge

3. Electric Field & the Movement of Charge

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what an electric field is, draw electric field lines and vectors for charged particles, and complete calculations involving electric fields. A short quiz will follow.

Coulomb's Law: Variables Affecting the Force Between Two Charged Particles

4. Coulomb's Law: Variables Affecting the Force Between Two Charged Particles

In the 18th century, Charles Coulomb uncovered the secrets of electrostatic force between charged particles. The results of his experiments led to what is now known as Coulomb's Law, which tells us how force, charge, and distance are all related.

Dipoles & Dipole Moments: Molecule Polarity

5. Dipoles & Dipole Moments: Molecule Polarity

Learn about dipoles and dipole moments in this lesson. Understand the relationship between dipole moments and molecule polarity, and learn how to determine if a molecule is polar or nonpolar.

Gauss' Law: Definition & Examples

6. Gauss' Law: Definition & Examples

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what Gauss' Law is, derive Gauss' Law for a sphere and cylinder, and use it to solve problems. A short quiz will follow.

What Is Electric Potential? - Definition & Formula

7. What Is Electric Potential? - Definition & Formula

In this lesson, discover what electric potential is and how we measure it. Learn about the scientist Alessandro Volta and why his work led us to name a unit of measurement after him.

Electric Potential: Charge Collections and Volt Unit

8. Electric Potential: Charge Collections and Volt Unit

In this lesson, we'll find out that electric charges can be rather lazy until something motivates them to get work done. Find out what gives electric charges the potential to do work and how we measure that potential with something called voltage.

Finding the Electric Potential Difference Between Two Points

9. Finding the Electric Potential Difference Between Two Points

After watching this video, you will be able to explain what electric potential difference is and calculate the electric potential difference between two points in a uniform electric field. A short quiz will follow.

What is Capacitance? - Definition, Equation & Examples

10. What is Capacitance? - Definition, Equation & Examples

Capacitors are used to store and quickly release large amounts of electrical energy. In this lesson, we will learn how capacitors are created and used and how your body can function as a capacitor.

What is Electric Current? - Definition, Unit & Types

11. What is Electric Current? - Definition, Unit & Types

Like a river current is the flow of water molecules, electrical current is the flow of charged particles. In this lesson, we're going to explore what electrical current is, what causes it, and that, unlike a water current, electrical current doesn't always flow in one direction.

Ohm's Law: Definition & Relationship Between Voltage, Current & Resistance

12. Ohm's Law: Definition & Relationship Between Voltage, Current & Resistance

Did you know that electrical current is affected by the voltage and resistance in a circuit? In this lesson, we'll use Ohm's law, which tells us how current, voltage, and resistance are related, as we work through several electric circuit examples.

Electrical Resistance: Definition, Unit & Variables

13. Electrical Resistance: Definition, Unit & Variables

We'll take a shopping trip to the mall to learn how electrical resistance works and how it is affected by resistivity, conductor dimensions, and temperature. We'll also take a look at several common appliances that take advantage of resistance to function.

Electric Circuit Fundamentals: Components & Types

14. Electric Circuit Fundamentals: Components & Types

Electric circuits can be configured to power several loads, such as light bulbs, in series or in parallel. In this lesson, we'll look at both types of circuits and see how the voltage, current, and resistance are affected by installing additional loads.

Applying Kirchhoff's Rules: Examples & Problems

15. Applying Kirchhoff's Rules: Examples & Problems

Ohm's Law can be useful for analyzing simple circuits, but when circuits are more complex, as they often are, we can instead analyze the circuits using Kirchhoff's rules. Learn about Kirchhoff's rules in this lesson.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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