The Magic Café
Username:
Password:
[ Lost Password ]
  [ Forgot Username ]
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A Serious question? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

Jack Murray
View Profile
Special user
St. Petersburg Fl.
773 Posts

Profile of Jack Murray
I hope the moderators don't delete this post because it's not about magic but DOES affect EVERY person on the planet.
I'm posting it here because there are some great minds here and this is where I come to view and post.
With the energy issues facing the human race I have the following question to answer.
We all remember from our physics class: "matter cannot be created or destroyed". So....when the electrons which flow into your house in the form of electricity to light your lights of power your computer, where do they go and WHY can't this electron flow just be returned to the electric grid??? I have a background in electricity but don't consider myself qualified for the definitive answer. Please, does someone who is qualified have this answer?

Jack
ClintonMagus
View Profile
Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
I had a roommate once who was afraid to change a light bulb for fear that the electricity would spill out of the socket and onto his hand...

Based on your question, I assume you are referring to energy rather than matter. As for the energy, one type of energy (electrical) comes into the house and is converted to another type (heat, light, etc.) Therefore, there's nothing left to put back on the grid.

Matter is essentially the same way - burn a stick of wood, and it is converted into other forms of matter (ash, gas, etc.), but all of which, when combined, have essentially the same total mass as the original object.

There is a lot more to it than that, especially when you begin to study how matter converts to energy, but that's the general idea.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
Jack Murray
View Profile
Special user
St. Petersburg Fl.
773 Posts

Profile of Jack Murray
Electrons ARE matter, and therefore "cannot be destroyed"!
Jack Murray
View Profile
Special user
St. Petersburg Fl.
773 Posts

Profile of Jack Murray
If they cannot be destroyed "returning them back to the grid" should be able to be accomplished.
Bill Hallahan
View Profile
Inner circle
New Hampshire
3223 Posts

Profile of Bill Hallahan
I have a degree in electrical engineering.

In short, the electrons travel in a loop from the generator, back to the generator. That's why a power cord has two wires. Electrons in your house won't reach the generator though, because of transformers. There is still a loop, but the loop is completed by a transformer.

Here's how it works:

The energy supplied by electrons is from the field caused by the moving charges. Each electron has charge. This charge repels other electrons, because they have the same electrical charge.

The generator at the power plant has a large coil of wire that is spinning in an electrical field. The coil, and the connection leaving the generator to your house form a loop. The generator turning the coil of wire in the electrical field creates an electric field in the wire, which causes the electrons to move.

The motion, called current flow, is where electrons jump from one atom in metal to another atom.

The electrons circulate in the wire from the generator, to your house, and back to the generator.

That's a simplified description. Modern electrical systems use alternating current, where the electric force alternates, and the electrons flow one way for 1/120 of a second (1/100 of a second in other countries), and then flows the other way for the next 1/120 of a second. This repeats. This is known as 60 cycles per second, or 60 Hertz. (Hertz was the first man to build a radio transmitter. He sent the signal across a room, and his name now means, "cycle per second".). So, really, the electrons go back and forth. However, there are direct current generators.

Also, the loop from the generator is really closed by a transformer winding. Transformers only work with alternating current, because the field has to be continuously changing. A transformer has two coils, and they each are coupled by the continuously changing magnetic field produced by electrons moving in the coil. The transformer increases the voltage for more efficient transmission of the electricity. If one winding has N turns, and the other has 5N turns, then the the voltage in the secondary coil will be 5 times the voltage in the primary coil. The coils are not connected, rather they are typically wrapped around a specially designed metal form, which helps confine the magnetic field so the transformer is more efficient. Insulated wire is used, and one coil is wrapped on top of the other. Usually, the primary (input) coil is the first coil, and the secondary is wrapped over that.

Another transformer lowers the voltage to the telephone poles in a neighborhood, and a third transformer in each neighborhood, lowers it to 117 (or so) volts.

Think of voltage as the force on the electrons. A volt is one newton of force per meter squared (or, per square meter). A newton is the amount of force necessary to accelerate one kilogram of matter at one meter per second squared. (With constant application of one newton of force, the speed will increase at a rate of 1 meter per second in each second).

Current is a specific number of electrons going past a given point per second.

Ignoring loss, the product of the voltage and the current are the same in each coil of a transformer. Transformers do have some loss though.

The energy is from the electrical field in the large loop from the generator to your house, and back. The electrons are carriers of the field because they have an electrical charge moves in the field, and that electrical charge exerts a force. At the lowest level, imagine four metal atoms in a row, atom A, B, C, and D. The electric field causes an electron to jump from metal atom number B to metal atom A. Now, metal atom B is more positive (it lacks an electron) than metal atom C, so an electron jumps from metal atom C to metal atom B. Then, for the same reason, an electron jumps from D to C. The electrons travel around the entire loop back into the generator.

When you turn a light on in your house, the current flow creates a back electromagnetic force (EMF), and causes a slight increase in the current flow in the loop of wire in the generator at the power plant. The generator then becomes more difficult to turn, i.e. it takes more torque, and whatever is turning it needs more energy, i.e. an oil powered generator then burns more oil to turn the turbine that turns the electrical generator.

Note, since matter, which includes electrons, is waves in some unknown medium, the situation is even more complicated, but the electrons flowing in a wire do act like particles, and the science of 'classical electromagnetics' regards them as particles.

By the way, matter can be converted to energy. I suppose, technically, that is not destroying the matter.
Humans make life so interesting. Do you know that in a universe so full of wonders, they have managed to create boredom. Quite astonishing.
- The character of ‘Death’ in the movie "Hogswatch"
Magnus Eisengrim
View Profile
Inner circle
Sulla placed heads on
1064 Posts

Profile of Magnus Eisengrim
The responses so far are good. I'll try to say the same thing but more simply.

You are correct that the number of electrons is conserved--# of electrons in= # of electrons out.

Where you are mistaken is in assuming that the energy in those electrons is conserved in the same way. As others mention, the energy is converted to light and heat and is gone from the electrical grid forever.

John
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.--Yeats
NFox
View Profile
Inner circle
I Do Mentalism Now?!
1101 Posts

Profile of NFox
It's been a while since I've had a science class, so I may not be the best one to explain this, but I'll to do this to the best of my own understanding. I went to school for TV/Film, so there may be a few inaccuracies, but I'm also a huge nerd, so I believe most of this to be fairly accurate.

Electrons cannot be destroyed, but their energy can be converted into other forms of energy and thusly be removed from the system. In a basic circuit you have a source of energy (Battery), a conduit (wire), a load, another conduit, and by then you're back to your source. So, imagining that our load is a light bulb, the arrangement goes a little something like this:

1) Electrons flow from the source and into some conductive conduit. Some would be tempted to compare this conduit to a pipe and the electrons to water, but that analogy fails to recognize the fact that the wire itself is matter, and as such, the electrons are not free-flowing. Instead they bump around with the conduit's atoms, causing the conduit's atoms to change energy as the conduit's electrons hop to higher levels and then return back to normal. Sometimes the electrons join an atom's electron orbitals, thus removing themselves from the system (The only way to release them would be to put more energy into the system). This is the basic concept (albeit oversimplified) behind electrical resistance. The likelihood of a conduit or material to retain it's own electrons, and thus impede the flow of energy is resistance. In this step, the important fact to take away is that it is not the flow of electrons that is important, but rather how that flow causes the energy of the atoms of the conduit to change.

2) Now, upon reaching the light bulb and it's filament this is where the electrons really start to fly. As the electrons bump into the filament's atoms, they cause the filament's electrons to change orbitals by overcharging them with energy (Basically the energy from the original electrons are transferred to the electrons in the filament). As the filament's electrons drop back to their original orbital, their extra energy is now released as a photon, producing light. That energy is no longer in the system.

If you happen to have two light bulbs arranged in a series, you'll notice that the second light bulb is dimmer that is because much of the energy has already been used to create photons and thus no longer exists in the system. Even if the original particles, responsible for the photons, still exists in the system they have changed form and are no longer charged particles, having transferred their charge to the electrons in the filament.

The filament also has electrical resistance, causing more subatomic bumping (Transferring the energy out of the system as heat) and more electron retention, removing the electron's energy from the system.

3) Now the remaining electrons flow through another conduit, losing even more of their power, so, by the time they exit the system, the overall energy while not gone has diminished greatly, hence the need for more energy to be put into the system if you're looking to use the same amount of energy the next time you turn on that light.

The other thing is that sometimes electrons, being so full of energy just fly off into space. It's a complicated process, one that is hard to compare to anything in our experience, so, instead of the process like trying to pass water through a hose, instead, think of it like trying to pass water through a hose when the hose has many tiny holes in it and is packed with sponges. Some of the "water" is cast off into the air never to be returned to the hose, while some of the water's power is used to create "sponge-filling energy." It's still not a perfect analogy...but it's better.

I hope that helps.

-Nick

PS: Feel free to tear anything I've just said apart, I'm no scientist, and don't pretend to be.
"Obscuring Reality"- Gone but not forgotten...

FoxIllusions.com
Doug Higley
View Profile
V.I.P.
Here and There
7173 Posts

Profile of Doug Higley
Facinating capsules of information all. Thankyou.

But there is an element missing in the answers from the question: "With the energy issues facing the human race..." it is here that all the science and natural laws are twisted and made less of an equation by another factor. Politics. Politicians in making fools of themselves make fools of us all. The energy issues stem from a political power grid and are ultimately unsolvable.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
Steve_Mollett
View Profile
Inner circle
Eh, so I've made
3010 Posts

Profile of Steve_Mollett
With the human element it gets even simpler:
The blood starts at the heart and rushes upward. We now find ourselves among the Alps. The Alps are a very simple people, living on a diet of rice and old shoes. Beyond the Alps lies more Alps, and the Lord Alps those who Alps themselves. From the head, the blood rushes down to the feet, gets a look at the feet and rushes back to the head again. This is known as auction pinochle. Following your basic metabolism, this causes the heart to beat, but if your hearts don't beat anything but spades and clubs, your partner is cheating...or your wife.
Author of: GARROTE ESCAPES
The absurd is the essential concept and the first truth.
- Albert Camus
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27157 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Quote:
On 2008-06-01 12:22, Jack Murray wrote:
I hope the moderators don't delete this post because it's not about magic but DOES affect EVERY person on the planet.
I'm posting it here because there are some great minds here and this is where I come to view and post.
With the energy issues facing the human race I have the following question to answer.
We all remember from our physics class: "matter cannot be created or destroyed". So....when the electrons which flow into your house in the form of electricity to light your lights of power your computer, where do they go and WHY can't this electron flow just be returned to the electric grid??? I have a background in electricity but don't consider myself qualified for the definitive answer. Please, does someone who is qualified have this answer?

Jack


Most simply:

Getting those electrons to flow ( or shake via AC ) costs energy.

That energy flow into your home turns into entertainment and heat and light etc.

The light radiates away and so does the heat.

Now if you want to pump a bicycle to generate electricity and return some energy to the power grid - okay.

Or in a word - entropy - it makes recovering that energy more expensive than you might imagine...

How's that?
...to all the coins I've dropped here
ClintonMagus
View Profile
Inner circle
Southwestern Southeast
3999 Posts

Profile of ClintonMagus
This pretty much sums it up:

The heaviest element known to science was recently discovered by university physicists. The element, tentatively named "ADMINISTRATIUM," has no proton or electrons and thus has an atomic weight of 0. However, it does have one neutron, 70 vice neutrons, and 161 assistant vice neutrons. This gives it an atomic mass of 232. These 232 particles are held together in a nucleus by a force that involves the continuous exchange of meson-like particles called morons.

Since it has no electrons, Administratium is inert. However, it can be detected chemically, as it impedes every reaction it comes in contact with. According to researchers, a minute amount of Administratium, added to one reaction, caused it to take four days to complete. Without the Administratium, the reaction ordinarily occurred in less than one second.

Administratium has a normal half-life of approximately three years, at which time it does not actually decay, but instead undergoes a reorganization in which assistant neutrons, vice neutrons and assistant vice neutrons exchange places. Studies seem to show the atomic number actually increasing after each reorganization. Research indicates that Administratium occurs naturally in the atmosphere. It tends to concentrate in certain locations such as government agencies, large corporations and universities. It can usually be found in the newest, best-appointed and best-maintained buildings.

Scientists warn that Administratium is known to be toxic, and recommend plenty of fluids and bed rest after even low levels of exposure.

Under certain conditions of excitation, Administratium will actually give off some of its morons. These particles are very slow and extremely dense, and may go a long way towards solving the "missing mass" problem in cosmology. Note that morons, similar their parent element, are weakly interacting; it is extremely difficult to get them to react to anything. Typically, they will simply fly off in random directions, heedless of anything in their path, and eventually exhaust their momentum in a place quite far from the Administratium which spawned them. It is possible to block the path of a moron, but this generally results in significant damage to the blocking material, with hardly any effect on the moron's mass, trajectory, or momentum.

A sufficiently high concentration of morons may form small quantities of Administratium, but this hypothesis is as yet unproven.

If you wish to do your own work in this field, there seem to be vast quantities of both Administratium and morons available, so gathering material should pose no problem for the astute researcher. Please remember that working closely with either Administratium or morons is extremely hazardous; only small quantities should be observed at any one time, and direct exposure should be avoided at all costs. This is especially true of Administratium, which will cling to the skin and somehow attract still more particles, eventually weighing the victim down until he or she is almost incapable of movement. Removal of the Administratium is possible, but only at great cost and with significant risk to the victim.
Things are more like they are today than they've ever been before...
SeanScottMagic
View Profile
Veteran user
325 Posts

Profile of SeanScottMagic
Amen Doug.

Sean
http://WWW.THEARTOFSEANSCOTT.COM
AVAILABLE EFFECTS:

ROAMING
RISE
RENDER
MODOSU
FACTORY LINE
BANDARIZUMU
KI
MXL
MagiClyde
View Profile
Special user
Columbus, Ohio
871 Posts

Profile of MagiClyde
If I am not mistaken, the idea that matter cannot be created or destroyed is a slight misquote. What is really states, if memory serves me right, is that matter cannot be created or destroyed, but can be changed from one form to another. Einstein's famous equation E=mc(2) points out the interrelationship of matter and energy. It's what made the atomic bomb possible.

As for what Bill put in his post, it is absolutely correct, albiet a bit on the technical side.

The reason current flow can occur so easily in most metals is because of the fact that the electrons that are in the outermost orbit around the nucleus (think of our solar system model if it will help) have the weakest bond to the nucleus, just as Pluto's bond or a comet's is so weak at the outskirts of our system. It does not take much to "bump" them out of their orbits. What ends up happening is that these electrons get "bumped" from one atom to the next in the chain. As they are bumped out of their orbits, there is a brief release of energy that accompanies it. This is, if memory serves me correctly, what causes electricity to be possible. The sun, in some ways, does this every time a hydrogen atom is converted to an atom of helium. It's just that the energy release is seen as light and felt as heat.
Magic! The quicker picker-upper!
NFox
View Profile
Inner circle
I Do Mentalism Now?!
1101 Posts

Profile of NFox
Quote:
On 2008-06-03 13:52, clynim wrote:
Einstein's famous equation E=mc(2) points out the interrelationship of matter and energy. It's what made the atomic bomb possible.

If we want to start dissecting this idea based on Special Relativity, I'd be more than happy to break out theories regarding the standard model for particle physics, including the Higgs Mechanism (Which theoretically creates mass out of sub-atomic, massless objects), but something tells me that might be a little extreme for this situation.

Why do I understand complex particle physics better than I understand electricity? Is that weird?

-Nick
"Obscuring Reality"- Gone but not forgotten...

FoxIllusions.com
Doug Higley
View Profile
V.I.P.
Here and There
7173 Posts

Profile of Doug Higley
Nick...I'm with you. I figured out years ago after working in the Television Broadcast Industry that TV is Black Magic and let it go at that.
Higley's Giant Flea Pocket Zibit
R.S.
View Profile
Regular user
CT one day I'll have
173 Posts

Profile of R.S.
Interestingly, this is not an issue for the Amish.
"It is error only, and not truth, that shrinks from inquiry." Thomas Paine
cardone
View Profile
Special user
856 Posts

Profile of cardone
Wow! this is great .....heavy stuff to chew on ! thanks guys .....good question Jack and great answers !
Jonathan Townsend
View Profile
Eternal Order
Ossining, NY
27157 Posts

Profile of Jonathan Townsend
Some folks seem to want to write more than read or consider - so here's to entropy of the social online form Smile
...to all the coins I've dropped here
JackScratch
View Profile
Inner circle
2151 Posts

Profile of JackScratch
I think the aspect of this that is being left out is the "work" being done by said electricity. The energy that is missing, isn't missing, it takes the form of heat and light coming from the appliances in question. Leave us not forget inertia. Think of energy as water. Once it is spilled, it still exists, but at some point collecting it requires more effort than the value of the collected water is worth. Same with your electricity, that which is expended leaves the light-bulb as heat and light. It's still there, but in the process of radiating into the surrounding environment. The collection of it would require more effort/energy than you would gain by collecting it. The very process of feeding electricity through a wire will drain the source due to the resistance of the conductor, which translates some amount of the electricity into heat as it passes through said conductor.

You have just entered the realm of the perpetual motion machine. It doesn't work because inertia is a constant, in one form or another.
The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Not very magical, still... » » A Serious question? (0 Likes)
[ Top of Page ]
All content & postings Copyright © 2001-2021 Steve Brooks. All Rights Reserved.
This page was created in 0.28 seconds requiring 5 database queries.
The views and comments expressed on The Magic Café
are not necessarily those of The Magic Café, Steve Brooks, or Steve Brooks Magic.
> Privacy Statement <

ROTFL Billions and billions served! ROTFL