Understanding Electrical Circuits

By Joe Agostino

Laws Of Electricity

What is electricity?

Inside an atom there are 3 things, a proton, a neutron and a electron. An electron orbits around the protons and neutrons and when there is enough electrical energy, the electrons can escape from their orbit and move in a path, this is how electricity is created.
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How does electricity work?

There are some laws of electricity that shows and explains how electricity work.

The laws are:

1. Electricity flows in a path.

2. Electricity always chooses the path with the least resistance.

3. Electricity escapes from the negative side and enters on the positive side.

4. A power source/cell is needed for the movement of electrons.

5. When there is resistance in the flow of electricity, it creates 2 different energy, heat and light.

6. If an electrical circuit is not complete, the electricity will have no effect.

7. Electricity always wants to travel downwards, so if it has a chance to travel downwards it will take that chance.

Electrical Circuits

An electrical circuit is a path in which electricity is able to flow. In doing this it supplies electrical energy to an object. For example it might make your computer run or a light bulb light.


"A circuit has three parts: an energy source, a connection, and a load." http://www.skwirk.com.au/p-c_s-11_u-24_t-57_c-203/what-is-a-circuit-/nsw/science-technology/switched-on/circuits


This means that a circuit is comprised of 4 things: an energy source, a conductor, a connection, and a load. So in order to have an electrical circuit you need a power source that is able to emit electricity, an item that will stop an electrical flow and an item that will be powered by an electrical flow.


For example if you were to power a light bulb you will need a electrical circuit that will have a energy source (battery), a conductor (wire), a light switch and a light bulb. The electricity would have to start with the energy source, it will work its way to the light switch, when the light switch is on the electricity will go through the light bulb and complete the circuit. Since the light bulb has a lot of resistance it will create light and heat and power the light bulb.


Remember: When there is resistance in the flow of electricity, it creates 2 different energy, heat and light.

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Short Circuit

"A short circuit is simply a low resistance connection between the two conductors supplying electrical power to any circuit." http://www.physlink.com/education/askexperts/ae470.cfm


This means that a short circuit is when an electrical circuits chooses to take a different path because it has less resistance than its intended path.


Remember: Electricity always chooses the path with the least resistance.


For example when a different wire accidentally touches an electrical circuit, it may take that path instead of its intended path and create a short circuit.


A short circuit may cause overheating, fire or explosion.

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Electric Shock

What is an electric shock?

An electric shock is when the human body comes into contact with an electrical energy
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What is actually happening when someone gets an electric shock?

When a person/something is getting an electrical shock it means that an electrical energy is passing through your body.


When a body is touching an electrical circuit the electricity will go through the body instead of its intended path because it becomesthe body has less resistance than its intended path and therefore becomes part of the circuit. This means that the body is acting as a short circuit.


Remember: Electricity always chooses the path with the least resistance.


Usually when an electric shock occurs your muscles will contract and pull away from the electric circuit.


"When you receive an electric shock, the current needs someplace to enter your body and someplace to exit. The entry point is where you touch the wire or whatever you touched to cause the shock. The exit point is a place such as your foot on the ground. " http://wiki.answers.com/Q/What_happens_when_you_get_electric_shock


This means that electricity needs a place to enter something and exit something. Whether it is your hand to your foot, or your right hand to your left hand. The deadly part is when the electricity is passing through a body, it creates heat and light which may cause burns throughout your body. Another deadly thing about electric shock is when it passes through internal organs that works , such as heart, liver, kidney, arteries, etc. This may cause the organs to stop working and potentially kill you.


Electricity is able to flow through your body because the human body is made up of something that is an excellent conductor of electricity, water. It would be better to get an electrical shock in the lower areas of the body than the upper areas of the body because the electricity will always want to flow downwards.


Remember: Electricity always wants to travel downwards, so if it has a chance to travel downwards it will take that chance.


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How to avoid electric shocks?

Here is a list of things how to avoid electric shocks:


1. Do not stick your finger in a open wire.

2. Do not pour water on a electric circuit.


Usually you just need common sense to avoid man-made electrical shocks. If it is a natural electric shocks, such as lightening, you need to curl up in a ball so that the electricity cannot go throughout your whole body.

[HD] Larva - Electric Shock | Ep #53

How to help a person that is having an electric shock?

There are a few things you can do to help a person that is having an electric shock depending on the case.


1. Remove the connection to the power source/cell.


You need to remove any connection with the power source/cell. However do not touch

the body as you will also become part of the circuit. Use a low conducting object such

as wood/rubber to hit the part of the body that is connecting to the power source/cell.


2. Call an ambulance.


Call an ambulance right after you have disconnected the connection with the power supply.


3. Cool the burnings.


Put cool water if the victim has burns to heal the burns.