How the Electric Eel Produces Electricity

[caption id="attachment_5928" align="alignright" width="440"] Electric Eel - Attribution 2.5 Generic by Vsion[/caption] In my youth, I was a tropical fish hobbyist. I had many amazing fish in my aquaria. Among my favorites was the knife fish. Now I never would have had an electric eel in my fish tanks. Yet, the electric eel is a kind of knife fish! Electrophorus electricus can produce more than 500 volts. This grotesque creature is a danger to many moderate sized creatures, such as humans. The electric eel is native to northeastern South America. It may reach more than 8 feet¹ in length. E. electricus usually dwells in rivers, but can inhabit swampy areas. They prefer to remain in darker regions. The skin of the electric eel protects it from being shocked by its…
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Why Metals Conduct Electricity

Electrical, Physics
[caption id="attachment_19272" align="alignright" width="480"] High Voltage Lines.[/caption] Elements are divided into metals, metalloids, and non-metals. Copper is a metal. Sulfur is a non-metal. Antimony is a metalloid. Why do metals conduct electricity? What makes them special? It involves electron mobility—their ability to move about. Individual Atoms and Diatomic Molecules Atoms have a positive nucleus encased by negative orbiting electrons. Atoms of a single substance either stand alone or bind together in small groups only. Helium (He) is monatomic. Hydrogen (H₂) is diatomic. Ionic and Covalent Crystalline Solids Some solids may form crystals. The atoms are packed close together. There are three crystal types. Ionic, covalent, metallic. Ionic crystals conduct some electricity. They are not as conductive as metals because their bonds are local. Their crystals are rigid. They fracture. They…
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Should Houses Switch to DC Power?

[caption id="attachment_5417" align="alignright" width="440"] High Voltage Lines - CCA Share Alike 3.0 Unported by JGkatz[/caption] AC or DC Power? In the late 1800s, electricity as a public utility was available as direct current, or DC. Famous entrepreneur Thomas A. Edison held many DC patents. He desired to continue profiting from them. But that was later threatened—no overturned—by alternating current (AC) electricity. The change has an element of justice about it, as Edison played the power game in unfair and cruel fashion. He publicly used AC to electrocute cats, dogs and other animals, such as horses. He wanted people to believe AC was too dangerous. He failed to mention DC was every bit as dangerous. Edison was a man of few scruples. Alternating or Direct Current Power? Today, many household appliances…
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