Are you interested in knowing how a generator works? Well, you’re in the right place.
It can be difficult to explain a complex thing in a simple way, but that’s what we are going to try and do.
In this article, we will cover why the electric generator is even a thing, the physics behind electricity, and how a basic generator works.
So if any of that sounds interesting to you, keep reading to learn more.
Why Does the Electric Generator Even Exist?
Ever wonder why the generation of electricity is a such large concern? Why is it that our entire life is at stake when electricity is disrupted and the power goes out for a day or two?
Simply said, even though humans can store substantial quantities of fossil fuels, such as oil and gas, there is no great way to store electricity in equally large amounts. The most appropriate version of mankind’s best attempt to store electricity is a battery.
And even though much like everything else in the world has grown to last longer and be more potent, batteries are still significantly limited in their capacity to sustain voltage outputs of great demand, especially to power entire cities and their economies.
As a result of this, there is no reputable way to secure electricity in the modern world, thus there must be a method to constantly produce it via raw material. This is why many businesses have backup generators, just in case the ambient supply has gotten interrupted by whatever means.
While a bookstore losing power for an hour might not prove to be an issue, the effects that it might have on an intensive-care unit in a hospital is devastating, because electric-powered machines are the ones that people rely on to keep living, allowing them to breath and perform vital organ function.
The Magic Behind Electricity, or Simply Physics
Envision two huge cube magnets that have been placed four feet apart, one has the south pole facing the north pole of the other, thus creating an additive, strong magnetic field in the space between.
This magnetic field will point towards the north pole, and if the magnet ends are perfectly vertical in relation to the ground, the field direction would be parallel to the floor. So if a wire that is conducive is standing straight up will be moved through the in-between, remaining two feet away from each magnet, the motion of the wire would perpendicular to the field and current starts to generate along the wire.
The magnetic field, current direction, and wire moment are composited in a mutual perpendicular manner. Now, this might not mean anything to anyone, but it’s important.
The takeaway is that the magnet-wire creation is set up in such a way that it can generate a unified supply of electricity as long as the shaft in the center is constantly rotating while the wires are moving coiled inside the magnet in a way that ensures a flow of current throughout the wires of an external machine, such as a power grid.
The premise here is to provide enough power for the shaft to spin. And to do this, engineers have come up with a variety of generators that make use of the various power sources.
Understanding How a Generator Works
Have you ever moved a paper clip around a magnet to kill time? Well, if you have, you’ve participated in the fundamental principles behind the complexity of an electric generator.
The magnetic field is responsible for lining up the paper clips due to the movement of electrons. If you move a magnet toward a clip, you will force the electrons to move. Thus, if you make electrons move in a metal wire, the magnetic field will encompass around the wire itself.
This means there’s a clear link between magnetism and electricity. A generator, in the premise, is a device that forces a magnet near a wire to create a flow of electrons.
The movement will force action that varies greatly, starting with steam engines and ending with nuclear fission. But the principle is the same in all of the applications.
Envision a pump pushing water through a pipe, that’s basically a generator. Only instead of the water being pushed, a generator will use a magnet to push electrons along the segmented path. A water pump will move a specific amount of hydrogen molecules, thus applying pressure to each of them.
In a similar way, the generator and its magnet will push a specified quantity of electrons and thus applying “pressure” to the electrons for directed movement.
Any electrical circuit will have a current/amperage, which presents the number of electrons, it is measured in amps. Now the so-called “pressure” that moves the electrons would be called the voltage and measured in volts.
So if a generator has an RPM (rotations per minute) of 1000, it might be able to produce a single amp at 6 volts.
The single amp is the number of electrons in motion (1 amp really means that 6.25 times 1018 electrons are moving through the wire each second), and the voltage would resemble the “pressure” that is being constantly applied to the movement of electron.
And that’s how a generator works, and that’s not even mentioning portable generators, which are more awesome. Of course, this is a very simplified way to look at it, but it is a way to look nonetheless.
Now that you know how a generator works, you can do whatever you like with that information. Of course, we wouldn’t trust you to run the grid for the city, but you can show off this knowledge to your friends at least.
If you’re interested in a variety of other technology-related topics, go through the categorical page at the top of the website.