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A4 Print Image size 195 x 275 mm



ELECTRICITY


On the rare occasions that we experience a power cut we are reminded of the all encompassing nature of our electricity supply. Not only does it give us light but enables us to listen to the news, watch tv and connect to the internet. It also toasts our bread, dries our hair, washes our clothes, cuts our grass and cleans the carpets. The list is almost endless.


UK electricity consumption is about 4000 Kwh per household per year. That is just under a third of that of the USA but almost three times more than China. Whilst a detached house uses 4,153,Kwh, an end of terrace uses 3400 Kwh and a mid terrace, like flats, averages about 2800 Kwh. Most of this energy is used by fridges and freezers closely followed by lighting, then comes cooking  and washing which consumes twice as much energy as computing and water heating.


HISTORY

Michael Faraday made significant breakthroughs in understanding electricity and in 1821 succeeded in creating motion using magnets and an electric current. In 1831 he invented the first electrical generator. James Clark Maxwell then pointed the way, in 1873, to a comprehensive theory of electricity and magnetism creating the ideas that lead to radio,TV, radar, infra red telescopes, microwaves and thermal imaging. Thomas Edison built a electric generating system using direct current [DC] power stations along the American seaboard in1882. But the power could only be transmitted some two miles. Nikola Tesla left the Edison company to develop alternating current [AC]. in 1888 he presented his system to the American Institute of Electrical Engineers, George Westinghouse bought the rights and demonstrated a working system in Chicago in 1893. This became the standard electrical power supply of the 20th century. Tesla went on design the first hydro electric power station, fluorescent lights, X-rays and a new type of steam turbine.

  

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