Are electrons created in the generation of electricity


I'm interested if there are actually some new electrons created in the process of generating electricity (turbine-generator-electricity)?

I guess they are not but I'm not sure what happens.

Best Answer

No, there are not. Well, not in principle. Theoretically an electron could decide to appear there, but since the chances of that happening exactly as you are building up static electricity are so remote, that for now, I'll leave the quantum physics to someone else at a later date. Especially since that one stray electron isn't going to do much to the millions you are displacing.

What happens when you use rubbing of materials to generate static electricity is that the motion of the one object over the other causes electrons to jump from one material to the other. Depending on the materials the number and direction of these jumps can be predicted. Some materials are very good at this effect, some are very bad at it.

Then, after the rubbing motion the excess electrons of the object "receiving" them can be 'collected' with a conductor and conducted back to the side that gave away the electrons and as such causing electric current to flow.

The electrons in the system are always there and their numbers stay the same. If you touch the negative side and then the positive side, you may be giving some of "your" electrons to the system, but in turn some of the system's electrons stay in you, so that it all evens out again. So, electron-washing, so to speak, is the worst that will happen.

Even if you "walk away" with the electrons from the negative side, you will give them back to the environment soon enough and the system will just get its new electrons back from the environment. There's always a closed circle made somewhere in some way.

What happens when you use a generator is even more predictable. The generator moves a magnetic field across a conductor. That conductor has free electrons that can be "pushed around", because that's the definition of a conductor.

Normally in a conductor you push those electrons around by pushing others into it, because the conductor prefers to not have too many, it will try to push one out at the other end.

Now, what magnetic force can do to those electrons is drag them along. A static magnetic field only pulls a little on the electrons and they hardly notice. But in a generator the magnetic field moves around. It goes from strongly north to strongly south and back again. This causes the electrons to get dragged along with the movement of that magnetic field a little.

This means that if the conductor is not connected to anything else it will have a small excess of electrons on the side the magnetic field sweeps them to, and a small shortage of them on the other side. This shows as an electronic potential, or voltage. It just means there's electrons ready to walk a little circle on the outside. Now if you connect a conductor that is not in that magnetic field, it will allow those electrons to "walk" from one side to the other as described above, again causing current to flow.

Because the magnetic force moves up and down between poles (the only way to get a moving magnetic force in a single location for long periods of time), the excess electrons are swept from left to right to left to right to left to right, in a way. So they show up in excess on switching sides. This is why you get "Alternating Current" or AC from a generator.