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Overview         (For age - group : Below 16 )

Animated K8+ science " Electric wire " How does an electric wire work ? A wire consists of a metal conductor covered by a insulator, it is the insulator that prevents us from getting shocks, the role of a metal conductor is to conduct current. This chemistry animation gives in-depth information about how electric wire works.

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Time (hr:min:sec) 0:6:0
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Category : Science
Type : Animation
Total animation length: 6 minutes

The animation covers:

What are the components of a wire ?
How does the covering on wire function as an insulator?
How is polythene made?
What is a thermoplastic?
What are the properties of metal ?
About metallic bond
Why metals are good conductor of electricity?


electric wire

Inside a wire - copper conductor and insulator
Electric wire
Inside a wire - copper conductor and insulator
Closed cubic packing of copper atoms
The chemical structure of polythene
Closed cubic packing of copper atoms
The chemical structure of polythene
Metals are good conductors of electricity
Metals are good conductors of electricity, this is due to presence of delocalized electrons
Details of the animation/ movie /software

An electric wire is made up of metal coated with plastic for insulation. Wire is an elongated, flexible metal filament or thin rod that has a uniform cross section. Mostly aluminum or copper is used in electrical wires. Steel, brass, iron, gold, silver, and platinum are also used nowadays for in wire industry.

Wire has many different applications in modern technology and in household usage. Telephone wires are usually made of copper, a good conductor. High-tension electrical transmission lines are also made up of aluminum wire, which is again a good conductor and is less expensive and lighter in weight than copper wire.

Plastic used for electric insulation is made up of polythene
polythene is made from monomer ethylene (CH2=CH2)
Polythene is a thermoplastic; It is a soft plastic, that softens on heating.

Why is metal used in wire as an electric conductor?
Electric current is the flow of electrons in a wire. In metals, the outer electrons of the atoms belong to a 'cloud' of delocalized electrons. They are no longer firmly held by a specific atom, but instead they can move freely through the lattice of positive metal ions. Normally they move randomly.

Due to presence of free mobile valence electron, when electric field is applied, this free electron moves throughout the metal from positive to negative ends and thus conduct electricity through the metal

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Q & A
Q1: Why hydrogen is seperated from periodic table? Akshay 10/8/2011
Q2: How do you actually make the ethelene molecules stick together to form the plastic? Anders Gustafson 3/9/2010
Q3: sir i want to that when electron follow in wire then if we cut the wire, what elecront follow out in wire? kumar gaurav 11/2/2006
Ans: It depends on the potential applied (force pushing the electron), if wire is cut the electron moving through the conductor comes against a high resistance from electrons of air molecules (The dielectric strength of air is about 3 x 10 exp 6 V/m), hence it does not “leak out” but collides with electrons in air and remains in the conductor, however if the conductor is at very high voltage, the resistance of air will break down and electron will pass through to nearby conducting surface.

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