Can you store electricity?

Discussion in 'Highly Technical' started by zetsway, Jun 22, 2010.

  1. zetsway

    zetsway Senior member

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    So I’ve been having this discussion with a group of friends and some of them disagree with me.

    Can you store electricity?
    My answer is no. You cannot store electricity. Electricity is the movement of electrons. When these electrons are sitting in place they are not performing work. In the case of chemical energy (i.e. batteries) no work is being performed. Therefore, you are not storing electricity but you are storing potential energy or potential work. In the case of a capacitor these electrons build up a charge and you are storing their charge but electricity is not being stored.

    I know this is a stupid question but am I right? Please shed some light on this.
     
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  3. MJinZ

    MJinZ Diamond Member

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    Yes, you can. That's what a Cloud is. Or your socks on a carpet. Or a Power Supply.
     
  4. zetsway

    zetsway Senior member

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    Ok a powersupply is not a good example. A power supply converts AC into DC. I remember reading in a number of books that you can't store electrictiy.

    Now in the case of carpet you are picking up extra electrons and you have a charge. This is not electricity.

    A cloud?? I can't explain this one. But this is potential enegry.

    If I'm wrong than I'm wrong. But I need to someone to come with some facts....:)
     
  5. MJinZ

    MJinZ Diamond Member

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lightning#Discharge

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Capacitor#Energy_storage

    ^ Power Supply

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Static_electricity
     
  6. Born2bwire

    Born2bwire Diamond Member

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    Depends on what you mean by electricity. Most laymen would accept any device that can store energy and release it in the form of a current is storing electricity. Hence a capacitor or voltaic cell would qualify. If you mean the ability to store currents, then I would say any electromagnetic field would qualify. That is, if I have an electromagnetic field permeating through space, I can extract energy from that stored in the fields using an antenna. The antenna takes the energy from the fields and converts into the energies that drive the excited currents.

    An LC circuit stores electricity in the manner you are thinking as well. The energy is stored temporarily in the capacitor and inductor. At resonance, the energy flows continually back and forth between the two devices as currents. An ideal LC circuit can be used to stored energy in the form of currents and potential energies (in the form of fields) in the capacitor and inductor.
     
  7. Modelworks

    Modelworks Lifer

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    The term electricity is really broad to say you can't store it but generally electricity is a flow of electric charge carried by protons, electrons, ions, etc . In some forms like AC, charge does not flow it stays in place and vibrates back and forth and the energy flows. A capacitor doesn't store charge it stores energy.

    When you drag your feet on carpet that results in a difference of charge between you and something else. It can be positive or negative. Clouds have a static charge that is potential energy which can cause lightning but until the lightning occurs there is no energy present it is only potential energy.

    If you are not confused yet then congrats !
     
  8. zetsway

    zetsway Senior member

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    THANK YOU!!!!

    I guess I just wanted someone to agree with me :) People tend to use electricity in everyday conversation and they don't know what it is. Simply put it is work. What type of work? The movement of electrons. Be it chemical, nuclear, wind, solar, etc.

    You can store electrons yes and you can store potential energy but the work that is perform is electric current or the term used in everyday lingo electricity.

    Thank you for correcting me. A capacitor doesn’t store charge. You are correct in saying this.
     
  9. MJinZ

    MJinZ Diamond Member

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    Uh, that would be alpha decay/ionizing radiation. A bit different from electricity.
     
  10. TecHNooB

    TecHNooB Diamond Member

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    :hmm:
     
  11. Swivelguy2

    Swivelguy2 Member

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    If you have a superconducting loop, and you get a current started in it, you can then disconnect the current source, and a current will continue to flow around the superconducting loop, as long as nothing is sapping energy from it by opposing the resulting magnetic field.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Superconducting_magnet#Persistent_mode

    That stores current, without any other tricks going on. With your definition of electricity being "the movement of electrons," I'd say that's storing electricity.


    Given the amount of misinformation in your post, one should be confused. If charges are vibrating, that means they've moving - why would you call that "not flowing?" A capacitor most certainly does store charge. It stores a bunch of positive charges in one place and a bunch of negative charges in another place. How can there be no energy present in a charged cloud if there is potential energy present? That sentence is obviously contradictory.


    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proton_conductor
     
    #10 Swivelguy2, Jun 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 22, 2010
  12. zetsway

    zetsway Senior member

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    I understand all of this but if they are just sitting there is it called electricity? Or potential enegry?
     
  13. MJinZ

    MJinZ Diamond Member

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    Protons themselves... obviously... are not electricity.
     
  14. mutz

    mutz Senior member

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    that's quite a tricky question isn't it?
    a floating gate can store charge yet when it is released it is flowing as electricity,
    in order to charge it you need electricity, so this is quite confusing,
    maybe we can call charge static electricity :hmm:.

    can we store water without a tank? i.e make it solid, like charging a cell with flowing electricity, when the cell is discharged, the ice melts flowing back as water..

    does this sounds logic?!?
     
  15. zetsway

    zetsway Senior member

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    Yes, it does. I did tons of research online and at the library. It seems that this is an ongoing debate. I think it may just be a debate over words.

    Ok, I’m satisfied with the answers provided.

    Thanks,
     
  16. William Gaatjes

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    I am thinking of electron holes but in combination with hydrogen.
    Would that be possible ?

    I am being a bit of a moaner here, but if i would take lots of hydrogen ions and lots of electrons, and create a situation where the electrons can flow through a wire to the hydrogen ions. Would it then technically moaning, not be electrons and protons ?
     
  17. mutz

    mutz Senior member

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    p.s - i think it's a futile question, what would you do with "stored" electricity?
    the only seeming function you can use "stored electricity" is as charge, and it is being used in different applications.
    you cannot actually "store" the movement of electrons, the moment electricity is being stored it is called charge, electricity would simply dissipate, even if you take electricity running trough a wire, and lose it's input, the electricity that remains through the wire, would be called charge, you would say the wire is not charged any more.

    so it is like "storing" rain drops, you cannot store them, when you store them, they become water, or ice, i.e charge, when they are inside a cloud, they are potential, when you evaporate them, they are no longer drops, maybe like electric field.

    generally, you cannot store something which is in movement, try storing water at a river or at a sink, when you store them, they stop moving,
    so yeah, of course you can tunnel them through all sort of pipes, yet you have to let them out somewhere, sustain them with input (like DRAM) or they will inevitably stop...
    so there seems to be no application for "storing electricity" or any meaning to it, when it is stored, it isn't quite electricity anymore, it has different characteristics which can be used in different way, as for itself, electricity as it implies by the question, is a flowing moving charge, electricity is actually a phenomenon, not something you can actually measure, you can store charge, you cannot store a phenomenon, like rainbow or quantum tunneling.
    it is not such a stupid question btw, it is actually quite complex one, dealing with the definition of electricity and understanding it to the core, it is challenging and seems like it can go on and on and on.
    i'm no expert at this though it just sounds reasonable :\.
     
    #16 mutz, Jun 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  18. CycloWizard

    CycloWizard Lifer

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    It seems to me that electric current is a mechanism by which energy is transported or converted from one form to another or one place to another, similar to heat and work.
     
  19. mutz

    mutz Senior member

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    not important.
     
    #18 mutz, Jun 22, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 24, 2010
  20. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    So what you're saying is that you can't store work?
     
  21. DrPizza

    DrPizza Administrator Elite Member Goat Whisperer
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    You can't store "electricity" because there's no such "thing." Electricity is an all encompassing term used to describe various

    Oh hell with it... let me just post a link to what someone else wrote about it.
    http://amasci.com/miscon/whatis.html

    So, whatever the hell it is that you want to store, could you please use the proper term for it?
     
  22. PlasmaBomb

    PlasmaBomb Lifer

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    A capacitor does store charge, the plate on the capacitor that attaches to the negative terminal of the battery accepts electrons that the battery is producing. While the plate on the capacitor that attaches to the positive terminal of the battery loses electrons to the battery.

    This results in a potential difference across the capacitor, which can be used to do work.

    I was going to say superconductor as well but I see Swivel beat me too it.


    You might want to check your definitions there...

    Electricity only refers to that pertaining to electric charge or electric currents, which can be positive or negative, thus protons themselves are 'electricity' since the term is not restricted to electrons by definition.

    The problem comes from the definitions of electricity...

    Which damn it Dr. P has beaten me to!

    http://amasci.com/miscon/whatdef.html
    ^Different link same site.

    But since I have typed all this...
     
  23. MJinZ

    MJinZ Diamond Member

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    Protons are NEVER classified electricity. Protons are about 2000x more massive and aside from using as possible weapons, they are irrelevant to the discussion.
     
  24. zetsway

    zetsway Senior member

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    Nope. You can store potential work but how can you store work. If I take a wheelbarrel and push it full of dirt that’s work. Can I store that work? No.
     
  25. William Gaatjes

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    To what positive charge do you expect electrons to flow to then ?
    Positrons ?
    Or more electrons flow to less electrons because a group of 4 electrons have less negative charge then a group of 10 electrons ?

    Electrons are drawn to electron holes when electricity flows.
    Electron holes are more positive because there is 1 or more electrons missing of an amount of electrons that neutralize the charge(i think) of the proton. Creating a balanced situation. Thus the protons in the nuclei become a point of attraction for free electrons. If you look at it this way protons are a part of electricity.
    And if you would take hydrogen...
     
    #24 William Gaatjes, Jun 23, 2010
    Last edited: Jun 23, 2010
  26. Howard

    Howard Lifer

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    So yes, that is what you are trying to say. You are trying to say that electricity that "hasn't happened yet" can't be stored because its method of storage doesn't keep the energy as electricity, and even a method of storage where it IS electricity doesn't count because it doesn't do anything. Therefore, your hypothesis is that electrical work cannot be stored... fairly trivial.