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BC: (2002). [Closed Circuit Open Circuit]. Helcohi. Retrieved November 11, 2012 (2012). [Series and Parallel Circuit]. Science with Me. Retrieved November 11, 2012 [Lost Electron]. Sloane Science. Retrieved November 11, 2012 Electronic circuit. (2012, November 8).Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Retrieved from http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Electronic_circuit&oldid=522072690 Ornes, S. (Artist). (2009). [Electron in Motion]. Discover Magazine. Retrieved November 11, 2012

FC: A | A Day in the Life of an Electron Nathan De Groot

1: Vrooooooom!!!!! "Whoa! Hey! Watch where you're flying around! Stop bumping me! What's the big idea?" "Haven't you heard? We just created a circuit! Time to get moving, bud!" I had heard about circuits, but I never really knew what they were. Now was my chance to be a part of one! "So what am I supposed to do?" "Well, you can start by bumping that next electron so that we can keep moving along. I'll explain the rest as we go." This sounds like fun! "Hey buddy! I hope this doesn't hurt!" I bumped the electron in front of me and I got a big bump from behind as well.

2: "Alright, so I kick the guy in front of me, and you kick me? This doesn't sound like much fun." "That's the attitude we like to see! A typical negative electron! Let me show you what we are actually doing. Alright, we are traveling around some copper wire right now. There's something natural that happens between us. Have you ever heard of opposites attract? Well that atom in front of you is positively charged, and I know you can't resist jumping over there, so go ahead." "Alright, I'm still right behind you. As you jump from atom to atom, I have to keep up. As long as our circuit is closed, we can keep hopping from atom to atom, pushing each other out of the way." "So let me get this straight. We just keep jumping from atom to atom? What in the world does that do?" "Well when we do this, we create electricity. People like to use electricity for lots of different things. When we do our job, our bosses are happy, and that's the main goal." "Ok, but I know that I can't do this forever. I'm just an electron. What happens when I get tired?"

3: "Ha! Trust me, you won't get tired. However, eventually we do get a break. No one knows when break time is or how long it lasts, but we certainly do enjoy it. If our circuit is charged by a battery, then eventually the battery will run out of energy to break and restore bonds." "So we have to wait until this battery runs out of juice? That could take forever!" "I didn't say we were connected to a battery. I said that is one way that we can get a break. You see, once that battery can't break and restore bonds, there is no more room for us to move. We can try and push each other forward, but we end up getting stuck." "Well what are the other ways we get a break?"

4: "Well, sometimes our circuit can become broken or open. Maybe a wire gets cut, maybe there's no energy source, or maybe the battery gets put in the wrong way. Either way, when there isn't a clear path, we get to take a break." SMASH!!!!! "Well, it looks like the circuit is open. No more moving for us. Go ahead and take a little nap, and I'll bump you when we are ready to get moving again." Hmmmm, this circuit stuff sure is strange. But, if I get to take a nap, why would I want to miss out on that? Maybe I'll just.... ZZZZZZZZZ. *** "Alright bud! Back to work" "Whaaaaa... What happened?"

5: "You remember that break in the circuit? Well looks like it got re-routed. This is what we call a parallel circuit. Instead of everyone going in a straight line, we get a path to choose. That way if the right side gets disconnected, we can still move on the left." "That seems like it would be less efficient. Wouldn't we create less electricity this way?" "Hey! You're pretty bright! When we all line up together, we use less energy than when we are spread out. We can even combine energy sources so that we can produce more electricity as well. But, when one thing breaks in a series circuit, we are done. We can't keep moving. That's what is nice about a parallel circuit. If something breaks, we can just go around and continue on."

6: "So how do people choose whether it's best to use a series circuit or a parallel circuit? "It depends on what they need to do. If they want to give power to their remote control, they use a series circuit. Several small batteries connect together to give the remote the right amount of voltage it needs to function properly. For example, let's say the guy needs 6 volts to use his remote. If he puts 4 1.5 volt batteries into a connector, he will achieve the required 6 volts." "Well, what are volts?" "Hmmm, let me think of the easiest way to explain it to you. You can think of a volt as the size of the boot that is going to kick you forward. The bigger the boot, the more force you will have when you get kicked."

7: "When you are getting kicked hard, you kick the next electron hard, and we create the desired power for the device." "So if series circuits can create more power, what would you need a parallel circuit for?" "Well, imagine a person has a bunch of things that need electricity. If everything was in a series circuit, one break would cause everything to quit working. Imagine that the person's house has a series circuit. What do you think would happen if he shut off the T.V.?" "Ummm, he misses the end of the football game?" "Well, yeah. But that would make an open circuit, and what happens when you have an open circuit?"

8: "We stop moving?" "Yes, we stop moving, and that means his refrigerator doesn't get power, his microwave doesn't work, and his alarm clock doesn't go off either. Imagine he is watching that football game and his wife turns off the lights. The T.V. shuts off as well, and he misses the game winning field goal. But, if he is using a parallel circuit, the light switch doesn't affect the electrons flowing to the T.V." "And he gets to see the game winning field goal!" "Now you got it!" "Alright, so let me try to remember what I've learned. When we create a circuit, we start moving forward and are attracted to the positively charged atom. When the circuit is open, we stop moving because there is no room."

9: "Unless..." "Unless we are in a parallel circuit. In a parallel circuit, we can go down a different path to complete the circuit. In a series circuit, more volts can be created to power that remote control!" "I think you have learned enough for today. There still is a lot to teach you about being an electron, but I think you got the gist of it when it comes to being a part of a circuit. Oh! it looks like we are getting another break. Talk to you later!"

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• By: Nathan D.
• Joined: over 5 years ago
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