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You Switch, We Deliver?



You Switch, We Deliver?
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 5 to 7
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.31

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    deliverymen, magnetism, phenomenon, ingenuity, voltage, incoming, electromagnetic, production, generate, generator, nuclear, resistance, downed, electromagnet, geoelectric, induction
     content words:    Hans Christian Oersted, André Ampere, William Sturgeon, Joseph Henry, Englishman Michael Faraday, When Faraday, Aswan Dam, Three Gorges Dam, Niagara Falls, New York


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You Switch, We Deliver?   

1     Imagine a world where you could call a special number, and instantaneously your electricity is delivered to your door. Well, unlike pizza, electricity doesn't come to our doors in boxes and with smiles. In fact, our ability to receive and produce large amounts of electricity comes from the work of many "scientific deliverymen" from the 1800s. The work of these scientists is basis for our electrical power plants that we rely on in our daily lives.
 
2     In 1819 Danish scientist Hans Christian Oersted discovered accidentally that electricity and magnetism were connected. Oersted was demonstrating how electrical currents in wires produced heat when he noticed a strange phenomenon. The needle of a compass on a nearby table swung around when the wires on Oersted's circuit were connected. When he disconnected the wires, the compass needle returned to its normal position pointing towards the magnetic north pole. It was at this point that Oersted realized electricity and magnetism were related.
 
3     In 1820, French scientist André Ampere proved that parallel wires carrying electrical currents in the same direction in a circuit would attract each other like unlike poles on the ends of bar magnets. He also proved that wires with current flowing in opposite directions would repel each other. Ampere used this knowledge to create a cylindrical (circular) coil of wire that behaved like a magnet. Today we call cylindrical coils of wire solenoids.
 
4     William Sturgeon, an English scientist, discovered in 1825 that you could increase the power of an electromagnet by placing a bar of soft iron inside a coil of wire. By 1831, Joseph Henry, an American scientist, had made improvements to Sturgeon's electromagnet by insulating the wires to hold in the heat produced by the electrical current. Henry realized that insulating the wires would increase the power of the electromagnet. During that same year, Henry also helped to develop an electromagnet that was capable of lifting over a ton (2000 pounds).

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