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A little confusion on generators, pls help.

  1. Jun 27, 2012 #1
    So, when you generate electricity, you spin a magnet pushing the electrons in the surrounding wires and creating a stream of electrons, now the confusion.... If you do this for some time, wouldn't the electrons in the wires run out? I mean there is only a certain number of loose electrons on the copper atoms in the wires, and when the magnetic force field pushes those electrons away to local house holds, how do electrons keep coming out of the wire generating electricity??

    I also know that the electrons jump from atom to atom pushing the other electron forward, but than the electrons in the back would still always run out until all the copper atoms had a negative charge... anybody care to elaborate what is going on?
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 27, 2012 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    you should think of the generator more like a pump pumping water. yeah it pushes electrons out only if there are more electrons coming from the other wire-end. The electrons are circulating through the electrical circuit. No circuit, no circulation, no loss of electrons.
  4. Jun 27, 2012 #3
    There is more than one wire going into your houseshold. You can think of electrons moving into your house on one wire and leaving your house on the other wire (this is painfully oversimplified in order to amplify the concept that I think you need). An electric circuit consists of a closed loop. A good analogy for beginners is to think of a water pump pumping water through hoses to a "water motor". There must be a hose going from the pump to the motor, and another hose going from the motor back to the pump. The pump both pushes the water toward the pump, and pulls it back from the pump.

    Edit: jedishrfu, looks like we posted simultaneously the same answer!
  5. Jun 27, 2012 #4
    Now I understand, a quite simple thing, made me feel alot better, thanks:D
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