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GROUNDING
by Will Chris Holley Archure.net
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Grounding: the importance of Grounding electrical charges, not just for those trained in Electronics, but for everyone.
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All matter is made up of Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons. Some materials allow electrons to flow from one area to the next, while some materials allow less of a transference of electrons. Yet, everything has a "charge" of electrons to it.
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When the ground area in a certain area, has a certain "charge", and the sky above has a different "charge", there is a difference in "potential" (voltage). When the difference becomes greater than the resistance between the 2 charges, lightning occurs, and a transference of potential results, thus evening out the difference between the sky and the ground.
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Different areas of land have different static charges. So if you travel from on location to another in a car which has rubber tires, the rubber tires is a material which resists the transference of electrons, and when you get to a different location and get out, you may experience a "shock", a transference of electrons, due to being in a different area with a different charge.
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Even in one location, sometimes certain objects carry a different charge than those around them.
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The difference in charge potential, can cause a transference of voltage. This transference can cause a "shock" known as Static Electricity, and although only slightly annoying, the shock can easily be as high as 3,000 volts (but with such little current, that it is not harmful to humans, as Current times Voltage equals Power, thus a lower Power is safe enough. However, this voltage transference can and does cause a change of potential which may Damage sensitive Micro Electronic Components. And in some rare cases, the change may be enough to cause damage to humans.
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Thus for safety, we run copper wires called "ground wires" from object to object (electronic equipment). As copper is a material which allows the easy transference of electricity, thus any difference in potential (voltage) is safely channelled thru the Ground Wire instead of thru the sensitive electronic chips or you. The ground wire is also connected to the Ground itself, via the metal casing around most equipment, thru the 3rd prong in an electrical cord, which plugs into a ground wire receptacle (while the other 2 wires carry alternating current, which alternates in direction, 60 times every second. The ground wire goes thru buildings and homes, and eventually leads to a connection to the ground itself.
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In many electrical equipment units, the AC (alternating current) is transferred into DC (direct current), with one positive wire, and one negative wire. Here, north of the equator, we have a negative or minus charge in the ground, thus we "ground" the negative wire in most cases (don't try it yourself), if it is grounded at all, which it usually is. Rarely is the positive wire grounded, only in instances of objects that will go thru space: rockets, space craft, satellites.....
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Thus, we have various charges all around us, and we run materials such as copper around from object to object, to insure a common ground to prevent dangerous shocks, annoying shocks, and damage to equipment.
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Ben Franklin experimented with electricity. During the course of one of his many experiments he accidentally electrocuted a Turkey as well as his Self. The turkey died, and Franklin took 2 years to recover. After which, he resumed his experiments "this time Grounding them". By the way, Franklin was a vegetarian (autobiography, age 16), and wanted to make the Turkey the "National Bird". But we now have the Eagle as the "National Bird".
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A Lightening Rod is an object which easily conducts electricity from above buildings, directly to the ground below, so any lightening, or transference of electrical charge between the sky and the earth may safely pass thru the wire or rod, instead of thru the building (which would cause damage to the building, the contents, including the people inside). The lightning rod must be made of material which easily transfers electrons, and must be of a thickness to withstand the tremendously high voltage and heat of lightning (most ordinary household wire would just melt).
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Doctors ground their patients during operations (and did so, even before electronic equipment was used, at least in some cases).
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It is healthy to ground yourself. When you wash your hands your ground your self. When you take a shower you ground yourself. When you wade in a stream or the ocean you ground your self, and you always feel better. Water conducts or transfers electrical charges thru the water, thru the pipes, to or from the ground.
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Electrons travel from a negative charged area to a positive charged area, this is called "Electron Flow". To make things more confusing, while discussing current direction, we have what is called "Conventional Current", which travels in the opposite direction from "Electron Flow".
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Electrons travel from a negative charged area to a positive charged area, this is called "Electron Flow". North of the equator, the earth has a negative charge, thus electricity or electrons usually travel from the earth upward, out of the earth (while south of the equator, the earth has a positive charge, and the electrons flow from negative to positive, into the positive charged earth.
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To make things more confusing, while discussing current direction, we have what is called "Conventional Current", which travels in the opposite direction from "Electron Flow", so when discussing current direction, it is important to specify "Conventional" or "Electron Flow".
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In solid materials (which easily conduct electricity), electrons move from Atom to Atom.
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While in Free Space, in gasses, due to magnetic charges stabilizing the electrons, the electrons may become stable and the Atoms themselves (material in a gaseous state) may travel in a "Conventional" direction.
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Metal plates of copper may be installed around sensitive electronic equipment. The copper will pick up any stray electronic signals traveling thru the air, and ground those charges, else the signals can be picked up in the electronic equipment. The FCC (Federal Communications Commission) requires this in some instances. Some people have been known to pick up radio signals in their tooth fillings (or have they gone Bananas?).
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