• Question: how do plug sockets give so much power ?

    Asked by Becky to Shane, Karen, Gabriele, Angela on 20 Nov 2013.
    • Photo: Angela Stevenson

      Angela Stevenson answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      ohhh you really had me thinking for this one Becky! I know how they work – no current is sent through the socket until the prongs are plugged into it and then electricity runs into one and out the other (that’s why all plugs have at least two prongs). BUT how do they actually generate so much power? The power is provided by a giant generator plant that distributes electricity to our homes, schools, all buildings. There is a standard voltage for the sockets in our homes, that’s a max of 240 volts in places like Europe and Australia, but only 120 volts in America. I remember plugging in my American hair dryer here in Ireland, and it sadly went up into flames! There was just too much power going through the Irish socket compared to my American socket (twice as much power), which was too much for my hair dryer to handle. Great question! Hope that helps 🙂

    • Photo: Shane Mc Guinness

      Shane Mc Guinness answered on 20 Nov 2013:

      Yep, that’s it Angela. Think about electricity like the pipes in your home.
      You know there is water in them, but it doesn’t do anything until you turn on the tap and give the water somewhere to do. The same is true with the plug. Powerplants create lots of static electricity by rubbing metal against magnets, then they connect this to wires. But it doesn’t go anywhere until you give the electric “potential” somewhere to go. As soon as you plug in your toaster or Xbox or hair drier it has somewhere to go and starts to flow!