How Electricity Actually Works

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This video is sponsored by Brilliant. The first 200 people to sign up via brilliant.org/veritasium get 20% off a yearly subscription.

Special thanks to:
Bruce Sherwood, Ruth Chabay, Aaron Titus, and Steve Spicklemore
VPython simulation: tinyurl.com/SurfaceCharge

Thanks to Ansys for help with the simulations: www.ansys.com/products/electr...

Huge thanks to Richard Abbott from Caltech for all his modeling

Electrical Engineering TRvidrs:
Electroboom: trvid.com/u-Electroboom
Alpha Phoenix: trvid.com/u-AlphaPhoeni...
eevblog: trvid.com/u-EevblogDave
Ben Watson: trvid.com/show-UCgZU...
Big Clive: trvid.com/u-Bigclive
Z Y: trvid.com/u-ZongyiYang
NYU Quantum Technology Lab
Dr. Ben Miles
Further analysis of the large circuit is available here: ve42.co/bigcircuit

Special thanks to Dr Geraint Lewis for bringing up this question in the first place and discussing it with us. Check out his and Dr Chris Ferrie’s new book here: ve42.co/Universe2021

A great video about the Poynting vector by the Science Asylum: trvid.com/video/video-C7tQJ42nGno.html

Sefton, I. M. (2002). Understanding electricity and circuits: What the text books don’t tell you. In Science Teachers’ Workshop. -- ve42.co/Sefton

Feynman, R. P., Leighton, R. B., & Sands, M. (1965). The feynman lectures on physics; vol. Ii, chapter 27. American Journal of Physics, 33(9), 750-752. -- ve42.co/Feynman27

Hunt, B. J. (2005). The Maxwellians. Cornell University Press.

Müller, R. (2012). A semiquantitative treatment of surface charges in DC circuits. American Journal of Physics, 80(9), 782-788. -- ve42.co/Muller2012

Galili, I., & Goihbarg, E. (2005). Energy transfer in electrical circuits: A qualitative account. American journal of physics, 73(2), 141-144. -- ve42.co/Galili2004

Deno, D. W. (1976). Transmission line fields. IEEE Transactions on Power Apparatus and Systems, 95(5), 1600-1611. -- ve42.co/Deno76

Special thanks to Patreon supporters: Inconcision, Kelly Snook, TTST, Ross McCawley, Balkrishna Heroor, Chris LaClair, Avi Yashchin, John H. Austin, Jr., OnlineBookClub.org, Dmitry Kuzmichev, Matthew Gonzalez, Eric Sexton, john kiehl, Anton Ragin, Diffbot, Micah Mangione, MJP, Gnare, Dave Kircher, Burt Humburg, Blake Byers, Dumky, Evgeny Skvortsov, Meekay, Bill Linder, Paul Peijzel, Josh Hibschman, Mac Malkawi, Michael Schneider, jim buckmaster, Juan Benet, Ruslan Khroma, Robert Blum, Richard Sundvall, Lee Redden, Vincent, Stephen Wilcox, Marinus Kuivenhoven, Clayton Greenwell, Michael Krugman, Cy 'kkm' K'Nelson, Sam Lutfi, Ron Neal

Written by Derek Muller
Edited by Derek Muller
Filmed by Trenton Oliver and Petr Lebedev
Animation by Mike Radjabov and Ivy Tello
Additional video/photos supplied by Getty Images
Music from Epidemic Sound and Jonny Hyman
Produced by Derek Muller, Petr Lebedev, and Emily Zhang



28 Nis 2022




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Michael Permana
This… this is what science is all about. Thought experiment, theory, peer review, experiment. Well done everyone.
Kai Wizardly
Kai Wizardly 2 saatler önce
The inspiring moment is when people are trying to "debunk" you, you're pretty happy, because you see people are engaged with this problem. I think this is one of the core values all teachers must have. A teacher does need to be right, but the priority should always be on engagement rather than correctness.
Making It Through
Making It Through 2 saatler önce
Amazing! No wonder I couldn’t understand electricity at school. It’s because huge amounts of information were missing. In fact most of the facts were missing. However, most of the scientists who studied these properties were also seeing only a small part of the puzzle, but it didn’t stop them trying to figure it all out. Thanks to you all for contributing.
LysisofPie 4 saatler önce
Reading about the history of electricity and how those that discovered much of what we understand today thought about things was a real eye opener for me. Magnetism seemed to always be considered connected, even before it was demonstrated. How things work like generators and motors, are far more intuitive if we better understand the intrinsic connection rather than electrons moving through a circuit (at least, IMO).
The Backyard Brewer
I'm not an engineer or an electrician, but I remember years ago seeing fluorescent tubes being lit up just being near high voltage lines and my mind was blown and I realised back then that electricity and energy transmission was not what I thought it was. As a non expert but interested person I say bravo! 👏
jasen ericksen
jasen ericksen 7 saatler önce
this is a very cool video because of the wireless power aka when Tesla used the earths electric magnatism and fields and his towers to light lightbulbs on a beach. also control a rc boat wirelessly without a battery. look it up.. he was so ahead of his time for things like this but its fun to think about the possibilities we could do today too.
Fantastic revisit! The animations and the simulations were spot-on, and great at showing the difference between the transient “first-second” effect, and the steady-state “rest of time” behavior. The whole “expanding loop of current” thing is a great way to phrase it, because after that poynting loop expands to match the actual physical loop of wire, then stuff starts to behave normally and all of the power is transmitted around the loop very close to the wire.
Larry Lawnchair
Larry Lawnchair 2 saatler önce
Understanding Maxwell's equasions and the result it brings can take a whole degree course... and even after that it is not guaranteed that you understand it fully :D
DrPogo 4 saatler önce
"I have a thesis, you have a thesis, from the clash of these theses a synthesis is born, and knowledge rises."
Jim McFarland
Jim McFarland 9 saatler önce
Makes me think of field-based propulsion systems not involving electricity, with no heat generated.
Darrel Beach
Darrel Beach 2 saatler önce
So suppose the wires are completely encased in copper tubes or otherwise completely shielded?? Or if you fully shielded the wiring, connections and the scope (fully shield the system)?? Does that change the timing?? The original video on this topic indicated the light would come on based on the timing of the speed of light over the spatial distance between power source and light because the fields propagate through free space. But if you constrain the fields to the path of the wires does that change it??
Jim McFarland
Jim McFarland 9 saatler önce
This is a good description of piezoelectric remodeling of bony material, i.e. a stressed bone and periosteum that instigate osteoprogenitor cells which make new bony tissue (over simplified description)
This was a greatly detailed video and I think we are pretty much on the same page! Thanks for the shoutout and going through the trouble of clarification.
Steven Reed
Steven Reed 2 saatler önce
But, what if the wire, instead of going out in a straight line next to the returning path . . .
Ronit Srivastava
Ronit Srivastava 7 saatler önce
So, there is a field all across the circuit due to charge gradients which causes the light bulb to turn on?
Guillaume Thevenot
Massive respect for this follow up, absolutly essential to show respect to everyone, and explain details on everything, astonishing
Hugh Leyton
Hugh Leyton 7 saatler önce
A few simple Electrical fundamentals. Electrical Current is the flow of Electrons inside the conductive wires. Current inside a wire will produce a circulating Magnetic field around that wire for a few mm, its strength proportional to the Current in Amps. Current, that is the on average, movement of electrons down a wire is due to and proportional to the voltage or PD difference between the beginning and end of that wire. A wire with voltage on it will have voltage gradient or field between it and other conductive surfaces. But neither this rotating Magnetic field or the Voltage field anything significant to do with the current flowing down inside the wire, you can feed this wire into a screened metal box or through a grounded metal wall, completely eliminating the earlier external fields and the current still flows through the wire. Electrical power is not driven by fields, but do form fields of their own.
Stan Driggs
I once heard an antenna guy say that everything wants to radiate. This is what he meant. All circuits are really just channeling the E/H fields. Sometimes the energy goes to something you are connected to (lightbulb), and sometimes the energy goes to something you are not connected to (radio). But the energy is out there, all circuits radiate, everything is an antenna, good antennas just direct more of the energy in a particular direction.
Sir Pemberton S. Crevalius
Respect for admiting to some mistakes. It's refreshing to see someone both rationally defend their side and also admit to some mistakes and fix said mistakes.
Lindenhoch 7 saatler önce
Sooo...is there yet another video coming that shows a lightsecond long circuit where there's NOT a negligible distance between the two wires anywhere along it?
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