## Monday, 8 December 2008

### Brighton to Timbuktu

I was interested to see how electricity behaves in the golden spiral. Electricity is composed of electrostatic fields and magnetic fields which exist in the region surrounding the wires. The energy within these fields is called electromagnetic (EM) energy. Therefore, electricity is not made up of electrons, instead it is made of invisible electromagnetic fields. The EM wavelength of 50 Hz AC power is approximately 6000 km. I once thought this wave bounced happily along inside a cable, but now I'm thinking that perhaps this is not the case.

I'm imagining myself holding an electrical cable (don't worry, I've got rubber underpants on, and a pair of wellies, and now the neighbours are looking at me funny), and I'm staring down the cable like it's a barrel of a gun. Now the cable is surrounded by the spiral staircase (which represents EM fields), and looks pretty much like an archimedes screw. The screw is turning at the speed of light, and with the usual AC circuit, the power's frequency will be 50 Hz (so it completes 50 cycles per second). This means the circumference of the wave is some 6000km in length, and so the circumference of the golden spiral is also 6000km. So now I'm looking at something which is enormous. It's 6000km from where I am in Brighton to reach Timbuktu.(?)

At the centre of our golden spiral the energy is moving much faster than at its parameter, and so the energy is far more intense. Electricity is composed of electrostatic fields and magnetic fields which exist in the region surrounding the wires. If electricity means electric energy, then electricity does not flow inside the wires. In electrical circuits, the electric energy travels as invisible fields found in the space outside the wires and not within. According to the golden spiral, this radius will be 950 km (circumference=pi times diameter), but it's within a tiny fraction of all this where all the action appears to take place - actually on or very near the cable. So this EM field is the direct result of the intense heat and friction felt at the centre of the wave.

I've no idea if any of this is right - though of course I hope it is - I just had to get it down on paper. Anyways, it gave me an excuse to put those pants on. I owe a debt of gratitude to this site, for setting me straight about my preconceptions of electricity: http://amasci.com/miscon/whatdef.html