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What causes Heat and Light in a Wire?


Have you observed the wire getting hot whenever you plug it in? Do you want to know the reason? We have it here in this article:

Electricity is the flow of electrons from one point to the other; this movement creates energy, resulting in heat in the wires. Besides, the movement of electrons also has to face resistance from the medium’s material, which also results in heat energy. Thus, making your wires heated.

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But what about the light?

In a few cases, you might see the light as well. Do you know why that is so? When the electricity converts into heat energy and reaches 1000F, you’ll see visible light. 

This is the phenomenon behind the lighting of the bulb. The heat energy formed as a result of the electrical flow is what makes a bulb light. To understand heat generation, it is important to learn about the concept of electric current. The electric current is the flow of electric charge; carried by the electrons. When a wire is directly connected to the power source, a battery, or an outlet, the electrons move through the wire—making a continuous flow of electric current.

Heat Generation:

When the current flows via a wire, it encounters resistance during the transfer of electrons. The resistance can be counted as the property of the wire; and it is determined by material and temperature. When the electrons move through the wire, they meet with atoms and other electrons leading to energy loss. The loss of energy is in the form of heat; and the heat generation can be described by Joule’s law as well; which is Q (Wire) is directly proportional to the resistance ( R ) of the wire and the current (I) passing through the wire.

Q ∝ I²R

Light Generation:

While heat is a common result of electric current in wires, light generation occurs in specific circumstances. When electrons in a wire are excited to higher energy levels and then return to their lower energy states, they release energy in the form of photons of light.

Summing up:

The process behind the heat and light in the wire is very simple. The flow of electric current is responsible for the generation of heat and light. 

Also Read: Myths about electricity