How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 251

What is the hum you hear when walking under large power lines?
The electric currents in those lines are reversing 120 times a second in the United States (60 full cycles of reversal, over and back, each second). That means that the electrostatic forces between the charges they carry and anything nearby reverse 120 time a second and the magnetic forces that they exert on one another when currents flow through them turn on and off as well. You hear all of the motions that are caused by the pulsating electric and magnetic forces.

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