How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works
 

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS
 
Question 591

What are watts and amps? - NS
The watt is the standard unit of power—that is, it's the way in which we measure how much energy is being transferred to or from sometime each second. 1 watt is equivalent to 1 joule of energy per second. A 100 watt light bulb consumes 100 joules of electric energy each second. Anytime energy moves from one place to another, you can determine how much power is flowing. For example, the food energy in a jelly donut is about 1 million joules, so if you eat 1 jelly donut in 100 seconds, you receive 10,000 watts of power. Since your body only consumes about 100 watts of power while you are resting, it will take you 10,000 seconds to use up all that food energy.

The amp (or ampere) is the standard unit of electric current—that is, its the way in which we measure how many electric charges flow past a certain point each second. 1 amp is equivalent to 1 coulomb of electric charge per second. Since 1 coulomb of electric charge is the charge on 6,240,000,000,000,000,000 protons, even a current of only 1 amp means that a great many electric charges are passing each second. The current passing through a 100-watt light bulb is roughly 1 amp on average, while the current used in starting a car is about 100 amps.

         

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