Physics and Chemistry

Electricity and Magnetism

How did the electrical unit volt originate?

The unit of voltage is the volt, named after Alessandro Volta (1745–1827), the Italian scientist who built the first modern battery. (A battery, operating with a lead rod and vinegar, was also manufactured in ancient Egypt.) Voltage measures the force or “oomph” with which electrical charges are pushed through a material. Some common voltages are 1.5 volts for a flashlight battery; 12 volts for a car battery; 115 volts for ordinary household receptacles; and 230 volts for a heavy-duty household receptacle.


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