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Chapter 9
Designing Sexy Signal Flow
Inside Your Gear

Copper, the element your circuitry is made of, is abbreviated “Cu”
on the periodic table. Its atomic number is 29; meaning that a single
atom contains 29 protons in its nucleus. A proton is a positively
charged particle. Protons are inanimate.

Electrons are negatively charged particles. They are animated
typically revolving around an atom’s nucleus. However, just as a
comet can be pulled from one solar system into another, the same is
true with electrons. Within the element, they can exist in one atom,
and then stray into another atom. When a Cu atom contains 29
electrons, it is said to be neutral, or having no charge. With 29
protons and 29 electrons, the positive and negative particles cancel
each other perfectly. Because protons are inanimate, the number of
electrons is all that determines an atoms charge. So a Cu atom
containing 28 electrons is positively charged, and a Cu atom
containing 30 electrons is negatively charged.

When electricity flows in to a wire, this means that the electrons
within the wire have been set in motion; escaping there orbits and
entering into new atomic systems. Since magnetism can be used to
influence the movement of electrons, thus is the relationship
between electricity and magnetism. An electric current is generated
when a coil passes through a magnetic field. This is basically what a
generator does.