Fuelling the 21st century
battery. A source of electric current. Batteries consist of two electrodes immersed in an electrolyte. The electrolyte reacts chemically with the electrodes generating an electric current. More information about batteries can be found at How batteries work (How Stuff Works, USA)
An electrode can be used to deliver electricity to the body or to receive electricity from it. Delivering electricity to the body is used to stimulate; receiving electricity from the body can be used to detect and record signals. In either case the term refers to the contact formed by the stimulating or recording device within the body.
greenhouse gas. A gas that is transparent to incoming solar radiation and absorbs some of the longer wavelength infrared radiation (heat) that the Earth radiates back. The result is that some of the heat given off by the planet accumulates, making the surface and the lower atmosphere warmer. For more information see The greenhouse effect (CSIRO Atmospheric Research, Australia).
turbine. A device in which a stream of water or gas turns a bladed wheel, converting the kinetic energy of the fluid flow into mechanical energy available from the turbine shaft. The earliest turbines were water wheels. Now, steam turbines are driven by jets of high-temperature steam; gas turbines are driven by burning fuel vapour; and wind turbines use the power of moving air.
Page updated August 2006.