# Physics: Senior High School: 11th and 12th Grade Quiz - Electricity - Generating Electricity (Questions)

This Physics quiz is called 'Electricity - Generating Electricity' and it has been written by teachers to help you if you are studying the subject at senior high school. Playing educational quizzes is one of the most efficienct ways to learn if you are in the 11th or 12th grade - aged 16 to 18.

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Generating electricity can be done by burning fuels, using nuclear reactors or capturing energy from the environment. When fuels are burnt, they release greenhouse gasses and other gasses that cause acid rain. Some of the fuels we use, for example wood and biodiesel, are sustainable whilst others, called non-renewable fuels, will be used up at some point in the future (although for coal, oil and gas we could wait for tens of millions of years for them to re-form!).

The burning of fossil fuels is thought by many scientists to contribute to the problem of global warming. The reason that they think this is happening is because fossil fuels contain carbon that was locked out of the carbon cycle millions of years ago. When they are burnt, this carbon (in the form of carbon dioxide) adds to the carbon in the present day carbon cycle. Normally, the amount of carbon dioxide in the air is kept fairly constant by photosynthesis, but at the present time, it appears that photosynthesis can't keep up with this extra quantity and carbon dioxide levels are rising.

When fuels are used to generate electricity, the process is essentially the same for them all, including nuclear fuel. Heat is released from the fuel and is used to boil water. This water is turned into steam. The steam is passed through turbines which then rotate at high speed. The rotation of the turbines is then used to turn the generators to produce the electricity.

Renewable energy is a term that is applied to methods of generating electricity that will always be available, like wind and water power. Solar power is usually associated with generating electricity from the Sun's light (like solar powered garden lights, solar powered calculators etc) but you can actually track most renewable energy back to the Sun - geothermal energy is an obvious exception. Wind power, wave power and most hydroelectric power all depend on the weather which is caused by the Sun heating different parts of the Earth's surface by different amounts. Biomass and other biofuels like wood come from food chains which require the Sun's light for photosynthesis.

Generating electricity from renewable sources has both advantages and disadvantages, for example solar cells produce free electricity and without pollution once they are installed but they are expensive and produce no electricity at night. Similar disadvantages can be applied to the other forms of renewable energy - they don't generate electricity all the time, the amount they generate varies and they tend to be expensive to set up. On the other hand, they have similar advantages, the electricity they produce is free once they are set up and it will always be available. One of the biggest advantages is that when they are generating electricity, they are not a source of gasses that cause either acid rain or contribute to the greenhouse effect that causes global warming.

1. What is heated to produce steam in power stations?
 [ ] Coal [ ] Gas [ ] Water [ ] Sand
2. What types of materials are fossil fuels?
 [ ] Coal [ ] Oil [ ] Gas [ ] All of the above
3. What materials are used as fuels in nuclear power stations?
 [ ] Uranium and plutonium [ ] Carbon and argon [ ] Xenon and hydrogen [ ] Helium and oxygen
4. Which of the following is/are associated with the term 'renewable energy'?
 [ ] Wind [ ] Solar panels [ ] Hydroelectric power [ ] All of the above
5. What is an advantage of solar panels and solar cells?
 [ ] Produces more energy than the sun [ ] Produces very little energy [ ] Free energy once installed [ ] All of the above
6. What is a disadvantage of solar panels and solar cells?
 [ ] Poor energy conversion on a cloudy day [ ] Have to pay a monthly charge [ ] Produces free energy [ ] All of the above
7. What is geothermal energy?
 [ ] Steam and hot water created in some volcanic areas are used to drive turbines [ ] Heat energy that produced in underground nuclear power stations [ ] Tidal energy produced by the motion of the sea [ ] Energy produced by the radiation emitted by the sun
8. What is a disadvantage of burning fossil fuels?
 [ ] Absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere [ ] Do not create enough heat energy [ ] Release harmful gasses into the atmosphere [ ] Create too much heat energy
9. What is a disadvantage of using nuclear energy?
 [ ] Does not produce enough energy [ ] Produces radioactive waste [ ] Releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere [ ] Does not emit harmful radiation
10. What is a disadvantage of wind turbines?
 [ ] Are not energy efficient [ ] Create noise pollution [ ] Can pick people up if they stand too close to them [ ] Are unstable and regularly fall over
Physics: Senior High School: 11th and 12th Grade Quiz - Electricity - Generating Electricity (Answers)
1. What is heated to produce steam in power stations?
 [ ] Coal [ ] Gas [x] Water [ ] Sand
Whilst coal and gas may be used to create heat within the power plant, water is heated to produce steam which forces a turbine to rotate
2. What types of materials are fossil fuels?
 [ ] Coal [ ] Oil [ ] Gas [x] All of the above
They were formed from dead organisms millions of years in the past
3. What materials are used as fuels in nuclear power stations?
 [x] Uranium and plutonium [ ] Carbon and argon [ ] Xenon and hydrogen [ ] Helium and oxygen
The heat from these fuels comes from natural radioactive decay of their atoms
4. Which of the following is/are associated with the term 'renewable energy'?
 [ ] Wind [ ] Solar panels [ ] Hydroelectric power [x] All of the above
Solar panels use the Sun's heat to supply hot water while solar cells generate electricity from the Sun's light. Many students get the two mixed up. Solar cells are also known as photovoltaic panels
5. What is an advantage of solar panels and solar cells?
 [ ] Produces more energy than the sun [ ] Produces very little energy [x] Free energy once installed [ ] All of the above
We do not pay for sunlight, so the energy it provides is free!
6. What is a disadvantage of solar panels and solar cells?
 [x] Poor energy conversion on a cloudy day [ ] Have to pay a monthly charge [ ] Produces free energy [ ] All of the above
Both work much better on cloudless days
7. What is geothermal energy?
 [x] Steam and hot water created in some volcanic areas are used to drive turbines [ ] Heat energy that produced in underground nuclear power stations [ ] Tidal energy produced by the motion of the sea [ ] Energy produced by the radiation emitted by the sun
Geothermal energy has been used for thousands of years for hot water but it was only in the early years of the 20th century that it was used to generate electricity
8. What is a disadvantage of burning fossil fuels?
 [ ] Absorb carbon dioxide from the atmosphere [ ] Do not create enough heat energy [x] Release harmful gasses into the atmosphere [ ] Create too much heat energy
Burning fossil fuels releases a variety of gasses into the Earth's atmosphere including carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, and sulfur and nitrogen oxides. Carbon monoxide is toxic, carbon dioxide contributes to the greenhouse effect whilst sulfur and nitrogen oxides contribute to acid rain
9. What is a disadvantage of using nuclear energy?
 [ ] Does not produce enough energy [x] Produces radioactive waste [ ] Releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere [ ] Does not emit harmful radiation
Whilst nuclear energy does not release harmful gasses into the atmosphere, it does create harmful radioactive waste which can take decades or even centuries for the radiation emitted to reduce to safe levels
10. What is a disadvantage of wind turbines?
 [ ] Are not energy efficient [x] Create noise pollution [ ] Can pick people up if they stand too close to them [ ] Are unstable and regularly fall over
One of the other objections is that they are usually sited in areas of natural beauty and create visual pollution too