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Types of Electricity or Electric Current

There are two types of electrical current: direct current (DC) and alternating current (AC). Electrons in direct current flow in one direction. The current produced by a battery is direct current. The electron in alternating current flows in one direction, then in the opposite direction, again and again.

In Canada and the United States, alternating current flows 120 times per second. (In Europe, it alternates 100 times per second). The current supplied to your home by your local utility is alternating current. Direct current is electrical current that only flows in one direction. A common place to find direct current is in batteries. A battery is first charged using direct current that is then transformed into chemical energy.

When the battery is in use, it converts the chemical energy back into electricity in the form of direct current. Batteries need direct current to charge, and will only produce direct current. It needs an inductive generator to produce alternating current. English physicist Michael Faraday discovered electromagnetic induction, and Nikola Tesla, in conjunction with the Westinghouse Company, developed the large induction generators that power civilization today.

Because an induction generator has a rotating rotor, the electricity it produces changes direction over and over again with each cycle of the rotor. In the United States, the period of this cycle has been standardized to be 60 Hertz. When electricity is produced on a large scale, such as in a power plant, it has a dangerously high voltage that must be reduced at the user’s end. It is easier to do this with alternating current than with direct current.

However, that is not the main reason why AC is the current chosen for internal consumption. In the late 19th century, a struggle between industrial producers Westinghouse and General Electric, which promoted DC electricity, ended in Westinghouse’s favor when he successfully powered the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair using alternating current. Since then, alternating current has powered homes and everything that relies on power lines.

In conclusion, we can define that:

Direct current: (DC): In this type of electric current, the direction is always the same. The electrical current generated from a cell or battery is DC. Due to the same direction of direct current, its frequency is ZERO. In direct current, one end is Positive (+) and the other end is Negative (-).

DC Symbol – Direct Current Symbol DC Current Symbol

Alternating Current (AC)

The electrical current whose direction and value continue to change is known as alternating current (AC).

The value of the alternating current in one direction increases from ZERO to Maximum and falls to ZERO and then in the opposite direction increases from ZERO to Maximum again and returns to ZERO.

Because of this increase in both directions, the AC graph looks like a wave. This is called a sine wave. In alternating current or AC, 50 cycles or waves come in ONE second. One side of the AC is PHASE and the other side is NEUTRAL.

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