Languages:

Alternating current & Direct current

Similar term(s): AC & DC.

Definition:

Alternating Current (AC) is a type of electrical current, in which the direction of the flow of electrons switches back and forth at regular intervals or cycles. Current flowing in power lines and normal household electricity that comes from a wall outlet is alternating current. The standard current used in the U.S. is 60 cycles per second (i.e. a frequency of 60 Hz); in Europe and most other parts of the world it is 50 cycles per second (i.e. a frequency of 50 Hz.).

Direct current (DC) is electrical current which flows consistently in one direction. The current that flows in a flashlight or another appliance running on batteries is direct current.

One advantage of alternating current is that it is relatively cheap to change the voltage of the current. Furthermore, the inevitable loss of energy that occurs when current is carried over long distances is far smaller with alternating current than with direct current.

Source: GreenFacts

More:

Graphic representation of the intensity of the current as a function of time:

Direct current
Direct current
Alternating current
Alternating current

Source: GreenFacts

Related words:

Magnetic field - Charge - Electric current - Electric field - Frequency - Ion(s)

Translation(s):

Deutsch: Wechselstrom & Gleichstrom
Español: Corriente alterna y corriente continua
Français: Courant alternatif et courant continu

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