Alternating Current (AC) vs Direct Current (DC)
Our electrical experts explain AC & DC
Generally, electrical energy can be transmitted using two ways; either through direct current or alternating current. It should be noted that electrical current is a term used to describe the transfer of electrons through a conductor, such as a wire.
There are a lot of differences between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). However, the main difference is attributed to how the electrons move inside the conducting material. Typically, in AC, the electrons keep changing directions, sometimes making a forward movement before going backward and vice versa. On the other hand, in DC, the flow of electron is steady in one direction, which is always a forward movement. Of course, there are other differences which we all going to take a look at.
Interestingly, in the early 1800s, the DC versus AC discussion sparkled an ancient battle, nicknamed the war of currents, a scenario where two prominent personalities were embroiled in a tug of war, with each side trying to win clients.
Edison Thomas, a crusader of direct current, felt uneasy by Nikola Tesla’s cutting-edge technological invention of the alternating current. In a bid to try and gain control over his customer base, Edison opted to discredit alternating current and even resorted to misleading the people. Edison couldn’t imagine losing his royalties to this new promising invention, and even went further to electrocute stray dogs just to show how alternating current was that dangerous.
Despite his dogmatic approach, Edison was unable to prevent Tesla from realising his dream of powering his city, and the United States at large, with relatively cheaper and extremely efficient energy. Thanks to its potential benefits, the alternating current took over the mantle and reigned for a century and was heavily used in a broad range of settings, including commercial buildings, households, offices and apartments.
As we previously mentioned, direct current implies that power literally travels in a single direction. The flow of electrons is in a constant direction and does change at intervals. This is achieved by placing magnets that are steady on the wire to enable electron remain on a steady path. Direct current can be generated by sources such as solar cells, thermocouples and batteries.
In alternating current, the flow of electrons constantly changes, from backward to reverse and so forth. This is achieved by putting rotating magnets along the wire and as the polarisation of the magnets alternates so does the flow of electrons. Other notable differences include:
It could be argued that the possibility to transport electricity across long distances is the most important factor that has made AC a popular choice. What’s more, it can be conveniently converted to lower or higher values using transformers. In general, the simplicity and the efficiency with which alternating current can be modulated and transmitted is still unrivalled and perhaps this is the primary reason why it is still the most preferred choice.
At Gordon Powers, we know that alternating current is the standard form of electricity used in Australian domestic households. Your powerpoint outlets provides a power supply between 220-240V AC, 50 Hz. Contact our friendly staff if you require any commercial or residential electrical work in Sydney such as powerpoint outlet installations. We are available 24/7 to conveniently restore your power swiftly and safely.