|Topics||Alternating Current (AC), Conductors, Current, Direct Current (DC), Integrated Circuits, Ohm's Law, Parallel Circuit, Resistance, Transistors|
In contrast to the constant one-way flow of direct current, alternating current changes direction many times each second. Electricity is delivered from power stations to customers as AC because it provides a more efficient way to transport electricity over long distances.
Conductors are elements that allow electrons to flow freely. Their valence shell is less than half full of electrons that are able to move easily from one atom to another.
Current is the rate of flow of electrons per unit time and is measured in amperes (A). A coulomb (C) is the quantity of electricity conveyed in one second by a current of one ampere.
Direct current flows in only one direction in a circuit, from the negative terminal of the voltage source to the positive. A common source of direct current (DC) is a battery.
Circuits containing transistors are packaged into integrated circuit chips that allow encapsulating complex circuit designs (CPU, memory, I/O) for easier integration into electronic devices and machines.
Ohm's law specifies the relationship between voltage (V), current (I), and resistance (R) in an electrical circuit: V = IR.
In a parallel circuit, each load occupies a separate parallel path in the circuit and the input voltage is fully applied to each path. Unlike a series circuit where current (I) is the same at all points in the circuit, in a parallel circuit, voltage (V) is the same across each parallel branch of the circuit but current differs in each branch depending on the load (resistance) present.
Resistance is opposition to the flow of current and is measured in ohms (Ω). One ohm is defined as the amount of resistance that will allow one ampere of current to flow if one volt of voltage is applied. As resistance increases, current decreases as resistance and current are inversely proportional.
The transistor is the foundation of modern electronic devices. It is made entirely from semiconductor material (making it a solid state device) and can serve many different functions in a circuit including acting as a switch, amplifier, or current regulator. A transistor works by allowing a small amount of current applied at the base to control general current flow from collector to emitter through the transistor.