Definition: Alternating current

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Alternating current

An electric current that reverses its direction at regularly recurring intervals. In the United States, the standard is 120 reversals or 60 cycles per second. Electricity transmission networks use AC.[1][2]

Wikipedia Definition

Alternating current (AC), is an electric current in which the flow of electric charge periodically reverses direction, whereas in direct current (DC, also dc), the flow of electric charge is only in one direction. AC is the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences, and it is the form of electric power that consumers typically use when they plug kitchen appliances, televisions and electric lamps into a wall socket. A common example of DC power is a battery cell in a flashlight. The abbreviations AC and DC are often used to mean simply alternating and direct, as when they modify current or voltage.The usual waveform of alternating current in most electric power circuits is a sine wave. In certain applications, different waveforms are used, such as triangular or square waves. Audio and radio signals carried on electrical wires are also examples of alternating current. These types of alternating current carry information encoded (or modulated) onto the AC signal, such as sound (audio) or images (video). These currents typically alternate at higher frequencies than those used in power transmission., Alternating current (AC), is an electric current which periodically reverses direction, whereas direct current (DC, also dc) flows only in one direction. AC is the form in which electric power is delivered to businesses and residences, and it is the form of electric energy that consumers typically use when they plug kitchen appliances, televisions and electric lamps into a wall socket. A common source of DC power is a battery cell in a flashlight. The abbreviations AC and DC are often used to mean simply alternating and direct, as when they modify current or voltage.The usual waveform of alternating current in most electric power circuits is a sine wave. In certain applications, different waveforms are used, such as triangular or square waves. Audio and radio signals carried on electrical wires are also examples of alternating current. These types of alternating current carry information encoded (or modulated) onto the AC signal, such as sound (audio) or images (video). These currents typically alternate at higher frequencies than those used in power transmission.


Also Known As
AC
Related Terms
Direct currentElectricityelectric currenttransmission lineselectricity generationtransmission line
References
  1. http://www1.eere.energy.gov/solar/solar_glossary.html#alternating_current
  2. http://www.eia.gov/tools/glossary/index.cfm?id=A#alt_current