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Basic Electricity

Electricity Basics

TermDefinition
Voltage Source A two-terminal device which can maintain a fixed voltage - such as a battery or wall outlet.
Load Anything which consumes electrical energy, such as lights, transformers, heaters and electric motors.
Insulator Any material where electric current does not flow freely. Materials, such as glass, rubber, air, and many plastics have a relatively high resistance - protect equipment and life from electric shock.
Conductor Any material where electric current can flow freely, with a relatively low resistance - examples are copper and aluminum wire.
Voltage An electromotive force or "pressure" that causes electrons to flow and can be compared to water pressure which causes water to flow in a pipe. Measured in volts.
Current The flow of an electric charge through a conductor - can be compared to the flow of water in a pipe. Measured in amperes.
Resistance The opposition to the passage of an electric current - can be compared to the friction experienced by water when flowing through a pipe. Measured in ohms.
Series Circuit A circuit in which there is only one path for electricity to flow. All of the current in the circuit must flow through all of the loads. Remove one light and rest of the lights go out!!
Parallel Circuit A circuit in which there are multiple paths for electricity to flow. Remove one light and the rest of the lights stay on!!
Electron A tiny particle which rotates around the nucleus of an atom. It has a negative charge of electricity.
Direct Current (DC) An electric current that flows in only one direction.
Alternating Current (AC) An electric current that reverses its direction many times a second at regular intervals.
Circuit A closed path in which electrons from a voltage or current source flow - can be in series, parallel, or in any combination of the two.
Generator A device which converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.
Electricity The flow of electrons.
Combination Series-Parallel Circuit A circuit that has a "combination" of series and parallel paths for the electricity to flow. Most circuits are these.
Created by: poliszuk