What is alternating in alternating current? I’m sure you have heard of alternating current. It’s the kind of thing you see in your electric company or your water heater. But what does that mean? How does it work?
In order to answer the question, “what is alternating in alternating current?” we need to first understand how electricity actually works. Your electric company produces electricity by sending alternating currents through conductors. In turn, those conductors get pushed by an electrical current and change state from one to another. This change can either be a temporary one such as light knocking on a door or a permanent one such as a car jumping out of the road.
In short, the amount of current flowing through a circuit determines the state of that current. The term ‘polarity’ is used to describe the variation of a current’s polarity. An alternating current flows in only one direction along the wire. Conversely, a direct current flows in only one direction along the wire. There are also multiple alternating currents. They flow in opposite directions, and because they are fed from different conductors, create a ‘focal point’.
Why would anybody want to know what is alternating in alternating current? Let’s say you wanted to start your car. To power it, you would install an electric motor. While that motor was working and running, the alternator was slowly supplying you power. Eventually, the alternator will power itself. You just installed the motor, and the current you were using was the result of the alternating current, not the direct current you were getting from your battery.
Now, let’s say you want to have some lights in your house. You can have them turned on or off at certain times of the day. When you ask “what is alternating current?”
Your answer may be that the electricity you get from your electric company is alternating current. What you really should be asking is what is the direct current produced by your batteries, and how much of that is going to your lighting and appliances. That is why you need a device to measure how much current you are actually getting.
Some devices are able to tell you this information. They’re called sensors. One such device is a magnetometer. A magnetometer looks like a big black box with a strip of metal running down the middle, and when it detects movement in this strip, it tells you what is alternating current.
Here’s another question: what is alternating current if I don’t plug in an electric meter into my wall outlet? It will always run on electricity, and it will never be off. The only time it won’t work is when there isn’t a lot of magnetic force acting on it. For instance, if there is a lot of wind blowing, it’s not going to have much effect. In other words, it won’t generate a lot of alternating current. You can actually use the idea of a magnetometer to determine how many amperes you’re using, since all you have to do is take a reading and read the display.
Let me give you another example. Let’s say that you have a permanent magnet in your hand. When you hold it near your body, it feels a little bit of a pull. If you place your thumb on the magnet, it feels even stronger. This is because the attraction-repulsion effect is working on your body. Now, consider the magnetic field around the magnet.
It looks like a stretched spring. What is the magnetic field in your hand? It looks like a stretched spring, too. If you move your fingers quickly towards each other, you feel some kind of resistance. That’s the electrical field surrounding your magnets, creating a potential for electricity.
The potential for electricity is created by the movement of water molecules through the H20 mixture. When you hold a piece of clothing in your hand, the molecules move from left to right, creating an electric charge. You may have seen an electric charge running along a small metal strip. The same thing happens when you’re walking through a room. The air currents create the potential for an electrical current.
So, just by reading this short overview, you can begin to understand the basic concepts of how electricity is produced, and moved through a system. With that understanding, you’ll probably be able to answer the question “what is alternating in alternating current?” yourself. Good luck!