Electrical Engineering ABC: Fundamentals and Terms
Here are some optimized technical terms from electrical engineering with simple explanations. This list is continuously expanding.
Current is the electric charge flowing per unit of time through an electrical conductor. It is measured in Amperes (A).
Voltage is the electric potential difference between two points in an electric circuit. It is measured in Volts (V) and is responsible for the flow of current.
Resistance is a measure of a component or conductor's ability to impede the flow of current. It is measured in Ohms (Ω) and follows Ohm's law.
Power is the amount of work per unit of time performed or transferred in an electrical system. It is measured in Watts (W) and is calculated as the product of current and voltage.
Ohm's law states that the current flowing through an electrical conductor is directly proportional to the applied voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance: I = U/R.
Kirchhoff's laws are fundamental principles in electrical circuit theory. The first law states that the sum of currents flowing into a node in a circuit is equal to the sum of currents flowing out of that node. The second law states that the sum of voltage drops around a closed loop is equal to the sum of voltage sources.
Direct Current (DC)
Direct current is an electric current where the direction of current flow is constant.
Alternating Current (AC)
Alternating current is an electric current where the direction of current flow periodically changes. It is commonly used in households and public power supply.
Frequency is the number of periods (cycles) per unit of time in a periodic signal. In electrical engineering, it is measured in Hertz (Hz).
Phase shift is the time difference between two periodic signals, usually sinusoidal in nature. It is measured in degrees or radians and indicates how much one signal is shifted with respect to the other.
A circuit diagram is a simplified graphical representation of an electrical circuit. It shows the components and their connections.
A capacitor is an electronic component that can store electric charge. It consists of two conducting plates separated by a dielectric (insulator).
Coupled conductors are two conductors connected through electromagnetic induction, such as a primary and a secondary coil in a transformer.
A coil is a component consisting of a wound wire. It generates a magnetic field when current flows through it and can have measurable effects in terms of inductance.
Inductance is the ability of a coil to generate a voltage when the current through it changes. It is measured in Henry (H) and affects current flow in AC circuits.
Capacitance is the ability of a capacitor to store charge. It is measured in Farads (F) and affects current flow in AC circuits.
A transistor is an electronic component used as an amplifier or switch in circuits. It consists of semiconductor material and can control the flow of current.
A semiconductor is a material that exhibits electrical conductivity between an insulator and a conductor. Semiconductor materials like silicon or germanium are used in electronics.
A diode is an electronic component that allows current flow in only one direction. It consists of a semiconductor material and is often used as a rectifier.
A relay is an electromechanical switching device that can control an electric circuit. It consists of a coil and a switch actuated by the coil.
A switch is an electronic component or device that can interrupt or close the circuit to control the flow of current.
A network is a connection of electrical components, devices, or circuits. It can have different topologies such as series or parallel connections.
A transformer is an electrical device that can change the voltage and current in an AC circuit. It consists of two or more coils and utilizes electromagnetic induction.
An electromagnet is a magnet created by the flow of current through a coil. It consists of a core material and a coil and is used in many applications like electric motors.
Impedance is the overall resistance to current flow in an AC circuit. It includes resistance and the reactive component (inductive or capacitive).
A short circuit occurs when a conductor has very low resistance and allows the current to flow unrestricted. It can lead to overloading and be dangerous.
An electric circuit is a closed path through which electric current flows. It consists of a power source, loads, and connections.
A series circuit is a connection of electrical components where the current passes through each load in the same path. The total voltage is divided across the loads.
A parallel circuit is a connection of electrical components where the current divides and each load has a separate path. The voltage remains the same for each load.
A fuse is a protective device inserted in a circuit to guard against overcurrent. It melts when the current exceeds a certain limit, interrupting the circuit.
Overcurrent protection is a mechanism or device that safeguards the circuit against damage caused by excessive current flow. This can be achieved through fuses, circuit breakers, or relays.
Grounding is a connection of an electrical system or device to the Earth. It serves to safely divert electric currents and reduce the risk of electric shocks.
A frequency converter is an electronic device that can change the frequency of an AC power supply. It is commonly used in drive technology to control the speed of electric motors.
Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC)
Electromagnetic compatibility deals with the ability of electrical devices and systems to prevent electromagnetic interference and not be affected by it.
Power loss is the electrical power dissipated as heat in a component or system. It occurs due to resistance, inductance, and capacitance.
Short Circuit Current
Short circuit current is the current that flows through a circuit when a short circuit occurs. It can be extremely high and must be considered when designing protective devices.
Power factor is the ratio of real power (actual power used) to apparent power (product of current and voltage) in an AC circuit. It indicates how efficiently electrical power is utilized.
Insulation resistance is the electrical resistance between two conductors separated by insulation. It provides information about the quality of insulation and is often measured during safety tests.