What is AC or Alternating Current?

AC or Alternating current is an electric current that continuously changes its magnitude with time and periodically reverses its direction. In Direct Current or DC, there is no change in direction, and the magnitude of the current is also the same.

AC current is most commonly used for home and industrial purposes. Most of the common application of AC is an electric fan, pump, motor, Light, TV, Fridge, Washing machine, Microwave, induction cooker, etc. The main source of AC power is the alternator while the main source of DC is a Battery cell. The AC can be converted to a DC supply, for example, a rectifier unit which is generally used in electronics applications for charging the battery, mobile phone, and running other DC-operated instruments.  By using Inverter, the DC can be converted to AC supply. Inverter generally used in House for backup power supply from the battery.

The waveform of alternating current can be different. However, Sinusoidal waveform AC is most commonly used and the frequency of the current or voltage is 50 Hz or 60 Hz.  For example, in 50 Hz, alternating current does 50 complete cycles. So, for doing one complete cycle, the time required (1000 ms/50)= 20 ms time.

ac or alternating current
ac or alternating current

The figure shows a complete cycle of AC. Under this, the voltage goes from Zero to maximum magnitude in the positive direction, and again it goes to maximum magnitude in the negative direction and comes back to zero.

What are the different sources of AC or Alternating Current?

Alternating Current is mainly generated from the following sources.

  • Generator
  • Alternator
  • Inverter
  • LC Oscillator
  • Crystal oscillator

Advantages of Alternating Current

Following are the advantages of Alternating current

  • Alternating current can easily generate by rotating the generator or alternator.
  • Easily available and economical
  • Due to the principle of mutual induction in AC, it is used in various applications like fans, motors, induction cookers, etc.
  • Easy to voltage up or voltage down by using a transformer and easy to transmission and distribution of power

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