 
Glossary

Basic
Electrical



AIR CORE INDUCTOR

An
inductor that uses air as the only care material.


ALTERNATING CURRENT

(AC)
current that periodically reverses direction as it flows.


AMPERE

The unit by which electrical current is measured. One ampere, or amp, is
defined as the flow of 6.28 x 10^{18} electrons past a given point
in one second.


ARCING

Current flow through air, as can occur across an open switch.


ATOMS

Tiny
units of matter that contain electrically charged particles.
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CAPACITANCE

The
ability to store electrical energy.


CAPACITOR

A
component used to control and/or increase the amount of capacitance in an
electrical circuit.


CIRCUIT

A
complete path for a current, including a voltage source and resistance.


CONDUCTOR

A
material that offers very little resistance to electron flow.


CURRENT

The
movement, or flow, of electrons in a circuit.


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DIRECT CURRENT

Current that flows in only one direction.


ELECTROMAGNETISM

Magnetism that is created by current flowing through a conductor.


ELECTRON

A
negatively charged subatomic particle.


FRICTION

The
rubbing of one material against another.
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INDUCTANCE

A
physical property of all conductors that tends to oppose a change in
current flow.


INDUCTION

The
process that produces a voltage due to interaction of a conductor, a
magnetic field, and relative motion between them.


INDUCTOR

A
component specifically designed to increase the amount of inductance in a
circuit.


INSULATOR

A
material that offers a great deal of resistance to electron flow.


OHM

The
unit by which resistance is measured. One ohm is defined as the
resistance that allows one amp of current to flow in a circuit when there
is one volt pushing the current.


OHM’S LAW

A
statement of the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance in
an electrical circuit: current equals voltage divided by resistance.


OPEN CIRCUIT

A
circuit in which the resistance is so great that there is no current flow.


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PARALLEL CIRCUIT

A
circuit containing two or more parallel paths through which current can
flow.


POWER

The
rate at which work is done. Power is calculated by multiplying
current times voltage.


PROTON

A
positively charged subatomic particle.


RESISTANCE

An
electrical property that opposes the flow of current through a circuit.


RESISTOR

A
component that is put into a circuit to reduce current flow.


SELFINDUCTION

A
type of induction that occurs within a single conductor; it occurs when a
change in the electromagnetic field around a conductor induces a voltage
in that conductor.


SERIES CIRCUIT

A
circuit that contains a single path for current to follow. The
component in a series circuit are connected end to end.


SHORT CIRCUIT

A
circuit in which the resistance drops to almost zero and current reaches its
maximum value.


STEPDOWN TRANSFORMER

A
transformer that decreases voltage.


STEPUP TRANSFORMER

A
transformer that increases voltage.
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TRANSFORMER

A
component used to change AC voltage to meet specific requirements.


VOLT

The
unit by which voltage is measured. One volt is defined as the
voltage necessary to drive a current of one ampere through a resistance of
one ohm.


VOLTAGE

The
driving force that makes electrons flow.


VOLTAGE DROP

The
amount of voltage across a resistor in an electrical circuit.


WATT

The
unit by which electric power is measured. The amount of power
produced when one volt causes one ampere of current to flow.


WATTHOUR

The
basic unit used to measure electrical energy. Watthours are
determined by multiplying power by time. One watthour is the amount
of energy used when one watt of power is delivered to an electrical device
for one hour.


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