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In terms of natural resources electricity is an
expensive form of energy, since the
efficiency of heat-to-electricity conversion,
on a commercial scale, rarely exceeds 40%.
Electricity constitutes a form of energy itself
which occurs naturally only in unusable forms
such as lightning and other static discharges or in
the natural galvanic cells, which cause
corrosion. A galvanic cell is a spontaneous
electrochemical cell that produces electricity by
a spontaneous redox reaction.
The primary problem in the utilization of electric
is that, unlike fuels or even heat, it cannot be
stored and therefore must be generated and
utilized at the same instant.
The bulk of electric energy utilized today is in
the form of alternating current (a-c),
produced by a-c generators, commonly called
alternators. Direct-current (d-c) generators
are utilized for special applications requiring
large quantities of d-c. In the building field,
such a requirement is found in elevator work.
Smaller quantities of d-c, furnished either by
batteries or by rectifiers are utilized for
telephone and signal equipment, controls,
and other specialized uses.
When electricity flows in a conductor, a
certain number of electrons pass a given
point in the conductor in 1 second.
Numerically, an ampere of current flows in a
conductor when 6.25 x 1018 electrons pass a
given cross section in 1 second.
Current or amperage, is abbreviated - Amp,
Amps or a. (on 120 volt service, the ordinary
100 Watt lamp filament carries about 0.833
amp, the motor for a desk calculator, about
1.00 amp.) Current is represented in
equations by 1.
It is convenient to establish an analogy between
electric systems and mechanical systems as an
aid to comprehension. Current, or amperage, is a
measure of flow and, and such, would
correspond to water flow in a hydraulic system.
The correspondence is not complete, however,
since in the hydraulic system the velocity of
water flow varies, whereas in the electric system
the velocity of propagation is constant and may
be considered instantaneous; hence, the need to
utilize the electric energy the instant it is
The electron movement and its concomittant
energy, which constitutes electricity, is
caused by creating a higher positive electric
charge at one point on a conductor that '
exists at another point on that same
conductor. This difference in charge can be
created in a number of ways.
The oldest and simplest method is by
electrochemical action, as in the battery. In
the ordinary dry cell, or in a storage battery,
chemical action causes positive charges (+) to
collect on the positive terminal and electrons
or negative charges () to collect on the
negative terminals.
There is a definite force attraction, or
tendency to flow, between the electrified
particles concentrated at the positive and
negative terminals. Potential difference or
Voltage is the name given to this
electromotive force (emf). This force is
analogous to pressure in a hydraulic or
pneumatic system.
Just as the pressure produced by a pump or
blower causes water or air to flow in a
connecting pipe, so too the potential (emf,
voltage) produced by a battery (or generator)
causes current to flow when the terminals
between which a voltage exists are
connected by a conductor. The higher the
voltage (pressure), the higher the current
(flow) for a given resistance (friction).
The flow of fluid in a hydraulic system is
impeded by friction; the flow of current in an
electric circuit is impeded (resisted) by
resistance, which is the electrical term for
friction. In a direct-current circuit (d-c) this
unit is called resistance and is abbreviated R;
in an alternating-current circuit (a-c) it is
called impedance and is abbreviated Z. The
unit of measurement is called the ohm.
Materials display different resistance to the flow of
electric current. Metals generally have the least
resistance and are therefore called conductors. The
best conductors are the precious metalssilver, gold,
and platinumwith copper and aluminum only
slightly inferior. Conversely, materials that resist the
flow of current are called insulators. Glass, mica,
rubber, oil, distilled water, porcelain, and certain
synthetics such as phenolic compounds exhibit this
insulating property and are therefore used to insulate
electric conductors. Common examples are rubber
and plastic wire coverings, porcelain lamp sockets,
and oil-immersed switches.
The current I that will flow in a d-c circuit is
directly proportional to the voltage V and
inversely proportional to the resistance R of
the circuit. Expressed as an equation, we have
the basic form of Ohm's law that
that is, a current 1 is produced that is
proportional to the electric pressure V and
inversely proportional to the electric friction
1) An incandescent lamp having a hot
resistance of 66 ohms is put into a socket that
is connected to a 115 V supply. What current
flows through the lamp?
(these figures correspond to a normal 200 W
2)A bathroom heater draws 11 amperes at 120 V
what is its hot resistance?
)A bathroom heater draws 11 amperes at 120
V what is its hot resistance?
(these figures correspond to a 1320 W
portable heater) )A household electric water
heater is rated 220 V and 20 amperes. What is
the unit's resistance when drawing this
amount of current?
a) Series Circuits
The elements are connected one after the
other in series. Thus, the resistance and the
voltage add.
An electric circuit may be defined as a
complete conducting path that carries
current from a source of electricity to and
through some electrical device (or load) and
back to the source. A current can never flow
unless there is a complete (closed) circuit.
The battery voltage may be called Vab = 120v
The voltage across the load resistance, Vcd =
115v The resistance of the two wires rbc = rda
= 0.04 ohm.
The battery in the above figure is rated at
120v, the line resistance (both wires) is 0.04
ohm, and the load resistance is 1.15 ohms.
Determine the (a) current flowing in the
circuit, (b) the voltage across the load (Vcd)-
A )the current flowing is:
b)The voltage drop across the load is

A practical application of series circuits is found

in an incandescent lamp street lighting
circuits. The figure below explains that loss of
one lamp can disable the entire circuit.
Futhermore, the point of fault is difficult to
pinpoint, necessitating individual testing of
b) Parallel Circuits
When two or more branches or loads in a
circuit are connected between the same two
points, they are said to be connected in
parallel or multiple. Such an arrangement and
its hydraulic equivalent are shown below.
From the circuit shown below, it should be
apparent that multiple loads are across the
same voltage and, in effect, constitute
separate circuits. From this we conclude that
the circuit is the sum of the individual
currents flowing in the branches that is,
Loads connected in parallel are equivalent to
separate circuits superimposed into a single
connection. Each load acts as an independent
circuit unrelated to, and unaffected by the
other circuits. Notice that the total current
flowing in the circuit is the sum of all the
branches, but that the current in each branch
is the result of a separate Ohm's Law
calculation. Thus in the 10-ohm load a 12-
amp current flows and so forth.
The parallel connection is the standard
arrangement in all building wiring. A typical
lighting and receptacle arrangement for a
large room is shown below.
Here the lights constitute one parallel
grouping, and the convenience wall outlets
constitute a second parallel grouping. The
fundamental principle to remember is that
loads in parallel are additive for current, and
that each has the same voltage imposed.
Current is inversely proportional to resist-
ance. Thus as resistance drops, current rises
under ordinary conditions that circuit will
carry 10 amp. and will operate normally.
But, if by some mischance, a connection
appears between points a and b, the circuit is
shortened so that there is no resistance in the
circuit. The current rises instantly to a very
high level, and the condition constitutes a
short circuit. If the circuit is properly
protected, the fuse or circuit breaker will
open, and the circuit will be disabled. If not,
excessive current will probably start a fire.

(d-c) and (a-c)
Direct currentwhenever the flow of
electric current takes place at a constant
time rate, practically unvarying and in the
same direction around the circuit. The
terms universally accepted are "d-c
voltage" or "d-c current". The d-c voltages
of 1.5v positive polarity, and 1.0v negative
polarity is shown below,
a) GRAPHIC representation of d-c voltages with
positive and negative polarity
b) CIRCUIT SYMBOL representation of
Alternating Current whenever the flow of
current is periodically varying in time and in
direction, as indicated by the symmetrical
positive and negative loops or sine waves
as in the figure 2, it is called an alternating
The distance along the time axis spanned by a
positive and negative a-c loop is called one cycle
of time. Modern a-c systems in the United States
operates at 60 cycles per second, or 60 hertz.
This means that current at 60 hertz'(Hz) is
delivered to the consumer. In a-c, instead of
resistance, the corresponding parameter in an a-
c circuit is impedance, which is also measured
in ohms. Thus for an a-c circuit, the equivalent
to Ohm's Law is
a)Direct CurrentSince the d-c generator is in
reality an a-c generator with a device
(commutator), attached, which rectifies the a-c
to d-c, the battery is still the only major direct
source of direct current. The d-c generators are
used where accurate speed control is desired, for
example, for elevators, or where d-c is required
on a larger and more sustained basis than would
be economical for batteries. Of course, a rotating
d-c generator unlike a battery, must be driven to
produce power. The prime mover can be a motor,
engine, turbine, or any other device that will
provide the required input power.
Another source of d-c power is rectification of
a-c that can be accomplished on any desired
scale to provide as much d-c power as there is
available a-c power. Various types of rectifiers
are in commercial use, including selenium,
silicon and copper-oxide types.
b)Alternating Current Alternating current is
produced commercially by an a-c generator,
called an alternator. The prime mover, as in the
case of the d-c units may be any type of engine
or Turbine. The process by which electricity is
produced is shown in the figures below. This
principle of electromagnetic induction states
that when an electrical conductor is moved in a
magnetic field, a voltage is induced in it. The
direction of the movement determines the
polarity of the induced voltage as shown.
If the conductor is formed into a coil and
rotated in the magnetic field, a voltage of
alternating polarity is produced, that is,
alternating current. It does not matter
whether the conductor or the magnet moves;
the motion of the conductor and the field
with respect to each other produces the
Energyis the technical term for the more common
expression work. In terms of power, it is the product of
power and time, that is
energy or work = power x time
In practical terms, energy is synonymous with fuel and
therefore also cost. Thus energy can be expressed as barrels
(tons) of oil, cubic feet (cu. meters'. of gas, tons of coal,
kilowatt hours of electricity usage, and dollars/pesos of
operating cost. The concept of energy efficiency of
structures can be stated in terms of annual usage of oil, gas,
and electricity or alternatively in terms of $,peso or of total
fuel cost. In technical terms, energy is expressed in units of
Btu (calories), foot-pounds (joules), and kilowatt-hours.
Power is the rate at which energy is used, or
alternatively, the rate at which work is done. Since
energy and work are synonymous.
The term power implies continuity, that is, the use of
energy at a particular rate, over a given, generally
considerable, span of time. Thus multiplying power
by time yields energy. Typical units of power in the
English system are horsepower, Btu per hour, wall
and kilowatt. In the metric or SI System the
corresponding units are joules per second, calories
per second, watts and kilowatts. In physical terms
power is also the rate at which fuel (energy) is used.
Thus power can also be expressed as gallons (liters)
of oil per hour, cubic feet (cu. meters) of gas per
minute, and tons of coal per day.
The unit of electric power is the watt W. A larger
unit of 1000 watts is the kilowatt (kw). The power
input in watts to any electrical device having a
resistance R and in which the current is I is given
by the equation:

this is true for both a-c and d-c circuits. However,

since the resistance of an item is generally not
known, but the circuit voltage and current are
known. It would be preferable to calculate Power
in this equation.
Since power is the rate of energy use, it follows
that energy = power x time. Therefore the
amount of energy used is directly proportional to
the power of the system and to the length of
time it is in operation. Since power is expressed
in either watts or kilowatts, and time in hours
(second and minutes are too small for use), we
have for units of energy: watt-hours (wh) or
kilowatt-hours (kwh) energy used for one hour.