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Direct Current

Last updated date: 16th May 2024
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What is Direct Current?

The direct current meaning is when the electrical current flows consistently in a single direction. Direct current is produced by rectifiers, batteries, generators with commutators, and fuel cells. For example, the current flowing in appliances running on batteries or in a flashlight is a direct current. The most common use and essentiality of direct current is electroplating. Direct current was supplanted by AC currents (alternating current) for typical commercial power.

AC DC current is one of the most important topics covered in Physics. Alternating Current or AC currents is defined as a type of electrical current in which the electron flow direction alternates back and forth at regular cycles or time intervals. The typical example of current AC is the current flowing household electricity and power lines from a wall outlet. You can use any electrical appliance in India if it meets the standard voltage of 230 Volts and the frequency of 50 Hertz. 

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Difference Between Direct Current and Alternating Current

The primary difference between AC and DC currents are-

The current which changes its direction at regular cycle or time intervals are defined as current AC or Alternating current. Direct current meaning states unidirectional or that current DC flows in only one direction. 

A significant difference between AC current and DC current is that the alternating current frequency is between 50 to 60 Hertz. In contrast, Direct current's frequency remains zero as per the country's standard guidelines. 

An alternator generates the Alternating current while the Direct current is generated by cells, generator, and battery. 

A few substations require AC for the generation and transmission of electricity, while extra substations require electricity transmission through Direct currents.  

The DC and AC current is often inter-converted based on the need. The alternating current is converted into a Direct current using a rectifier, whereas the Direct current is transformed into an Alternating current using an inverter.

AC-DC current holds large applications. AC currents are used in factories, household purposes, and industries, while DC mainly uses flash lighting, electrolysis, electronic equipment, hybrid vehicles, etc.

Similarities Between DC And AC Current

Both AC current DC current results from the induced charge that moves through wires to transmit electrical energy and then use it to power various other devices. 

In AC-DC current, negative electron flow produces the electrical current, and both the currents are harnessed energy that can be tapped. The current flow through a conductor, such as power lines between the device and the power source, uses the power. The negative electrons flow through the line as they are attracted towards the positive charge. 

In both AC current and DC current, a voltage source initiates the current flow in the circuits, converting from one type of current to the other and is considered more accessible.

Application of Direct Current and Alternating Current

The Application of DC is in-.

Batteries: Both non-rechargeable and rechargeable batteries can only supply current DC. However, the rechargeable batteries need regular recharging when using the DC.

Electronic Equipment: All major equipment like cellphones, computers, radios, and all electronic equipment use DC to power the electronic circuits.

Specific Electrical Equipment: Although most electrical equipment uses AC, a few of them use direct current.

Solar Panels: Solar panels mainly produce direct current. However, when used with an AC main to supply local AC power, an inverter is required to enable the direct current, DC from the solar panels and convert it into AC.

The Application of AC is-

The alternating current is used primarily for power distribution and holds a significant advantage in that it can easily be converted to other voltages using a simple transformer. Transformers do not work with DC power.

Alternating current is mainly used in the industry of the production and transportation of electricity. Almost every household across the globe is powered by AC as DC is generally not used and preferred for these purposes as it is more power lost to heat than AC. This might also lead to higher risks of producing fire, issues, and even higher costs while converting high voltage and low current to low voltage and high current using a transformer.

AC is also the current used to electric power motors, which converts electrical energy into mechanical energy. Most of the household appliances that we use that rely on AC aren't limited to garbage disposals, refrigerators, toasters, and dishwashers.

AC is highly popular for power generation because machines generate that power much less expensively, it involves decreasing of voltage, and is easier to produce.

FAQs on Direct Current

1. State AC and DC Current Meaning.

Ans: DC current meaning is when the electric charge inside a conductor flows in a single direction. The magnitude of a direct current always remains constant, and the frequency of the current remains zero. DC meaning is that the current flow is unidirectional. Direct current is most commonly used in electric vehicles, cell phones, electronic welding applications, etc. 

AC currents are defined as the current that changes its direction periodically. The polarity and magnitude of an Alternating current also vary with time. In this current, the free electrons with an electrical charge move in both forward and backward direction. This leads to voltage variations alternating between positive and negative waveforms. AC is generated by power plants or generators and is generally used by household appliances when plugged into the house's outlets. 

2. Differentiate Between AC and DC Currents.

Ans: The difference between direct current and alternating current are as follows-

AC DC electricity is generated differently. DC is generated from DC generators and batteries. In contrast, Alternating Current (AC) is generated from electrical power plants and AC generators, which converts mechanical energy into AC power more readily than the conversion in a DC power plant. This is because DC generators typically rely on the oscillatory or circular motion that directly induces the AC.

DC and AC currents have different applications and use as well. Every cord hooked up "to the grid" runs on an Alternating current, whereas any battery-operated devices such as cellphones or power tools operate on DC.

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