alternating current

alternating current
electric current electric current, electrical current electrical current, the movement of electrically charged particles, atoms, or ions, through solids, liquids, gases, or free space; the term is usually used of relatively smooth movements of electric charge through conductors, whether constant or variable. Sudden movements of charge are usually referred to by other terms, such as {spark} or {lightning} or {discharge}. In metallic conductors the electric current is usually due to movement of electrons through the metal. The current is measured as the rate of movement of charge per unit time, and is counted in units of amperes. As a formal definition, the direction of movement of electric current is considered as the same as the direction of movement of positive charge, or in a direction opposite to the movement of negative charge. Electric current may move constantly in a single direction, called {direct current} (abbreviated {DC}), or may move alternately in one direction and then the opposite direction, called {alternating current} (abbreviated {AC}). [PJC]

The Collaborative International Dictionary of English. 2000.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Alternating current — (green curve). The horizontal axis measures time; the vertical, current or voltage. In alternating current (AC, also ac) the movement of electric charge periodically reverses direction. In direct current (DC, also dc), the flow of electric charge …   Wikipedia

  • Alternating current — Al ter*nat ing cur rent (Elec.) A current which periodically changes or reverses its direction of flow, especially an electric current that reverses direction sinusoidally, as is used for most domestic and industrial power requirements.… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • alternating current — alternating currents N VAR An alternating current is an electric current that continually changes direction as it flows. The abbreviation AC is also used …   English dictionary

  • alternating current — ► NOUN ▪ an electric current that reverses its direction many times a second. Compare with DIRECT CURRENT(Cf. ↑direct current) …   English terms dictionary

  • alternating current — n. an electric current that reverses its direction periodically: abbrev. AC: cf. DIRECT CURRENT …   English World dictionary

  • alternating current — n [U] AC a flow of electricity that changes direction regularly and quickly →↑direct current …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • Alternating Current —   [engl., Abk. AC], Wechselstrom …   Universal-Lexikon

  • alternating current — Synonyms and related words: AC, DC, absorption current, active current, conduction current, convection current, cycle, delta current, dielectric displacement current, direct current, displacement current, eddy current, electric current, electric… …   Moby Thesaurus

  • alternating current — noun an electric current that reverses direction sinusoidally In the US most household current is AC at 60 cycles per second • Syn: ↑AC, ↑alternating electric current • Ant: ↑direct current • Hypernyms: ↑electricity, ↑ …   Useful english dictionary

  • alternating current — an electric current that reverses direction at regular intervals, having a magnitude that varies continuously in sinusoidal manner. Abbr.: ac Cf. direct current. [1830 40] * * * ▪ electronics abbreviation  AC        flow of electric charge that… …   Universalium

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