Have you ever wondered how electricity gets to your home? Have you ever tried plugging in a lamp and received no response? Or even worse, seen your workbench take on an electrical charge that disrupted processes happening nearby or resulted in sparks flying everywhere? If these issues are of concern to you, then there is good news.
This guide was written to help people like yourself understand the basics of electrical engineering. By understanding this sometimes complex topic, you will be much more prepared for what can happen around electric circuits. You will also be able to recognize when something isn’t working as expected and why it might not be working as expected.
What is electrical engineering?
Electrical engineering is a branch of engineering that deals with the interactions and effects of electric currents and voltages. The world around us would be very different without electricity and the engineers and scientists who pioneered its use. Since we can’t go back in time to see what life was like before electricity, it’s up to you, as an engineer or scientist, to help bring this change into the modern day.
Electrical engineers find innovative ways to produce power, harness energy for useful purposes such as lighting our homes and powering our electronics. They also make it possible to communicate over long distances by sending electrical signals through wires and even protect ourselves from dangerous shocks or electrocution by learning more about disconnect switches and how to install them properly. Electrical engineering is a technology that has become integral to our lives so it is important to stay up-to-date on the latest developments in this field.
Voltage, Current, and Resistance
Voltage is a term referring to the difference in charge between two connected points. Current refers to the rate at which charge passes through a point per second. Resistance measures how easily electricity can flow through a substance, such as wire or rubber insulation for example, and is measured in ohms. The relationship between these three terms is as follows: Voltage = Current x Resistance.
Why is this useful to know? When you plug an appliance into a power outlet, you expect it to turn on. You expect the current flowing through your workbench to be constant and the voltage across the terminals of your lamp’s bulb to be steady enough for it to light up. As shown above, if any one of these quantities changes (current or voltage), it can cause problems further downstream. It is also worth mentioning that electrical systems do not care about whether or not they are AC or DC since all power sources produce both types of currents given the right circuit. However, this isn’t necessarily intuitive at first because the voltage is always referenced in AC circuits and current is always referenced in DC circuits.
Power is defined as the rate of doing work or supplying energy. By definition, power can never be negative since it would imply that it takes longer to do the job than if the job was not done at all. This also implies that power must be associated with an energy transfer, meaning it’s directly related to how long something operates since you are giving energy (time) to an object for it to operate. Since none of us will volunteer to give our appliances more time than they need, we must treat ‘power’ as a positive thing when dealing with electricity.
Electricians, home inspectors, and other electric professionals measure power in watts (J/s) so it’s important for anyone who plans on working with electricity to be able to convert between units since kWh or amps might be easier to work with instead of watts – especially if you are measuring energy use rather than sending energy through a wire. However, do keep in mind that time is always associated with power since you need time for an energy transfer to occur.
A transformer is a device used to transfer electrical energy from one circuit to another through inductive coupling, which means they pass current by using magnetic fields instead of conducting materials like wires. This process allows the transformer to be used in either an AC or DC circuit since the same input can produce different outputs given the right configuration. Looking at a transformer, you may notice that it has two coils of wire wrapped around one another.
If you were to apply alternating current to the primary coil (the coil connected directly to the power source), this would cause a change in magnetic flux resulting in an alternating voltage being induced onto this coil. By Lenz’s law, any change in magnetic flux will induce an opposing voltage/current which means that the secondary coil must have experienced a changing voltage as well. This is why they are often found together inside devices like your PC or TV. Transformers allow us to use low voltages on production lines and then step them up on the other end for consumers to use in their homes.
Jobs in electrical engineering
Electrical engineers are needed in many different industries. As technology advances, so do the areas where electrical engineers are required. Some of these areas include power generation, transmission, and distribution, smart grid technologies for generating energy efficiently at all levels of production, consumer electronics such as radios and televisions that use power from outlets or batteries, automotive technology that uses electrical systems for turning on lights or starting cars, robotics that uses sensors responding to changes in voltage to turn wheels or move metal parts around a shop floor…the list goes on.
Electrical engineering can be found within almost any industry including telecommunications and networking which involves sending information over wire networks through electric currents. Other forms of communication such as sound and video signals can also be sent through wires using electrical engineering principles. For many of us, the items we rely on every day may not function without electricians or even computer science engineers that help develop websites you visit or applications on your phone.
Electrical engineering is a very vast and interesting study that touches almost every area of science and technology. Understanding the basics of how electricity works will allow you to comprehend the world around you in ways you might not have realized. And since the concepts behind electrical engineering can be applied across many different fields, it can be a great choice for students looking to expand their skills in different areas.