Difference Between AC and DC Currents | AC and DC Waveforms

AC and DC Currents:

Conductive materials contain free electrons that move from one atom to another when the potential difference between them is applied. This flow of electrons in a closed circuit is called current. Based on the direction of motion of the electrons in a closed circuit, the electric current is mainly classified into two types, namely alternating current and direct current.

Difference between AC and DC

Electric current can be generated in two ways, AC (alternating current) and DC (direct current). Electricity can be defined as the flow of electrons through a wire-like conductor. The main difference between AC and DC is mainly in the direction in which the electrons are supplied. In direct current, the flow of electrons is in the same direction and in alternating current; The flow of electrons changes their directions as they move forward and then backward. The difference between AC and DC mainly consists of the following.

What is AC Current?

The AC current changes its polarity and magnitude periodically and continuously with respect to time. The Ac current can be produced with a device named alternator that produces the alternating current.

AC Current wave form

AC Wave Form


AC Current Circuit

What is DC Current?

The DC current is a unidirectional flow of current or electric charge unlike AC it does not change the magnitude and polarity with time. The DC current has constant magnitude and direction and as the direction and magnitude not changes so the frequency of DC current is zero. The electrons in DC current flow from high electron density to low electron density.

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Application of AC

  • AC is used for long-distance transmission for Offices and Homes
  • Energy Loss in AC is less so widely used in transmission
  • The AC current can be converted into a high voltage to low voltage and low to high voltage efficiently using the transformer
  • AC power is used in larger applications and appliances like Freezers, AC. Dishwashers, washing machines, Fans, Bulbs.

Application of DC current

  • DC current is widely used in small electronic devices and gadgets
  • DC current is not good for long-distance transmission but storage of dc current is easy in form of Battery.
  • DC power is used in Cell phones, laptops, radio and other electronic gadgets
  • DC Current are used in flashlights
  • DC current are used in EV and hybrid cars and automobile

Difference between AC and DC

  • Ac current changes its direction during flow while the DC current does not changes its direction during flow and remains constant.
  • The AC current has a frequency that shows how many times the direction of current flow changes during flow while the frequency of the direct current is zero as it do not change the direction of flow.
  • The power factor of AC is 0 to 1 While DC is Constant Zero.
  • The AC current is generated by the alternator while DC current is generated by Photovoltaic cells, generators and batteries.
  • The AC load can be capacitive, inductive or resistive but the load on DC is always resistive.
  • The DC current graph has a constant line showing magnitude and direction is constant while the AC current can be a sinusoidal wave, square wave or triangular wave.
  • The AC converted into DC using a device named rectifier while the DC converted into AC named inverter.
  • AC is widely used in industrial equipment and consumer electronics like AC, Freezer, Cooler, washing machine, lights, fans While DC is used in electronic gadgets and small devices like clocks, laptops, cell phones, Sensors.
  • Ac can be transmitted over long distance with some loss while DC can be transmitted very long distance with very low loss using HVDC
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