All useful generators of electricity come in two basic forms, alternating current and direct current. Direct current (dc) comes from generators that do not change in polarity, always producing a positive charge. In alternating current (ac) the polarity of the terminals is always changing from positive to negative. Thus you are left with alternating current flow. There are different ways of measuring and generating alternating and direct current. Direct current only flows in one direction in a circuit.
Because the polarity of a direct current voltage source is always the same the flow of current never changes direction. Batteries are one of the more common direct current voltage sources. Batteries are good because their voltage is fixed as well as their polarity. Direct current dose not always need to a constant voltage but it must always stay traveling in the same direction. There are such direct currents called varying and pulsating that change value but not direction. Alternating current is always changing in direction and amplitude.
The current flow in alternating current changes in even intervals. Ac usually changes in power and direction. The vast majority of power supplied for households and big business is alternating current. This is because of the ease of generating alternating current in alternators.
The main concept of alternators is moving a conductor through magnetic lines. The change in the magnetic field around the conductor or vice versa makes electrons move. When you have physically moved either the conductor or magnet in a complete 306-degree circle you have produced one sine wave or one complete cycle. The amount of time it takes to complete one cycle is referred to as a period. The frequency of an alternating sine wave is the amount of cycles per second.
Frequency is measured in hertz. One hertz is equivalent to one cycle per second. The frequency coming out of your electrical plug at home is 60 Hz. The peak value in a sine wave is the top voltage level away from zero. The peak-to-peak voltage value is referring to difference between the positive peaks value to the negative peak value. The effective or rms value of a sine wave is the actual amount you would use or measure using a multi-meter.
In three-phase alternating current there are three different coils or conductors that produce three different sine waves. These waves are constantly overlapping. This produces 1. 73 times more power than single phase alternators. Without the use of alternators where would we be? We might have to find a more powerful and dependent natural resource such as solar power. Being able to use a small amount of power to produce more power sounds to me like a powerful dependent form of power.
I want my own alternators hooked up to solar power so that I never have to pay an electricity bill again. What kind of current do you like?