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The differences between AC and DC power, in short.

This post comes from a passionate discussion I had with colleagues. It's mad how we can forget about the basics of physics over the years.
  • AC stands for alternating current. It means that the voltage goes from positive to negative. Alternating current is the kind of current you receive at home (e.g., 220V 50Hz in Europe)
  • DC stands for direct current. It means that the voltage remains either all the time positive or all the time negative. Direct current is the kind of current that a battery produces.
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Types of electric current (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

If you remember well your electricity lectures at school, we have:
  •  voltage = resistance * intensity.    (U = R I)
As a resistance is always positive, this means that the sign of the voltage defines the sign of the intensity, that is the direction of the flow of electrons in the wire. Intuitively, it is more difficult to push electrons further and further in the same direction all the time than to have them oscillate locally. This is confirmed in reality and DC is not appropriate for carrying power over long distances. 

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