Electricity has been around for centuries, yet it wasn’t until the nineteenth century that electrical science reached a level of practical application.
Electrical technology is the branch of engineering that deals with designing, fabricating, testing and maintaining electrical systems. This encompasses everything from the small circuits in a computer to the immense power grids that power our world.
The Voltaic Pile
In 1800, Italian scientist Alessandro Volta created the first electric battery – then known as “voltaic pile”. This invention generated continuous electrical current and opened up new research fields.
Volta conducted an experiment where he placed pairs of copper (or silver) and zinc discs separated by cloth or cardboard and soaked them in brine. When these discs touched each other, an electric current could be generated that could be measured with a voltmeter.
He soon realized that the current would increase when he stacked multiple electrochemical cells together, leading to the invention of the voltaic pile, which formed the basis for all modern batteries.
Though revolutionary at its inception, the voltaic pile had some limitations. If too many cells were piled, their brine solution got squeezed and reduced current production; also, metals exposed to salt water corrode quickly.
The battery is an essential element of electrical technology. It powers our phones, cars, computers and more – providing us with energy when we need it most.
An electrochemical process transforms chemical energy into electrical power. Batteries use electrodes and an electrolyte solution to maintain balance in electron flow and charged ions.
Italian scientist Alessandro Volta invented the battery in 1780, often credited as being the first proof that electricity exists. But its invention actually began with an unusual experiment involving frogs.
Volta observed frogs’ legs twitch when touched with certain metals, leading him to believe these movements were caused by an electrical current inside their bodies.
The Induction Coil
The Induction Coil is a device that provides an alternate means of storing energy in the form of magnetic fields. It plays an integral role in many electronic components and produces various effects.
The coil is wound around a core made of magnetic material, such as air or iron with strong magnetic properties. The core material determines the parameters of the coil such as inductance and resonance frequency.
The size and length of a coil play an integral role in determining its induced voltage magnitude and direction. The longer the length, the greater resistance it presents to creating magnetic flux for any given magnitude of field force applied.
The transformer is an electrical device that transforms AC voltage by applying Faraday’s law of induction. It consists of two coils wrapped around a core, allowing electrical energy to pass more efficiently between them.
The primary coil receives electricity from its source and transmits it to the secondary winding. Depending on what is required of it, this electrical energy may be increased or decreased according to load demand.
Transformers come in various sizes and shapes. Some are large enough to power entire cities, while others are smaller and more portable like those you can hold in your hand while charging a video camera’s battery cradle. Some even measure power to prevent overcharging or overloading of devices.
The number of turns on both primary and secondary windings determines whether a transformer increases or decreases voltage. Generally, more turns on the primary than on the secondary will cause an increase in voltage (step-up); conversely, less turns on the primary and more on the secondary will result in decrease of voltage (step-down). Copper losses associated with transformers are small but nonetheless present.