Difference Between AC and DC Voltage

AC vs DC Voltage

AC and DC, also known as alternating current and direct current, are two basic types of current signals. An AC voltage signal is a signal where the net area under the voltage – time curve is zero whereas DC voltage is a unidirectional flow of electrical charges. In this article, we are going to discuss what AC voltage and DC voltage are, their application, how AC voltages and DC voltages are produced, the definitions of AC voltages and DC voltages, the similarities between these two, and finally the difference between AC voltage and DC voltage.

AC Voltage

Even though, the term AC is an abbreviation of Alternating Current, it is commonly used to indicate the term “alternating” alone. AC voltages are voltages where the net area under a single cycle is zero. AC voltages can take waveforms such as sinusoidal, square, saw tooth, triangular and various other forms. The most common type of AC voltage is the sinusoidal voltage. Devices such as dynamos are the main source of AC voltages.

AC voltages are common on national electrical grids as they are relatively easy to produce and distribute. Nikola Tesla was the pioneering scientist behind making AC transmission lines. Most of the AC transmission lines use either 50 Hz or 60 Hz signals. Alternating currents are easily produced in all forms of power stations such as hydro power plants, nuclear power plants, coal, diesel, and even wind power plants. Most of the day to day appliances are operated with AC voltages, but when a DC voltage is required, AC – DC converters can be used to acquire a DC voltage.

DC Voltage

DC voltages are voltages where the charges travel in only one direction. Any voltage pattern that has a non – zero net area under the voltage – time curve can be identified as a DC voltage.

DC voltages are produced in devices such as solar panels, thermocouples and batteries. Some devices require very smooth DC voltages to operate. Devices such as computers use DC voltages to operate. In cases where DC voltages are required, AC – DC adapters (converters) are used to get the job done.

What is the difference between AC Voltage and DC Voltage?

  • AC voltages are easy to produce than DC voltages.
  • AC voltages can be easily transformed and transmitted, but DC voltages are hard to transform; therefore they are hard to transmit.
  • Active components such as inducers, capacitors, transistors, and op – amps respond to AC voltages in a different way than DC voltages.
  • A capacitor will pass an AC voltage, but it will block a DC signal whereas an inducer will do the other way around.
  • The net area under the voltage – time curve of the AC signal is zero whereas it is non – zero for a DC signal.