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Direct current

The flow of charged particles in one unchanging direction.
Direct current

Direct current (DC) is the unidirectional flow of an electric charge. A battery is a prime example of DC power. Direct current may flow through a conductor such as a wire, but can also flow through semiconductors, insulators, or even through a vacuum as in electron or ion beams. The electric current flows in a constant direction, distinguishing it from alternating current (AC). A term formerly used for this type of current was galvanic current.

The abbreviations AC and DC are often used to mean simply alternating and direct, as when they modify current or voltage.

Direct current may be converted from an alternating current supply by use of a rectifier, which contains electronic elements (usually) or electromechanical elements (historically) that allow current to flow only in one direction. Direct current may be converted into alternating current via an inverter.

Direct current has many uses, from the charging of batteries to large power supplies for electronic systems, motors, and more. Very large quantities of direct-current power are used in production of aluminum and other electrochemical processes. It is also used for some railways, especially in urban areas. High-voltage direct current is used to transmit large amounts of power from remote generation sites or to interconnect alternating current power grids.

Key Terms

battery
conductor
dc
electric charge
insulators
prime example dc power
semiconductors
unidirectional flow
vacuum
wire

Acronymn

dc

Synonymns

Direct current
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Last modified on July 3 2019
Content adapted from Wikipedia
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