What is Alternating Current Electrical supply, and who is Nikola Tesla? What was life like before Nikola Tesla invented the Alternating Current Electrical Supply? What are the Current Wars? And how has this invention affected the way we live our lives today? Before the Alternating Current Electrical Supply (AC for short) was invented its predecessor the Direct Current Electrical Supply (DC for short) was used.
The DC current was used as a power supply for motors and incandescent lamps during the early years of the electrical distribution. One of its most practical uses was to be used with storage batteries because of the “direct” transportation of electricity. The only problem with the DC current was that for example when connected to a light bulb, the power would just be coming to the light bulb making it flicker.
The DC current also would make a light bulb or any other electric-powered object unreliable under long durations of usage. So who was the man that changed the fate of the future by creating the AC current?
Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) was born in Austro-Hungary on July 10th. He was able to construct the first induction motor in 1883 at only 27 years old! He then immigrated to the United States in1884. This was when he started working for Thomas Edison.
At the same time he became very close friends with the author Mark Twain, they spent much of their time together in Tesla’s lab, where he would show Mark Twain his newest inventions. Meanwhile, Tesla was hired by Edison to take several of Edison’s machines and improve their efficiency. Unfortunately for Tesla, once he completed upgrading the machines Edison fired Tesla. Edison did not pay Tesla for his work and he also took the credit for the upgrading of the machines.
One of the reasons for Edison’s firing of Tesla was because Tesla had started working on the AC current. Edison feared that the AC current would turn the DC current into an obsolete electrical supplier and he would go out of business. So why is the AC current considered better than the DC current?
The period of time in which Tesla’s AC and Edson’s DC currents were “duking it” out for electrical supplier supremacy was called the “Current Wars”. The first major difference between the AC and the DC currents is the fact that DC can only move electric particles in one direction whereas the AC can transport the electric particles in both directions. Another significant difference between the two is the speed at which the electric particles are transported.
Particles in the DC current move slowly and lazily, but the particles in the AC current move quickly along. This difference is shown when turning two motors on, connected to the different supply lines. The motor connected to the AC current supply will start running in a shorter amount of time and will run more quickly when put up against the DC current supply. So how has the AC current improved our world today?
Tesla’s AC current can be seen all over the place in our world today. For instance, every electrically powered object that has an electric wire such as a toaster, TV, lamp, Massage Chair, or printer uses the AC current. So remember, every time you use the toaster or a lamp, you have Mr. Nikolas Tesla to thank.
Nikola Tesla and Mark Twain hanging out in the lab. How cool would it have been to sit and listen to their discussions.