Information About Electricity
What is Electric Current?
29 September 2023

Understanding What Electric Current Is, Its Types, and Its Applications


Electric current is one of the fundamental phenomena in physics that plays an important role in our daily lives, especially our electricity usage. The concept of electric current is broad and complex, but essentially, it refers to the flow of electrically charged particles. Eectrons running through a medium, such as a wire or an electrical circuit.


We will try to simplify our explanation on the basic concepts of electric current in this article.


Electric Current


Referring to the book The Art of Electronics written by Paul Horowitz and Winfield Hill in 2015, electric current is the movement of electric charge through certain points or components, in other words, electric current is the flow of electric charge from one point to another through a conducting medium that has a potential difference. The potential difference is what affects the magnitude of the electric current that flows. From this electric current flow is obtained electric power or electric power that we can use in everyday life.


Meanwhile, the unit of electric current is measured in amperes (A) which is the SI unit (International System). One ampere is equivalent to the flow of one coulomb of electric charge per second. This means that if there is one ampere of electric current in a circuit, it means that there is one coulomb of electrons passing through a certain point in the circuit every second.


The rate at which an electric-current moves is known as the current strength, which is usually denoted as a capital I derived from the French word, Intense which means intensity I in Amperes. Electric current occurs when an electric charge flows every second, and this is expressed in an equation that relates electric charge (Q), electric current strength (I), and time (t) as follows:


I = Q/t or Q = I x t



I = strong electric current (A)

Q = amount of electric charge (Coulomb)

t = time (s)


Also read: 7 Ways to Check Electricity Bills Easily


Types of Electric Current


According to Hantje Ponto in his book entitled Basic Electrical Engineering in 2018, there are two types of electric current flow, namely direct current and alternating current. The following is an explanation of the variants of electric current and their examples:


Direct Current (DC)


Direct current is a type of electric current that has a constant value, be it positive or negative, and does not change in value over time. Direct current flows unidirectionally from a point that has a high potential to a point that has a lower potential.  Direct current sources are usually found in devices that provide electrical energy that flows consistently and stably over time, such as solar panels, batteries, and accumulators.


Alternating Current (AC)


Alternating current is a type of electric current that changes its direction of flow periodically or moves back and forth. The distinctive characteristic of alternating current is its sinusoidal waveform which allows for the transfer of electrical energy with high efficiency.


Alternating current is widely used in our daily lives, especially in devices used for various human needs. For example, the use of televisions, washing machines, refrigerators and various other electronic devices that are connected to electricity from PLN through a socket.


Thus, there are two main types of electric current, namely constant direct current and alternating current which changes its flow direction periodically. Both types of current have a significant role in various electrical applications in various aspects of our lives.


Also read: How to Calculate Home Electricity Power with Formula


Uses of Electric Current


Electric current is used in a variety of electricity-related needs, ranging from providing electrical energy for homes and industries to use in electronics, telecommunications, transportation, and other fields. Electricity is one of the basic necessities in modern society, and electric current is the backbone of modern technology.


An example of the most basic use of electric current is the provision of electrical energy to homes, buildings, and industries. Electric current from the public power grid is used to light up homes, operate electronic equipment, power industrial machinery, and more. In Indonesia, this electric current comes from the Indonesia’s State Electricity Company (PLN).


The use of electric current also covers various fields of life and industry, and technological developments continue to expand its use.

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