Construction Maintenance Electrician

The Principles of Electricity Explained for Electrician College Students

August 27, 2021

If you’re considering launching your career as an electrician, you’ll use your knowledge of the principles of electricity to accurately install and repair electrical systems–as well as diagnose and troubleshoot electrical problems. Construction and Maintenance Electricians are equipped with the skills to perform a variety of different functions. Some may include: service installation, conduit bending, code interpretation, print reading, machine and electronic control repair, and more. As a Construction and Maintenance Electrician, understanding the principles of electricity will be important to your success. It will help to determine how the electrical systems you’re working with operate, and what the best solution is to any problems that may arise. Below, discover an introductory guide to the principles of electricity.

Where Does Electricity Come From? A Guide for Students in Electrician Training

Essentially, electricity is a secondary source of energy that’s created from the conversion of other sources of energy. Electricity is made up of atoms, which contain a nucleus composed of protons and neutrons. Around the nucleus are electrons, which revolve around the nucleus due to their attraction to protons and electrons. These respective particles contain an electrical charge, as protons are positively charged and electrons are negatively charged. Orbiting electrons that don’t have a strong attraction to the protons in one atom will be pushed out of the rotation and into another atom’s orbit. Electricity is the result of this shifting pattern. After completing your electrician training, you’ll be using this knowledge of electricity to inform the work that you do on the electrical systems within residential and commercial buildings.

Electricity comes from the shifting of electrons between atoms

The Electricity Generation Process

The electricity that’s used in residences and other buildings can be created in many ways, but some of the most common sources of electricity generation are coal, wind, and nuclear energy. Coal is burned at an extremely high generator, creating steam which passes through a turbine. The turbines are equipped with a generator–containing coils that rotate within a magnetic field to create electricity. Wind energy is created when wind turns the blades of wind turbines, spinning a shaft connected to a generator which creates electricity. Nuclear energy is produced within power plants, where an atom is split through the process of nuclear fission to create energy. This energy is used to produce heat, and the steam created by this heat generates electricity.

After this electricity is generated, it’s then delivered to consumers via different power lines that make up an electricity grid. Electricity grids connect electricity producers to consumers using substations, transformers, and power lines. As a graduate of electrician college, you’ll be working with the electricity delivered to these residences and commercial buildings.

Nuclear power plants are a source of electricity used in residential and commercial buildings

Terms to Know Surrounding the Principles of Electricity

When learning about the principles of electricity, learning a few basic terms will enhance your understanding of how electricity works.

  • Coulomb: A coulomb is a unit of electric charge
  • Ampere (Current): Flow rate of an electric current
  • Ohm: The unit of resistance within a conductor, determined by temperature, material and size.
  • Resistance: Measured in Ohms is the electromotive force needed to pull electrons away from protons within an atom.
  • Volt: Measure of the amount of electromotive force needed to push one ampere through a conductor.
  • Ohm’s Law: Used to explain the relationship between current, resistance, and voltage. According to Ohm’s Law, the current is equal to the voltage divided by the number of Ohms.
  • Watts: A unit of electrical power, equal to the number of volts multiplied by the current.
  • Ampacity: The maximum amount of current that a conductor can handle.

Once you master an understanding of the terms used to measure electrical currents and charges, you’ll be able to use this knowledge to install, repair, and maintain electrical systems.

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