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Physics for Kids

Electricity Glossary and Terms

Ampere - The ampere is the standard unit of measure of electric current. It is sometimes written as amp.

Alternating current (AC) - An electric current that reverses direction on a periodic basis. It is widely used to transport power on power lines.

Battery - A device that stores and produces electricity from chemical cells.

Capacitor - A basic electrical component that stores electric charge. Capacitors are made from two electrical conductors separated by an insulator.

Conductor - A material that allows the free flow of electric charge. Copper wiring is the most widely used electrical conductor.

Coulomb's law - A law of physics that describes the electrostatic interaction between charged particles.

Diode - An electronic component that only allows current flow in one direction.

Direct current (DC) - A type of current that only flows in one direction (unlike AC which periodically reverses direction).

Electric charge - This is a basic characteristic of matter that is based on the balance of protons (positive charge) and electrons (negative charge). The standard unit for electric charge is the coulomb.

Electric circuit - An electric circuit is a collection of electronic components connected by a conductive wire that allows for electric current to flow.

Electric current - Electric current is the flow of electric charge through a material. The standard unit for electric current is the ampere.

Electric potential - The electric potential is the difference in electrical charge between two points in a circuit. It is also called the voltage. The standard unit for electric potential is volts.

Electromagnetism - The interaction between magnetic fields and electric currents.

Electron - A basic subatomic particle found in all atoms, electrons carry electricity by flowing from one atom to the next in a conductive material.

Farad - The standard unit of measure for capacitance.

Henry - The standard unit of measure for inductance.

Inductor - A basic passive electrical component that resists changes in electric current. Inductors are generally made by winding or coiling a wire, sometimes around a magnetic core. The unit of measure for an inductor is the Henry.

Insulator - A material in which an electronic charge does not flow freely and does not conduct the flow of electric current.

Magnetic field - The magnetic influence produced by electric currents and magnetic materials.

Ohm - The standard unit of measure for resistance.

Ohm's law - A law of physics that describes the relationship between voltage, current, and resistance using the equation V = IR.

Resistor - A basic electronic component that prevents the flow of electric current.

Semiconductor - A material that behaves between a conductor and an insulator depending on the conditions. Silicon is a widely used semiconductor in electronics.

Static electricity - The build up of an electric charge on the surface of an object. The charge remains in one area rather than flowing to another area.

Transformer - An electrical component that transfers electrical energy using inductive coupling between two winding circuits.

Transistor - A semiconductor device used in an electric circuit to regulate current flow to act as a gate, switch, or amplifier for electronic signals.

Volt - The standard unit of measure for electric potential (voltage).

Watt - The standard unit of measure used for electric power.

More Electricity Subjects

Circuits and Components
Intro to Electricity
Electric Circuits
Electric Current
Ohm's Law
Resistors, Capacitors, and Inductors
Resistors in Series and Parallel
Conductors and Insulators
Digital Electronics
Other Electricity
Electricity Basics
Electronic Communications
Uses of Electricity
Electricity in Nature
Static Electricity
Electric Motors
Glossary of Electricity Terms

Science >> Physics for Kids

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