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What is An Electric Circuit - History and Theory

For the electrical engineering theories, electric circuit theory and electromagnetic theory are the two fundamental or very basic theory upon all branches of this major. We can divide the braches of electrical engineering into electric machines, power, electronics, control, communications, and instrumentation. However, these branches lead to very basic theory, that is electric circuit theory. Learning electrical circuit is essential for electrical engineer.

Who Discovered Electricity

Electricity is a natural energy and occurs naturally. In order word, it cannot be 'invented'. Benjamin Franklin discovered this energy along with his experiments even it only helped find the connection between electricity and lighting, and nothing more. Benjamin Franklin conducted his experiment using a kite, a storm, and a key. As a result, this simple experiment proved that tiny electric sparks and lightning were same.

Who Discovered Electric Circuit

We can say Alessandro Giuseppe Antonio Anastasio Volta (February 18, 1745 - March 5, 1827) or Alessandro Volta for short, discovered electric circuit. He was an Italian physicist and the pioneer of electricity and power. So that, people credited him as the inventor of electric battery. Voltaic pile is one of his innovation in 1779-1800. This invention proved that we can generate electricity by chemical process.

When Was Electricity Invented

Alessandro Volta invented the first electric circuit in 1800. He stated that connecting the bowls of salt solution with metal strips can produce a steady flow of electricity. He used a disc of copper, a salt solution soaked cardboard, and zinc. As the result, he invented his voltaic pile as an early battery. By connecting the battery with copper wire from top to bottom caused a flow of electric current.

Basic Electric Circuit Theory

Basic electrical circuit theory is the most important thing of learning for every electrical engineering students and of course the most suitable starting point for beginner electrical engineering students in education. That is to say, all the electric circuit theory is also useful for another branches of physical sciences specialized students because electric circuits make a good example of energy systems model due to involving applied physics, mathematics, and topologies.


Getting the idea of transferring or communicating energy from one point to another point is interesting part of electrical engineering. Firstly, we need an interconnection of every electrical devices we use. This idea of interconnection is known as electric circuit and every component of the circuit is referred as an element.

Electric circuit is an interconnection of electrical elements
We can see an easy understanding of interconnection in Figue.(1) where it contains 3 basic elements such as : lamp, connecting wires, and battery. However, for some people it may be useless because they had no idea what we can get if we connect those three with right decision. Connecting the battery to lamp with wire can be a flashlight.
simple flashlight
Figure 1. Simple interconnection circuits

We can see the example of more complicated implementation of electric circuit in Figure.(2) which showing schematic diagram of radio receiver. At first sight it may look like complicated. However, further study and analysis can make you solve it with many analytical methods and techniques even with software simulation applications.

simple radio transmitter
Figure 2. Radio transmitter schematic circuits
Various electric circuits can make numerous electrical systems to provide different tasks. In other words, our main concern of learning electric circuit is analysis skill on every electric circuits we found. We can find questions while trying to analize electric circuits we found such as :
What is the system's respond if we give certain input?
or
What is the effect of connecting elements in electric circuits?
or
How do we make interconnection elements in electric circuits?
and many more.

Electric Circuits Systems of Units


We, as electrical engineers, have to deal with measurement things. Therefore, the measurement units need to be standarized in one languange and everyone needs to follow that standard without any questions. The standarized units is known as international measurement languange or we call it System of Units (SI).
international system units
Table 1. International System of Units
In this systems, we have seven principal units and we can derive those to be another physical quantities and equations. Notice the Table.(1), we have the principal units along with one units we need for learning electric circuits. One great advantages of using the SI units is it uses prefixes with the multiplication or power of 10 both smaller or larger units to the basic unit. For example, table above shows the convertion distance in meters (m)


Electric Circuit Types

We will encounter a lot of electric circuit in life applications. The application of electric circuit will result a different type of electrical circuit. For starting, the electric circuit types will differ as :
The difference between these two is the source of the corresponding electric circuit. If dc source energizes the circuit, it will be dc circuit. On the other hand, ac circuit happens if the ac source energizes the circuit. Make sure to read both before leaving to advance matters.

Basic Concepts of Electric Circuit

Basic Laws of Electric Circuit


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