Dynamo Glossary
Alternating current: An electric current that reverses its direction at regularly recurring intervals.
Audion: A vacuum tube. (See electron tube.)
Battery: A single electric cell for furnishing electric current, or a group of such cells.
Cell: A container filled with substances that produce an electric current by chemical action. (See battery and fuel cell.)
Chain reaction: A nuclear reaction that causes its own repetition. (See nuclear power.)
Charge: A quantity of electricity produced by either a surplus or shortage of electrons in an object.
Circuit: The complete path or part of the path of an electric current.
Conductor: A material that permits electrons, or electrical current, to pass through it. (See insulator and semiconductor.)
Direct current: An electric current flowing in one direction only.
Dynamo: The first type of large generator for a power plant.
Electricity: A form of energy that is found in nature (such as in lightning or electric eels) and can be produced artificially by rubbing together two unlike things (such as glass and silk), by the action of chemicals (as in batteries) or with magnets. Electricity is basically the movement of electrons from one element to another.
Electrolysis: The production of chemical changes by passage of an electric current through a liquid.
Electromagnet, Electromagnetic: A soft iron core surrounded by a coil of wire that temporarily becomes a magnet when an electric current flows through the wire. Things made magnetic by the presence of electric current are "electromagnetic."
Electromagnetic wave: A wave (as a radio wave or wave of light) that travels at the speed of light and consists of a combined electric and magnetic effect.
Electron: A negatively charged atomic particle which rotates around the nucleus of the atom.
Electron tube: A device in which conduction of electricity by electrons takes place through a vacuum or a gas within a sealed container, and which has various uses (such as in radio and TV).
Electronics: A science that deals with the giving off, behavior, and effects of electrons in vacuums, gases, and semiconductors, and with devices using such electrons.
Energy: The capacity for doing work. Energy as it pertains to electricity is measured in kilowatt hours (kWh.)
Fuel cell: A device similar to a battery in which fuels such as hydrogen gas or methane can be combined directly with oxygen to produce electricity and very little heat. (See battery and cell.)
Fuse: A safety device with a metal wire or strip that will melt, breaking the electrical circuit when the current becomes too strong.
Generator: A machine for producing electrical current. (See turbine-generator.)
Geothermal energy: The heat energy in the earth's crust. The source of this energy is the earth's molten interior.
Hydroelectricity: Electric energy production by water-powered turbine-generator.
Insulator: A material (such as rubber or glass) that does not permit electricity to pass through it readily. (See conductor and semiconductor).
Integrated circuit: Many transistors and other circuit elements integrated on a single silicon chip. (See transistor, circuit, and silicon.)
Kilowatt (kW): A unit for measuring electrical energy. One kilowatt is 1,000 watts and equal to 3,413 BTUs. A kilowatt-hour equals one kilowatt of electrical power taken from an electrical circuit steadily for one hour.
Kilowatt Hour (kWh): Represents the use of 1,000 watts of electricity for one full hour. It is equivalent to ten 100 watt light bulbs burned simultaneously and continuously for one hour.
Lightning: The flash of light which accompanies a static electricity discharge between two clouds or between a cloud and the earth during a thunderstorm.
Magnet: A piece of material containing iron that has the natural ability to attract iron.
Magnetic field: An area in which a magnetic force can be detected.
Mechanical energy: The energy of motion used to perform work.
Meter: An instrument that records the amount of something passing through it, such as electricity or gas.
Micro processor: A tiny electronic computer component capable of performing simple arithmetic and logic tasks as directed.
Microphone: An instrument that converts sound into electricity for the purpose of transmitting or recording (as in radio, TV or tape recording).
Motor: A machine that produces motion or power for doing work.
Nuclear power: The energy produced by splitting atoms (such as uranium) in a nuclear reactor.
Photovoltaic: Capable of producing current when exposed to light or other radiation.
Power: Force or energy used to do work.
Radar: A radio device for detecting the position of distant masses and the course of moving objects.
Radio astronomy: The study of electromagnetic radiation from outside the earth's atmosphere.
Radio: The sending or receiving of messages or effects, and especially of sound, by means of electromagnetic waves without a connecting wire.
Receiver: An apparatus for changing an electrical effect into an audible or visual effect (as in television and radio).
Semiconductor: A solid compound that conducts electricity well at high temperatures but practically not at all at low temperatures. (See conductor and insulator.)
Silicon: An abundant nonmetallic element that conducts electricity.
Socket: A hollow thing or place that receives and holds something (such as an electric light socket).
Solar: Produced or operated by the action of the sun's light or heat.
Static Electricity: A type of electrical charge that can build up when two objects rub together. Friction removes some electrons from one object and deposits them on the other.
Speaker: A pulsating device that converts electricity into sound waves.
Switch: A device for making, breaking, or changing the connections in an electrical circuit.
Thermal: Of, relating to, or caused by heat.
Transistor: A small chip of semiconductor material that amplifies or switches electrical current. (See semiconductor.)
Transmitter: An instrument or apparatus that sends out radio, television, telegraph, or telephone signals.
Transformer: A device that builds up or cuts down the force of electricity.
Turbine-generator: An electric generator driven by a turbine; the turbine has blades that are made to rotate by the force of water, gas, steam or the wind.
Vacuum tube: An tube with no air inside of it. (See electron tube.)
Volt: A unit for measuring the force exerted to produce an electric current; the push that moves electric current through a conductor.
Watt: A unit for measuring electric power, equivalent to about 1/746 horsepower. Kilowatt = 1000 watts. Megawatt = 1,000,000 watts.
Wind turbine: A machine that captures the energy of the wind and transfers the motion to a generator shaft. (See turbine-generator.)