As two different types of currents, AC and DC mean, respectively:
- AC: AC stands for “alternating current,” in which electrons flow back and forth periodically, changing direction at regular intervals. AC power is the standard electrical output from outlets. It is commonly used in household equipment, offices, buildings, etc., since it can be easily generated, transmitted over long distances, and converted to different voltage levels. The voltage in an AC circuit usually has a sinusoidal waveform shape, oscillating between positive and negative values.
- DC: DC stands for “direct current,” which flows continuously in a certain direction without reversing polarity. In a DC circuit, electrons always move from negative to positive terminal of the power supply. DC power is commonly used in circuits requiring stable and constant voltages, such as computers, flashlights, and other battery-powered devices.
In summary, the key difference between ac and dc is the direction of electron flow, resulting in different characteristics and applications. AC electricity is common in power distribution, while dc electricity is essential for some electronic equipment and emerging technologies such as renewable energy.