How does alternating current transfer energy?

1 Answer
Dec 4, 2014

Whenever there is current, electrons flow (the usual case). Electrons that move carry energy in terms of voltage. Suppose that we want to transfer energy to a resistor in a circuit,

The power (which is a good way to express energy) is #P=I^2R#.

For a direct current, the math is simple. For alternating current with peak current I , the effective current becomes
enter image source here

Hence the Power transferred is #P=0.5I^2R#. The reason why we divide by #sqrt2# is due to "root mean square" method where calculus is involved.

If you are asking about transmission of energy to households, then alternating current is needed to keep changing magnetic flux through a Gaussian surface so that electricity is continuously produced via generator and altered via transformer. Direct current is useless in power generation.