Saturday, November 10, 2012

Generating And Using Electricity

The job of an electrical engineer is to maintain an electrical network. This can be a simple small factory electrical wiring to a city wide distribution network. Such wide ranging applications lead to a large number of electrical engineering jobs.

Electricity is generally produced by electro-mechanical generators. These generators are driven by steam that is in turn produced from combustion of fossil fuel. Electricity can also be generated from the heat released by nuclear reactions. Other sources of electrical energy are kinetic energy sources like wind or flowing water. Sir Charles Parsons invented the modern steam turbine in 1884. It still generates eighty percent of the world's total output of electric power. This is made possible by using a number of heat sources. The basic electromagnetic principle remains unchanged: a conductor linking a changing magnetic field induces a potential difference across its ends. The invention of the transformer meant that it is possible to transmit electrical power mire efficiently at a higher voltage with lower current. As the efficiency of electrical transmission increased, it meant that centralized power stations could generate electricity- and economies of scale would kick in. The electricity could thus be sent over longer distances where it is required. A great number of electrical engineering jobs are also created.

The problem with electrical storage as the energy cannot be stored in large quantities to quench demand on a national scale. Thus it is produced as much as it is required. This requires the concerned electrical engineers to compute predictions of electrical loads. Constant co-ordination among power stations is also required. A certain amount of electricity generation must also be held in reserve to make up for unplanned losses and disturbances.

Demand for electricity is proportional to development. The more an area develops, the greater the area's net electricity demands. It is more than any other sources of comparable energy. An electrical engineer services the equipment that runs on electrical energy. Electricity powers a wide range of equipment. Such equipment can be loosely termed "electrical appliances". The term is used more often in case of domestic or household use.

The earliest use of electrical energy is still the most widely used. It is used in lighting. Electrical light bulbs are much safer than light generated by naked flame sources like candles and provide more illumination. In colder countries, it is used to heat homes and offices. In warmer countries, electric air-conditioners cool an enclosed area. It is also a power source for refrigeration equipment.

An electrical engineer may also get gainful employment in the telecommunications industry. Starting from the nineteenth century electrical telegraph to modern satellite communications and optical fiber technology, electricity remains an essential component in one form or the other. The electric motor is also one of the more visible applications of electrical power. Electric vehicle is slowly getting popular nowadays with rising costs of fossil fuels like petrol and diesel. Electric train engines and trams use a pantograph to drain power from overhead electric lines laid especially for that purpose.

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