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Glossary
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alternating current (ac) — electric current in which electrons repeatedly change direction.

amperage — the number of electrons that pass a given point at a given time.

ampere, amp — a unit of electric current used to measure the rate of flow.

battery — a device that uses chemicals to generate and store electricity.

capacitor — an electric circuit element used to store charge temporarily.

circuit — a path of conductors that an electric current follows.

conductor — a material through which electric current flows easily.

current electricity — electricity that flows through a circuit, or a continuous unbroken path.

direct current (dc) — electric current that flows in one direction only.

electricity — a form of energy produced by the flow or accumulation of electrons.

electromagnet — a temporary magnet formed when electric current flows through a wire or other conductor.

electron — a subatomic particle with a negative electrical change.

fluorescence — a process by which substances give off light or another form of electromagnetic radiation when they absorb energy.

incandescence — the effect by which an object begins to glow when heated.

insulator — a material that opposes the flow of electric current.

ion — an atom or group of atoms that has either gained or lost electrons and so has an electrical change.

ohm — unit of electrical resistance used to measure a material's resistance to the flow of electric current.

Ohm's law — a law stating that the direct current flowing in a conductor is directly proportional to the potential difference between its ends. It is usually formulated as V = IR, where V is the potential difference, or voltage, I is the current, and R is the resistance of the conductor.

parallel circuit — a circuit that splits into branches. A break in one branch will not stop current in the other branches.

resistance — the degree to which a substance resists electric current.

resistor — a device used to control current by providing resistance.

series circuit — a circuit that connects a source, load, and conductors in a single loop. Any break in the circuit will stop the flow of current.

static electricity — the build up of electrical charges on a surface produced by the contact and separation of dissimilar materials.

superconductors — materials that lose all resistance to the flow of current at low temperatures. They operate extremely fast and produce almost no heat.

transfer — the movement of electrons from one place to another either by current of static.

transformation — the change in energy from one type to another as in a battery, which changes chemical energy to electricity.

volt — unit of potential difference (similar to pressure).

voltage — a type of "pressure" that drives electrical charges through a circuit.

watt — unit of power equal to volts x amps.