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What is an Electrical Power

If we are going to recall our Physics subject, it is said that whenever a force is applied that causes motion the work is said to be done. Take a look on the illustration below:


Forces that work is done and  forces not doing work.
The first figure shown above are combination of forces which work is done and forces which work is not done. (a)The picture in which the shelf is held under tension does not cause motion, thus work is not done. (b) The second picture in which the woman pushes the cart causes motion, thus the work is done. (c) The man applied tension in the string is not working since as there is no movement in the direction of the force. (d) The track applied horizontal force on the log is doing work.

The potential difference between any two points in an electric circuit, which gives rise to a voltage and when connected causes electron to move and current to flow. This is one of a good example in which forces causing motion, thus causing work to be done.

Talking about work in electric circuit, there is also a electric power which is the time rate of doing work done of moving electrons from point to point. It is represented by the symbol P, and the unit of power is watt, which is usually represented by the symbol W. Watt is practically defined as the rate at which work is being done in a circuit in which the current of 1 ampere is flowing when the voltage applied is 1 volt.

The Useful Power Formula

Electric Power can be transmitted from place to place and can be converted into other forms of energy. One typical energy conversion of electrical energy are heat, light or mechanical energy. Energy conversion is what the engineers really mean for the word power.

The power or the rate of work done in moving electrons through a resistor in electric circuit depends on how many electrons are there to moved. It only means that, the power consumed in a resistor is determined by the voltage measured across it, multiplied by the current flowing through it. Then it becomes,

Power = Voltage x Current
Watts  = Volts x Amperes

P = E x I  or P = EI ——> formula no.1

The power formula above can be derived alternatively in other ways in terms of resistance and current or voltage and resistance using our concept of Ohm’s Law. Since E=IR in Ohm’s Law, the E in the power formula above can be replaced by IR if the voltage is unknown. Therefore, it would be:

P = EI
P = (IR)I or P = I2R ————> formula no.2

Alternatively if I = E/R in Ohm’Law, we can also substitute it to E in the power formula which is terms of voltage if the resistance is unknown.

P = EI
P = E(E/R) or P = E2R ———> formula no. 3

For guidance regarding expressing of units of power are the following:
a. Quantities of power greater than 1,000 watts are generally expressed in (kW).
b. Quantities greater than 1,000,000 watts are generally expressed as megawatts (MW).
c.  Quantities less than 1 watt are generally expressed in (mW).

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