06 JULY 2022

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The electrical voltage

The electrical voltage

Electrical voltage (also known as electrical voltage or potential difference) is defined as the quantity that establishes the difference in electrical potential between two points. It is therefore used to assign different values to the difference in electrical potential between one point and another in a charge-flow circuit.

To understand voltage, we often use a hydraulic metaphor: imagine a circular path of pipes through which water flows. In this path, the wide pipes will be conducting materials, while the narrow ones will be insulating. This path will be moved by a hydraulic pump pushing the water on the basis of a pressure difference with respect to another point in the pipe. This pressure difference would be the equivalent of the electrical voltage.  

What types of electrical voltage are there?

Electrical voltage can be divided into four different types according to their characteristics, sources and applications.

  • Continuous voltage: it can also be called Direct Current Voltage (DCV). This is the one with the purest current of all electrical voltages. It is present in chips, microprocessors and other devices that require constant, continuous voltages.
  • Alternating voltage: as its name suggests, it is a voltage that is presented with alternating values. It is represented by a positive and a negative axis, since it is considered a sinusoidal wave. This is the most common voltage in sockets because it is the easiest to generate and transport. It is an alternating voltage, not constant over time and its frequency will depend on the country or specific region.
  • Direct current voltage: this is the voltage most commonly found in bacteria and motors, as it is obtained by transforming an alternating current into a direct current. This type of voltage can give rise to small variations in fluxes, but not to the point of being considered an alternating voltage.
  • Induced voltage: may also be known as electromotive force. It refers to the ability of a generator, battery or battery to produce an electric current in a closed circuit or to maintain an electric voltage between two points in an open circuit.


How is voltage measured?

To measure the voltage, a voltmeter is used, which is installed parallel to the power source to measure and quantify the electrical potential. This is not the only device that can be used, other alternatives are a tester (multimeter) or a potentiometer. The established unit for quantifying the voltage of an electrical system is the Volt (V).

To finish talking about voltage, we have to mention Ohm’s Law, which states that the potential difference or voltage applied between each of the ends of a conductor is equal to the proportion of current (I) circulating in the circuit, according to its level of resistance. This law was postulated by the German physicist Georg Simon Oh. The formula that describes it is V=R I.

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