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Simple Science

321. The Dynamo 2
How Electricity is obtained on a Large Scale:
As has been said, the arrangement of the preceding Section is a dynamo in miniature. Every dynamo, no matter how complex its structure and appearance, consists of a coil of wire which can rotate continuously between the poles of a strong magnet. The mechanical devices to insure easy rotation are similar in all respects to those previously described for the motor.

The current obtained from such a dynamo alternates in direction, flowing first in one direction and then in the opposite direction. Such alternating currents are unsatisfactory for many purposes, and to be of service are in many cases transformed into direct currents; that is, current which flows steadily in one direction. This is accomplished by the use of a commutator. In the construction of the motor, continuous motion in one direction is obtained by the use of a commutator; in the construction of a dynamo, continuous current in one direction is obtained by the use of a similar device.

FIG. - A modern electrical machine.
322. Powerful Dynamos
How Electricity is obtained on a Large Scale:
The power and efficiency of a dynamo are increased by employing the devices previously mentioned in connection with the motor. Electromagnets are used in place of simple magnets, and the armature, instead of being a simple coil, may be made up of many coils wound on soft iron. The speed with which the armature is rotated influences the strength of the induced current, and hence the armature is run at high speed.

A small dynamo, such as is used for lighting fifty incandescent lamps, has a horse power of about 33.5, and large dynamos are frequently as powerful as 7500 horse power.

FIG. - Thomas Edison, one of the foremost electrical inventors of the present day.
323. The Telephone
How Electricity is obtained on a Large Scale:
When a magnet is at rest within a closed coil of wire, as in Section 319, current does not flow through the wire. But if a piece of iron is brought near the magnet, current is induced and flows through the wire; if the iron is withdrawn, current is again induced in the wire but flows in the opposite direction. As iron approaches and recedes from the magnet, current is induced in the wire surrounding the magnet. This is in brief the principle of the telephone. When one talks into a receiver, L, the voice throws into vibration a sensitive iron plate standing before an electromagnet. The back and forth motion of the iron plate induces current in the electromagnet c. The current thus induced makes itself evident at the opposite end of the line M, where by its magnetic attraction, it throws a second iron plate into vibrations. The vibrations of the second plate are similar to those produced in the first plate by the voice. The vibrations of the far plate thus reproduce the sounds uttered at the opposite end.

FIG. - Diagram of a simple telephone circuit.
324. Cost of Electric Power
How Electricity is obtained on a Large Scale:
The water power of a stream depends upon the quantity of water and the force with which it flows. The electric power of a current depends upon the quantity of electricity and the force under which it flows. The unit of electric power is called the watt; it is the power furnished by a current of one ampere with a voltage of one volt.

One watt represents a very small amount of electric power, and for practical purposes a unit 1000 times as large is used, namely, the kilowatt. By experiment it has been found that one kilowatt is equivalent to about 1-1/3 horse power. Electric current is charged for by the watt hour. A current of one ampere, having a voltage of one volt, will furnish in the course of one hour one watt hour of energy. Energy for electric lighting is sold at the rate of about ten cents per kilowatt hour. For other purposes it is less expensive. The meters commonly used measure the amperes, volts, and time automatically, and register the electric power supplied in watt hours.

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