Mammoth Memory

The AC/DC wars

In the 1880's

Nikola Tesla advocated the use of alternating current


Thomas Edison advocated the use of direct current


TeslA = Alternating current

EDison = Direct current


and Nikola nicked the competition.
He won. Why did Nikola Tesla win the war?

Because we have learnt that:

  Transformers only work with alternating current
High voltage = lower energy losses


Imagine the huge distances involved in taking power from a power station to a factory or house in a town.

The route electricity takes from the power station over power lines to houses.

Some of these cables travel for hundreds of miles. The only way to transmit large amounts of electrical power over these distances is at very high voltages to keep power energy losses low. With transformers and alternating current (AC), Tesla could change the voltage to thousands of volts for low transmission losses over long distances. Then with transformers he could bring it back down to safe values in a factory or home.

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