Electrical Theory Explained: A Walkthrough

Electrical theory underpins our understanding of electricity's behavior in various contexts. From foundational principles such as Ohm's Law and Kirchhoff's Laws to the relationship between electricity and magnetism, this guide demystifies the essentials, making them accessible for learners of all levels.

Understanding electrical theory is crucial for anyone who involves themselves in electrical and electronics work, whether you are an electrician, a hobbyist, or an electrical engineer. At its heart, electrical theory helps us understand how electricity behaves under various circumstances and how it interacts with other physical quantities such as force, magnetic fields, and energy. This article will delve into the essentials of electrical theory, attempting to explain its foundational principles in accessible terms.

Source- https://www.electricaltechnology.org/2021/02/difference-between-electric-field-magnetic-field.html

Electricity Fundamentals

Electricity is a physical phenomenon related to the presence and flow of electric charge. This electric charge, present in the atoms that make up all matter, comes in two types: positive and negative. The interaction between these charges is the basis for electricity.

The flow of electric charge is what we commonly refer to as electric current. The direction of the current is defined as the direction positive charges would move. In metals, one of the most common conductors, negatively charged electrons are the actual charge carriers, meaning they move in the opposite direction of the current.

Ohm’s Law

Ohm’s law is one of the fundamental principles of electrical theory. It states that the electric current passing through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the voltage across the two points, and inversely proportional to the resistance between them. It often shows up in the simple formula I = E/R, where I is current, E is voltage, and R is resistance.

Kirchhoff’s Laws

There are two essential laws put forth by Gustav Kirchhoff that are also foundational to circuit theory.

Kirchhoff’s Current Law (KCL) states that the total current entering a junction or a node in a circuit must equal the total current leaving the same junction. This principle is a consequence of the conservation of electric charge.

Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law (KVL) states that the total voltage around any closed loop or path in a circuit is always equal to zero. In other words, the voltages generated by sources around a loop must equal the sum of the voltage drops across all elements around the same loop. This is due to the conservation of energy.

First Equation is Kirchhoff’s Voltage Law (KVL). Second Equation is Kirchhoff’s Current Law (KCL): Source- https://www.autodesk.com/products/fusion-360/blog/kirchhoffs-law-for-complex-circuits/

Understanding Circuit Components

Electrical theory also involves understanding the behavior of various electrical components:

  • Resistors: These are devices that resist the flow of electric current. Ohm’s law primarily governs their behavior.
  • Capacitors: These devices store energy in an electric field. They can block direct current (DC) and allow alternating current (AC) to pass.
  • Inductors: These store energy in a magnetic field when electric current flows through them. They have the property to oppose changes in current.

Alternating Current and Direct Current

Direct current (DC) is the unidirectional flow of electric charge. While alternating current (AC) is a type of current where the charge periodically reverses direction. Most electronic devices require DC to operate, but AC is typically what transmits through power lines because it’s more efficient over long distances.

Source- https://www.circuitbasics.com/what-is-alternating-current/

The Relationship Between Electricity and Magnetism

Electricity and magnetism are two closely related aspects of the electromagnetic force, one of the four fundamental forces of nature. Electric currents create magnetic fields, and changing magnetic fields can induce electric currents in conductors. This relationship was formalized in Maxwell’s Equations in the mid-19th century.

Power and Energy in Electrical Systems

Power in electrical systems is the rate at which energy transfers. We can calculate it as the product of voltage and current (P=IE). Energy is the capacity to do work, and in electrical systems, it’s typically measured in kilowatt-hours.


Electrical theory is a vast and complex field that combines elements of physics and mathematics to describe how electricity behaves. It allows us to design and analyze circuits, create electronic devices, and transmit power across long distances. The principles mentioned here — charge, current, voltage, resistance, Ohm’s Law, Kirchhoff’s Laws, the behavior of circuit components, AC and DC, electromagnetism, and electrical power and energy. Are the essential building blocks of electrical theory. A solid understanding of these principles provides a good foundation for exploring more advanced topics. As well as applying electrical theory in practical contexts. Check out our article “Understanding the Laws of Electrical Theory” to get a better understanding for Electrical laws.

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