What Is Electrical Engineering?
Electrical engineering services are one of the newest branches of engineering dating back to the 19th century. It deals with the knowledge and technology of electricity. Electrical engineers deal with an assortment of devices and systems, electrical components, tiny microchips, and huge power stations. Ancient experiments with electricity dealt with static charges as well as primitive batteries. However, the actualization of designs, manufacturing and construction of meaningful devices started with the implementation of the Faraday’s Induction Law. The law states that the amount of voltage in a given circuit is proportional to the rate at which the magnetic field changes through the same circuit.
The Michael Faraday’s law applies to basic design principles of the transformer, electric generators and electric motors. The advent of technology has been marked by the supply of electricity to industries, homes and businesses, all which has been made possible by electrical technicians and engineers.
Some prominent pioneers in this field are:
Guglielmo Marconi (radio)
Thomas Edison (the Bulb)
George Westinghouse (AC)
Philo T. Farnworth (television)
Nicholas Tesla (the Induction Motor)
These great pioneers changed elementary concepts into practical complex electrical systems and devices that ushered the modern technology.
Since its inception, electrical engineering has seen several improvements, which have translated to several specialized branches. These include control systems, motors, power generation and supply, and batteries. Electrical engineering also entails electronics. However, the field of electronics have also branched into other subcategories. These are:
Instrumentation- this entails the design of gadgets to measure physical quantities, for example, temperature, pressure and flow. The design of these systems requires deep knowledge in physics and electromagnetic theory.
Telecommunications- this branch of electrical engineering focuses on transmission of data through channels such as free space, coax cables, and optical fiber. Transmission of data through the free space demands that the information be encoded in a carrier signal in order to move it to a carrier frequency for transfer; that’s termed as frequency modulation.
Signal processing- this focuses on manipulation and analysis of signals. Signals can either be digital, where the signals vary dictated by a set of discrete values that represent the data, or analog, where the signals vary continuously as per the information.
Microelectronics- this branch focuses on the design and manufacture of small circuits for application in the integrated circuits. The most popular microelectronics are the semiconductor transistors.
Radio Frequency systems
This field of electronics saw its inception in 1904 after the invention of thermionic diode by John Ambrose Fleming. The thermionic diode vacuum tube functions like a current amplifier. It outputs multiple currents from the primary input. This was the foundation of majorly all electronics until the 20th century. The technology of the vacuum tube diode was later supplanted by the transistor that was invented in 1947 by Walter Brattain, William Shockley and John Barden at the Bell Laboratories.
What electrical engineers do
Electrical engineers are mandated to design, test and supervise the manufacture of electrical appliances, which include radar, motors, navigation equipment, and power generation systems. Electronics engineers develop and design electronic systems, for instance, communication gadgets ranging from music players to the GPS. In reality, any device that uses electricity was perhaps developed by an electrical engineer. In addition, they conduct and specify specifications for non-destructive as well as destructive tests on electrical devices.
In-depth and critical knowledge is required in electrical theory, materials and mathematics. These skills allow engineers to come up with circuits that perform particular functions while meeting specific requirements on energy efficiency, reliability, and safety. Engineers also need to understand how these circuits will behave before implementing a hardware design. Sometimes circuits are designed on prototype circuit boards and breadboards for testing before the actual implementation.
With electrical engineering, having developed in the recent past, there has emerged several companies dealing with the design of electrical appliances. One such company is the Atlas Design Engineering. The company focuses on plumbing, mechanical, electrical and structural engineering.