Cambridge Encyclopedia » Cambridge Encyclopedia Vol. 23

electrical engineering - History, Education, Practicing engineers, Tools and work, Sub-disciplines, Related disciplines

systems electricity power field

A branch of engineering which studies the practical applications of electricity and electronics. Until the 1940s electrical engineering was a small part of the general field of engineering, confined to communications, lighting, and the generation and transmission of electrical power. As progress was made in the area of electrical and electronic communications, it developed into a separate field, now dealing with the production, distribution, control, and use of electricity in all its forms. Production aspects include the design of generators run by water power (hydroelectricity), coal, oil, and nuclear fuels. Distribution and control concern the delivery of electricity to the consumer: transmission systems need to be designed which are safe and efficient. Any devices which use electricity fall within the field, such as radio, radar, lighting, motors, power generators, and transmission systems. Electronic engineering developed as a subdivision of electrical engineering, and is now primarily concerned with automation, missile control systems, satellites, spacecraft, and communication systems.

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