Get in Touch

Jargon busted – Amps

The electrical world can be confusing and we’ve all come across some terms that don’t make much sense. That’s why in each issue of Wired we unravel a piece of industry gobbledygook and tell you what it means – In plain old English.


What is an amp?
An amp – or ampere, to give it its full name –  is an electrical unit used to measure current (or electron flow) in an electrical conductor. It’s equal to a flow of one coulomb per second.

One amp in an electrical circuit is the amount of current that is produced by a force of one volt (named after Volta) acting through the resistance of one ohm (see our Bright Spark feature on Georg Ohm).

It’s also an anagram of ‘map’ and ‘Pam’ – although this, of course, has nothing to do with electric circuits.

Where does the name come from?
The amp is named after André-Marie Ampère (1775-1836). You can probably guess by his name that he was French; born in Lyon – he was also a renowned physicist and mathematician, who worked in the field of what he called electrodynamics, now more commonly called electromagnetism.

How did Ampère come up with the idea?
Ampère was interested in the relationship between electricity and magnetism and spent time working on mathematical and physical theories to support his ideas.

Through experimentation, he found that when the direction of the current carried by two parallel wires was altered, it affected whether they attracted or repelled each other.

What is Ampère’s Law and why is it important?
This states that the mutual action of two lengths of wire carrying a current is proportional to their length and the intensity of the current flowing through them. Ampère’s Law is one of the foundations of electrodynamics – indeed Ampère is often considered the “father of electrodynamics”.

When was the amp so named?
In 1881, an international convention established the ampere or amp as a standard unit of electrical measurement, alongside the volt, ohm, coulomb and watt.

What has this got to do with the Eiffel Tower?

When Gustave Eiffel built his eponymous tower, completed in 1899, he engraved the names of 72 scientists on the borders of each of the four sides of the Paris landmark – and one of the names was Ampère. These were painted over during one early repaint, then restored over the course of 1986-87.

image description

Heat Pumps – the lowdown

Heat pump technology isn’t new. In fact, it dates back as far as the 1800s. But, like any technology, it has advanced over time. As a result, heat pumps have become more widely used in recent decades. In the last few years, heat pumps have become even more of a talking point in the UK […]

Read more
image description

How to identify whether you need a CompEx electrician

Any qualified electrician can take care of basic electrical installations, but not every electrician is qualified to work in hazardous areas (which requires a CompEx electrician). Manufacturing facilities often require more than the basics, so it’s important you get the right electrical contractors for the job. CompEx (meaning Competency working in Explosive atmospheres) refers to […]

Read more
image description

Why smart buildings are the future

There’s no denying that technological advancements in recent decades have changed the way we all work and live. Everything is becoming smarter and more efficient – including our buildings. More and more homeowners and businesses are investing in smart tech for their properties. While the initial outlay might be significant, the long-term benefits justify the […]

Read more
image description

What is a switchgear and why are they so important?

You don’t have to be an expert in electrical systems to operate a successful factory, but it does help if you have a basic understanding of the key components and their importance. One key element of your electrical system is the switchgear. Switchgear is a broad term that typically covers several devices that work together […]

Read more
image description

Future-proofing your factory

With compliance regulations and market demand constantly changing, it can be tough for manufacturers to keep on top of emerging trends. Even the best business strategies need to be flexible to ensure they can be adapted when necessary. So how do you prepare for the unknown? How can you future-proof your factory to ensure you […]

Read more
image description

What can cause power outages (and how to protect against them)?

A reliable power supply is crucial for factories to maintain uninterrupted operations. Any power outage can lead to delays in production, resulting in significant losses in terms of productivity and revenue. Understanding the causes of power outages helps you to prepare effectively for potential disruptions. Appropriate measures can be taken to mitigate the impact of […]

Read more