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Wheat Stone Bridge - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

Wheat Stone Bridge - Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia

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Wheatstone bridge
Wheatstone's bridge circuit diagram.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
A
Wheatstone bridge
is a measuring instrument invented by Samuel Hunter Christie in 1833 and improved and popularized by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1843. It is usedto measure an unknown electrical resistance by balancingtwo legs of a bridge circuit, one leg of which includes theunknown component. Its operation is similar to the
original 
 potentiometer.
Contents
1 Operation2 Derivation3 Significance4 Modification of the fundamental bridge5 See also6 External links
Operation
 x
is the unknown resistance to be measured;
 R
1
,
 R
2
and
 R
3
are resistors of known resistance and theresistance of 
 R
2
is adjustable. If the ratio of the two resistances in the known leg
(
 R
2
/
 R
1
)
is equal to the ratio othe two in the unknown leg
(
 R
 x
/
 R
3
)
, then the voltage between the two midpoints (
B
and
D
) will be zero and nocurrent will flow through the galvanometer 
 g 
.
 R
2
is varied until this condition is reached. The direction of thecurrent indicates whether 
 R
2
is too high or too low.Detecting zero current can be done to extremely high accuracy (see galvanometer). Therefore, if 
 R
1
,
 R
2
and
 R
3
are known to high precision, then
 R
 x
can be measured to high precision. Very small changes in
 R
 x
disrupt the balance and are readily detected.At the point of balance, the ratio of 
 R
2
/
 R
1
=
 R
 x
/
 R
3
Therefore,Alternatively, if 
 R
1
,
 R
2
, and
 R
3
are known, but
 R
2
is not adjustable, the voltage difference across or current flow
14/02/2010Wheatstone bridge - Wikipedia, the freen.wikipedia.org//Wheatstone_bridge1/4
 
through the meter can be used to calculate the value of 
 R
 x
, using Kirchhoff's circuit laws (also known as Kirchhoff'srules). This setup is frequently used in strain gauge and resistance thermometer measurements, as it is usually faster to read a voltage level off a meter than to adjust a resistance to zero the voltage.
Derivation
First, Kirchhoff's first rule is used to find the currents in junctions
B
and
D
:Then, Kirchhoff's second rule is used for finding the voltage in the loops
ABD
and
BCD
:The bridge is balanced and
 I 
 g 
= 0
, so the second set of equations can be rewritten as:Then, the equations are divided and rearranged, giving:From the first rule,
 I 
3
=
 I 
 x
and
 I 
1
=
 I 
2
. The desired value of 
 R
 x
is now known to be given as:If all four resistor values and the supply voltage (
) are known, the voltage across the bridge (
G
) can be found by working out the voltage from each potential divider and subtracting one from the other. The equation for this is:This can be simplified to:
Significance
The Wheatstone bridge illustrates the concept of a difference measurement, which can be extremely accurate.
14/02/2010Wheatstone bridge - Wikipedia, the freen.wikipedia.org//Wheatstone_bridge2/4
 
Variations on the Wheatstone bridge can be used to measure capacitance, inductance, impedance and other quantities, such as the amount of combustible gases in a sample, with an explosimeter. The Kelvin double bridgewas specially adapted from the Wheatstone bridge for measuring very low resistances. In many cases, thesignificance of measuring the unknown resistance is related to measuring the impact of some physical phenomenon -such as force, temperature, pressure, etc - which thereby allows the use of Wheatstone bridge in measuring thoseelements indirectly.The concept was extended to alternating current measurements by James Clerk Maxwell in 1865 and further improved by Alan Blumlein in about 1926.
Modification of the fundamental bridge
The Wheatstone bridge is the fundamental bridge, but there are other modifications that can be made to measurevarious kinds of resistances when the fundamental Wheatstone bridge is not suitable. Some of the modifications are:Carey Foster bridge, for measuring small resistancesKelvin Varley SlideKelvin Double bridgeMaxwell bridge
See also
Maxwell bridgePhantom circuit - a circuit using a balanced bridgePost Office BoxPotentiometer Potential divider Ohmmeter Resistance thermometer Strain gauge
External links
Wheatstone Bridge - Interactive Java Tutorial(http://www.magnet.fsu.edu/education/tutorials/java/wheatstonebridge/index.html) National High MagneticField Laboratoryefunda Wheatstone article(http://www.efunda.com/designstandards/sensors/methods/wheatstone_bridge.cfm)Methods of Measuring Electrical Resistance - Edwin F. Northrup, 1912, full-text on Google Books(http://books.google.com/books?id=z3lKAAAAMAAJ)Measuring strain using Wheatstone bridge principles (http://www.strainmatics.com)
The Genesis of the Wheatstone Bridge
by S. Ekelof discusses Christie's and Wheatstone's contributions,and why the bridge carries Wheatstone's name. Published in
 Engineering Science and Education Journal 
,volume 10, no 1, Februari 2001, pages 37 - 40.Retrieved from "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wheatstone_bridge"
14/02/2010Wheatstone bridge - Wikipedia, the freen.wikipedia.org//Wheatstone_bridge3/4

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