CURRENT & RESISTANCE

4

C U R R E N T AND R E S I S T A N C E

4.1 ELECTRIC CURRENT

In the previous chapter we have been studying static electricity that is electric charges at rest.In this chapter we begin our study of charges in motion as an electric current.The electric current in a wire is defined as the net amount of charge that passes through it per unit time at any point. Thus, the average current I is defined as

I

=

t Q

∆∆

Where Δ

Q

is the amount of charge that passes through the conductor at any location duringthe time interval Δ

t

.

PHY 193 Physics For Engineering II UiTM Pulau Pinang

Example 4.1

A steady current of 3.5A flows in a wire for 20.0 minutes.(i)How many charges passed through any point in circuit?

(ii)

How many electrons would this be?

Solution

(i)

t I Q

∆=∆

= (3.5)(20X60)= 4200 C(ii)Number of electrons = 4200 X

6.242 x 10

18

= 2.62 X 10

22

Exercise 4.1

(a)

How many electrons per second pass through a section of wire carrying a current of 0.70 A?

(b)

What is the current through an 8.0-

Ω

toaster when it is operating on 120 V?

71

CURRENT & RESISTANCE

The direction of conventional current flow is that of positive charge. In a wire, it is actuallynegatively charged electrons that move, so they flow in direction opposite to the conventionalcurrent. Positive conventional current always flows from a high potential to a low potential asshown in Figure 4.1.

Figure 4.1:

The Flow of electric current

4.2 OHM’S LAW AND RESISTIVITY

Ohm’s law states that the current in a good conductor is proportional to the potentialdifference applied to its ends. The proportionality constant is called resistance R of material,so

V = IR

. The unit of resistance is the ohm ( Ω ), where 1 Ω = 1 V/A.The resistance R of a wire is inversely proportional to its cross–sectional area A, and directly proportional to its length L. The general property of the material actually is depending on theresistance and we call as resistivity (

ρ

). That is resistance is a property of a particular pieceof material with a particular size and shape.R = ρ

A L

(

ρ

is the Greek letter rho)

PHY 193 Physics For Engineering II UiTM Pulau Pinang 72

CURRENT & RESISTANCE

4.3 ELECTRIC POWER

The rate at which energy is transformed (absorbed by) in a resistance R from electric to other forms of energy (such as heat and light) is equal to the product of current and voltage or energy transformed per unit time.

P

=

t E

=

t QV

=

t ItV

=

IV

and for resistors can be written with the help of Ohm’s law as

P = I

2

R

=

RV

2

The SI unit for power is called Watt ( W ).

PHY 193 Physics For Engineering II UiTM Pulau Pinang

Example 4.2

A nichrome wire is 100cm in length and 0.6 mm in radius. When connected to a potential of 2V, a current of 4A exists in the wire. Find the resistivity of this nichromewire.

Solution

ρ

=

L RA

=

ILr V

)(

2

π

=

[

)1(4
])106.0()14.3(2

23

−

××

= 5.65 X 10

-7

Ω

m

Exercise 4.2

Two conductors are made of the same material and have the same length. Conductor Ais a solid wire of diameter 1.00mm. Conductor B is a hallow tube of outside diameter 2.00mm and inside diameter 1.00mm. What is the resistance ratio R

A

/R

B

, measured between their ends?

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