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Carey Foster Bridge

Carey Foster Bridge

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Published by: Ajay Kumar on Nov 18, 2010

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CAREY FOSTER BRIDGE

Introduction
The Carey Foster bridge is an electrical circuit that can be used to measure very small resistances. It works on the same principle as Wheatstone’s bridge, which consists of four resistances, P, Q, R and S that are connected to each other as shown in the circuit diagram in Figure 1. In this circuit, G is a galvanometer, E is a lead accumulator, and K1 and K are the galvanometer key and the battery key respectively. If the values of the resistances are adjusted so that no current flows through the galvanometer, then if any three of the resistances P, Q, R and S are known, the fourth unknown resistance can be determined by using the relationship P R = Q S (1)

Figure 1: Wheatstone’s bridge You may be familiar with the post office box and the meter bridge, which also work on the same principle as Wheatstone’s bridge. In the meter bridge, two of the resistors, R and S, say, are replaced by a one meter length of resistance wire, with uniform cross-sectional area fixed on a meter scale. Point D is an electrical contact that can be moved along the

The Carey Foster bridge is a modified form of the meter bridge in which the effective length of the wire is considerably increased by connecting a resistance in series with each end of the wire. Apparatus • • • • • • • • • Carey Foster bridge two equal resistances of about 2 ohms each thick copper strip fractional resistance box lead accumulator galvanometer unknown low resistance one way key connecting wires lead accumulator fractional resistance box standard resistances bridge wire galvanometer Figure 2: Experimental setup for the Carey Foster bridge. This increases the accuracy of the bridge. While performing this experiment you will balance the Carey Foster bridge by a null deflection method using a galvanometer.wire. and will then determine the value of an unknown resistance. . You will first determine the resistance per unit length of the material used for the bridge wire. thus varying the magnitudes of resistances R and S.

the fractional resistance box X and the unknown resistance Y whose resistance is to be determined are connected in the outer gaps 1 and 4. B. which is a knife edge contact that can be moved along the meter wire EF and pressed to make electrical contact with the wire. respectively. i. C and D in Figure 3 exactly correspond to the points labeled A. If the balance point is located at a distance l1 from E. Figure 3: Circuit diagram for the Carey Foster bridge The position of jockey D is adjusted to locate the position where there is no deflection of the galvanometer when the jockey is pressed to make electrical contact with the wire. P and Q. A one meter long resistance wire EF of uniform area of cross section is soldered to the ends of two copper strips. then we can write the condition of balance as ( X + α + l1 ρ ) P R = = . The bridge has its highest sensitivity when all four of the resistances. A lead accumulator with a key K in series is connected between terminals A and C.Theory The aim of the experiment is to determine the resistance per unit length. this position is called the balance point or null point. C and D in the circuit diagram of Wheatstone’s bridge in Figure 1. There are four gaps in this arrangement.. Since the wire has uniform cross-sectional area. A galvanometer G is connected between terminal B and the jockey D. of 2 Ω each are connected in the inner gaps 2 and 3. and thus the Carey Foster Bridge effectively works like a Wheatstone’s bridge. The standard low resistances. The four points A. Q. the resistance per unit length is the same along the wire. The known resistance. P. (2) Q S {Y + β + (100 − l1 )ρ } . have similar magnitudes.e. ρ of the Carey Foster bridge wire and hence to find the resistance of a given wire of low resistance. and a circuit diagram for the experiment is shown in Figure 3. X and Y. The experimental setup is shown in Figure 2. B.

then Equation (7) leads to X ρ= (9) l 2 − l1 Thus if Y is effectively a short circuit. If Y = 0. Use a Carey Foster bridge to determine the resistance per unit length of the bridge wire and to determine the value of an unknown resistance. you should be able to 1. Clearly balance points will only be possible if the difference between the resistances. X is put in gap 4 and Y in gap 1. 4. i. Once we know l1. Explain the meaning of the terms in the glossary.. 5. These end corrections include the resistances of the metal strips to which the wire is soldered. Learning Outcomes After studying the preparatory material. the contact resistances between the wire and the strips. and use them appropriately. (7) Y = X − (l 2 − l1 )ρ (8) This relation shows that the difference between the known and unknown resistance is equal to the resistance of the bridge wire between the two balance points. performing the experiments and working out the results. l2. Describe a Carey Foster bridge circuit. If the positions of X and Y are interchanged. the unknown resistance Y can be determined. 3. (100 cm) ρ. is less than the total resistance of the one meter wire. and the balance point is found at a distance l2 from E. ρ and X. then the balance condition becomes (Y + α + l 2 ρ ) P R = = (3) Q S {X + β + (100 − l 2 )ρ } Combining Equations 2 and 3. 2. (6) X − Y = (l 2 − l1 )ρ . ( X + α + Y + β + 100 ρ ) (Y + α + X + β + 100 ρ ) = (5) {Y + β + (100 − l1 ) ρ } { X + β + (100 − l2 ) ρ } Since the numerators are equal. X – Y. and they also allow for the non-coincidence of the ends of the wire with the zero and one hundred division marks on the scale. we can write Y + β + (100 − l1 )ρ = X + β + (100 − l 2 )ρ . we obtain ( X + α + l1 ρ ) (Y + α + l 2 ρ ) (4) = {Y + β + (100 − l1 )ρ } {X + β + (100 − l 2 )ρ } Adding 1 on both sides and simplifying. then we can determine the resistance per unit length from knowledge of X and the measured values of l1 and l2. and explain how it can be used to measure an unknown resistance. Distinguish between a Carey Foster bridge and a meter bridge. . Explain some of the advantages and limitations of a Carey Foster bridge for measuring resistance.where α and β are the end corrections at the left and right ends.e.

(b) remove any deposits from the battery terminals and (c) close tightly all of the plugs in the resistance box. and do not move the jockey while it is in contact with the wire. This point should be near the middle of the bridge wire. using a table with the layout shown in Table 1. in your laboratory notebook.Pre-lab Assessment Answer the following questions (1) (2) (3) (4) What is Wheatstone’s bridge? When is the Wheatstone’s bridge most sensitive? Which other instruments based on the principle of Wheatstone’s bridge are used to determine resistances? Why is fractional resistance box used in this experiment? Procedure The experiment is performed in two parts. Take out the plug from the fractional resistance box that inserts a resistance of 0. 6. . Make the circuit connections as shown in Figure 3. Take care that the jockey is pressed down gently to avoid damaging the wire and distorting its cross section. Increase resistance X in steps of 0. You need to (a) ensure that the wires and copper strip are clean and the terminals are screwed down tightly. of the Carey Foster bridge wire 1. Press down the jockey so that the knife edge makes contact with the wire. Note that you should remove the battery plug when you are not taking measurements so that the battery does not become drained. 2. and repeat steps 3 – 5. By averaging readings with forward and reverse currents.1 Ω. 7. ρ. 8. Move the jockey to different positions along the wire and repeat step 3 at each place until you locate the position of the null point. Release the jockey. you will be able to eliminate the effect of any thermo emfs. 4. Note the balancing length. 3. In this part of the experiment Y is a copper strip that has negligible resistance and X is a fractional resistance box. l1. where there is no deflection of the galvanometer. Reverse the connections to the terminals of the battery and record the balancing length for reverse current in the table in your notebook. 5. and observe the galvanometer deflection. Plug in the battery key so that a current flows through the bridge. these precautions will minimize any contact resistance between the terminals and the connecting wire.1 Ω and repeat steps 3 – 5 each time. Part I Determination of resistance per unit length.

Repeat the entire sequences of steps as described in the procedure for the first part of the experiment. X/ Ω Position of balance point with copper strip in the right gap. Determine an average value for (l2 – l1) for each value of X from each row of data in your version of Table 1. . l1 / cm left gap. No. l2 / cm direct reverse mean direct reverse mean current current current current l2 – l1 / cm ρ = X / (l2 – l1) /Ω Table 2: Determination of an unknown low resistance using a Carey Foster bridge.9. A suggested format is shown in Table 2. Observations Table 1: Determination of ρ for Carey Foster bridge wire S. and repeat steps 3 – 5 for the same set of resistances. 2. No. S. l1 / cm left gap. The corresponding balancing lengths. Remove the copper strip and insert the unknown low resistance in one of the outer gaps of the bridge. Record your measurements in your laboratory notebook. X/ Ω Position of balance point with unknown resistance in the right gap. measured from the same end of the bridge wire. should be recorded as l2 in your data table. Interchange the copper strip and fractional resistance box. l2 / cm direct reverse mean direct reverse mean current current current current l2 – l1 / cm Y = X − ρ ( l2 – l1 ) /Ω Calculations 1. Part II Determination of an unknown low resistance Y 1.

Then use these results to calculate a mean value of Y. . Y = ……….2. end correction (for a Carey Foster bridge): A small resistance that includes contributions from the finite resistance of the fixed copper strips within a Carey Foster bridge. 5. 2. so there may be an additional contact resistance at the connections. The value of the unknown low resistance % error =………. Ω Possible sources of error • • • • The ends of connecting wires. The resistance per unit length of the bridge wire ρ = …… Ω m-1. Results 1. Ω Actual value (if known) = ………. Use Equation (8) to calculate a value of the unknown resistance Y from each row of data in your version of Table 2. It differs from a meter bridge because additional resistances of similar magnitudes are included at either end of the meter wire. the resistance at the junctions of the bridge wire with the copper strips and the effects of the non coincidence of the ends of the wire with the zero and one hundred division marks on the scale. again introducing undesirable contact resistance. Then calculate values of ρ for the bridge wire from these values of (l2 – l1). Carey Foster Bridge: a bridge based on the principle of Wheat stone’s bridge that is used to compare two nearly equal resistances and to determine values of low resistances and the specific resistance of a wire. 3. using the formula ρ = X / (l2 – l1). Use these results to calculate a mean value of ρ in SI units. The bridge wire may get heated up due to continuous passage of current for a long time. This will change its resistance. Also known as a null point. If the jockey is not pressed gently or if it is kept pressed on to the wire while being shifted from one point to another. thick copper strips and leads for the resistance box may not be clean.. Glossary Balance point (of a Carey Foster bridge): A point on the bridge wire that produces zero deflection in the galvanometer when the jockey knife edge is in contact with it. 4. that may alter the cross sectional area of the wire and make it non uniform. The plugs of the fractional resistance box may be loose.

with a battery connected across terminals at two opposite corners of the quadrilateral and a galvanometer between the other two corners. so mounted that any number of these resistance coils can be connected in series. Ω. then the resistance R is given by R = V/I. A third arm contains resistances from 1-5000 Ω. When the bridge is balanced (no current through the galvanometer). Also known as a balance point.1 Ω).1-1. and it can be used for comparison of the values of two similar resistances. then P/Q = R/S. null point (of a Carey Foster bridge): A point on the bridge wire that produces zero deflection in the galvanometer when the jockey knife edge is in contact with it. and an unknown resistance can be connected in the fourth arm. 100 or 1000 Ω. low resistance: A resistance in the range of 1-5 ohm. R and S joined together to form a quadrilateral. It includes a uniform 1m long wire fixed on a wooden board. Tapping keys are provided for connections to a galvanometer and battery. a very sensitive galvanometer is used. In SI units.Fractional resistance box: A box containing a number of fixed small resistance coils (0. this is measured in Ω m-1.0 Ω or 0. Q. meter bridge: The most commonly used form of the Wheatstone’s bridge. with zero current corresponding to the center of the scale. resistance: The opposition offered to the flow of current by an object. The SI unit of resistance is the ohm. In the Carey Foster bridge experiments. Galvanometer: An instrument used to detect current. post office box: A compact form of Wheatstone’s bridge in which two of the arms contain resistances of 10. jockey: A metal knife edge mounted in plastic handle that can move along the bridge wire of a Carey Foster bridge and is used to locate the null point. Wheatstone’s bridge: A bridge circuit (depicted in Figure 1) that comprises four resistances P. Post-lab Assessment Answer the following questions (1) (2) (3) (4) (5) (6) (7) What is the advantage of measuring resistance by null method? Why do you perform your experiment with direct as well as with reverse current? What is the end correction? Have you included “The end correction” in your calculation? Can we measure very low resistance accurately by this method? Is this method suitable for the measurement of very high resistance? Can a copper wire be used as a bridge wire? .01-0. specific resistance (of a wire): The resistance per unit length of the wire. Pressing on the jockey makes a point contact with the bridge wire. If a current I flows through an object when a potential difference V is connected across it.

the shifting of the null point should be on the bridge wire itself. 3. Answers to Post-lab Assessment 1. 4. 2. since copper has a low specific resistance and a high temperature coefficient. The resistances of leads and contacts external to the bridge circuit may also affect measurements of very low resistances. This is due to the finite resistance of the copper strips fixed within the Carey Foster’s bridge.f. because thermoelectric voltages developed at the junctions of dissimilar metals may cause problems when low resistances are measured. 5. Therefore.m. The bridge is most sensitive when the resistances of the four arms are nearly equal and are comparable to the galvanometer resistance. When the resistances in the outer gaps are interchanged. the resistance at the junctions of the wires with the copper strips and the non coincidence of the ends of the wire with the zero and hundred division marks on the scale. Q. . Very high resistances cannot be measured very accurately with a standard Wheatstone bridge due to leakage of currents. 2. Two most common lab instruments based on the principle of Wheatstone’s bridge are Meter Bridge and post office box. Wheatstone’s bridge is an arrangement of four resistances P. in order to have a sufficient number of observations. 7. No.Answers to Pre-lab Assessment 1. That is current leakage in the electrical insulation may be comparable to the current in the branches of the bridge circuit when high resistances are measured. The error due to end correction do not appear in this method of measurement since the difference of the lengths between the null points is involved. No. 6. To eliminate the effect of current due to thermo e. So the calibration of the galvanometer does not come into play. The resistance introduced should be less than the resistance of the bridge wire which is very small. R and S connected in the form of a bridge such that the bridge is balanced when the product of the resistances in the opposite arms is same. The sensitivity of the bridge to balance is also reduced for high resistances. 4. a fractional resistance box is used. Null method means zero current through the galvanometer. 3.

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