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At the end of this chapter you should be able to:
Ÿ state the basic SI units
Ÿ recognize derived SI units
Ÿ understand prefxes denoting multiplication and division
Ÿ state the units of charge, force, work and power and perform simple calculations involving these units
Ÿ state the units of electrical potential, e.m.f., resistance, conductance, power and energy and perform simple
calculations involving these units
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The system of units used in engineering and science is
the Syst‘me Internationale d`Unit’s (International sys-
tem of units), usually abbreviated to SI units, and is
based on the metric system. This was introduced in 1960
and is now adopted by the majority of countries as the
offcial system of measurement.
The basic units in the SI system are listed with their
symbols, in Table 1.1.
Derived SI units use combinations of basic units and
there are many of them. Two examples are:
Ÿ Velocity - metres per second (m/s)
Ÿ Acceleration - metres per second squared (m/s
2
SI units may be made larger or smaller by using prefxes
which denote multiplication or division by a particu-
lar amount. The six most common multiples, with their
meaning, are listed in Table 1.2. For a more complete
list of prefxes, see page 4.
Table 1.1 Basic SI Units
Quantity Unit
length metre, m
mass kilogram, kg
time second, s
electric current ampere, A
thermodynamic temperature kelvin, K
luminous intensity candela, cd
amount of substance mole, mol
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The unit of charge is the coulomb (C) where
one coulomb is one ampere second. (1coulomb ã
6.24I10
18
electrons). The coulomb is defned as the
quantity of electricity which fows past a given point
DOI: 10.1016/B978-1-85617-770-2.00001-X
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Table 1.2
Prehx Name Meaning
M mega multiply by 1000000 (i.e. I10
6
)
k kilo multiply by 1000 (i.e. I10
3
)
m milli divide by 1000 (i.e. I10
3
)
k micro divide by 1000000 (i.e. I10
6
)
n nano divide by 1000000000 (i.e. I10
9
)
p pico divide by 1000000000000 (i.e. I10
12
)
in an electric circuit when a current of one ampere is
maintained for one second. Thus,
charge, in coulombs Ïã׬
where I is the current in amperes and t is the time in
seconds.
Problem 1. If a current of 5A fows for 2
minutes, fnd the quantity of electricity transferred.
Quantity of electricity QãIt coulombs
I ã5A, t ã2I60ã120s
Hence Qã5I120ã600 C
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The unit of force is the newton (N) where one newton
is one kilogram metre per second squared. The newton
is defned as the force which, when applied to a mass of
one kilogram, gives it an acceleration of one metre per
second squared. Thus,
force, in newtons Ú㳿
where m is the mass in kilograms and a is the accelera-
tion in metres per second squared. Gravitational force,
or weight, is mg, where g ã9.81m/s
2
.
Problem 2. A mass of 5000g is accelerated at
2m/s
2
by a force. Determine the force needed.
Force ãmassIacceleration
ã5kgI2m/s
2
ã10
kg m
s
2
ã10 N
Problem 3. Find the force acting vertically
downwards on a mass of 200g attached to a wire.
Massã200gã0.2kg and acceleration due to gravity,
gã9.81m/s
2
Force acting downwardsãweight ãmassIacceleration
ã0.2kgI9.81m/s
2
ã1.962 N
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The unit of work or energy is the joule (J) where one
joule is one newton metre. The joule is defned as the
work done or energy transferred when a force of one
newton is exerted through a distance of one metre in the
direction of the force. Thus
work done on a body, in joules ÉãÚ-
where F is the force in newtons and s is the distance in
metres moved by the body in the direction of the force.
Energy is the capacity for doing work.
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The unit of power is the watt (W) where one watt is one
joule per second. Power is defned as the rate of doing
work or transferring energy. Thus,
power in watts, Ðã
É
¬
where W is the work done or energy transferred in joules
and t is the time in seconds. Thus
energy, in joules, ÉãЬ
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Problem 4. A portable machine requires a force
of 200N to move it. How much work is done if the
machine is moved 20m and what average power is
utilized if the movement takes 25s?
Work done ãforce Idistance ã 200NI20m
ã 4000Nm or 4 kJ
Power ã
work done
time taken
ã
4000J
25s
ã160J/s ã160W
Problem 5. A mass of 1000kg is raised through a
height of 10m in 20s. What is (a) the work done
and (b) the power developed?
(a) Work doneãforceIdistance and
forceãmassIacceleration
Hence, work done ã(1000kgI9.81m/s
2
) I(10m)
ã98100Nm
ã98.1 kNm or 98.1kJ
(b) Power ã
work done
time taken
ã
98100J
20s
ã 4905J/s
ã4905W or 4.905kW
Now try the following exercise
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(Take gã9.81m/s
2
where appropriate)
1. What forceis requiredtogiveamass of 20kg
an acceleration of 30m/s
2
? [600N]
2. Findtheaccelerating forcewhenacar having
a mass of 1.7Mg increases its speed with a
constant acceleration of 3m/s
2
[5.1kN]
3. A force of 40N accelerates a mass at 5m/s
2
.
Determine the mass. [8kg]
4. Determine the force acting downwards
on a mass of 1500g suspended on a
string. [14.72N]
5. Aforce of 4Nmoves an object 200cmin the
direction of the force. What amount of work
is done? [8J]
6. A force of 2.5kN is required to lift a load.
How much work is done if the load is lifted
through 500cm? [12.5kJ]
7. An electromagnet exerts a force of 12N and
moves a soft iron armature through a dis-
tance of 1.5cm in 40ms. Find the power
consumed. [4.5W]
8. A mass of 500kg is raised to a height of 6m
in 30s. Find (a) the work done and (b) the
power developed.
[(a) 29.43kNm (b) 981W]
9. What quantity of electricity is carried by
6.24I10
21
electrons? [1000C]
10. In what time would a current of 1A transfer
a charge of 30 C? [30s]
11. A current of 3 A fows for 5 minutes. What
charge is transferred? [900 C]
12. How long must a current of 0.1A fow so as
to transfer a charge of 30 C? [5 minutes]
13. Rewrite the following as indicated:
(a) 1000pFã nF
(b) 0.02kFã . pF
(c) 5000kHzã MHz
(d) 47k ã M
(e) 0.32mAã kA
[(a) 1nF (b) 20000pF (c) 5MHz
(d) 0.047M (e) 320kA]
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The unit of electric potential is the volt (V) where one
volt is one joule per coulomb. One volt is defned as the
differenceinpotential betweentwopoints inaconductor
which, whencarryingacurrent of oneampere, dissipates
a power of one watt, i.e.
volts ã
watts
amperes
ã
joules/second
amperes
ã
joules
ampere seconds
ã
joules
coulombs
A change in electric potential between two points in
an electric circuit is called a potential difference. The
electromotive force (e.m.f.) provided by a source of
energy such as a battery or a generator is measured in
volts.
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The unit of electric resistance is the ohm ( ) where
one ohm is one volt per ampere. It is defned as the
resistance between two points in a conductor when a
constant electric potential of one volt applied at the two
points produces a current fow of one ampere in the
conductor. Thus,
resistance, in ohms Îã
Ê
×
where V is the potential difference across the two points
in volts and I is the current fowing between the two
points in amperes.
The reciprocal of resistance is called conductance
and is measured in siemens (S). Thus,
conductance, in siemens Ùã
1
Î
where R is the resistance in ohms.
Problem 6. Find the conductance of a conductor
of resistance (a) 10 , (b) 5k and (c) 100m .
(a) Conductance Gã
1
R
ã
1
10
siemenã0.1 S
(b) Gã
1
R
ã
1
5I10
3
Sã0.2I10
3
Sã0.2 mS
(c) Gã
1
R
ã
1
100I10
3

10
3
100
Sã10 S
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When a direct current of I amperes is fowing in an elec-
tric circuit and the voltage across the circuit is V volts,
then
power, in watts Ð ã Ê×
Electrical energy ãPower Itime
ãÊ׬ Joules
Although the unit of energy is the joule, when deal-
ing with large amounts of energy, the unit used is the
kilowatt hour (kWh) where
1kWh ã 1000 watt hour
ã 1000I3600 watt seconds or joules
ã 3600000J
Problem 7. A source e.m.f. of 5V supplies a
current of 3A for 10 minutes. How much energy is
provided in this time?
Energyãpower Itime and power ãvoltageIcurrent.
Hence
EnergyãVIt ã5I3I(10I60) ã9000Ws or J
ã9kJ
Problem 8. An electric heater consumes 1.8MJ
when connected to a 250V supply for 30 minutes.
Find the power rating of the heater and the current
taken from the supply.
Energyãpower Itime, hence
power ã
energy
time
ã
1 8 I10
6
J
30 I60s
ã1000J/sã1000W
i.e. Power rating of heater ã1 kW
Power PãVI, thus I ã
P
V
ã
1000
250
ã4A
Hence the current taken from the supply is 4A.
Now try the following exercise
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1. Find the conductance of a resistor of resistance
(a) 10 (b) 2k (c) 2m
[(a) 0.1S (b) 0.5mS (c) 500S]
2. Aconductor has a conductance of 50kS. What
is its resistance? [20k ]
3. An e.m.f. of 250V is connected across a
resistance and the current fowing through the
resistance is 4A. What is thepower developed?
[1kW]
4. 450J of energy are converted into heat in
1 minute. What power is dissipated? [7.5W]
5. A current of 10A fows through a conductor
and 10W is dissipated. What p.d. exists across
the ends of the conductor? [1V]
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6. A battery of e.m.f. 12V supplies a current
of 5A for 2 minutes. How much energy is
supplied in this time? [7.2kJ]
7. Adc electric motor consumes 36MJ when con-
nected to a 250V supply for 1 hour. Find the
power rating of the motor and the current taken
from the supply. [10kW, 40A]
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Quantity Quantity Unit Unit
Symbol Symbol
Length l metre m
Mass m kilogram kg
Time t second s
Velocity metres per m/s or
second ms
1
Acceleration a metres per m/s
2
or
second ms
2
squared
Force F newton N
Electrical Q coulomb C
charge or
quantity
Electric current I ampere A
Resistance R ohm
Conductance G siemen S
Electromotive E volt V
force
Potential V volt V
difference
Work W joule J
Energy E (or W) joule J
Power P watt W
As progress is made through Electrical Circuit Theory
and Technology many more terms will be met. A full
list of electrical quantities, together with their symbols
and units are given in Part 4, page 725.