You are on page 1of 3

Physics 15b Assignment #5

Read Chapter 4 of Purcell by Monday March 7.

Q&A questions to be answered on the Physics 15b website before 11pm on Monday,
March 7:

5QA-1. Which pair of numbers below is a good answer to the two questions in Problem 4.6 in
Purcell?
A: 256/81 and 4
B: 64/27 and 4
C: 16/9 and 2
D: 4/3 and 2
E: None of the above.

5QA-2. Which answer below is the best answer to Problem 4.16 in Purcell?

A : R1 = ( 5 − 1)R0 /2

B: R1 = R0 / 3

C : R1 = ( 3 − 1)R0
D: R1 = R0
E : None of the above.

In addition, there are some survey questions and feedback questions.

1
Problems due at the beginning of class on Thursday, March 10 —

5-1. Problem 4.21 in Purcell.

In the circuit, all five resistors have the same value, 100 ohms, and each cell has an
electromotive force of 1.5 volts. Find the open-circuit voltage and the short-circuit
current for the terminals A and B. Then find E0 and R0 for the Thévenin equivalent
circuit.

5-2. Problem 4.32 in Purcell.

Some important kinds of networks are infinite in extent. The figure shows a chain of
series and parallel resistors stretching off endlessly to the right. The line at the bottom
is the resistanceless return wire for all of them. This is sometimes called an attenuator
chain, or a ladder network. The problem is to find the “input resistance,” that is, the
equivalent resistance between terminals A and B. Our interest in this problem mainly

2
concerns the method of solution, which takes an odd twist and which can be used in
other places in physics where we have an iteration of identical devices (even in infinite
chain of lenses in optics). The point is that the input resistance which we do not yet
know — call it R — will not be changed by adding a new set of resistors to the front
of the chain to make it one unit longer. But now, adding this section, we see that
this new input resistance is just R1 in series with the parallel combination of R2 and
R. We get immediately an equation that can be solved for R. Show that, if voltage
V0 is applied at the input to such a chain, the voltage at successive nodes decreases
in a geometric series. What ratio is required for the resistors to make the ladder an
attenuator that halves the voltage at every step? Obviously a truely infinite ladder
would not be practical. Can you suggest a way to terminate it after a few sections
without introducing any errors in its attenuation?

5-3.
....•.
........
.
..................................................................
.....
......
• ........ ..........................

.. ..
.. R1 ...
.. ...
Q0 ... ...
.•••••••••••••••••• ...


••
••

••
••

••
••

••
• •
•••
•••
•••
•••
•••
•••• •
•••

••
••

••
••

••



••
••

••
••

••
••

••
•...•••••••••••••••••• C1 C2 ••••••••••••••••••••..••••••••••••••••••
...
.. ...
.. ...
..
..
....................................................................
........R......... .2
...........................................
...
...
.
In the circuit shown above, capacitor C1 has charge Q0 on the upper plate and capacitor C2 is
uncharged and no current is flowing. At time t = 0, the switch is closed.

a. Find the charge Q on capacitor C1 as a function of time.

b. Find the energy stored in each capacitor and the power dissipated in each resistor as functions
of t.

5-4. A standard physics joke starts “Consider a spherical cow ...” In this problem, we consider
a spherical resistor.

5-4a. Suppose a conducting sphere of radius a is centered at the origin and surrounded by
material with conductivity σ out to radius b. At radius b, the whole thing is covered with another
conductor. Now we attach leads to the inner and outer conductors and measure the resistance.
What do we get? Assume that somehow we can attach the lead to the inner conductor without
disturbing the nice spherical symmetry of the system.

5-4b. Use the result of part 5-4a to find an approximate value for the resistance of a system
of two spherical conductors with radii a and b in an infinite sea of material with conductivity σ,
where the distance d between the conductors is very large compared to a and b, and explain any
approximations you make.