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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.

1

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

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.

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.

....•.

........

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.. R1 ...

.. ...

Q0 ... ...

.•••••••••••••••••• ...

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•...•••••••••••••••••• C1 C2 ••••••••••••••••••••..••••••••••••••••••

...

.. ...

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....................................................................

........R......... .2

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...

.

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.

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.

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