Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

7.1 Electric Fields and Charge Flow
7.1.1 Charge
• • There are two types of charges: Positive charge Negative charge Like charges repel whereas opposite charges attract.

7.1.2 Static electricity
• • Stationary electric charges are known as static electricity Electrostatics is the study of static electricity

7.1.3 Electric fields
• An electric field is the region in which an electric charge experiences a force

Positive charge

Negative charge

Two opposite charges

Two like charges

Two non-uniform fields

Two uniform fields

Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 1 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

7.1.4 Activity to observe the pattern of electric fields

• • •

When the power supply is turned on, the talcum powder will map the electrical field lines Sesame oil is used because it conducts electricity only at extremely high potential difference The density of the field lines represent the intensity of the electric field

7.1.5 Ping pong ball coated with conducting material

• • • •

A ping pong ball coated with metallic point is placed centrally between two metallic plates connected to a very high voltage source. The ball is suspended with nylon string which is an electrical insulator. When the power supply is turned on, the ball will not move as it is initially neutral. The charges on both sides neutralize each other. When the ball is pushed to one of the plates, the ball will oscillate between the plates until the power supply is turned off.

The frequency of oscillation increases if: • Potential difference of voltage source is increased. • The metallic plates are closer.

Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 2 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

7.1.6 Flame of a candle

• • •

A candle is placed centrally between two metallic plates connected to a high voltage power source. The candle flame splits into two opposite directions and is biased towards the negative plate. This is because negative ions are lighter and move more quickly than the positive ions. Negative ions are attracted towards the positive plate whereas the positive ions are attracted towards the negative plate.

7.1.7 Lightning formation

• •

During cloud formation, the friction of movement creates a lot of excess charge. This induced positive charges on the objects below it. If the forces of attraction are strong enough, the negative charges in the clouds will be attracted towards the positive charges of the objects, resulting in lightning.

Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 3 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

7.1.8 Photocopiers

A lightsensitive plate (or drum) is charged

An image of the original document is projected onto the plate. The bright areas lose their charge.

Powdered ink (toner) is attracted to the charged areas on the plate

A blank sheet of paper is pressed against the plate and picks up the powdered ink

The paper is heated so that the powdered ink melts and sticks to the paper


Current and Potential Difference

7.2.1 Current
Current: The rate of charge flow Q = It where Q = charge [Coulomb] I = current [Ampere] t = time [seconds]

7.2.2 Potential difference
Potential difference: Work done to move 1 Coulomb of charge from one point to another in an electric field.



where V = potential difference [Volt] E = energy released / work done [Joule} Q = charge [Coulomb] • • Charges move from high potential to low potential Potential difference can be measured with a voltmeter connected in parallel across two points within an electric circuit

Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 4 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

7.2.3 Ohm’s Law
Ohm’s Law: Potential difference across an ohmic conductor is directly proportional to the current if the temperature and other physical conditions are kept constant V∝ I

V = Constant = Resistance I V = IR where V = potential difference [V] I = current [A] R = resistance [Ω]
Non-ohmic conductors: • Non-ohmic conductors are conductors which do not obey Ohm’s Law. • E.g., a light bulb whose resistance increases over time due to temperature increase (heating effect of current)

Note: In this whole chapter, all conductors and light bulbs are assumed to follow Ohm’s Law. There are no non-ohmic problems at this level.

7.2.4 Factors that affect resistance
Factor Length of conductor Cross-section area of conductor Temperature Material Influence Length ↑ Resistance ↑ Cross-section ↑ Resistance ↓ Temperature ↑ Resistance ↑ Depends on material

7.2.5 Superconductors
• • • • Superconductors are conductors with zero resistance Superconductors conduct electricity with no loss of energy The conductors are cooled down to critical temperatures Special properties: Allows the flow of electric current with minimal loss of energy Negates any applied external magnetic fields Superconductors are used in transportation, electronic components, energy storage, power cables, etc.


Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 5 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008


Series and Parallel Circuits
Series Parallel


I I I1 R1 I2 R2



V1 I2 R2


V2 V2

Resistance Potential difference Current

R = R1 + R2

V = V1 + V2 I = I1 = I2

1 1 1 = + R R1 R2 V = V1 = V2 I = I1 + I2


Electromotive Force and Internal Resistance

7.4.1 Electromotive force and Potential difference
• Electromotive force is the work done by a source in driving a unit charge around a complete circuit

Electromotive force Usually used for voltage sources E.g. dry cells, batteries

Potential difference Usually used for electric loads E.g. light bulbs, resistors, heating elements, motors Electrical energy that is supplied by the Electrical energy lost or transformed due to source the load on the circuit E.m.f. = sum of potential difference across the whole circuit

7.4.2 Internal resistance
• •


Before the switch is turned on The battery does not supply current to the light bulb Voltmeter reading = E.m.f. of battery R After the switch is turned on The battery supplies current which flows around the circuit Voltmeter measures the potential difference across the terminals of the battery The voltmeter reading drops due to internal resistance of the battery

Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 6 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

EMF = IR + Ir EMF = V + Ir EMF = I (R + r) where EMF = electromotive force [V] I = current flowing through the circuit [A] R = total resistance of the circuit [Ω] r = internal resistance of the batteries [Ω] V = potential difference of the circuit [V]

Circuit setup

Graph of V against I


Electric Energy and Power

7.5.1 Electric power
Electric power: rate of transfer of electric energy


E t

where P = power [Watt] E = electric energy used / dissipated [Joule] t = time [seconds] P = IV where P = power [Watt] I = current [Ampere] V = potential difference [Volt] From P = IV and V = IR, P = I2 R V2 P= R

Chapter 7: Electricity

Page 7 of 8

Hoo Sze Yen

Physics SPM 2008

• •

Electrical appliances are usually labeled by its voltage and power rating Voltage – required potential difference to operate the appliance Power rating – energy dissipated by the appliance when the correct voltage is supplied

7.5.2 Power rating of appliances
• A light bulb labeled 12 V, 36 W: When connected to a 12 V voltage source, the light bulb will shine with normal intensity. Power dissipated is 36 W When connected to a voltage less than 12 V, the light bulb will shine with less intensity and power is less than 36 W When connected to a voltage more than 12 V, the light bulb will shine with brighter intensity and power is more than 36 W. Life span of the light bulb will be shortened and the light bulb is burned out

7.5.3 Cost of using electricity
Total cost = Units × Cost per unit where 1 unit = 1 kW-hour = 1 kW × 1 hour Example: Air conditioner with a power rating of 1 500 W is used for 20 hours. Cost per unit is RM0.20. Number of units = 1.5 kW × 20 hours = 30 kW-hours Total cost = 30 × RM0.20 = RM6.00

7.5.4 Efficiency
Efficiency = Output power × 100% Input power

Chapter 7: Electricity

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