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Whenever there is movement of charge carriers in a substance, there is an electric current. Current is measured in terms of the number of electrons or holes passing a single point in one second.

One ampere is a number of electrons having a total charge of 1 C move through a given cross section in 1 s. This represents one coulomb (6,240,000,000,000,000,000) of charge carriers per second past a given point.

What is the current if 2 C passes a point in 5 s? An ampere is a comparatively large amount of current. The abbreviation is A. Often,current is specified in terms of milliamperes, abbreviated mA, where 1 mA 0.001 A or a thousandth of an ampere. You will also sometimes hear of microamperes (µA), where 1 µA 0.000001 A 0. 001 mA, a millionth of an ampere. And it is increasingly common to hear about nanoamperes (nA), where 1 nA 0. 001 µA 0.000000001 A (a billionth of an ampere). Rarely will you hear of kiloamperes (kA), where 1 kA 1000 A. The amount of current that will flow in an electrical circuit depends on the voltage, and also on the resistance. There are some circuits in which extremely large currents,say 1000 A, flow; this might happen through a metal bar placed directly at the output of a massive electric generator. The resistance is 1

having the same internal 2 . If a resistor. There are two types of current : 1. Find the total charges accumulated on a plate that is supplied by 0. such as microcomputers. and suspended by means of a spring in the field of the magnet. The full-scale deflection of a meter assembly cannot easily be changed. An ammeter can be made to allow for a wide range of current measurements. Some electronic clocks draw so little current that their batteries last as long as they would if left on the shelf without being put to any use at all. since this would mean changing the number of coil turns and/or the strength of the magnet. and the generator is capable of driving huge amounts of charge. This kind of meter.extremely low in this case.25A current for 5s. called a D¶Arsonval movement. AC ± alternating current: Current that changes direction periodically Current have an associated direction of flow. The total charges entering a terminal is given by q(t) = 5t sin4 t mC. 3. Determine the function for current and calculate the current at t = 1 s. DC ± direct current : current that flows in one direction only. 2. In some semiconductor electronic devices. a few nanoamperes will suffice for many complicated processes.1 Ammeters The coil could be attached right to the meter pointer. But all ammeters have a certain amount of internal resistance. is still extensively used today. Conventionally it is taken as the direction of positive charge movement 3A Example -3A 1. 1. Calculate the number of charges represented by 2 million electrons 2.

the force is attractive. Often the terms potential and electromotive force (emf) are used instead of voltage. or even 1000. If the two charge distributions are fixed in place and a small positive unit of charge is placed within the system. or 100. there exists an electricalforce between the two. Then it will take twice the current through the assembly to deflect the meter to full scale. if we divide the potential energy by the positive unit of charge. If the charge distributions are of opposite charge (one positive and the other negative). the positive unit of charge will be influenced by both charge distributions. or 1/100. It might have to take practically all of the current flowing through the assembly. If the distributions are similar in charge (both positive or both negative). Now. This is called a shunt resistance or meter shunt. This resistor must be capable of carrying the current without burning up. By choosing a resistor of just th right value.resistance as the meter.2 Voltage When two charge distributions are separated by a distance. An electrical field is used to describe the magnitude and direction of the force placed on the positive unit of charge due to the charge distributions. 1. leaving the meter to carry only 1/10. we get what is called a voltage (or electrical potential²not to be confused with electrical potential energy). is connected in parallel with the meter. The unit of charge will move toward the negatively charged distribution (³pulled´ by the negatively charged object and ³pushed´ by the positively charged object). Voltage (symbolized V) is defined as the amount of energy required to move a unit of electrical charge from one place to another (potential energy/unit of charge). the resistor will take half the current. the e full-scale deflection of an ammeter can be increased by a factor of 10. as compared with the meter alone. it will change in potential energy. Theunit for voltage is the 3 . When the positive unit of char e moves from one g point to another within this configuration. the force is opposing. This change in potential energy is equivalent to the work done by the positiveunit of charge over a distance. or 1/1000 of the current.

One volt is equal to one joule per coulomb: 1 V = 1 J/C In terms of electronics. It is considered the 0 reference point or -V ground point. the first two battery systems to the left simply specify one battery terminal voltage with respect to another. acts as a good point for comparison. 1) can be made bet een a w tank filled with water and two sets of charged parallel plates. The symbol used for the ground is shown here: There are times when voltages are specified in circuits without reference to ground. which is the same as the symbol.volt (abbreviated with a V. For example. while the third system to the ground. Figure 2 4 . with its infinite charge -absorbing ability and net zero charge. Typically. Figure 1 Understanding voltages becomes a relativity game. in Fig. so watch out). to say a point in a circuit has a voltage of 10 V is meaningless unless you have another point in the circuit withwhich to compare it. 2. An analogy for this (shown in Fig. For example. it is often helpful to treat voltage as a kind of ³electrical pressure´ similar to that of water pressure. the earth.

5 . is the ³pressure´ that makes a current possible. 1. you might not want. and not into just getting a reading of the voltage. or electromotive force (EMF).3 Vol Current is a flow of charge carriers. Voltage. It s always good when a voltmeter has a high internal resistance. You don¶t want the behavior of the circuit to be affected the instant you connect the voltmeter to the supply. or potential difference. to have the voltmeter constantly connected in the circuit.Vol Al d op of energy by electrons (charge) as they flow through a resistance creates a voltage drop because voltage equals energy divided by charge. as much as possible. towards working whatever circuit is hooked up to the supply. Also. Given a circuit whose resistance is constant. you might need the voltmeter for testing many different circuits. The less current a voltmeter draws. the less it will affect the behavior of anything that is working from the power supply. This current should go. the current that will flow in the circuit is directly proportional to the voltage. The reason for this is that you don¶t want the meter to draw much current from the power source. or need.

All conductors intrinsically have some resistance built in.72 x 10-8 2. Material Silver Copper Gold Aluminum Carbon Paper Glass Teflon Resistivity(. etc.8 x 10-8 4.64 x 10-8 1. Resistance depends on resistivity of material ( cross section area (A) and length (L). The symbol of a resistor used in electronics is shown next: One ohm (1 ) is the resistance if one ampere (1 A) is flowing in a material when one volt (1 V) is applied.m) 1. if the resistivity value is 430 nanoohm metres (430 nm). (The actual cause for the resistance can bea number of things: electron-conducting nature of the material. G! R Components designed to have a specific amount of resistance are calledresistors. external heating. Resistance is given by R = VL / A.0 x 10-5 1010 1012 3 x 1012 Usage Conductor Conductor Conductor Conductor Semicon Insulator Insulator Insulator Example Find the resistance of 6. diameter 0.2 Resistance Resistance is the term used to describe a reduction in current flow..6 mm.1.). 6 . impurities in the conducting medium. In electronics.5 m of wire.45 x 10-8 2. V). devices called resistors are specifically designed to resist current. Conductance is the reciprocal of resistance.

A potentiometer can be connected as a rheostat. The center terminal is connected to the wiper 7 .Variable resistors include the potentiometer and rheostat.

It must be able to supply any necessary voltage across its terminals.Summary Voltage is the amount of energy per charge available to move electrons from one from one point to another in a circuit. 1. in the real world. Resistance is opposition to current and is measured in ohms. the current must go to infinity. Instead. the source will maintain ts i voltage even if the resistance of the load changes.4 Electric Circuits An electric circuit is any arrangement of resistors. we define a real voltage source (e. This means that the current will change according to the change in resistance.. there is no device that can supply an infinite amount of current. Current is the rate of charge flow and is measured in amperes.power sources can be classified as ideal voltage sources or ideal current sources. a battery) that can only supply a maximum finite amount of current. wires. or other electrical components that permits an electric current to flow. An ideal current source is a two-terminal idealization of a device that maintains a constant current through an external circuit regardless of the load resistance or applied voltage. but the voltage will stay the same (in I = V/R. Now a fishy thing with an ideal voltage source is that if the resistance goes to zero. Real current sources have a limit to the voltage they can provide. Theoretically. I changes with R. If a variable resistive load is connected to an ideal voltage source. It resembles a perfect voltage source with a small resistor in series. and they do not provide constant output current.g. An ideal voltage source is a two-terminal device that maintains a fixed voltage drop across its terminals. Typically. but V is fixed). a circuit consists of a voltage source and a 8 . 1. Well. There is no simple device that can be associated with an ideal current source.3 DC Power Sources Power sources provide the voltage and current needed to run circuits.

number of components connected together by means of wires or other conductive means. Series Circuit Basic Circuit Series Parallel Circuit Parallel Circuit 9 .A basic circuit consists of 1) a voltage source. parallel circuits. which has each of these. An example of a basic circuit is the flashlight. 2) a path and 3) a load. or series and parallel combination circuits. Electric circuits can be categorized as series circuits.

4.5 Various Switches Exercise 1 1. current. Write the unit and symbols of the following quantities : Charge. 2. A lightning bolt with 8kA strikes an object for 10µs. voltage and resistance. How much charge is deposited on the object? 10 . Determine the potential difference between 2 points if 20J of work is done to move 2C of charge between them.1. Determine the work done to move 3C under a potential difference of 10V. 3.

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