March 24th, 2011

Jane Hanger Lab Partners: Ryan Wenger, Aaron Lam Circuit¶s Lab

Objective: In this lab our objective was to derive and verify how individual resistors combine in a series and parallel circuit by measuring the individual and total components that make up both types of circuits and are governed by Ohm¶s Law(V= IR) . We also sought to familiarize and understand how to setup a series and parallel circuit correctly with an ammeter and voltmeter connected properly. Theory: A circuit is a power supply and a closed conducting path. Most circuits also include a device for the current to flow through. If a circuit is broken, that means its conductive elements no longer form a complete path, and continuous electron flow cannot occur in it. In order for a charge to flow through a wire it must be given energy. The source of energy referred to as the power supply can be a battery, generator, solar cell, etc. If we connect the terminals of our power supply with a closed conducting path we allow the charges to flow. As charges move through the closed conducting path(wire) they collide with the molecules in the wire and give up some of their energy to the molecules of the wire. This means it takes energy for the charges to move through any device. The higher the resistance of the device the more energy the charges lose when traveling through the device, or the more energy we must give to the charge so it can go through the device. For a circuit the change in energy per unit charge or energy per unit charge given to charged particles by a power supply is the potential difference or voltage. The units of voltage are Volts(1 Volt = 1 Joule/Coulomb (1 V = 1 J/C)). The rate of flow of positive electric charge in a circuit is current (I), the unit of current is 1 Ampere = 1 Coulomb/second. There are two types of current that give rise to two different types of circuits: a dc or ac circuit. A dc circuit has a direct current through it, which is constant in magnitude and direction, whereas an ac circuit has alternating current that changes either magnitude or direction. Direct currents can come from batteries and alternating currents are from generators or wall outlets. When a constant potential difference, density,
E J

, is applied to a conducting material, a current , created within the

, is established that is directly proportional to the electric field,

material = . The constant of proportionality is known as the resistivity of the material and it tells us how difficult it is for charges to flow through the material. This relation is known as Ohm¶s Law. A typically more useful form of Ohm¶s Law is derived by defining the resistance(R) in a circuit, which is the measure of the opposition to the flow of current. We represent resistance with "R" and it has units of ohms symbolized with the Greek letter ;=1V/1A. The electric field created by the potential difference (E= V/d) that establishes a current(I= JA) , in the wire along with the resistivity of the wire gives the manipulated relationship of Ohm¶s Law: V=
d A

I, where R

d A

. So the

Where the voltage of the power supply is equivalent to net sum of the voltage drops: Vpowersupply= V1+V2+V3 . and I3 are the current values at the individual resistor locations.is the same everywhere. R3= V3/I. they can be connected in two basic ways or a combination of both. V2 = I R2. whereas the potential difference is directly proportional to the amount of resistance in each individual resistor and Ohm¶s Law can be rewritten R1=V1/I. The loss in electric potential over each device in the circuit is referred to as a voltage drop. meaning each device is placed in its own separate branch of the circuit. The two basic ways to connect devices in a circuit are series and parallel connections. Each charge passing through the loop of the circuit will pass through each resistor in consecutive fashion.The voltage drop (V) will vary with varying resistance. When there are two or more electrical devices present in a circuit with an energy source. the circuit is referred to as a series circuit. V3 = IR3. Using the individual resistor values and the equation above. where I1. The Ohm's law equation can be used to not only predict which resistor in a series circuit will have the greatest voltage drop. Wherever the resistance is greatest. And using Ohm's law (V = IR). Or knowing the relationship between voltage drop and current in a series circuit the equivalent resistance can be rewritten in terms of the power supply¶s voltage and the current equal to the net sum of voltage drops throughout the circuit over current: Vpowersupply/I= V1/I + V2/I + V3/I. the mathematical formula for finding the equivalent resistance (Req) is Req = R1 + R2 + R3. I2. The rate at which charge flows. When moving .second form of Ohm¶s Law becomes the potential difference through a segment of conducting material is directly proportional to the current and the resistance of a given length of material V= IR. Each charge passing through the loop of the circuit will pass through a single resistor present in a single branch. each device is connected in a manner such that there is only one pathway by which charge can traverse the external circuit. it can also be used to calculate the actual voltage drop values over each resistor by the mathematical relationship: V1 = I R1 . The voltage of the power supply is the electric potential at the positive terminal greater than the electric potential at the negative terminal. When all the devices are connected using series connections. These current values can be calculated if the power supply voltage is known and the individual resistance values are known. There is an obvious relationship between the resistance of the individual resistors and the overall resistance of the collection of resistors in a series circuit. the equivalent resistance can be calculated. The presence of branch lines means that there are multiple pathways for charge to move through the circuit. the current in a series circuit can be expressed as Ipowersupply = I1 = I2 = I3 = «. A parallel circuit is a circuit in which all the devices are connected using parallel connections. it encounters a total loss of electric potential equal to the voltage of the power supply. the current in the battery and thus through every resistor can be determined by finding the ratio of the battery voltage and the equivalent resistance: Ipowersupply = I1 = I2 = I3 = Vpowersupply / Req Since the current is everywhere the same within a series circuit. The above principles and formulas can be used to analyze a series circuit and determine the values of the current at and electric potential difference across each of the resistors in a series circuit in order to determine the individual resistance value for each resistor. As current moves through the circuit. Mathematically. R2=V2/I. the voltage drop will be greatest over that resistor. The actual amount of current varies inversely with the amount of overall resistance. It is the same at the first resistor as it is at the last resistor as it is in the power supply. In a series circuit. the I value of V = IR is the same in each of the resistors of a series circuit. or current(I). For series circuits. It occurs as the electrical energy of the current is transformed to other forms of energy within the resistors. The equivalent resistance of a circuit is the amount of resistance that a single resistor would need in order to equal the overall affect of the collection of resistors that are present in the circuit.

The current outside the branches is the same as the sum of the current in the individual branches.charge arrives at the branching location. The current through each branch in parallel can be solved for using the Ohm's law equation and the voltage drop across the resistor and the resistance of the resistor. the total amount of current in all the branches when added together is the same as the amount of current at locations outside the branches. Welldesigned instruments. In a parallel circuit the charge does not pass through every resistor.. But real test instruments do affect circuits in a small way because they are an added device that don¶t have perfect conditions in order to negate their quantities. two. The individual currents of each path in equation form are I1 = V / R1 . adding another resistor in a separate branch provides another pathway for charge to flow and decreasing the resistance within the circuit. It doesn¶t matter if the current passes through resistor one. By adding more resistors to a parallel circuit. An ideal ammeter or voltmeter would measure current or voltage without otherwise affecting the circuit. In a parallel circuit. when taken as a whole. or three. I3 = V / R3. Mathematically the total current can be expressed Itotal = I1 + I2 + I3. To measure the values of current and voltage in a circuit with unknown resistor values we use an ammeter and voltmeter respectively. The resistor with the greatest resistance experiences the lowest current and the resistor with the least resistance experiences the greatest current. minimize the interruption to normal circuit operation while simultaneously measuring the desired value. and from Ohm¶s Law can be expressed: V/RT = V/R1 + V/R2 + V/R3 . I2 = V / R2 . So the entire voltage drop across that resistor must match the voltage of the power supply. Since resistors in parallel have the same potential across them. the circuit will have less overall resistance. the charge has a choice on which path to take to travel back to the low potential terminal of the power supply. Nonetheless. it only passes through a single resistor. where Itotal is the current outside the parallel branches of the circuit and equal to the current in the power supply. charge divides up into separate branches such that there can be more current in one branch than there is in another. If the values for the individual resistors are unknown the potential difference across the circuit and the current over each branch in the circuit can be used to solve for individual resistors. the equipotential branches of a parallel circuit. and in turn will increase the current. In this case the value of the resistor in the circuit being examined and the value of the internal resistance of the ammeter are added together by: Rcircuit + Rammeter . only split up into more than one pathway. The total voltage drop over all branches in the circuit is equal to the gain in voltage as a charge passes over the power supply. while the potential and the current outside of the parallel branches is used to solve for the equivalent resistance of the circuit. and the conservation of charge give us the relationship of total current. Therefore the equivalent resistance is 1/Req = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 for resistors connected in parallel. This is expressed mathematically as : V/ITotal = V/I1 + V/I2 + V/I3. This relation is expressed mathematically as Vpowersupply = V1 = V2 = V3 . Resistors in series are added by summing their values. Since there are multiple pathways that charge can flow. we can derive the relationship of equivalent resistance by removing the potential from the total current expression. This inversely proportional relationship of current to total resistance. the factor that determines that resistor has the greatest current is the resistance. This decreased resistance results from increasing the number of branches. Since the voltage drop is the same across each resistor. the voltage drop across the resistor that it µchooses¶ to pass through must equal the voltage of the power supply. correctly connected. So charge chooses the path of least resistance as it moves through a parallel circuit. Ammeters have extremely small internal resistances and must be connected in series with the resistor that we want to measure the current through. equal to that of the power supply. It is still the same amount of total current.

when connected in parallel. If we connected the ammeter in parallel to the series circuit the current would have a choice of paths to take and the majority of it would follow the path of lowest resistance through the ammeter rather than the resistors in series which would give us a very large inaccurate current reading. The internal resistances of the voltmeter and ammeter are assumed ideal and are negated in our calculations. so if the ammeter were connected in parallel as well than 1/Req + 1/Rammeter = 1/Rtotal. We adjusted the power supply to approximately 5 Volts but used the voltmeter connected in parallel¶s reading of 5 Volts as measurement of voltage. when connected in series. Data and Analysis Currents were measured in mA and converted to A for calculations. than a large value of Rvoltmeter decreases the value of 1/Rvoltmeter so that the value of Req is approximately that of Rtotal. In order to measure the total current of the parallel circuit the ammeter must be connected in series with the power supply so as to get an accurate reading of the total current through the circuit. which results in an increase in the current flowing through the circuit. connected in parallel with a resistor has little effect on the operation of a circuit because most of the current follows the path of least resistance through the resistor. In a parallel circuit connecting the voltmeter is simple because we only have to connect it in parallel one time to measure the potential across all portions of the circuit. An ammeter. And the result is a very small change in the overall resistance of the circuit. . And because ammeters have a very small internal resistance(Rammeter)results in a large increase in the value of 1/Rammeter. ammeters are always connected in series in a circuit. A voltmeter. This results in a significant decrease in the overall resistance of the circuit. And because the potential in parallel is everywhere the same the voltmeter is able to accurately measure the potential difference of the parallel circuit.= Req. voltmeters are always connected in parallel in a circuit. The resistivity of the wires. Whereas in a series circuit the voltage of the power supply is measured by connecting the voltmeter in parallel over it. Voltmeters have very high internal resistances and are connected in parallel with the circuit component across which we want to measure a voltage drop. any error due to their resistance contribution was not accounted for. This increased resistance lowers the flow of current through the resistor and therefore the circuit. and when there was a slight discrepancy between the two no error was accounted for. Once again because resistors in parallel are added by summing their inverses: 1/Req + 1/Rvoltmeter = 1/Rtotal. Both the voltmeter and ammeter have a 2% associated error with their measurement readings. For a parallel circuit resistors in parallel are added by summing their inverses. Therefore. A voltmeter. and the potential drop over each resistor must be measured individually by connected the voltmeter in parallel with each. But if a voltmeter is connected in series with a resistor the result is a significant rise in the overall resistance of the circuit because the extremely large resistance of the voltmeter is directly added to the resistance of the resistor. clips. with its extremely high internal resistance. and multimeters are not accounted for in our calculations. So for each parallel branch in the circuit the ammeter must be connected in series with that resistor in order to have an accurate reading for the current through that branch. significantly changes the operation of the circuit and therefore. significantly alters the operation of the circuit. The low value of the internal resistance of an ammeter does not have a significant contribution to the total equivalent resistance and therefore gives a good approximation of the current through the circuit.

02 ± 2% 0.00 ± 2% Current: I (A) 0.00 ± 2% Current: I (A) 0.26 ± 2% 5.001021 ± 2% Calculated Resistance: R=V/I (Ÿ) 3555 ± 101 979 ± 28 255 ± 7 4897 ± 139 Measured Req from Power Supply Values: 4897Ÿ ± 139Ÿ Calculated Req from R1 + R2 + R3 Measured and Calculated Values: 4789Ÿ ± 105Ÿ Table II: Series Circuit 2 Device over which Values are Measured R1 R2 R3 Power Supply Potential Difference: V (V) 3.001021 ± 2% 0.001051 ± 2% 0.Ohm¶s Law Series Circuits V = IR Ipowersupply = I1 = I2 = I3 = Vpowersupply / Req Vpowersupply= V1+V2+V3 Req = R1 + R2 + R3 Req = Vpowersupply /I.63 ± 2% 1. Table I: Series Circuit 1 Device over which Values are Measured R1 R2 R3 Power Supply Potential Difference: V (V) 3.001051 ± 2% 0.00 ± 2% 0. R1=V1/I.001051 ± 2% 0.001021 ± 2% 0.001021 ± 2% 0.74 ± 2% 1.001051 ± 2% Calculated Resistance: R=V/I (Ÿ) 3559 ± 101 971 ± 27 124 ± 4 4757 ± 135 Measured Req from Power Supply Values: 4757Ÿ ± 135Ÿ Calculated Req from R1 + R2 + R3 Measured and Calculated Values: 4653Ÿ ± 104Ÿ . R3= V3/I Vpowersupply/I= V1/I + V2/I + V3/I. R2=V2/I.13 ± 2% 5.

94 ± 2% (V) 4.96 ± 2% 4.80 ± 2% 4.80 ± 2% 4.85 ± 2% 4.00 ± 2% 5.Parallel Circuits V = IR Itotal = I1 + I2 + I3 Vpowersupply = V1 = V2 = V3 1/Req = 1/R1 + 1/R2 + 1/R3 V/ITotal = V/I1 + V/I2 + V/I3.85 ± 2% (V) 4.00 ± 2% 5.002610 ± 2% 3553 ± 101 974 ± 28 253 ± 7 190 ± 5 Current: I (A) Calculated Resistance: R=V/I (Ÿ) Measured Req from Power Supply Values: 190Ÿ ± 5Ÿ Calculated Req from R1 + R2 + R3 Measured and Calculated Values: 190Ÿ ± 7Ÿ .94 ± 2% 4.94 ± 2% 4. Table III: Parallel Circuit 1 Device over which Values are Measured Potential Difference Measured at Power Supply: V (V) Potential Difference Measured when Ammeter is in series with Power Supply: V (V) 4.85 ± 2% 4.96 ± 2% Potential Potential Potential Difference Difference Difference Measured Measured Measured when when when Ammeter Ammeter Ammeter is in series is in series is in series with R1: V with R2: V with R3: V (V) R1 R2 R3 Power Supply 5.96 ± 2% 4.80 ± 2% 0.00 ± 2% 4.94 ± 2% 4.80 ± 2% 4.005070 ± 2% 0.96 ± 2% 4.85 ± 2% 4.00 ± 2% 5.001365 ± 2% 0.001900 ± 2% 0.

005070 ± 2% 0.92 ± 2% 4.86 ± 2% 4.92 ± 2% 4.86 ± 2% (V) 4.00 ± 2% 5.93 ± 2% 4.93 ± 2% 0.Table IV: Parallel Circuit 2 Device over which Values are Measured Potential Difference Measured at Power Supply: V (V) Potential Difference Measured when Ammeter is in series with Power Supply: V (V) 4.94 ± 2% (V) 4.00 ± 2% 5.001364 ± 2% 0.94 ± 2% 4.00 ± 2% 5.00 ± 2% 4.92 ± 2% Potential Potential Potential Difference Difference Difference Measured Measured Measured when when when Ammeter Ammeter Ammeter is in series is in series is in series with R1: V with R2: V with R3: V (V) R1 R2 R3 Power Supply 5.94 ± 2% 4.93 ± 2% 4.86 ± 2% 4.004240 ± 2% 0.92 ± 2% 4.86 ± 2% 4.93 ± 2% 4.004870 ± 2% 3563 ± 101 974 ± 28 116 ± 3 101 ± 3 Current: I (A) Calculated Resistance: R=V/I (Ÿ) Measured Req from Power Supply Values: 101Ÿ ± 3Ÿ Calculated Req from R1 + R2 + R3 Measured and Calculated Values: 101Ÿ ± 3Ÿ Calculation of Current Conversion from mA to A: Sample Calculation of R1 in Series: .94 ± 2% 4.

Sample Calculation of Req from Measured Power Supply Values in Series Circuit: Sample Calculation of Req from Calculated Resistance Values in Series Circuit: Sample Calculation of R1 in Parallel Circuit: Sample Calculation of Req from Measured Power Supply Values in Parallel Circuit: .

Error Calculations Sample Error Calculation of R1 in Series: Sample Error Calculation of Req from Measured Power Supply Values in Series Circuit: . clips. any error due to their resistance contribution was not accounted for but is reflected in the difference of potential difference values for the parallel circuit when the ammeter is connected to different resistors.  The resistivity of the wires.Sample Calculation of Req from Calculated Resistance Values in Parallel Circuit: Error Analysis:  We adjusted the power supply to approximately 5 Volts but used the voltmeter connected in parallel¶s reading of 5 Volts as measurement of voltage.  Both the voltmeter and ammeter have a 2% associated error with their measurement readings.  The internal resistances of the voltmeter and ammeter are assumed ideal and are negated in our calculations. and when there was a slight discrepancy between the two no error was accounted for. and multimeters are not accounted for in our calculations but they account for added resistance to the circuit beyond the three resistors and power supply.

Sample Error Calculation of Req from Calculated Resistance Values in Series Circuit: Sample Error Calculation of R1 in Parallel Circuit: Sample Error Calculation of Req from Measured Power Supply Values in Parallel Circuit: Sample Error Calculation of Req from Calculated Resistance Values in Parallel Circuit: .

We also were able to correctly connect our voltmeter and ammeter to measure the individual circuit values. The voltmeter was also connected in parallel in the parallel circuit and although the potential difference is the same in all branches of the parallel circuit when we measured it each time we connected the ammeter with a different resistor because it changed the total potential for the whole circuit because the resistance changed. When the ammeter is connected in series with the power supply. and the current through the power supply is very close to the equivalent resistance found by summing the inverses of the resistances found over each branch of the parallel circuit. but the results were within a reasonable margin of error to validate the theoretical relationships in series and parallel circuits. The unaccounted for resistance added to the circuits from the wires and multimeters were a source of error in this lab. These values have less error between them because the change in potential and current in the circuits due to the wires and multimeters are reduced by taking more measurements and using those values in our calculations. then R2. the inverses of those resistances summed to give the parallel circuits equivalent resistance. In both series circuits we found using Ohm¶s Law to calculate the individual resistance of the resistors (R=V/I) and summing them gives a relatively accurate equivalent resistance of the circuit equal to the resistance calculated from the voltage of the power supply and the total current through the circuit In both of our parallel circuits our equivalent resistance calculated from the potential difference with the ammeter connected in series with the power supply. The change of current through each branch along with the equipotential voltage has a slight change due to the resistance added by the multimeters. . Overall our results verified how the combination of individual resistors in a series or parallel circuit gave the equivalent resistance of the total circuit that is derived from the power supply in the circuit. The voltmeter was connected in parallel with the power supply. We verified the connections within the circuits by applying the relationships given by Ohm¶s Law and measuring the current and potential drop over each resistor and the power supply within the circuit.Conclusion: In this lab we were able to verify how the resistance in individual resistors combine when they are connected in series and parallel. and summed to that resistance. but the small internal resistance of the ammeter that contributed to the net resistance over which the ammeter read current contributed a small margin of error in our resistance calculation. and finally R3 to give us the total and individual potential drops over the series circuit. and each individual branch of the parallel circuit it adds a greater contribution to the over all resistance of the circuit because although it¶s connected in series with each branch. The ammeter was connected in series with the series circuit and the current which is the same throughout was recorded. next with R1.

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