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Electric Current

Means flow of charge

± Refers to quantity of charge that passes a single point in time.

** SI unit of current is the ampere (A) which is equivalent to 1 coulomb per second
**

I= q/t

Example

What is the electric current in a conductor if 240 C of charge pass through it in 1.0 min. Remember - Time must be measured in seconds I= q/t = 240 C / 60. s = 4.0 A In metallic conductors, the current is carried by freely moving electrons; in solutions, the current is carried by ions; in gases, the current is carried by both electrons and ions.

**Current and Potential Difference
**

To initiate the flow of charge, potential difference is necessary:

Flow of positive charges ---------

+

-----------Flow of electrons

_

V

Conventional current

Potential difference is oriented so that positive charges will flow toward the right (negative terminal) while negative charges (including electrons) will move towards the left (the positive terminal) The flow of positive charges is conventional current and its direction is always opposite to the direction of electron flow (the magnitude is the same)

Resistance

Electrical analog of friction Defined as the ratio of potential difference to current R=V/I SI unit of resistance is the volt per ampere (V/A), which is called the ohm ( ) in honor of German physicist Georg Ohm.

Example

When a conductor has a potential difference of 110 V placed across it, the current through it is 0.50 A. What is the resistance of the conductor? Solution: R=V/I = 110 V / 0.50 A = 220

**Resistance and Resistivity
**

Resistance of a material depends on 1. The nature of the material 2. The geometry of the conductor And 3. The temperature at which the resistance is measured.

1.

**Metallic substances are good conductors
**

± they have low resistances.

Silver and Copper are the best metallic conductors. Resistivity ( ) measures how well a substance resists carrying current

± Unit is the ohm meter ( m)

** Resistivity table is on reference table
**

http://www.emsc.nysed.gov/osa/reftable/physicsrt/physics06tbl.pdf

2. Resistance of a regularly shaped conductor is directly proportional to its length and inversely proportional to its cross sectional area. Logical longer conductors increase likelihood that electron will collide with the atoms of conductor increasing resistance. Making conductor wider increases number of possible electron paths decreasing resistance.

**3. Resistance of metallic conductor increases with rising temperature
**

± Increases vibrational kinetic energy of its atoms, making collisions with electrons more likely.

In Semiconductors, resistance decreases with rising temp. 20° C is chosen as a standard temperature for comparing resistances

**Combining all of these factors:
**

R = · L/A (at a specified temperature) Where L represents the length of the conductor an A is its cross sectional area.

example

Calculate the resistance at 20° C of an aluminum wire that is 0.200 meter long and has a cross sectional area of 1.00 x 10-3 sq. meter. Solution: From resistivity table Aluminum has a resistivity of 2.82 x 10-8 ·m R = · L/A = 2.82 x 10-8 ·m (0.200 m)/ (1.00 x 10-3 m2) = 5.64 x 10 -6

Physics Electric Current and Circuits Presentation

Physics Electric Current and Circuits Presentation

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