SF027 1
UNIT 5: Electric Current and UNIT 5: Electric Current and
Direct Direct Current Circuit (D.C.) Current Circuit (D.C.)
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Consider a simple closed circuit consists of wires, a battery and a lamp
as shown in figure 5.1a.
From the figure,
Direction of electric field or electric current : Positive to negative Positive to negative
terminal. terminal.
Direction of electron flows : Negative to positive terminal. Negative to positive terminal.
The electron accelerates because of the electric force acted on it.
Definition is defined as the total (net) charge, Q flowing through the total (net) charge, Q flowing through
the area per unit time, t. the area per unit time, t.
Mathematically,
Fig. 5.1a Fig. 5.1a
5.1 Electric Current, I
Area, A
e
F
r
E
r
I
t
Q
I =
dt
dQ
I =
or
Instantaneous Instantaneous
current current
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It is a basic and scalar quantity.
The S.I. unit of the electric current is the ampere (A A).
Its dimension is given by
1 ampere of current is defined to be one coulomb of charge passing one coulomb of charge passing
through the surface area in one second. through the surface area in one second.
Definition is defined as the current flowing through a conductor the current flowing through a conductor
per unit cross per unit cross sectional area. sectional area.
Mathematically,
It is a vector quantity.
Its unit is amperes per square metre (A m A m
 2 2
)
The direction of current density, J always in the same direction of the
current I. e.g.
  A I =
A
I
J =
5.2 Current Density, J
where
current electric : I
conductor the of area sectional  cross : A
I
J
r
0 J =
r
Area, A
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Consider a segment of two different currentcarrying material as shown
in figure 5.3a and 5.3b.
Figure 5.3a shows the charges carrier is positive, the electric force is in
the same direction as E and the drift velocity v
d
is from left to right.
Figure 5.3b shows the charges carrier is negative (electron), the
electric force is opposite to E and the drift velocity v
d
is from right to
left.
Consider a situation of figure 5.3a, a semiconductor with cross
sectional area A and length L.
Suppose there are n charged particles per unit volume where
5.3 Drift velocity of Charges in a Conductor, v
d
E
r
I
J
r
E
r
J
r
I
d
v
r
d
v
r
d
v
r
d
v
r
V
N
n =
AL V =
and
L
Fig. 5.3b : Metal Fig. 5.3b : Metal
A
L
Fig. 5.3a : Semiconductor Fig. 5.3a : Semiconductor
A
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Then the number of charges, N along the conductor is given by
Therefore the total charge Q that passes through the area A along
the conductor is
The time required for the charge moving along the conductor is
Since
nAL N =
Ne Q =
then the drift velocity v
d
is given by
d
v
L
t =
( )e nAL Q =
( )
d
d
nAev
v
L
e nAL
I =


.

\

=
t
Q
I =
nAe
I
v
d
= J
A
I
= and
or
ne
J
v
d
=
where
e unit volum per charge of number : n
(electron) charge positive the of magnitude : e
Definition Definition
Density of the Density of the
charge carrier charge carrier
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Consider a situation of figure 5.3b, when an electric field exits in the
wire, the electron feel a force and initially begin to accelerate. The
acceleration a due to electron is given by
5.4.1 Electrical conduction in the metal
In metal the charge carrier is free electrons and a lot of free electrons
are available in it.
They move freely and randomly throughout the crystal lattice structure
of the metal but frequently interact with the lattices.
When the electric field is applied to the metal, the freely moving
electron experience an electric force and tend to drift towards a
direction opposite to the direction of the field.
Then an electric current is flowing in the opposite direction of the
electron flows.
ma F F
e
= =
eE ma =
eE F
e
=
m
eE
a =
and
where
strength field electric : E
electron the of mass : m
5.4 Mechanism of Electrical Conduction
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5.4.2 Electrical conduction in the semiconductor
In a pure semiconductor such as silicon, the charge carriers is free
electrons and free positive holes.
When an electron moves from the valence band into the conduction
band by increases the temperature of the semiconductor, it leaves
behind a vacant site called a hole hole.
An electron from a neighbouring atom can move into this hole and
leaving the neighbour with the hole. In this way, the hole can travel
through the semiconductor as an additional charge carrier.
In a pure or intrinsic semiconductor, valence band holes and
conduction band electrons are always present in equal numbers.
When an electric field is applied, they move in opposite directions as
shown in figure 5.4a.
Conduction band Conduction band
Valence band Valence band
Energy gap Energy gap hole
Conduction electron Conduction electron
field Applied E
r
Fig. 5.4a Fig. 5.4a
e
I
h
I
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Thus a hole in the valence band behaves like a positively charged
particle, even though the moving charges in that band are electrons.
The drifting of electrons produce a current I
e
while the drifting of holes
produce a current I
h
. Therefore the net current I flowing in the
semiconductor is given by
When the temperature of a semiconductor increases, the number of
free electrons and holes increases. Hence the current flowing also
increase.
5.4.2 Electrical conduction in the superconductor
Superconductor is a class of metals and compound whose resistance
decreases to zero when they are below the critical temperature T
c
.
Table below shows the critical temperature for various
superconductors.
h e
I I I + =
h e
I I > where
0.88 Zn
1.19 Al
3.72 Sn
4.15 Hg
7.18 Pb
T
c
(K)
Material
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The value of T
c
is sensitive to chemical composition, pressure and
molecular structure.
The remarkable features of superconductors is that once a current is
set up in them, it persists without any applied potential difference
(because R=0).
Example 1 :
A current of 2.0 A flows through a copper wire. Calculate
a. the amount of charge, and
b. the number of electrons
flow through a crosssectional area of the copper wire in 30 s.
(Given the charge of electron, e=1.60x10
19
C)
Solution: I=2.0 A, t=30 s
a. From the definition of electric current, thus the amount of charge is
b. The number of electrons flow is
t
Q
I =
Ne Q =
C 60 Q =
electron .
20
10 x 75 3 N =
19
10 x 6 1
60
N
=
.
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Example 2 :
A silver wire 2.6 mm in diameter transfers a charge of 420 C in 80 min.
Silver contains 5.8 x 10
28
free electrons per cubic metre. Determine
a. the current in the wire.
b. the magnitude of the drift velocity in the wire.
c. the current density in the wire
(Given the charge of electron, e=1.60x10
19
C)
Solution: d=2.6 x 10
3
m, t=80x60=4800 s , n=5.8 x10
28
m
3
, Q=420 C
a. From the definition of electric current, thus
b. The magnitude of the drift velocity is
c. By applying the equation of the current density, thus
2
d
I 4
A
I
J
= =
t
Q
I =
nAe
I
v
d
=
A 10 x 75 8 I
2
.
=
1 6
d
s m 10 x 78 1 v
= .
4
d
A
2
= and
2 4
m A 10 x 65 1 J
= .
e d n
I 4
v
2
d
=
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Example 3 :
A high voltage transmission line with a diameter of 2.00 cm and a length
of 200 km carries a steady current of 1000 A. If the conductor is copper
wire with a free charge density of 8.49 x 10
28
electrons m
3
, find the time
taken by one electron to travel the full length of the line.
(Given the charge of electron, e=1.60x10
19
C)
(Serway & Jewett,pg.855,no.56)
Solution: d=2.00 x 10
2
m, I=1000 A , n=8.49 x10
28
m
3
,
L=200x10
3
m
By using the equation of the drift velocity for electron,
Therefore the time taken for one electron travels through the line is
t
L
v
d
=
nAe
I
v
d
=
1 4
d
s m 10 x 34 2 v
= .
4
d
A
2
= and
s 10 x 55 8 t
8
. =
e d n
I 4
v
2
d
=
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5.5.1 Resistance, R
Definition is defined as the ratio of the potential difference across the ratio of the potential difference across
an electrical component to the current passing throu an electrical component to the current passing through gh
it. it.
Mathematically,
It is thus a measure of the components opposition to the flow of the
electric charge.
It is a scalar quantity and its unit is ohm ( ) or V A V A
 1 1
In general, the resistance of a metallic conductor increases with
temperature, whereas the resistance of a semiconductor decreases
with temperature.
Note that if the temperature temperature of the metallic conductor is constant constant
hence its resistance resistance also constant constant.
5.5.2 Resistivity,
Definition is defined as the resistance of a unit cross the resistance of a unit cross sectional sectional
area per unit length of the material area per unit length of the material.
Mathematically,
5.5 Resistance and Resistivity
l
RA
=
I
V
R =
where
material the of length : l
area sectional  cross : A
where
(voltage) difference potential : V
current : I
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It is a scalar quantity and its unit is ohm metres ( m m)
It is a measure of a materials ability to oppose the flow of an electric
current.
It also known as specific resistance specific resistance.
5.6.1 Conductance, G
Definition is defined as the reciprocal of electrical resistance in a the reciprocal of electrical resistance in a
direct direct current circuit. current circuit.
Mathematically,
It is a scalar quantity and its unit is per ohm (
 1 1
)
or
I
V
R =
V
I
G =
5.6 Conductance and Conductivity
R
1
G =
and
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5.6.2 Conductivity,
Definition is defined as the reciprocal of the the reciprocal of the resistivity resistivity of a of a
material. material.
Mathematically,
It is a scalar quantity and its unit is
 1 1
m m
 1 1
Example 4 :
What diameter must an aluminium wire have if its resistance is to be
same as that of an equal length of copper wire with diameter 2.20 mm.
(Given (aluminium) is 2.75x10
8
m and (copper) is 1.72x10
8
m)
Solution: R
Cu
=R
Al
, d
Cu
=2.20x10
3
m , l
Cu
=l
Al
Rearrange the equation of resistivity, thus the resistance is given by
or
l
RA
=
RA
l
=
1
= and
A
l
R =
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Since
Example 5 :
When 115 V is applied across a wire that is 10 m long and has a
0.30 mm radius, the current density is 1.4 x 10
4
A m
2
. Find the
resistivity of the wire. (Halliday,Resnick&walker,pg.631,no.23)
Solution: V=115 V, r=0.30x10
3
m ,J=1.4x10
4
A m
2
, l=10 m
From the equation of the resistance,
JA I =
I
V
R =
Cu Al
R R =
JA
V
A
l
=

.

\

Cu
Cu Cu
Al
Al Al
A
l
A
l
=
then the diameter of the aluminium wire is
mm 78 2 d
Cu
. =
4
d
A
2
= and


.

\

=


.

\

4
d
4
d
2
Cu
Cu
2
Al
Al
where and
A
l
R =
m 10 x 2 8
4
.
=
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States that the potential difference across a metallic conductor is the potential difference across a metallic conductor is
proportional to the current flowing through it if its temperatur proportional to the current flowing through it if its temperature is e is
constant. constant.
Mathematically,
Ohms law also can be stated in term of electric field E and current
density J.
Consider a uniform conductor of length l and crosssectional area
A. A potential difference V maintained across the conductor sets
up an electric field E and this field produce a current I that is
proportional to the potential difference as shown in figure 5.7a.
5.7 Ohms Law
I V
where
conductor a resistance : R
where constant = T
IR V = Then
E
r
I
l
A
Fig. 5.7a Fig. 5.7a
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If the field is assumed to be uniform, the potential difference V is
related to the field through the relationship below :
From the Ohms law,
IR V =
El V =
JA I = where
then 
.

\

=
A
l
JA El
A
l
R = and
J E =
1
= and
or
E J =
where field electric of magnitude : E
density current : J
conductor the of y resistivit :
conductor the of ty conductivi :
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The potential difference V against current I graphs of various
material can be shown in figure 5.7b, 5.7c, 5.7d and 5.7e.
Fig. 5.7c : Semiconductor Fig. 5.7c : Semiconductor
Fig. 5.7d : Carbon Fig. 5.7d : Carbon Fig. 5.7e : Electrolyte Fig. 5.7e : Electrolyte
V
I
0
Fig. 5.7b : Metal Fig. 5.7b : Metal
V
I
0
V
I
0
V
I
0
Gradient M
= R
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Example 6 :
A wire 4.00 m long and 6.00 mm in diameter has a resistance of 15 m.
A potential difference of 23.0 V is applied between the end. Determine
a. the current in the wire.
b. the current density.
c. the resistivity of the wire material.
(Halliday,Resnick&walker,pg.630,no.16)
Solution: d=6.00x10
3
m, l=4.00 m , R=15x10
3
, V = 23.0 V
a. From the Ohms law, thus the current is
b. By applying the equation of the current density, thus
2
d
I 4
J
=
R
V
I =
A 10 x 5 1 I
3
. =
4
d
A
2
=
2  7
A m 10 x 3 . 5 J =
A
I
J =
and
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c. By applying the equation of the resistivity , thus
Example 7 : (exercise)
The rod in figure below is made of two materials. The figure is not
drawn to scale. Each conductor has a square cross section 3.00 mm on
a side. The first material has a resistivity of 4.00 10
3
m and is
25.0 cm long, while the second material has a resistivity of 6.00 10
3
m and is 40.0 cm long. Find the resistance between the ends of the
rod. (Serway & Jewett,pg.853,no.24)
Ans. : 378
l 4
d R
=
m 10 x 1 . 1
7
=
4
d
A
2
=
l
RA
= and
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In the microscopic model to explain for electrical conduction in metals,
there are 4 assumption we need to considered.
Each metal atom contributes one free electron.
The free electron are in constant random motion, colliding with
each other and the metal ions in the crystal lattice.
The mean velocity of the free electrons is zero.
There is no net transfer of free electrons in any direction before a
potential difference is applied across the metal.
When the electric field E is applied to the metal, each electron
experiences a electric force F=eE. According to the Newtons second
law, F=m
e
a, then the acceleration of the electron is given
Consider for a free electron whose random velocity immediately after a
collision is v
01
, its final velocity just before the next collision v
1
is given
by
5.8 Conductivity in terms of Microscopic
Quantities.
e
m
E e
a
r
r
=
1 01 1
at v v + =
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Similarly for the other N free electrons in the metal, their respective
velocities just before the next collision are
The drift velocity v
d
of the free electron is defined as the mean of
v
1
,v
2
,v
3
,,v
N
. Hence the drift velocity is given by
But
before applied the electric field is zero and the mean time interval
between successive collision is
Therefore, the drift velocity is
Since the current density is given by
,...,
3 03 3
at v v + = ,
2 02 2
at v v + =
N N 0 N
at v v + =
> + =<
i i 0 d
at v v
> =<
N 3 2 1 d
v v v v v ,..., , ,
N 3 2 1 i ,..., , , = where
0 v
i 0
>= <
> < + > =<
i i 0 d
t a v v
because the mean of the random motion velocities
t
i
>= <
a v
d
=
d
nev J =
m
eE
v
e
d


.

\

=
and
E J = (Ohm (Ohm s law) s law)
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Then the conductivity of the metal is
Note:
From the formula of the conductivity in terms of microscopic
quantities, we get
For metal such as copper, the number of free electron per m
3
is 10
29
and then metals are good conductors of electricity.
For Materials such as silicon and carbon, the value of n is
small compared to metal, hence semiconductors are poor
conductors of electricity.
From that formula, conductivity do not depend conductivity do not depend on the strength strength
of electric field of electric field applied to the metal.
d
nev E =
e
2
m
ne
=


.

\

=
m
eE
ne E
e
where
e unit volum per electrons free of number : n
electron the of charge : e
electron the of mass :
e
m
n
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The resistivity of a conductors varies approximately linearly with
temperature according to the expression below
Since
5.9.1 Metal
When the temperature increases temperature increases, the number of free electrons per
unit volume in metal remains unchanged.
Metal atoms in the crystal lattice vibrate with greater amplitude and
cause the number of collisions between the free electrons and metal
atoms increase. Hence the resistance in the metal also increases resistance in the metal also increases.
5.9 Variation of Resistance with Temperature
( ) T 1
0
+ =
R
where y resistivit final :
y resistivit initial :
0
=
2
d
I 4
J
=
m 10 x 8 . 1
8
=
4
d
A
2
=
2  5
A m 10 x 4 . 2 J =
A
I
J = and
l
V
E =
ne
J
v
d
=
1 3
m V 10 x 4 . 4 E
=
e v
J
n
d
=
3
m electrons 10 x 8 . 8 n
28
=
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f. From the definition of the conductivity, thus
g. By applying the equation of conductivity in terms of microscopic
quantities,
Example 10 : (exercise)
A 2.0 m length of wire is made by welding the end of a 120 cm long
silver wire to the end of an 80 cm long copper wire. Each piece of wire
is 0.60 mm in diameter. A potential difference of 5.0 V is maintained
between the ends of the 2.0 m composite wire. Determine
a. the current in the copper and silver wire.
b. the magnitude of the electric field in copper and silver wire.
c. the potential difference between the ends of the silver section of wire.
(Given (silver) is 1.47x10
8
m and (copper) is 1.72x10
8
m)
(Young & Freedman,pg.976.no.25.56)
Ans. : 45 A, 2.76 V m
1
, 2.33 V m
1
, 2.79 V
2
e
ne
m
=
1  1 7
m 10 x 6 . 5
=
1
=
s 10 x 3 . 2
14
=
e
2
m
ne
=
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5.10.1 Energy
Consider a circuit consisting of a battery that is connected by wires to
an electrical device (such as a lamp, motor or battery being charged)
as shown in figure 5.10a where the potential different across that
electrical device is V
AB
.
This work represents electrical energy supplied to the electrical device.
If the electrical device is passive resistor passive resistor (device which convert all convert all
the electrical energy supplied into heat the electrical energy supplied into heat), the heat Hdissipated is
given by
A current I flows from the terminal A
to the terminal B, if it flows for time
t, the charge Qwhich it carries from
B to A is given by
Then the work done on this charge
Qfrom B to A is
5.10 Energy and Electrical Power
AB BA
QV W =
Electrical device Electrical device
A A B B
AB
V
I
I
It Q =
Fig. 5.10a Fig. 5.10a
VIt W H = =
It V W
AB BA
=
or
Rt I H
2
=
or
R
t V
H
2
=
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5.10.2 Electrical Power, P
Definition is defined as the energy liberated per unit time in the the energy liberated per unit time in the
electrical device. electrical device.
The electrical power P supplied to the electrical device is given by
When the electric current flows through wire or passive resistor, hence
the potential difference across it is
then the electrical power can be written as
It is scalar quantity and Its unit is watts (W).
IR V =
t
VIt
t
W
P = =
R I P
2
=
IV P =
or
R
V
P
2
=
where current : I
(wire) resistor the of resistance : R
(voltage) difference potential : V
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5.11.1 Electromotive Force (e.m.f.), and Terminal Potential Difference
Consider a circuit consisting of a battery (cell) that is connected by
wires to an external resistor Ras shown in figure 5.11a.
Electromotive force (e.m.f.), is defined as the energy provided by the energy provided by
the source (battery/cell) to each unit charge that flows from th the source (battery/cell) to each unit charge that flows from the e
source. source.
Terminal potential difference (voltage), V
AB
is defined as the work work
done in bringing a unit (test) charge from point B to point A. done in bringing a unit (test) charge from point B to point A.
5.11 Electromotive Force (e.m.f.), Terminal
Potential Difference and Internal
Resistance
I
Battery (cell) Battery (cell)
A A
B B
r
R
Fig. 5.11a Fig. 5.11a
I
A current I flows from the terminal A
to the terminal B.
For the current to flow continuously
from terminal A to B, a source of
electromotive force (e.m.f.), is
required such as battery to
maintained the potential difference
between point A and point B.
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The unit for both e.m.f. and potential difference is volt (V).
When the current I flows naturally from the battery there is an internal
drop in potential difference (voltage) equal to Ir. Thus the terminal
potential difference (voltage), V
AB
is given by
In general, the equation above can be written as
Note :
Equation (5.11) is valid if the battery (cell) supplied the current to
the circuit where
Ir V
AB
=
Ir V
t
=
( ) r R I + =
and
IR V
t
=
then
where e.m.f. :
(voltage) difference potential terminal :
t
V
r
V Ir @ difference potential in drop Internal :
resistance external total : R
(battery) cell a of resistance Internal : r
(5.11) (5.11)
V
t
<
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For the charging of battery charging of battery,
becomes
For the battery without internal resistance or if no current battery without internal resistance or if no current
flows in the circuit (open circuit) flows in the circuit (open circuit), then equation (5.11) can be
written as
5.11.2 Internal Resistance of a cell (battery), r
Definition is defined as the resistance of the chemicals inside the the resistance of the chemicals inside the
cell (battery) between the poles and is given by cell (battery) between the poles and is given by
The value of internal resistance depends on the type of chemical
material in the cell (battery).
The symbol of e.m.f. and internal resistance in the circuit can be shown
in figure 5.11b.
Ir V
t
+ =
V
t
=
then the equation (5.11) V
t
>
I
V
r
when the cell (battery) is used. when the cell (battery) is used.
where resistance internal across difference potential :
r
V
circuit in the current : I
r
= .0 10 R
By applying the equation of e.m.f.,
(1) (1)
A 24 0 I . =
r
= .0 3 R
( ) r 0 3 24 0 + = . . (2) (2)
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Example 13 :
For the circuit shown below, given = 12 V, r = 2.0 and R = 4.0 .
Calculate the ammeter and voltmeter reading.
Solution:
By applying the equation of e.m.f., the current flows in the circuit is
Therefore the ammeter reading is 2.0 A.
The voltmeter reading is given by
( ) r R
I
+
=
V 0 8 V
t
. = IR V
t
=
A 0 2 I . =
( ) r R I + =
r
R
V V
A A
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5.12.1 Cells in Series
Consider two cells connected in series as shown in figure 5.12a.
The total e.m.f., and the total internal resistance, r are given by
Note:
If one cell, e.m.f.
2
say, is turned round in opposition to the
others, then but the total internal resistance remains
unaltered.
5.12.2 Cells in Parallel
Consider two equal cells connected in parallel as shown in figure
5.12b.
5.12 Combinations of Cells
2 1
r r r + =
2 1
+ =
and
The total e.m.f., and the
total internal resistance, r are
given by
1 1
r
1
r
1
r
1
+ =
1
=
and
1
r
1
r
1
Travel Travel
+ +
 
 
+ +
Travel Travel
IR +
I
Travel Travel
R
IR
I
Travel Travel
R
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For example : Consider a circuit shown in figure 5.14a.
At junction A or D (applying the Kirchhoffs first law) :
For the closed loop (either clockwise or anticlockwise), apply the
Kirchhoffs second law.
Fig. 5.14a Fig. 5.14a
1
R
3
R
1
E
D
F
2
R
2
C
A
B
1
I
1
I
1
I
1
I
2
I
2
I
3
I 3
I
3
I
3
I
L1 L1
L2 L2
L3 L3
=
out in
I I
3 2 1
I I I + = (1) (1)
SF017
SF027 51
From closed loop L1 FEDAF FEDAF
From closed loop L2 ABCDA ABCDA
1
1
R
E
D
F
2
R
2
A
1
I
1
I
1
I
1
I
2
I
2
I
L1 L1
1 1 2 2 2 1
R I R I + = + (2) (2)
= IR
2
3
R
D
2
R
3
C
A
B
2
I
2
I
3
I 3
I
3
I
3
I
L2 L2
3 3 2 2 3 2
R I R I = (3) (3)
= IR
SF027 52
From closed loop L3 FECBF FECBF
By solving equation (1) and any two equations from the closed
loop, hence each current in the circuit can be determined.
1 1 3 3 3 1
R I R I + = + (4) (4)
= IR
1
R
3
R
1
E F
3
C B
1
I
1
I
1
I
1
I
3
I 3
I
3
I
3
I
L3 L3
SF017
SF027 53
Example 17 :
For the circuits shown below.
a. Calculate the currents I.
b. Calculate the currents I
1
,I
2
and I
3
. Neglect the internal resistance in
each battery.
,2 V 12
7
3
,4 V 4
I
= 1 R
1
= .1 0 R
3
V 15
1
=
= .5 0 R
2
V 10
2
=
V 0 3
3
. =
1
I
2
I
3
I
SF027 54
Solution:
a.
b.
A 5 0 I . =
From closed loop L :
Applying KIrchhoffs 2
nd
law :
,2 V 12
7
3
,4 V 4
L L
I
I
I
I
I 2 I 7 I 4 I 3 4 12 + + + =
= IR
= 1 R
1
V 15
1
=
= .5 0 R
2
V 10
2
=
V 0 3
3
. =
= .1 0 R
3
L1 L1
L2 L2
By applying Kirchhoffs 1
st
law :
By applying Kirchhoffs 2
nd
law :
From closed loop L1 :
=
out in
I I
3 2 1
I I I + = (1) (1)
1 1 2 2 2 1
R I R I + = +
= IR
2 1
I 5 0 I 25 . + =
(2) (2)
1
I
1
I
2
I
3
I
3
I
3
I
1
I
2
I
1
I
3
I
SF017
SF027 55
From closed loop L2 :
By solving this three simultaneous equations, we get
Example 18 : (exercise)
For the circuit shown below.
Note :
From the calculation, sometimes we get negative value of current.
This negative sign indicates that the direction of the actual current is
opposite to the direction of the current drawn.
3 3 2 2 3 2
R I R I =
3 2
I 1 0 I 5 0 7 . . =
(3) (3)
; . A 69 17 I
1
= ; . A 62 14 I
2
= A 07 3 I
3
. =
3
R
1
2
R
2
1
I
2
I
I
1
R
Given
1
=8V, R
2
=2 , R
3
=3 ,
R
1
=1 and I=3 A. Ignore the
internal resistance in each battery.
Calculate
a. the currents I
1
and I
2
.
b. the e.m.f.
2
.
Ans. : 1 A, 4 A , 17 V
SF027 56
5.15.1 Potential (voltage) Divider
A potential divider produces an output voltage that is a fraction of the
supply voltage V. This is done by connecting two resistors in series as
shown in figure 5.15a.
Therefore, the potential difference (voltage) across R
1
is given by
Similarly,
5.15 Electrical Instruments
V
I
Fig. 5.15a Fig. 5.15a
2
V
1
V
1
R
I
2
R
Since the current flowing through
each resistor is the same, thus
2 1 eq
R R R + =
eq
R
V
I = and
1 1
IR V =
2 1
R R
V
I
+
=
V
R R
R
V
2 1
1
1


.

\

+
=
V
R R
R
V
2 1
2
2


.

\

+
=
SF017
SF027 57
From Ohms law :
Important
Resistance R
1
and R
2
can be replaced by a uniform homogeneous wire
as shown in figure 15.5b.
Therefore, the potential difference (voltage) across the wire with length
l
1
is given by
Similarly,
The total resistance, R
ab
in the wire
is
Since the current flowing through
the wire is the same, thus
A
l
R =
V
l l
l
V
2 1
1
1


.

\

+
=
V
l l
l
V
2 1
2
2


.

\

+
=
V
I
Fig. 5.15b Fig. 5.15b
2
l
1
l
I
b a
c
2
V
1
V
cb ac ab
R R R + =
( )
2 1
2 1
ab
l l
A
A
l
A
l
R + = + =
and
ab
R
V
I =
( )
2 1
l l
A
V
I
+
=
ac 1
IR V =
( )

.

\

(
(
(
+
=
A
l
l l
A
V
V
1
2 1
1
l V

.

\

= =
A
l
I IR V
SF027 58
5.15.2 Potentiometer
Consider a potentiometer circuit is shown in figure 5.15c.
Potentiometer can be used to
Compare the e.m.f.s of two cells.
Measure an unknown e.m.f. of a cell.
Measure the internal resistance of a cell.
V
I
Fig. 5.15c Fig. 5.15c
I
B
A
C
x
V
I
G G
+ +  
I
The potentiometer is balanced balanced
when the jockey (sliding contact) is
at such a position on wire AB that
there is no current through the no current through the
galvanometer galvanometer. Thus
When the potentiometer in
balanced, the unknown voltage
(potential difference being
measured) is equal to the voltage
across AC.
(Driver cell (Driver cell
 accumulator) accumulator)
(Unknown Voltage) (Unknown Voltage)
Jockey Jockey
Galvanometer reading = 0 Galvanometer reading = 0
AC x
V V =
SF017
SF027 59
Compare the Compare the e.m.f.s e.m.f.s of two cells. of two cells.
In this case, a potentiometer is set up as illustrated in figure 5.15d,
in which AB is a wire of uniform resistance and J is a sliding contact
(jockey) onto the wire.
An accumulator X maintains a steady
current I through the wire AB.
Initially, a switch S is connected to the
terminal (1) and the jockey moved
until the e.m.f.
1
exactly balances
the potential difference (p.d.) from the
accumulator (galvanometer reading is
zero) at point C. Hence
After that, the switch S is connected
to the terminal (2) and the jockey
moved until the e.m.f.
2
balances the
p.d. from the accumulator at point D.
Hence
D
X
I
Fig. 5.15d Fig. 5.15d
I
B
A
I
G G
I
(2) (2)
(1) (1)
2
S S
1
l
2
l
C
J J
AC 1
V =
AC AC
IR V = where
A
l
R
1
AC
= and
1 1
l
A
I

.

\

=
AD 2
V =
(1) (1)
then
SF027 60
By dividing eq. (1) with eq. (2) then
Measure an unknown Measure an unknown e.m.f e.m.f. of a cell. . of a cell.
By using the same circuit shown in figure 5.15d, the value of
unknown e.m.f. can be determined if the cell
1
is replaced with
standard cell.
A standard cell is one which provides a constant and accurately
known e.m.f. Thus the e.m.f.
2
can be calculated by using
equation below.
2
1
2
1
l
l
=
AD AD
IR V = where
A
l
R
2
AD
= and
2 2
l
A
I

.

\

=
2
1
2
1
l
A
I
l
A
I

.

\


.

\

=
(2) (2)
then
1
1
2
2
l
l


.

\

=
SF017
SF027 61
Measure the internal resistance of a cell. Measure the internal resistance of a cell.
Consider a potentiometer circuit as shown in figure 5.15e.
An accumulator of e.m.f. maintains
a steady current I through the wire
AB.
Initially, a switch S is opened and the
jockey J moved until the e.m.f.
1
exactly balances the e.m.f. from
the accumulator (galvanometer
reading is zero) at point C. Hence
After the switch S is closed, the
current I
1
flows through the
resistance box R and the jockey J
moved until the galvanometer reading
is zero (balanced condition) at point D
as shown in figure 5.15f.
AC 1
V =
AC AC
IR V = where
A
l
R
0
AC
= and
0 1
l
A
I

.

\

=
(1) (1)
then
I
Fig. 5.15e Fig. 5.15e
I
B
A
I
G G
I
1
0
l
C
J J
S
R
r
SF027 62
By substituting eq. (1) and (2) into eq. (3), we get
Hence
From the equation of e.m.f.,
AD t
V V =
AD AD
IR V = where
A
l
R
AD
= and
l
A
I
V
t

.

\

=
(2) (2)
then
I
Fig. 5.15f Fig. 5.15f
I
B
A
I
G G
I
1
l
D
J J
S
R
r
1
I
1
I
1
I
1
I
1
I
r I V
1 t 1
+ =
1
t 1
I
V
r
=
R
V
I
t
1
= and
R
V
V
r
t
t 1


.

\

= (3) (3)
R
l
l l
r
0

.

\

=
R 1
l
l
r
0

.

\

= (4) (4)
SF017
SF027 63
The value of internal resistance, r is determined by plotting the
graph of 1/l against 1/R .
Rearranging eq. (4) :
Therefore the graph is straight line as shown in figure 5.15g.
C X M Y + =
Then compare with
0 0
l
1
R
1
l
r
l
1
+


.

\

=
0
l
r
M Gradient = ,
0
l
1
R
1
l
1
0
Fig. 5.15g Fig. 5.15g
SF027 64
Example 19:
Cells A and B and centrezero galvanometer G are connected to a
uniform wire OS using jockeys X and Y as shown in figure below.
a. the potential difference across OY when OY = 75.0 cm.
b. the potential difference across OY when Y touches S and the
galvanometer is balanced.
c. the internal resistance of the cell A.
d. the e.m.f. of cell A.
A
S
O
G G
B
X X
Y Y
The length of the uniform wire OS is
1.00 m and its resistance is 12 .
When OY is 75.0 cm, the
galvanometer does not show any
deflection when OX= 50.0 cm. If Y
touches the end S of the wire, OX =
62.5 cm when the galvanometer is
balanced. The e.m.f. of the cell B is
1.0 V. Calculate
SF017
SF027 65
Solution: l
OS
=100 cm, R
OS
=12 ,
B
=1.0 V.
a.
When G = 0 (balance condition), thus
Therefore the potential difference across OY is given by
A
S
O
G G
B
X X
Y Y
) (1 OY
l
) (1 OX
l
0 =
a
I
a
I
a
I
a
I
l
OY(1)
=75.0 cm, l
OX(1)
=50.0 cm
Since wire OS is uniform hence
and
OS
OS
1 OX
1 OX
R
l
l
R =
) (
) (
= .
) (
0 6 R
1 OX
OS
OS
1 OY
1 OY
R
l
l
R =
) (
) (
= .
) (
0 9 R
1 OY
) (1 OX B
V =
) (1 OX
B
a
R
I
=
) ( ) ( 1 OX a 1 OX
R I V = and
) ( ) ( 1 OY a 1 OY
R I V =
A
6
1
I
a
=
V 5 1 V
1 OY
.
) (
=
SF027 66
b.
When G = 0 (balance condition), thus
Therefore the potential difference across OY is given by
A
S
O
G G
B
X X
Y Y
) (2 OY
l
) (2 OX
l
0 =
b
I
b
I
b
I
b
I
l
OY(2)
=100 cm, l
OX(2)
=62.5 cm
Since wire OS is uniform hence
and
OS
OS
2 OX
2 OX
R
l
l
R =
) (
) (
= .
) (
5 7 R
2 OX
OS 2 OY
R R =
) (
=
) (
12 R
2 OY
) (2 OX B
V =
) (2 OX
B
b
R
I
=
) ( ) ( 2 OX b 2 OX
R I V = and
) ( ) ( 2 OY b 2 OY
R I V =
A 13 0 I
a
. =
V 6 1 V
2 OY
.
) (
=
SF017
SF027 67
c. From the equation of e.m.f., the e.m.f. of cell A is given by
For case in question (a) :
For case in question (b) :
By equating eq. (1) and eq. (2), hence the internal resistance of cell
A is
d. By substituting r = 1.5 into eq. (1), thus
( ) r R I
A
+ =
) (
) (
r R I
1 OY a A
+ =
( ) r 0 9
6
1
A
+ = .
V 75 1
A
. =
( ) ( ) r 12 13 0 r 0 9
6
1
+ = + . .
( ) 5 1 0 9
6
1
A
. . + =
= .5 1 r
(1) (1)
) (
) (
r R I
2 OY b A
+ =
( ) r 12 13 0
A
+ = .
(2) (2)
SF027 68
Example 20: (exercise)
In the potentiometer circuit shown below, PQ is a uniform wire of length
1.0 m and resistance 10.0 .
Ans. :0.50 V, 7.5 , 25.0 cm, 25.0 cm
1
is an accumulator of e.m.f. 2.0 V
and negligible internal resistance. R
1
is a 15 resistor and R
2
is a 5.0
resistor when S
1
and S
2
open,
galvanometer G is balanced when
QT is 62.5 cm. When both S
1
and S
2
are closed, the balance length is
10.0 cm. Calculate
a. the e.m.f. of cell
2
.
b. the internal resistance of cell
2
.
c. the balance length QT when S
2
is opened and S
1
closed.
d. the balance length QT when S
1
is opened and S
2
closed.
1
P
Q
G G
2
T T
2
S
1
R
2
R
1
S
SF017
SF027 69
5.15.3 Wheatstone Bridge
It is used to measured the unknown resistance of the resistor.
Figure 5.15h shows the Wheatstone bridge circuit consists of a cell of
e.m.f. (accumulator), a galvanometer , know resistances (R
1
, R
2
and
R
3
) and unknown resistance R
x
.
Dividing gives
\

=
1 CB AC
I I I = =
2 DB AD
I I I = =
and
I
2
I
I
1
I
2
I
1
I
SF027 70
The application of the Wheatstone bridge is Metre Metre Bridge Bridge.
Figure 5.15h shows the Metre bridge circuit.
The metre bridge is balanced balanced when the jockey J is at such a position
on wire AB that there is no current through the galvanometer no current through the galvanometer. Thus
the current I
1
flows through the resistance R
X
and R but current I
2
flows in the wire AB.
Let V
x
: p.d. across R
x
and V : p.d. across R,
At balance condition,
Fig. 5.15h Fig. 5.15h
1
I
I
2
I
I
1
I
= 0
X
R
A
G G
B
R
J
Accumulator Accumulator
Jockey Jockey
Wire of uniform Wire of uniform
resistance resistance
Thick copper Thick copper
strip strip
(Unknown (Unknown
resistance) resistance) (resistance box) (resistance box)
2
l
1
l
AJ X
V V =
JB
V V = and
SF017
SF027 71
By applying Ohms law, thus
Dividing gives
Example 21:
An unknown length of platinum wire 0.920 mm in diameter is placed as
the unknown resistance in a Wheatstone bridge as shown in figure
below.
AJ 2 X 1
R I R I =
JB 2 1
R I R I = and
A
l
R
1
AJ
=
JB 2
AJ 2
1
X 1
R I
R I
R I
R I
= where and
A
l
R
2
JB
=

.

\


.

\

=
A
l
A
l
R
R
2
1
X
R
l
l
R
2
1
X


.

\

=
Resistors R
1
and R
2
have resistance of
38.0 and 46.0 respectively. Balance
is achieved when the switch closed and
R
3
is 3.48 . Find the length of the
platinum wire if its resistivity is
10.6 x 10
8
m. (Giancoli,pg.683.no.70)
SF027 72
Solution: d=0.923x10
3
m, R
1
=38.0 , R
2
=46.0 ,
R
3
=3.48 , =10.6x10
8
m
At balance condition, the ammeter reading is zero thus the resistance of
the platinum wire is given by
From the definition of resistivity, hence the length of the platinum wire is
2
1
X
3
R
R
R
R
=
= .21 4 R
X
) . (
) . ( ) . (
8
2 3
10 x 6 10 4
21 4 10 x 923 0
l
=
l
A R
X
=
4
R d
l
X
2
=
4
d
A
2
= and
m 4 26 l . =
SF017
SF027 73
5.15.4 Ohmmeter
It is used to measure the unknown resistance of the resistor.
Figure 5.15I shows the internal connection of an Ohmmeter.
When nothing is connected to terminals P and Q, so that the circuit is
open (that is, when R ), there is no current and no deflection.
When terminals P and Q are short circuited (that is when R = 0), the
ohmmeter deflects fullscale.
For any value of R
X
the meter deflection depends on the value of R
X
.
Q P
0
M
R
s
R
X
R
Fig. 5.15I Fig. 5.15I
where
resistance (coil) meter :
M
R
resistance variable :
s
R
resistance unknown :
X
R
SF027 74
5.15.5 Ammeter
It is used to measure a current flows in the circuit.
Ammeter is connected in series connected in series with other elements in the circuit
because the current current to be measured must pass directly through the must pass directly through the
ammeter ammeter.
An ammeter should have low internal resistance (R
M
) so that the current in
the circuit would not affected.
The maximum reading from the ammeter is known as full scale deflection full scale deflection
(fs). If the full scale current passing through the ammeter then the p.d.
across that ammeter is given by
If the meter is used to measure currents that are larger than its full scale
deflection (I >I
fs
), some modification has to be done.
A resistor has to be connected in parallel with the meter (coil)
resistance R
M
so that some of the current will bypasses the meter
(coil) resistance.
This parallel resistor is called a shunt shunt denoted as R
S
.
M fs fs
R I V = where resistance ) meter(coil :
M
R
current scale full :
fs
I
(p.d.) difference potential scale full :
fs
V
SF017
SF027 75
Figure 5.15J shows the internal connection of an ammeter with a shunt
in parallel.
Since shunt is connected in parallel with the meter (coil) resistance
then
Therefore the shunt resistance is given by
S M
R R
V V =
and
fs S
I I I =
S S M fs
R I R I =
0 max
Fig. 5.15J Fig. 5.15J
A
M
R
S
R
I
fs
I
S
I
I
( )
S fs M fs
R I I R I =
M
fs
fs
S
R
I I
I
R


.

\

=
SF027 76
5.15.6 Voltmeter
It is used to measure a potential difference (voltage) across electrical
elements in the circuit.
Voltmeter is connected in parallel connected in parallel with other elements in the circuit
therefore its resistance must be large than the resistance of the element so
that a very small amount of current only can flows through it. An ideal
voltmeter has infinite resistance so that no current exist in it.
To measure a potential difference that are larger than its full scale
deflection (V > V
fs
), the voltmeter has to be modified.
A resistor has to be connected in
series with the meter (coil)
resistance R
M
so that only a
fraction of the total p.d. appears
across the R
M
and the remainder
appears across the serial
resistor.
This serial resistor is called a
multiplier multiplier or bobbin bobbin denoted as
R
B
.
Figure 5.15K shows the internal
connection of a voltmeter with a
multiplier in series.
Fig. 5.15K Fig. 5.15K
0 max
V
M
R
B
R
Electrical Electrical
element element
V
1
I
fs
I
I
SF017
SF027 77
Since multiplier is connected in series with the meter (coil) resistance
then the current through them are the same, I
fs
.
The p.d. (voltage) across the electrical element is given by
Hence the multiplier resistance is
Note :
To convert a galvanometer to ammeter galvanometer to ammeter, a shunt shunt (parallel resistor) is
used.
To convert a galvanometer to voltmeter galvanometer to voltmeter, a multiplier multiplier (serial resistor)
is used.
M B
R R
V V V + =
M fs B fs
R I R I V + =


.

\

=
fs
M fs
B
I
R I V
R
SF027 78
Example 21:
A milliammeter with a full scale deflection of 20 mA and an internal
(coil/metre) resistance of 40 is to be used as an ammeter with a full
scale deflection of 500 mA. Calculate the resistance of the shunt
required.
Solution: I
fs
=20x10
3
A, R
M
=40 , I=500x10
3
A
By applying the equation of shunt, thus
Example 22:
A galvanometer has an internal resistance of 30 and deflects full
scale for a 50 A current. Describe how to use this galvanometer to
make
a. an ammeter to read currents up to 30 A.
b. a voltmeter to give a full scale deflection of 1000 V.(Giancoli,pg.682.no.50)
Solution: I
fs
=50x10
6
A, R
M
=30
a. We make an ammeter by putting a resistor in parallel (R
S
) with the
internal resistance, R
M
of the galvanometer as shown in figure below.
M
fs
fs
S
R
I I
I
R


.

\

=
= .7 1 R
S
SF017
SF027 79
Given I = 30 A.
Since R
S
connected in parallel with R
M
hence
b. We make a voltmeter by putting a resistor in series (R
B
) with the
internal resistance, R
M
of the galvanometer as shown in figure below.
Since R
B
connected in series with R
M
hence the current through them
are the same, I
fs
.
=
6
S
10 x 50 R
S
I
I
M
R
fs
I
G G
S
R
S M
R R
V V = and
fs S
I I I =
( )
S fs M fs
R I I R I =
in parallel. in parallel.
V
fs
I
M
R
G G
B
R
fs
I
Given V = 1000 V
SF027 80
Therefore
Example 23: (exercise)
A milliammeter of negligible resistance produces a full scale deflection
when the current is 1 mA. How would you convert the milliammeter to a
voltmeter with full scale deflection of 10 V?
Ans. :1.0 x 10
4
in series
Example 24: (exercise)
A movingcoil meter has a resistance of 5.0 and full scale deflection is
produced by a current of 1.0 mA. How can this meter be adapted for
use as :
a. a voltmeter reading up to 10 V,
b. a ammeter reading up to 2?
Ans. :9995 in series, 2.5 x10
3
in parallel.
=
6
B
10 x 20 R
M B
R R
V V V + =
M fs B fs
R I R I V + =
in series. in series.


.

\

=
fs
M fs
B
I
R I V
R
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