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Electric Circuits and Ohm's Law :

Mass of electron = 9.11 x 10-31 kg
Mass of proton = 1.67 x 10-27 kg
Mass of neutron = mass of proton
Mass of electron = 1/1840 mass of proton
Diameter of nucleus is of the order of 10-14 m
Diameter of orbits = 104 times dia of molecule
Diameter of electron = 10-15 m
Charge on electron = - 1.602 x 10-19 coulomb
Charge on proton = + 1.602 x 10-19 coulomb.

The charge on an electron is measured in terms of coulomb. The unit of current is coulomb
per second and is called ampere.Thus

I (Ampere) = coulomb/second = q / t
One coulomb is equivalent to the charge of 6.28 x 1018 electrons.
1 emu of current = 3 x 1010 esu of current.

Electromotive force or potential of a body is the work done in joules to bring a unit electric
charge from infinity to the body. It is expressed in terms of volts (V).
The potential difference is defined as that which causes current to flow in the closed circuit.

Resistance is the property of a substance due to which it opposes the flow of electrons (i.e.,
electric current) through it. The unit of resistance is ohm ().
Metals, acids and salt solutions are good conductors of electricity. Silver, copper and
aluminium offer least resistance to flow of current and are called very good conductor of
electricity. The electrons while flowing through the molecules or the atoms of the conductor,
collide with other atoms and electrons, thereby producing heat.
Some substances offer relatively greater difficulty or hindrance to the passage of these
electrons. Such substances are called poor conductors or insulators of electricity. Some of the
insulators are glass, bakelite, mica, rubber, polyvinyl chloride (P.V.C.), dry wood, etc.

The resistance of a conductor depends on:

1. Length of conductor- it varies directly with the length

2. Cross-sectional area of the conductor - it varies inversely with the cross-sectional area
3. Its resistivity i.e. the nature of composition, etc., of the material of which the conductor is
made up
4. Temperature of the conductor - it almost varies directly with the temperature. Thus R, the
resistance of a conductor is given by


= specific resistance or resistivity of the material,
l = length of the conductors,
A = cross-sectional area of conductor.

Ohm's Law :
If the temperature and other conditions remain constant, the current through a conductor is
proportional to the applied potential difference and it remains constant. Thus

Current = Applied Voltage / Resistance of the circuit

Resistance = Applied voltage / Current in the circuit

Potential across resistance = Current x Resistance.

Conditions for Ohm's Law :

1. Ohm's law can be applied either to the entire circuit or a part of a circuit.
2. When ohm's law is applied to a part circuit, part resistance and the potential across the part
resistance should be used.
3. The Ohm's law can be applied to DC as well as AC circuits. However, in case of AC
circuits impedance Z, is used in place of resistance. Thus

I = E / Z = Applied voltage / Impedance in the circuit

Conductance (G ) :
Conductance is the reciprocal of ( R ) and is measure of the ease with which the current will
flow through a substance. Thus

G= 1 / R

The unit of conductance is mho.

Electrical power is expressed in terms of watts (W) and is given by

W= E x I = I2 x R = E2 / R

Power is also expressed in terms of

kW ( kilowatt ) ( =1000 W ) or
MW ( megawatt ) which is 1000 kW or 1000,000 W.

Electrical Energy :
Electrical energy is expressed in terms of kilowatt hours (kWh). Thus

1 kWh = 1 kW x 1 hour = 1000 watt-hours = 1000 x 60 x 60 watt-sec.

Resistances in series :

When resistances are connected in series, same current flows through all resistances, and
overall resistance R, is given by

R = R1 + R2 + R3


V = V1 + V2 + V3 = IR1+ IR2 + IR3 .

Electric Current and Ohm's Law (Continued):

Resistances in Parallel :

When conductors are joined in parallel, following relations hold good

I = I1 + I2 + I3

1 / R= 1 / R1 + 1 / R2 + 1 / R3

R= ( R1 +R2 + R3 ) / ( R1R2 + R2R3 + R3R1 )

G = G1 + G2 + G3

Effect of Temperature on Resistance :

Resistance of all materials is affected by the variations in temperature. The effect of
temperature in general is as follows:
(i) Resistance of most of the metallic conductors increases with rising temperature
(ii) Resistance of non-conductors or insulators usually decreases with rising temperature.

Temperature coefficient of resistance :

It is defined as the increase in resistance per ohm original resistance per

C rise in temperature. Thus

= (Rt - Ro )/(Ro . t)

Ro = resistance at 0 oC
Rt = resistance at t C
t = temperature rise in oC
is of the order of l0 -4 / oC for most of the metals.
In case of insulators and electrolytes, is usually negative.
Temperature coefficient of carbon is negative.

Resistor color coding :

Carbon resistors are physically small in size and color code is used to represent their value in
ohms. The scheme is shown in Figure above. Various codes for colors are given in the table
below :

Color Code


The drift velocity vd of charge carriers is related to current I by the equation

I = n e vd


n = density of charge carriers in conductor,

= area of cross-section of conductor,
e = charge on each carrier.

A large amount of energy has to be supplied to pull an electron from inside to outside of the
metal surface. This energy is called work function. This energy is the characteristic of the


As temperature of metallic conductor decreases, their resistivity decreases. In certain metallic

conductors as temperature decreases, the resistivity falls to zero at a certain temperature
called super-conducting temperature. It happens for mercury at 4 K and for tin at 3.72 K. This
phenomenon is called super-conductivity.
Resistivity of semiconductors decreases with increase in temperature

T = o e-(Eg / kT)


Eg = band gap energy,

T = resistivity at T K,
k = Boltzman constant.


The devices for which potential difference V Vs current I curve is not a straight line are called
non-linear devices. They do not obey Ohm's law and resistance of these devices is a function
of V or I e.g. vacuum tubes, junction diodes, thermistors etc.
The dynamic resistance of such devices is given as

r = Lt t 0 V / I = d V / d I


V is the change in p.d.