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PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY

Current Electricity
Top Formulae
Formula
Description
Current through a conductor I = current (ampere)
I

Q (ne np )e

t
t

Q = charge (coulomb)
t = time (second)
ne = number of electrons

Current in terms of drift


velocity
I neAvd

np = number of protons
I = current (ampere)
n = number density of electrons (m3)
A = area of cross section (metre2)

Mobility of electrons
v
e
e d
E
m
Ohms law
V=IR

vd = drift velocity of electron (metre/second)


e = mobility (metre2/volt sec)
vd = drift velocity of electron (metre/second)
V = voltage (volt)
I = current (ampere)

Resistance of a conductor
l
R
A

R = resistance (ohm)
R = resistance (ohm)
= resistivity (ohm metre)

A = area of cross section (metre2)

Resistivity of a conductor
m
2
e n

l = length (metre)
= resistivity (ohm metre)
m = mass of electron (kg)
n = number of electrons

Current density
I
J
A

e = charge on electron (coulomb)


= relaxation time (sec)
J = current density (ampere metre2)
I = current (ampere)
A = area of cross section (metre2)

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PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY


Conductivity of a conductor

Temperature dependence
of resistance
R t R0 (1 t)

= conductivity (ohm

metre1)

= resistivity (ohm metre)

Rt = resistance at temperature t (ohm)


R0= resistance at temperature 0C (ohm)
t = temperature (K)

Resistors in series
Rs R1 R2 R3 ....
Resistors in parallel
1
1
1
1

....
R p R1 R 2 R 3
Emf of cell
E = I (R + r)

= temperature coefficient of resistance (1/K)


Rs = net resistance (ohm)

R1, R2, R3 = individual resistances (ohm)


Rp = net resistance (ohm)
R1, R2, R3 = individual resistances (ohm)
E = emf of a cell (volt)
R = external resistance (ohm)
I = current (ampere)

Cells in series
n
I
R nr

r = internal resistance (ohm)


= emf in circuit (volt)
n = number of cells in series
R = external resistance (ohm)
I = current (ampere)

Cells in parallel
m
I
mR r

Cells in mixed grouping


mn
I
mR nr

r = internal resistance (ohm)


= emf in circuit (ohm)
m = number of cells in parallel
R = external resistance (ohm)
I = current (ampere)
r = internal resistance (ohm)
= emf in circuit (volt)
n = number of cells in series
m = number of cells in parallel
R = external resistance (ohm)
I = current (ampere)

Kirchhoffs first law

i 0

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r = internal resistance (ohm)


i = current (ohm)

PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY


Kirchhoffs second law

iR

Condition for balancing of


the Wheatstone bridge

R = resistance (ohm)
= emf in circuit (volt)
P, Q, R and S are resistances (ohm)

P R

Q S

Condition for slide wire


bridge
100 l
S(
)R
l
Comparison of emf of two
cells using potentiometer
E1 l1

E2 l2
Internal resistance of a cell
l l
r ( 1 2 )R
l2
Electric power
P = V I = I2 R = V2 / R

S and R = resistances (ohm)


l = length (metre)
E1 and E2 = emf of two sources (volt)
l1 and l2 = length (metre)
r = internal resistance (ohm)
R = external resistance (ohm)
l1 and l2 = length (metre)
V = voltage (volt)
I = current (ampere)
R = resistance (ohm)

Electric energy
V2
E=VIt=
t I2Rt
R

P = power dissipated (watt)


E = energy consumed (joule)
V = voltage (volt)
I = current (ampere)
R = resistance (ohm)

Electric energy spent in


heating a liquid
E mc

t = time (sec)
= change in temperature (C or K)
m = mass (kg)
c = specific heat (joule kg1 K1)
E = joule

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PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY


Top Concepts

Current through a given area of a conductor is the net charge passing per unit time through the area.

The current density vector

gives current per unit area flowing through area (

normal to the direction of charge flow. The direction of

A) when it is held

is in the direction of current flow.

Drift speed, which is the magnitude of this velocity, is enormously small as compared to the thermal
speed, which is not a vector and is much larger.

When a conducting substance is brought under the influence of an electric field , free charges (e.g.
free electrons in metals) move under the influence of this field in such a manner that the current
density
due to their motion is proportional to the applied electric field.
where
is a constant of proportionality called electrical conductivity.
This statement is one possible form of Ohms law.

If we consider a cylindrical chunk of such a material with cross-sectional area A and length L through
which a current is passing along the length and normal to the area A, then since
and
are in the
same direction,
J E

JAL ELA
where A is the cross-sectional area and L is the length of the material through which a current is
passing along the length normal to the area A.
However, JA = I, the current through the area A, and EL = V1 V2, the potential difference across the
ends of the chunk denoting V1 V2 as V.
Thus,

where
is called the resistance of the material.
In this form, Ohm's law can be stated as a linear relationship between the potential drop across a
substance and the current passing through it.
R is measured in ohm ( ),
where

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PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY

Emf (electromotive force) is the name given to a non-electrostatic agency. Typically, it is a battery in
which a chemical process achieves this task of doing work in driving the positive charge from a low
potential to a high potential.
The effect of such a source is measured in terms of work done per unit charge in moving a charge
once around the circuit. This is denoted by .

Metals have low resistivity: Range of varies from 108 m to 106 m.


Insulators such as glass and rubber have high resistivity: Range of varies from 1022 to 1024 times
more than metals.
Semiconductors such as Si and Ge lie roughly in the middle range of resistivity on a logarithmic scale.

Current density j gives the amount of charge flowing per second per unit area normal to the flow.
J = nq vd
where n is the number density (number per unit volume) of charge carriers, each of charge q, and vd is
the drift velocity of the charge carriers. For electrons, q = e. When J is normal to a cross-sectional
area A and is constant over the area, the magnitude of the current I through the area is nev d A.

Ohms law is obeyed by many substances, but it is not a fundamental law of nature. It fails if
a. V depends on I non-linearly. Example: When increases with I even if temperature is kept fixed.
b. The relation between V and I depends on the sign of V for the same absolute value of V.
c. The relation between V and I is non-unique. Example: GaAs
A rectifier is an example of (a) and (b).

When a source of emf e is connected to an external resistance R, the voltage Vext across R is given by

R
Vext = IR =
R r
where r is the internal resistance of the source.

Kirchhoffs Rules

Kirchhoff's First Rule


At any junction of several circuit elements, the sum of currents entering the junction must equal the sum of
currents leaving it.

In the above junction, current I enters and currents I1 and I2 leave.


Thus, I = I1 + I2.
This is a consequence of charge conservation and assumption that currents are steady, i.e. no charge
piles up at the junction.

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PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY

Kirchhoff's Second Rule


The algebraic sum of changes in potential around any closed resistor loop must be zero. This is based on
the principle that electrostatic forces alone cannot do any work in a closed loop, because this work equals
the potential difference, which is zero, if we start at one point of the loop and come back to it.

When applied to a loop as shown above (which could be part of a bigger circuit), this gives
(R1 + R2) I1 + R3 I3 + R4 I4 = 0.
o Points to remember in the case of current loops:
Choose any closed loop in the network and designate a direction (in this example, counter
clockwise) to traverse the loop.
o Go around the loop in the designated direction, adding emfs and potential differences. An emf is
counted as positive when it is traversed from () to (+) and negative in the opposite case, i.e.
from (+) to ().
An IR term is counted negative if the resistor is traversed in the same direction of the assumed
current and positive if in the opposite direction.
o Equate the total sum to zero.

The Wheatstone bridge is an arrangement of four resistancesR1, R2, R3 and R4. The null point
condition is given by

This is also known as the balance condition. If, for instance, R1, R2 and R3 are known, then R4 can be
determined.

In a balanced condition of the meter bridge,

: Resistance per unit length of wire


1: Length of wire from one end where the null point is obtained
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PHYSICS CURRENT ELECTRICITY


The potentiometer is a device to compare potential differences. Because the method involves a
condition of no current flow, the device can be used to measure potential differences and the internal
resistance of a cell and to compare the emfs of two sources.
The potential gradient of the wire in a potentiometer depends on the current in the wire.
If an emf

Similarly, if

is balanced against length

is balanced against

, then

, then the comparison of emfs of the two cells is given by

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