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1. What is meant by the following?

(a) Conservation of charge.

(b) Quantization of charge.

2. Distinguish between charging by friction and charging by induction.

3. You are provided with two materials, one with a positive charge and the
other with a negative charge, an uncharged metal sphere and an insulator on
which the sphere can be mounted. With the aid of diagrams, describe how the
sphere may be charged positively and negatively by induction.

4. State the difference(s) between an electric conductor and an insulator.

5. With the aid of diagrams, describe how a charged electroscope can be

used to indicate the sign of charge on a charged object.

Practice problems

Question 1 .

A charge of 8 C flows past a given point every 2 s. How much is the current in

Answer: 4A

Question 2 .

A 1 kW heater is designed to operate at 220 V.

(a) What is its resistance?

(b) Calculate the current through the heater.
(c) What is the power of this heater if it operates at 110 V?


(a) 48.4 Ω (b) 4.55 A (c) 250 W


A potential difference of 12 V is found to produce a current of 400 mA in a 320

cm length of wire with a uniform radius of 40 mm. Calculate
(a) The resistance of the wire.
(b) The resistivity of the wire.

(Hint: You need to convert all non SI units to SI units so that the units do not mix

Answer (a) 30 Ω (b) 4.7 x 10-4 Ωm


Practice problems

Question 1

The diagram shows a circuit containing a voltage source and some resistors.
Find the current through the 12 Ω resistors.

Answer 0.43 A

Question 2

The diagram shows a circuit.


(a) The current in the 20 Ω resistor.

(b) The potential difference between points A and B.

Answer (a) 0.227 A (b) 5.68 V

3.8 Applications of Kirchhoff`s laws (The branch method of solving circuits)

Example 1
In the circuit diagram, find the value of the currents I1, I2 and I3 and comment
on the values obtained.


We have three loops: ACDBA, ABEFA and the entire loop CDEFC. The issue of
direction of current flow is important here. We can consider the clockwise
direction to be positive any two loops we wish to consider. That means the 10
V source which is driving current in the clockwise direction therefore acts as a
positive source while the two 4 V sources act as negative sources. Currents
flowing in the clockwise sense in a given loop are considered positive while
those flowing in the counterclockwise direction are negative.


Example 1
Three point charges Q1, Q2 and Q3 respectively of magnitudes 1 μC, 2 μC and 3
μC are fixed at the positions shown in the diagram. The charges are in vacuum.


(a) The potential at point P at the corner of the rectangle.

(b) The work done to bring a charge of 2.5 μC from infinity and place it at
point P.


We need to calculate the distance between the charge Q2 and point P. Using
the Pythagoras theorem, this distance is 5 m.
(a) By writing V1 we mean the potential at P due to charge Q1. We define V2
and V3 in a
similar way. Likewise, r1 is the distance of the charge Q1 from point P.
V1 =
4pe o r1
� V1 =
4p �8.85 �10 -12 �4
� V1 = 2.25 �103V
V2 =
4pe o r2
-2 �10-6
� V2 =
4p �8.85 �10-12 �5
� V2 = -3.6 �103V

V3 =
4pe o r3
3 �10-6
� V3 =
4p �8.85 �10-12 �3
� V3 = 9 �103V

The total potential at point P is the scalar sum of the individual potentials;

Vtotal = V1 + V2 + V3
� Vtotal = 2.25 �103V + (-3.6 �103V ) + 9 �103V
� Vtotal = 7.65 �103V

Example 2

Three charges are at the vertices of a right angled triangle ABC where AB = AC =
5 cm and q = 1.0 x 10-7 C.

Find the force acting on the charge at A (εo = 8.85 x 10-12 C2N-1m-2)

FB =
4pe o r 2
(1�10-7 ) 2
� FB =
4p �8.85 �10-12 �(0.05) 2
� FB = 3.59672 �10-2 N
-q 2
FC =
4pe o r 2
FC = -3.59672 �10-2 N

We then calculate the resultant force by adding FB and FC vectorially.

The resultant force F is calculated using the Pythagoras theorem:

F = FB 2 + FC 2
� F = 5.09 �10-2 N

Example 3

Three charges A, B and C of magnitude 5 nC, 3 nC and 2 nC respectively are

arranged at the corners of a square in vacuum as shown.

(i) The electric potential at X due to the three charges.

(ii) The electric field strength and its direction at X due to the three charges.


The direction of the electric field at X due to each charge is as shown in the
next diagram. We calculate the distance AX and show by the Pythagoras
theorem that it is equal to 0.32m .
VC =
4pe o r
2 �10-9
� VC =
4p �8.85 �10-12 �0.4
� VC = 44.959V
VB =
4pe o r
-3 �10-9
� VB =
4p �8.85 �10-12 �0.4
� VB = -67.439V
VA =
4pe o r
+5 �10-9
� VA =
4p �8.85 �10-12 � 0.32
� VA = 79.477V
Vtotal = VC + VB + VA
� Vtotal = 44.959V + ( -67.439V ) + 79.477V
� Vtotal = 57V

EC =
� EC =
� EC = 112.40Vm -1
EB =
� EB =
� EB = -168.60Vm -1
EA =
� EA =
� E A = 140.5Vm -1

To find the total field strength, we add EA, EB and EC vectorially.

We need to resolve EA vertically and horizontally because we have a system of
three vectors.

Resolving EA vertically:

E Avertical = E A cos 45
� E Avertical = 140.5cos 45
� E Avertical = 99.35Vm-1

Resolving EA horizontally:

E Ahorizontal = E A sin 45
� E Ahorizontal = 140.4sin 45
� E Ahorizontal = 99.35Vm -1

The next diagram now shows a simplified representation of the electric fields
and their directions.

Now, EB + EA sin 45 is negative so this sum is directed to the left as shown in the
next diagram.
By using the Pythagoras theorem, the resultant E is calculated as

E 2 = 211.752 + 69.252
� E = 211.752 + 69.252
� E = 222.8Vm -1
�211.75 �
q = tan -1 �
�69.25 ��
q = 71.9�

Therefore the electric field strength at X is 222.8Vm -1 at 71.9 º to the horizontal

Practice problem

Three point charges are located at the corners of an equilateral triangle as

shown in the diagram.
Find the magnitude and direction of the electric force on the 2.00 μC charge.

Answer: 0.437 N at 85.3° to the x-axis.


Practice problems

Question 1

Two parallel plates 20 mm apart are connected to a 1000 V battery. Calculate

(a) the electric field strength between the plates.

(b) the speed acquired by an electron in moving through the field from one
plate to another in empty space if its initial speed is zero ( mass of an
electron = 9.1 x 10-31 kg, electronic charge = 1.6 x 10-19 C).

Answer: (a) 5 x 104 Vm-1 (b) 1.89 x 107 ms-1

Question 2

Electrons are emitted with negligible speed from a plain cathode in an

evacuated tube. The electrons are accelerated towards a plain anode which is
parallel to the cathode and 2 cm from it by a potential difference of 1000 V.
Find the time taken for an electron to move from the cathode to the anode.
(mass of an electron = 9.1 x 10-31 kg, electronic charge = 1.6 x 10-19 C).

Answer: 2.1ns

5.7 Effect of the Electric Field on the Motion of Charged Particles

When a charged particle moves in the same direction as that of the electric
field, the electric field does work on the particle and the particle gains electric
potential energy. The particle however moves in a direction of decreasing
electric potential therefore a gain in electric potential energy is accompanied
by a loss in electric potential. Fig 5.3 shows a positive charge moving in the
direction of the electric field.

Fig 5.3 Positively charged particle moving in the direction of the field

When a charged particle moves in the opposite direction to that of the electric
field then the particle itself does work against the electric field so it loses
electric potential energy. The particle however moves in a direction of
increasing potential therefore a loss in electric potential energy is accompanied
by a gain in electric potential. This is shown in Fig 5.4.
Fig 5.4 Negatively charged particle opposing the direction of the field


Practice problems

Question 1

The diagram shows a network of capacitors connected to a 9 V battery.


(a) The equivalent capacitance of the capacitors.

(b) The charge on each capacitor.
(c) The potential difference across each capacitor.


(a) 2.67 μF.

(b) 24 μC on each 8 μF capacitor, 18 μC on the 6 μF capacitor and 6 μC on
the 2 μF capacitor.
(c) 3 V across each capacitor.
Question 2

A 1 μF capacitor is charged by connecting it across a 10 V battery. It is then

disconnected from the battery and connected across an uncharged 2 μF
capacitor. Determine the resulting charge on each capacitor.

Answer: 3.33 μC and 6.67 μC

6.8 Summary

 A capacitor is a charge storing device. There are several types and they
play a pivotal role in the electronic industry.
 Capacitance is the ability of an insulator to store charge and it is
measured in Farads.
 Capacitance C is defined by:


 When capacitors are connected in series, the equivalent capacitance is

calculated as:

1 1 1 1
= + +
Ctotal C1 C2 C3

 When capacitors are connected in parallel, the equivalent capacitance is

calculated as:
Ctotal = C1 + C2 + C3

 The energy stored in a capacitor can be calculated using either of the

following formulae depending on the data is available:

1 1
W = QV W = CV 2
2 or 2



The diagram shows an exponential decay of the p.d. across a charged capacitor
which discharges through a resistor of resistance 2 x 106 Ω.

What is the capacitance of the capacitor?

From the graph t = 5s i.e. the time taken for the p.d. to reduce to e
Therefore using t = CR , the value of C is 2.5μF.


The diagram shows a 2μ F capacitor connected to a p.d. of 10 V and a 2 x 10 6 Ω


(a) Switch S1 is closed and S2 open, calculate the charge on the capacitor.
(b) Switch S1 is then opened and S2 closed, calculate the charge on the
capacitor 8 seconds after switch S2 is closed.

Q = 2 �10-5 C Q = 2.71�10-6 C
Answer (a) (b)
7.6 Summary
 When a capacitor charges or discharges, voltage, charge and current vary
exponentially with time.

 The time constant of a capacitor is a quantity given by:

t = CR

and this quantity is especially important in smoothing circuits.

 When a capacitor charges, the p.d. across it increases to e of the
charging p.d. in a time interval equal to t .
 When a capacitor discharges, the p.d. across it decreases to e of the
charging p.d. in a time interval equal to t .



 Magnetic fields arise from permanent magnets or from moving charged


 Magnetic flux is the number of magnetic field lines passing through a

given space and it is a scalar quantity.

 Magnetic flux density is a vector quantity. It is also called magnetic field

strength, magnetic field intensity or magnetic field induction.

 The magnetic flux and magnetic flux density are related by the equation:
f = BA


6 Fleming’s left hand rule (The motor rule)

Fig 9.3 Illustration of the motor rule


(a) Predict the sign of charge


The charge is negative.

(b) Predict the sign of charge


The charge is positive.

Practice problems

Determine the initial direction of deflection of the charged particle as it enters

the magnetic field as shown in each of the diagrams.

Solution: Upwards.


Solution: Into the plane of paper.

Solution: No deflection. (Can you give reason why there is no deflection?)



The diagram shows two coils A and B.

Find the direction of the current in the resistor R

(a) At the instant the switch S is closed.
(b) After the switch S has been closed for several minutes.
(c) At the instant the switch S is opened.


(a) From right to left.

(b) No current flows.
(c) From left to right.


(a) At the instant when the switch S is closed, the battery supplies current in
the anticlockwise direction in coil A as shown in the next diagram. Thus coil A
behaves as a bar magnet with its north pole on the right hand side. At this
instant, coil A produces magnetic fields that link coil B. By Faraday’s law, an
e.m.f. is generated in coil B which drives current in this coil. According to Lenz’s
law, the current flow in coil B is such that this coil behaves as a bar magnet with
its north pole on the left hand side as shown. If we use the curly N that you
learnt in section 6.10.3, the current in coil B flows in the counterclockwise
direction thus the current through R is from right to left as indicated by the
arrows in the diagram. Note that the current flow in coil B is just momentary.
(b) After the switch S has been closed for several minutes, there is no
change in magnetic flux linkage because we are using a d.c. source so no
current is induced. Remember you learnt this in section 6.12.2.

(c) At the instant the switch S is opened, there is change in magnetic flux
linkage from maximum to zero. There is momentary current flow in coil B but
now in the opposite sense to the one observed in (a) thus from left to right in
the resistor R.

10.8 E.m.f. induced in a straight conductor

Fig 10.6 Induced e.m.f in a straight conductor

Consider a straight rod XY of length L moving with constant velocity v at right

angles to the direction of the magnetic field of strength B as shown in Fig 10.6.
Suppose that in a time interval Dt , the rod moves from position A to position B.
The distance it moves is v Dt . The small area swept by the rod DA is given by

DA = LvDt ………………………………………………... (10.7)

By Faraday’s law, the e.m.f. induced in the conductor is given by

dt …………………………………………………….. (10.8)


But f = BA ……………………………………………………… (10.1)

D ( BA)
Dt and since B is a constant we have:
E= ..................................................................................(10.15)

Substituting (10.7) in (10.15)

� E = BLv...............................................................................(10.16)

10.9 Fleming’s right hand rule (The dynamo rule)

This rule is similar to the left hand rule. This is illustrated in Fig 10.7

Fig 10.7 Illustration of Fleming’s right hand rule

The following examples illustrate how the rule can be used to predict the
direction of current flow in a conductor moving in a magnetic field.
Example 1

It is desired to predict the direction of current flow given the direction of the
magnetic field and the direction of motion of the conductor.

In this example current flows to the left

Example 2

In this example, current flows downwards

Example 3
A straight wire of length 50 cm and resistance 10 Ω moves sideways with
velocity 15 ms-1 at right angles to a uniform magnetic field of flux density 2.0 x
10-3 T. What current would flow if its ends were connected by leads of
negligible resistance?


Data Formulae Substitution

B = 2.0 �10-3 T E = BLv E = 2 �10-3 �0.5 �15
L = 50cm = 0.5m � E = 0.015V
v = 15ms -1 I= 0.015
R �I =
R = 10W 10
� I = 1.5mA

Practice problem

An aeroplane with a wing span of 25 m is flying from East to West at a speed of

250 ms-1.

(a) Calculate the potential difference between the wing tips if the vertical
component of the earth’s magnetic field is 4.0 x 10-5 T.
(b) Which wing tip is at a positive potential?

Answer: (a) 250 mV

10.10 The generator effect

10.10.1 The alternating current (a.c.) generator
We want to study a simple a.c. generator which produces a sinusoidal e.m.f. or
current. A simple generator of alternating current is a coil of wire that rotates
in a uniform magnetic field. As the coil rotates, it cuts across magnetic field
lines and an e.m.f. is induced in it. In this type of e.m.f., mechanical energy
(kinetic energy) is converted into electrical energy. Fig 10.8 shows the structure
of the a.c. generator.

Fig 10.8 Structure of the a.c. generator

Consider a coil of N turns each of area A rotating in a magnetic field of strength
B with constant angular velocity ω as shown in Fig 10.8. The normal to the area
of the coil makes an angle θ with the direction of the magnetic field. We recall
that the total magnetic flux linkage is given by

fT = NBA cos q ………………………………………………(10.3)

q = wt.....................................................................................(10.17)

� fT = NBA cos w t ………………………………………….(10.18)

fT is maximum when cos wt = 1

i.e. fT = NBA ……………………………………………(10.19)


fTmax = fo
If we define = constant then

fT = fo cos wt........................................................................(10.20)

The e.m.f. E generated is by Faraday’s law given by

E=- ...............................................................................(10.6)
� E = - (fo cos wt )
d cos wt
� E = -fo
� E = wfo sin wt ....................................................................(10.21)

If we define wfo = Emax = Eo = constant

E = Eo sin wt...........................................................................(10.22)

Eo is called the peak value or the maximum value of the induced e.m.f. When
the coil lies parallel to the magnetic field, q = wt = 90�and sin wt = 1
E = Eo corresponding to the maximum value of the induced e.m.f. When the

coil is perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic field, q = wt = 0 and

sin wt = 0 and E = 0 i.e. there is no e.m.f. induced in the coil. Each cycle of the
e.m.f. corresponds to one turn of the coil in the magnetic field. The variation
with time of the e.m.f. generated is shown if Fig. 10.9. Various positions of the
coil are also shown in Fig 10.9.

Fig 10.9 Variation of e.m.f with time

10.11 Summary

 We can generate a voltage and current either by motion of a conductor

relative to a magnetic field or by changing the number of magnetic field
lines passing through the conductor.

 Faraday’s law states that the induced e.m.f. is directly proportional to the
rate of magnetic flux linkage i.e.
 According to Lenz’s law, the induced e.m.f. and current are in such a
direction as to oppose the change of flux which produce them. Lenz’s
law is based on the principle of conservation of energy.

 If a conductor of length L moves through a magnetic field with a speed v

so that the magnetic field is perpendicular to the conductor, an e.m.f. is
induced in the conductor and this e.m.f. is given by:
E = BLv

 An a.c. generator converts mechanical energy into electrical energy.