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Kirchhoff's Rules Continued. Gustav Kirchhoff 1824-1887 German Physicist. Circuit Definitions. Node – any point where 2 or more circuit elements are connected together Wires usually have negligible resistance Each node has one voltage ( w.r.t . ground)

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Kirchhoff's Rules Continued

Gustav Kirchhoff


German Physicist

Circuit definitions
Circuit Definitions

  • Node – any point where 2 or more circuit elements are connected together

    • Wires usually have negligible resistance

    • Each node has one voltage (w.r.t. ground)

  • Branch – a circuit element between two nodes

  • Loop – a collection of branches that form a closed path returning to the same node without going through any other nodes or branches twice

Problem-Solving Strategy Applying Kirchhoff’s Rules to a Circuit:

1. Assign labels and symbols to all the known and unknown quantities.

2. Assign directions to the currents in each part of the circuit. Although the assignment of current directions is arbitrary, you must stick with your original choices throughout the problem as you apply Kirchhoff ’s rules.

3. Apply the junction rule to any junction in the circuit. The rule may be applied as many times as a new current (one not used in a previously found equation) appears in the resulting equation.

4. Apply Kirchhoff’s loop rule to as many loops in the circuit as are needed to solve for the unknowns. In order to apply this rule, you must correctly identify the change in electric potential as you cross each element in traversing the closed loop. Watch out for signs!

5. Solve the equationssimultaneously for the unknown quantities, using substitution or any other method familiar to the student.

6. Check your answers by substituting them into the original equations.

Compound circuits simplifications
Compound Circuit:Circuits simplifications

Example circuit 1
Example Circuit:Circuit(1):

Solve for the currents through each resistor

And the voltages across each resistor using

Series and parallel simplification.

Example circuit 11
Example Circuit:Circuit(1):

The 6 and 4 ohm resistors are in series, so

are combined into 6+4 = 10Ω

Example circuit 12
Example Circuit:Circuit(1):

The 8 and 10 ohm resistors are in parallel, so

are combined into 8∙10/(8+10) =14.4 Ω

Example circuit
Example Circuit Circuit:

The 10 and 4.4 ohm resistors are in series, so

are combined into 10+4 = 14.4Ω

Example circuit 13
Example Circuit:Circuit(1):




Writing KVL, I1∙14.4Ω – 50 v = 0

Or I1 = 50 v / 14.4Ω = 3.46 A

Example circuit 14
Example Circuit:Circuit(1):

+34.6 v -


15.4 v


If I1 = 3.46 A, then I1∙10 Ω = 34.6 v

So the voltage across the 8 Ω = 15.4 v

Example circuit 15
Example Circuit:Circuit(1):

+ 34.6 v -


15.4 v


If I2∙8 Ω = 15.4 v, then I2 = 15.4/8 = 1.93 A

By KCL, I1-I2-I3=0, so I3=I1–I2 = 1.53 A

Example (2) Circuit:

  • The circuit here has three resistors, R1, R2, and R3 and two sources of emf, Vemf,1 and Vemf,2

  • This circuit cannot be resolved into simple series or parallel structures

  • To analyze this circuit, we need to assign currents flowing through the resistors.

  • We can choose the directions of these currents arbitrarily.

Example (2): Circuit:

  • At junction b the incoming current must equal the outgoing current

  • At junction a we again equate the incoming current and the outgoing current

  • But this equation gives us thesame information as theprevious equation!

  • We need more informationto determine the three currents – 2 more independent equations

Example (2) Circuit:

  • To get the other equations we must apply Kirchhoff’s Loop Rule.

  • This circuit has three loops.

    • Left

      • R1, R2, Vemf,1

    • Right

      • R2, R3, Vemf,2

    • Outer

      • R1, R3, Vemf,1, Vemf,2

Example - Kirchhoff’s Laws (4) Circuit:

  • Going around the left loop counterclockwise starting at point b we get

  • Going around the right loop clockwise starting at point b we get

  • Going around the outer loopclockwise startingat point b we get

  • But this equation gives us no newinformation!

Example - Kirchhoff’s Laws (5) Circuit:

  • We now have three equations

  • And we have three unknowns i1, i2, and i3

  • We can solve these three equations in a variety of ways

Example (3): Circuit:

Find the currents in the circuit shown in Figure by using Kirchhoff’s rules.


Apply the junction rule to point c. I 1 is directed into

the junction, I 2 and I 3 are directed out of the junction.

Select the bottom loop, and traverse it clockwise starting

at point a, generating an equation with the loop rule:

Select the top loop, and traverse it clockwise from point c. Notice the gain across the 9.0- resistor, because it is traversed against the direction of the current

Rewrite the three equations, rearranging terms and Circuit:

dropping units for the moment, for convenience:

Solve eq. 3 for I2 ,

substitute into eq. 1:

Substitute I3back into eq. 3 to get I2

From eq.1

Substitute the latter expression Substitute I3 into eq. 2 to get I1

into eq. 2 and solve for I3

Homework : Circuit:

Suppose the 6.0V battery is replaced by a battery of unknown emf, and an ammeter measures I1 =1.5 A. Find the other two currents and the emf of the battery.

Answers I2 =0.96 A, I3 =0.54 A, e=11 V

I1 =1.5 A


Example (4): Circuit:

Find I1, I2, and I3in Figure

2.5. Circuit:What is the current through the 4- resistor in this circuit?

a) 0.67 A

b) 0.75 A

c) 1.0 A

d) 1.3 A

e) 1.5 A

2.6. Circuit:What is the current through the 1- resistor in this circuit?

a) 2.8 A

b) 3.0 A

c) 3.4 A

d) 4.0 A

e) 4.8 A

2.7. Circuit:Which one of the following equations is not correct relative to the other four equations determined by applying Kirchoff’s Rules to the circuit shown?

a) I2 = I1 + I4

b) I2 = I3 + I5

c) 6 V  (8 ) I1 (5 ) I2 (4 ) I3 = 0

d) 6 V  (6 ) I4 (5 ) I2 (2 ) I5 = 0

e) 6 V  (8 ) I1 (6 ) I4 6 V  (2 ) I5 (4 ) I3 = 0

Not a loop!

2.8.Given Circuit:is the multi-loop circuit on the right. Which of the following statements cannot be true:

  • A)

  • B)

  • C)

  • D)

Junction rule

Not a loop!

Upper right loop

Left loop

2.7. Circuit:Consider the three resistors and the battery in the circuit shown. Which resistors, if any, are connected in parallel?

a) R1 and R2

b) R1 and R3

c) R2 and R3

d) R1 and R2and R3

e) No resistors are connected in parallel.