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Chapter 20. Foundations of Physics. Electricity and Magnetism. Electric Circuits and Power. 20 Series and Parallel Circuits 20 Analysis of Circuits 20 Electric Power, AC, and DC Electricity. Objectives. Recognize and sketch examples of series and parallel circuits.

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chapter 20
Chapter 20

Foundations of Physics

electricity and magnetism
Electricity and Magnetism

Electric Circuits and Power

  • 20 Series and Parallel Circuits
  • 20 Analysis of Circuits
  • 20 Electric Power, AC, and DC Electricity
  • Recognize and sketch examples of series and parallel circuits.
  • Describe a short circuit and why a short circuit may be a dangerous hazard.
  • Calculate the current in a series or parallel circuit containing up to three resistances.
  • Calculate the total resistance of a circuit by combining series or parallel resistances.
  • Describe the differences between AC and DC electricity.
  • Calculate the power used in an AC or DC circuit from the current and voltage.
vocabulary terms
Vocabulary Terms
  • series circuit
  • parallel circuit
  • short circuit
  • network circuit
  • circuit analysis
  • power
  • Kirchhoff’s voltage law
  • voltage drop direct
  • current (DC)
  • alternating current (AC)
  • kilowatt
  • Kirchhoff’s current law
  • horsepower
  • power factor
  • circuit breaker
  • watt
  • kilowatt-hour
test questions
Test questions
  • What are the circuit symbols for a

a. Battery f. Fixed resistor

b. Light bulb g. Capacitor

c. Motor h. Buzzer

d. Switch i. Ammeter

e. Variable resistor

test questions1
Test Questions

2. Define a series circuit

3. Show the formula depicting five resistors in a series circuit

4. Describe Ohm’s Law

5. Draw and Calculate the total resistance in a series circuit containing two 1.5 ohm light bulbs, a battery, a 1 ohm buzzer, a switch, and a 5 ohm motor

series and parallel circuits
Key Question:

How do series and parallel circuits work?

Series and Parallel Circuits


series and parallel circuits1
Series and Parallel Circuits
  • In series circuits, current can only take one path.
  • The amount of current is the same at all points in a series circuit.
adding resistances in series
Adding resistances in series
  • Each resistance in a series circuit adds to the total resistance of the circuit.

Rtotal = R1 + R2 + R3...

Total resistance


Individual resistances (W)

  • Draw a series circuit containing 3 light bulbs and a switch.
  • If each light bulb has a resistance of 1.5 ohms what is the current in the circuit run by a 3.0V battery?
  • What happens to the total resistance as the current passes through each light?
  • What do you predict will happen to the brightness of the bulbs as each additional bulb is added to the circuit?
voltage in a series circuit
Each separate resistance creates a voltage drop as the current passes through.

As current flows along a series circuit, each type of resistor transforms some of the electrical energy into another form of energy

Ohm’s law is used to calculate the voltage drop across each resistor.

Voltage in a series circuit

If three 1.5 ohm light bulbs are wired in series what necessary voltage would be required to push .5amps of current through the circuit?

  • Define parallel circuit
  • Describe the current and voltage in a parallel circuit
  • Describe Kirchoff’s current law
  • How is current calculated in a parallel circuit
  • What determines the current in each branch?
series and parallel circuits2
Series and Parallel Circuits
  • In parallel circuits the current can take more than one path.
  • Because there are multiple branches, the current is not the same at all points in a parallel circuit.
series and parallel circuits3
Series and Parallel Circuits
  • Sometimes these paths are called branches.
  • The current through a branch is also called the branch current.
  • When analyzing a parallel circuit, remember that the current always has to go somewhere.
  • The total current in the circuit is the sum of the currents in all the branches.
  • At every branch point the current flowing out must equal the current flowing in.
  • This rule is known as Kirchhoff’s current law.
voltage and current in a parallel circuit
Voltage and current in a parallel circuit
  • In a parallel circuit the voltageis the same across each branch because each branch has a low resistance path back to the battery.
  • The amount of current in each branch in a parallel circuit is notnecessarily the same.
  • The resistance in each branch determines the current in that branch.
advantages of parallel circuits
Advantages of parallel circuits

Parallel circuits have two big advantages over series circuits:

1. Each device in the circuit sees the full battery voltage.

2. Each device in the circuit may be turned off independently without stopping the current flowing to other devices in the circuit.

short circuit
Short circuit
  • A short circuit is a parallel path in a circuit with zero or very low resistance.
  • Short circuits can be made accidentally by connecting a wire between two other wires at different voltages.
  • Short circuits are dangerous because they can draw huge amounts of current.
18 calculate current
Two bulbs with different resistances are connected in parallel to batteries with a total voltage of 3 volts.

Calculate the total current supplied by the battery.

18. Calculate current

19. Describe the resistance in a parallel circuit

20. Write the formula for calculating total resistance in a parallel circuit

resistance in parallel circuits
Resistance in parallel circuits
  • Adding resistance in parallel provides another path for current, and more current flows.
  • When more current flows for the same voltage, the total resistance of the circuit decreases.
  • This happens because every new path in a parallel circuit allows more current to flow for the same voltage.
analysis of circuits
Key Question:

How do we analyze network circuits?

Analysis of Circuits



What are the three primary laws for circuit analysis

  • Define network circuit
  • What are the steps for solving circuit problems
analysis of circuits1
Analysis of Circuits
  • All circuits work by manipulating currents and voltages.
  • The process of circuit analysis means figuring out what the currents and voltages in a circuit are, and also how they are affected by each other.
  • Three basic laws are the foundation of circuit analysis.
voltage divider

V0 = R1 Vi

R1 + R2

Voltage divider
  • A circuit divides any supplied voltage by a ratio of the resistors.







resistor ratio


solving circuit problems
Solving circuit problems
  • Identify what the problem is asking you to find. Assign variables to the unknown quantities.
  • Make a large clear diagram of the circuit. Label all of the known resistances, currents, and voltages. Use the variables you defined to label the unknowns.
  • You may need to combine resistances to find the total circuit resistance. Use multiple steps to combine series and parallel resistors.
solving circuit problems1
Solving circuit problems
  • If you know the total resistance and current, use Ohm’s law as V = IR to calculate voltages or voltage drops. If you know the resistance and voltage, use Ohm’s law as I = V ÷ R to calculate the current.
  • An unknown resistance can be found using Ohm’s law as R = V ÷ I, if you know the current and the voltage drop through the resistor.
  • Use Kirchhoff’scurrent and voltage laws as necessary.
solving circuit problems2
A bulb with a resistance of 1Ω is to be used in a circuit with a 6-volt battery.

The bulb requires 1 amp of current.

If the bulb were connected directly to the battery, it would draw 6 amps and burn out instantly.

To limit the current, a resistor is added in series with the bulb.

What size resistor is needed to make the current 1 amp?

Solving circuit problems
network circuits
Network circuits
  • In many circuits, resistors are connected both in series and in parallel.
  • Such a circuit is called a network circuit.
  • There is no single formula for adding resistors in a network circuit.
  • For very complex circuits, electrical engineers use computer programs that can rapidly solve equations for the circuit using Kirchhoff’s laws.
calculate using network circuits
25. Three bulbs, each with a resistance of 3Ω, are combined in the circuit in the diagram

Three volts are applied to the circuit.

Calculate the current in each of the bulbs.

26.From your calculations, do you think all three bulbs will be equally bright?

Calculate using network circuits

27.Describe Power in reference to electricity

28. How is power calculated?

29. What is the unit for power?

30. Describe a kilowatt

31. Describe horsepower

electric power ac and dc electricity
Key Question:

How much does electricity cost and what do you pay for?

Electric Power, AC, and DC Electricity


electric power ac and dc electricity1
Electric Power, AC, and DC Electricity
  • The watt (W) is a unit of power.
  • Power is the rate at which energy moves or is used.
  • Since energy is measured in joules, power is measured in joules per second.
  • One joule per second is equal to one watt.
power in electric circuits
Power in electric circuits
  • One watt is a pretty small amount of power.
  • In everyday use, larger units are more convenient to use.
  • A kilowatt (kW) is equal to 1,000 watts.
  • The other common unit of power often seen on electric motors is the horsepower.
  • One horsepower is 746 watts.

Voltage (volts)

P = VI

Current (amps)

Power (watts)

32 calculate power
A light bulb with a resistance of 1.5Ω is connected to a 1.5-volt battery in the circuit shown at right.

Calculate the power used by the light bulb.

32. Calculate power
paying for electricity
Paying for electricity
  • Electric companies charge for the number of kilowatt-hours used during a set period of time, often a month.
  • One kilowatt-hour (kWh) means that a kilowatt of power has been used for one hour.
  • Since power multiplied by time is energy, a kilowatt-hour is a unit of energy.
  • One kilowatt-hour is 3.6 x 106 joules.
33 calculate power
Your electric company charges 14 cents per kilowatt-hour. Your coffee maker has a power rating of 1,050 watts.

How much does it cost to use the coffee maker one hour per day for a month?

33. Calculate power

34. Define direct current

35. Define alternating current

36. What is meant by 60Hz alternating current?

alternating and direct current
Alternating and direct current
  • The current from a battery is always in the same direction.
  • One end of the battery is positive and the other end is negative.
  • The direction of current flows from positive to negative.
  • This is called direct current, or DC.
alternating and direct current1
Alternating and direct current
  • If voltage alternates, so does current.
  • When the voltage is positive, the current in the circuit is clockwise.
  • When the voltage is negative the current is the opposite direction.
  • This type of current is called alternating current, or AC.
alternating and direct current2
Alternating and direct current
  • AC current is used for almost all high-power applications because it is easier to generate and to transmit over long distances.
  • The 120 volt AC (VAC) electricity used in homes and businesses alternates between peak values of +170 V and -170 V at a frequency of 60 Hz.
  • AC electricity is usually identified by the average voltage, (120 VAC) not the peak voltage.
power in ac circuits
For a circuit containing a motor, the power calculation is a little different from that for a simple resistance like a light bulb.

Because motors store energy and act like generators, the current and voltage are not in phase with each other.

The current is always a little behind the voltage.

Power in AC circuits
power for ac circuits
Electrical engineers use a power factor (pf) to calculate power for AC circuits with motors Power for AC circuits

Avg. voltage


Avg. current (amps)

P = VI x pf

Power (watts)

power factor