Chapter Fifteen Electric Current. Electric Current. We consider the motion of electrons in a conductor (a metal) when there is a voltage difference applied between the ends of the conductor.

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Chapter Fifteen Electric Current

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Electric Current • We consider the motion of electrons in a conductor (a metal) when there is a voltage difference applied between the ends of the conductor. • We will limit our discussion mostly to direct currents, that is, currents whose magnitude and direction do not change with time.

In the case of an electron, and the mass of an electron is Thus • We may calculate the velocity of the electrons after they travel a distance s assuming that no scattering (or collisions) occurs over that distance. • When and , the velocity is

Electric Current • The motion of an electron in an electric field is a series of short accelerations interrupted by collisions that scatter the electron. It has a random path, although there is a slow net velocity opposite to the field direction (see Fig. 15-1). It is the net velocity of the electrons, called the drift velocity, that gives rise to the current, not the brief accelerations.

See Fig. 15-2. Assume that there are both positive and negative charges, both of which are mobile in the presence of an electric field with a vector direction from left to right. Assume that there are Np (Nn) positive (negative) charges per unit volume with drift velocity of vp (vn).

In the same way, the negative particles, each with charge qn, flow from right to left given rise to a current • Both the sign of the charge qn and the sign of the drift velocity vn are negative and therefore their product is positive.

There is no pileup of electric charges in the wire at any point. If we connect a wire between the terminals of a battery, it is therefore reasonable to conclude that charge flows at a steady rate throughout the wire. • The current density is defined as the current per unit cross-sectional area, that is

Example 15-1 • Suppose a copper wire carries 10 A (amps) of current and has a cross-section of 10-6 m2. As will be seen later, each atom of copper contributes one electron that is free to move, so the electron carrier density Nn is about the same as the density of atoms, which is about 7 ×1028 atoms per m3. The charge on an electron is -1.6 ×10-19 C. (a) What is the drift velocity vn of the electrons? (b) How long would it take an electron to move from one terminal of a battery to the other if this wire were 1 m long?

Sol • (a) • (b) So the actual drift velocity of a given electron is very small. The speed of propagation of the electric field along the wire is that of the speed of light in the wire.

Resistance and Resistivity • Experiment shows that in many cases the electric current i, hence the current density J , are proportional to E. . • Define electrical resistivity ρ as • The resistivity is a property of a given material and is independent of its shape.

The resistivity was found to be a constant for a given metal at a given temperature by G. Ohm. Thus, the above equation is called Ohm's law. • A material obeying Ohm's law is called an ohmic conductor. • The units of ρ( called ohm meter, Ω-m) is • See Table 15-1

The conductivity σ is defined as • Suppose we have a given metal wire with cross section A, length l, and resistivity ρ with an applied electric field (see Fig. 15-3). The potential difference between the two ends of the conductor, point 1 and 2 is

If the electric field inside the conductor is uniform, where l = s2 - s1. Thus, which can be written as where V means and • R is called resistance of the wire and has units of Ω (ohms). • The current in a resistance (resistor) is from its high potential side to its low potential side.

Resistances in Series and Parallel • See Fig. 15-4. The voltage difference across a resistance (resistor) is called voltage drop. • See Fig. 15-5. The electric potential at point A is the same as that at the left side of the battery (emf), and that at point D is the same as the right side of the battery. The same current must pass through each of these resistances at that which passes between points A and D. This combination is called series resistances.

It is obvious that will be true regardless of the number of resistances in series. • See Fig. 15-6. The resistances is arranged in parallel. where Req is the equivalent resistance of the three.

Example 15-2 • Suppose in Fig. 15-5 the voltage V = 1.5 V and the resistances are R1 = 5 Ω; R2 = 10 Ω, and R3 = 15 Ω. What are the voltages VAB, VBC, and VCD?

Example 15-3 • Suppose two resistors, R1 = 5 Ω and R2 = 10 Ω, are connected in parallel to a 1.5 V battery as in Fig. 15-7. (a) What is the current through each? (b) What is the total current in the circuit?

Sol • (a) Using Ohm's law • (b) i = i1 + i2 = 300 mA + 150 mA = 450 mA. We may check this answer by solving the equivalent circuit.

Example 15-4 • Three resistors are connected in a combination of series and parallel as in Fig. 15-8. What is the current through each?

Sol • First we find Req(p) for the parallel combination • We then have the equivalent circuit, Fig. 15-8b. • Now we have the simpler equivalent circuit of Fig. 15-8c.

Kirchhoff's Rules • Two fundamental rules established by G. R. Kirchhoff that aid in the solution of electrical networks are 1. The algebraic sum of currents toward any branch point is zero. 2. The algebraic sum of all potential changes in a closed loop is zero.

Charge can not accumulate in a DC circuit: If it did, there would be a larger electric field at that region which would exert a larger force and thereby redistribute the charge evenly. • Rule 2 is a statement of the conservation of energy.

In applying rule 2, it is useful to follow certain guidelines that will prevent errors in the signs of the potential changes. (a) As indicated in connection with rule 1, we first assume a direction for the current through each branch of the circuit. (b) We then choose any closed loop in the circuit and designate the direction in which we wish to mentally traverse it. (c) We now go around the loop in the chosen direction adding algebraically all the potential changes and setting the sum equal to zero.

When we meet an emf source, its voltage V is taken as positive if we cross the source from the negative (low potential) side to the positive (high potential) side. • If in our mental trip around the circuit loop we cross a resistor in the same direction as the current, we must take the iR drop as negative because we are going from high to low potential-a decrease.