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# EPF 0024: Physics II 1

## 3.0 Electric Current

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Outline
3.1 Production of direct electric current
3.2 Ohms Law
3.3 Resistivity
3.4 Electric Energy and Power
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Today's lecture Include:
Production of direct electric current

Ohms Law
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Objectives
To explain the basic principles of a simple
cell and define the electric current.

State and explain Ohms law.

Solve Problems.
How to make a lemon battery
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3.1 Principle of a Simple Cell
A simple cell (Fig. 3.1)
consists of two rods
(electrodes) of carbon and
zinc immersed in solution,
e.g. diluted sulfuric acid
(electrolyte).

The terminals of the cell is
the portion of the electrode
outside the electrolyte. A
Battery are several cells
connected together (in
series).
Fig. 3.1 A Simple Electric Cell
Acid
+

Zinc
electrode ()
Carbon
electrode (+)
+ Terminal Terminal
Electrical symbol for a cell
+
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3.1.1 Operation of a simple cell
Electrolyte dissolves zinc and each zinc atom
leaves 2 electrons behind and enters the
electrolyte as positive ion making zinc electrode
vely charged and electrolyte +vely charged.
The +ve electrolyte pulls off electrons from the
carbon electrode making it +vely charged and a
p.d. now exists between the two terminals.

The p.d. (voltage) that exists between terminals
is called the electromotive force (emf). Allowing
charges to flow externally results in more zinc
being dissolved to maintain constant voltage at
terminals. Eventually, the zinc will be used up.

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3.1.2 The Electric Current
A simple electric circuit is
shown in (Fig. 3.2 (a)).
Closing the switch S results in
a net motion of electrons from
the negative terminal to the
positive terminal.

Motion of charges is
represented as flow of
conventional electric current
from +ve terminal to negative
as shown in Fig. 3.2 (b).
Fig. 3.2 (a) flashlight (simple
electric circuit) & (b) direction
of current & electron flow.
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The electric current I is defined as the net
amount of charge that passes through a given
cross-section of a conductor per unit time:

(3.1)

The SI unit of I is coulomb per second (C/s)
and is known as the ampere (symbol: A).

t
Q
I =

t
Q
I
A
A
=
Constant current
Variable current
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Example
A steady current of 2.5 A flows in a wire for
4.0 minutes. (a) How much charge pass
through any point in the circuit. (b) How many
electrons would this be.
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Solution
(a)

(b)
( )( ) C 600 s 60 4 C/s 5 . 2 = = = It q
( )
( )
electrons. 10 8 . 3
C 10 1.6
C 600
21
19
=

= =
=

e
q
n
ne q
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3.5 Ohms Law
States: The current flowing
through a conductor is directly
proportional to the potential
difference applied to its ends.

Where the proportionality
constant R is called resistance
(units = ohm (O)).
IR V
R
V
I = = or
(3.2)
Circuit symbol for R
Fig. 3.3: I versus V for
conductors
R V
I 1
slope =
A
A
=
I (A)
V (V)
AI
AV
I as a function of V is a
straight line through the
origin (Fig. 3.3).
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Resistors are an indispensable part of all
electronic components (Fig. 3.4).
Fig. 3.4 Electronic components
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Table 3.1: Color code for resistors
Color 1
st
digit 2
nd
digit Multiplier Tolerance (%)
Black 0 0 1
Brown 1 1 10
Red 2 2 10
2

Orange 3 3 10
3

Yellow 4 4 10
4

Green 5 5 10
5

Blue 6 6 10
6

Violet 7 7 10
7

Grey 8 8 10
8

White 9 9 10
9

Gold 0.1 5
Silver 0.01 10
No color 20
Table 3.1 shows the convention to determine
the value of a resistor using color codes.
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Fig. 3.5: Decoding of actual resistor value
1
st
digit (red)
2
nd
digit (green)
Tolerance (silver)
Multiplier (orange)
Using the color code in Table 3.1 the resistor
value is determined to be 25 kO 10%.
Fig. 3.5 is an example indicating the decoding
of the actual value of a resistor.
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Example 1
A small flashlight bulb draws 300 mA from its
1.5 V battery. (a) What is the resistance of the
bulb? (b) If the voltage is dropped to 1.2 V,
how would the current change?
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Solution
(a) Applying Ohms law we find:

(b) If the voltage drops to 1.2 V, assuming the
resistance stayed constant, then
( )
( )
0 . 5
A 0.3
V 5 . 1
= = =
I
V
R
( )
( )
mA. 60 of drop a or A 24 . 0
5.0
V 2 . 1
= = =
R
V
I
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3.6 Resistivity
For conductors:

(3.3)

Where is resistivity, L length and A cross-
sectional area. From equation (3.3) we
deduce the SI unit of resistivity to be O.m.
A
L
R
A
L
R = or
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Example
Given that the resistivity of a copper wire is
1.7 10
8
O.m. Find (a) the diameter of a 20-m
circular wire if the resistance of the wire is
0.10 O. (b) What is the voltage drop across
the wire if the current flowing through the wire
is 12 A.
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Solution
(a)
( )( )( )
( )
mm 2.1 m 10 1 . 2
0.10
m 20 .m 10 7 . 1 4

4
4
3
8
2
= =

=
=
= =

t
t

t

R
L
d
d
L
A
L
R
(b) Using Ohms
( )( )
V 1.2
10 . 0 A 12
=
=
= IR V
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Today's lecture Include:
Temperature Effect on Resistance.

Superconductivity.

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Objectives
Explain the effect of increasing temperature on
resistance.

Explain superconducting effect.

Consider some applications related to these
concepts.
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3.7 Temperature Effect on Resistance
Resistivity of metals increases linearly with
increasing temperature (for moderate
temperatures of up to 300
o
C) according to:

where
o
is the resistivity at 0
o
C and o is
temperature coefficient of resistivity. The rapid
vibration of atoms at higher temperatures
causes a conductor to have higher resistance.
) 1 ( T
o T
A + = o (3.4)
CE & PG stopped
here
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3.7.1 Resistance Thermometer
Variation of R with temperature is used for
precise temperature measurement. If at 0C R
for Pt is 164.2 O. When placed in a solution, R
increases to 187.4 O. What is the temperature of
the solution if o for copper is 3.927 10
3
(
o
C)
1
?

Since R
0
=
0
L/A , we can write equation 3.4 as

( )
( ) ( )
C 35.9
2 . 164 C 10 3.927
2 . 164 4 . 187
C 0 , 1
o
1
o 3
0
0
0
=

=
= = A A + =

R
R R
T
T T T T R R
o
o
o
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3.7.2 Superconductivity
At low temperatures the resistance of certain
metals and their alloys drop to zero. The effect
is termed superconductivity and materials
exhibiting the phenomenon are called
superconductors.

It was first observed by Onnes in 1911, when
mercury was cooled down to below 4.2 K. In
general materials become superconducting
within a few degrees of absolute zero.
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Resistivity of superconductors is practically
zero. Current in a ring-shaped super
conducting coil has been observed to flow for
years in the absence of a potential difference.

Earlier, the highest temperature at which
superconductivity is achieved was 23 K and
so requires liquid hydrogen cooling. Currently
some alloys have been developed that can
be superconducting at 90 K requiring cooling
in boiling liquid nitrogen.

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