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1

Electricity Physics
Collection edited by: M Ahmad
Content authors: Erik Christensen and OpenStax College
Based on: College Physics II <http://cnx.org/content/col11458/1.2>.
Online: <http://cnx.org/content/col11514/1.1>
This selection and arrangement of content as a collection is copyrighted by M Ahmad.
It is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Collection structure revised: 2013/04/16
For copyright and attribution information for the modules contained in this collection, see the "Attributions" section at the end of the collection.

This content is available for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11514/1.1

Table of Contents
1 Electric Charge and Electric Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge . . . . . . . . . . .
Conductors and Insulators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Coulombs Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Forces in Biology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Applications of Electrostatics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
2 Electric Potential and Electric Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Equipotential Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Capacitors and Dielectrics . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Capacitors in Series and Parallel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Energy Stored in Capacitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
3 Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Resistance and Resistivity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Power and Energy . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Alternating Current versus Direct Current . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Hazards and the Human Body . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
4 Circuits, Bioelectricity, and DC Instruments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Resistors in Series and Parallel . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Kirchhoffs Rules . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
DC Voltmeters and Ammeters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Null Measurements . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
5 Magnetism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Magnets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Ferromagnets and Electromagnets . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field . .
Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
The Hall Effect . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Amperes Law . . . . . . . . . . .
Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors . . . . . . . . . . . . .
More Applications of Magnetism . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
6 Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits, and Electrical Technologies . .
Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Faradays Law of Induction: Lenzs Law . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Motional Emf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electric Generators . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Back Emf . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Transformers . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Inductance . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
RL Circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
RLC Series AC Circuits . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
A Useful Information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

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This content is available for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11514/1.1

CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Figure 1.1 Static electricity from this plastic slide causes the childs hair to stand on end. The sliding motion stripped electrons away from the childs body, leaving an excess of
positive charges, which repel each other along each strand of hair. (credit: Ken Bosma/Wikimedia Commons)

Learning Objectives
1.1. Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
Define electric charge, and describe how the two types of charge interact.
Describe three common situations that generate static electricity.
State the law of conservation of charge.
1.2. Conductors and Insulators
Define conductor and insulator, explain the difference, and give examples of each.
Describe three methods for charging an object.
Explain what happens to an electric force as you move farther from the source.
Define polarization.
1.3. Coulombs Law
State Coulombs law in terms of how the electrostatic force changes with the distance between two objects.
Calculate the electrostatic force between two charged point forces, such as electrons or protons.
Compare the electrostatic force to the gravitational attraction for a proton and an electron; for a human and the Earth.
1.4. Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited
Describe a force field and calculate the strength of an electric field due to a point charge.
Calculate the force exerted on a test charge by an electric field.
Explain the relationship between electrical force (F) on a test charge and electrical field strength (E).
1.5. Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges
Calculate the total force (magnitude and direction) exerted on a test charge from more than one charge
Describe an electric field diagram of a positive point charge; of a negative point charge with twice the magnitude of positive charge
Draw the electric field lines between two points of the same charge; between two points of opposite charge.
1.6. Electric Forces in Biology
Describe how a water molecule is polar.
Explain electrostatic screening by a water molecule within a living cell.
1.7. Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
List the three properties of a conductor in electrostatic equilibrium.
Explain the effect of an electric field on free charges in a conductor.
Explain why no electric field may exist inside a conductor.
Describe the electric field surrounding Earth.
Explain what happens to an electric field applied to an irregular conductor.
Describe how a lightning rod works.
Explain how a metal car may protect passengers inside from the dangerous electric fields caused by a downed line touching the car.
1.8. Applications of Electrostatics
Name several real-world applications of the study of electrostatics.

CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Introduction to Electric Charge and Electric Field


The image of American politician and scientist Benjamin Franklin (17061790) flying a kite in a thunderstorm is familiar to every schoolchild. (See
Figure 1.2.) In this experiment, Franklin demonstrated a connection between lightning and static electricity. Sparks were drawn from a key hung on
a kite string during an electrical storm. These sparks were like those produced by static electricity, such as the spark that jumps from your finger to a
metal doorknob after you walk across a wool carpet. What Franklin demonstrated in his dangerous experiment was a connection between
phenomena on two different scales: one the grand power of an electrical storm, the other an effect of more human proportions. Connections like this
one reveal the underlying unity of the laws of nature, an aspect we humans find particularly appealing.

Figure 1.2 When Benjamin Franklin demonstrated that lightning was related to static electricity, he made a connection that is now part of the evidence that all directly
experienced forces except the gravitational force are manifestations of the electromagnetic force.

Much has been written about Franklin. His experiments were only part of the life of a man who was a scientist, inventor, revolutionary, statesman, and
writer. Franklins experiments were not performed in isolation, nor were they the only ones to reveal connections.
For example, the Italian scientist Luigi Galvani (17371798) performed a series of experiments in which static electricity was used to stimulate
contractions of leg muscles of dead frogs, an effect already known in humans subjected to static discharges. But Galvani also found that if he joined
two metal wires (say copper and zinc) end to end and touched the other ends to muscles, he produced the same effect in frogs as static discharge.
Alessandro Volta (17451827), partly inspired by Galvanis work, experimented with various combinations of metals and developed the battery.
During the same era, other scientists made progress in discovering fundamental connections. The periodic table was developed as the systematic
properties of the elements were discovered. This influenced the development and refinement of the concept of atoms as the basis of matter. Such
submicroscopic descriptions of matter also help explain a great deal more.
Atomic and molecular interactions, such as the forces of friction, cohesion, and adhesion, are now known to be manifestations of the
electromagnetic force. Static electricity is just one aspect of the electromagnetic force, which also includes moving electricity and magnetism.
All the macroscopic forces that we experience directly, such as the sensations of touch and the tension in a rope, are due to the electromagnetic
force, one of the four fundamental forces in nature. The gravitational force, another fundamental force, is actually sensed through the electromagnetic
interaction of molecules, such as between those in our feet and those on the top of a bathroom scale. (The other two fundamental forces, the strong
nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, cannot be sensed on the human scale.)
This chapter begins the study of electromagnetic phenomena at a fundamental level. The next several chapters will cover static electricity, moving
electricity, and magnetismcollectively known as electromagnetism. In this chapter, we begin with the study of electric phenomena due to charges
that are at least temporarily stationary, called electrostatics, or static electricity.

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1.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge

Figure 1.3 Borneo amber was mined in Sabah, Malaysia, from shale-sandstone-mudstone veins. When a piece of amber is rubbed with a piece of silk, the amber gains more
electrons, giving it a net negative charge. At the same time, the silk, having lost electrons, becomes positively charged. (credit: Sebakoamber, Wikimedia Commons)

What makes plastic wrap cling? Static electricity. Not only are applications of static electricity common these days, its existence has been known
since ancient times. The first record of its effects dates to ancient Greeks who noted more than 500 years B.C. that polishing amber temporarily
enabled it to attract bits of straw (see Figure 1.3). The very word electric derives from the Greek word for amber (electron).
Many of the characteristics of static electricity can be explored by rubbing things together. Rubbing creates the spark you get from walking across a
wool carpet, for example. Static cling generated in a clothes dryer and the attraction of straw to recently polished amber also result from rubbing.
Similarly, lightning results from air movements under certain weather conditions. You can also rub a balloon on your hair, and the static electricity
created can then make the balloon cling to a wall. We also have to be cautious of static electricity, especially in dry climates. When we pump
gasoline, we are warned to discharge ourselves (after sliding across the seat) on a metal surface before grabbing the gas nozzle. Attendants in
hospital operating rooms must wear booties with aluminum foil on the bottoms to avoid creating sparks which may ignite the oxygen being used.
Some of the most basic characteristics of static electricity include:

The effects of static electricity are explained by a physical quantity not previously introduced, called electric charge.
There are only two types of charge, one called positive and the other called negative.
Like charges repel, whereas unlike charges attract.
The force between charges decreases with distance.

How do we know there are two types of electric charge? When various materials are rubbed together in controlled ways, certain combinations of
materials always produce one type of charge on one material and the opposite type on the other. By convention, we call one type of charge positive,
and the other type negative. For example, when glass is rubbed with silk, the glass becomes positively charged and the silk negatively charged.
Since the glass and silk have opposite charges, they attract one another like clothes that have rubbed together in a dryer. Two glass rods rubbed with
silk in this manner will repel one another, since each rod has positive charge on it. Similarly, two silk cloths so rubbed will repel, since both cloths
have negative charge. Figure 1.4 shows how these simple materials can be used to explore the nature of the force between charges.

Figure 1.4 A glass rod becomes positively charged when rubbed with silk, while the silk becomes negatively charged. (a) The glass rod is attracted to the silk because their
charges are opposite. (b) Two similarly charged glass rods repel. (c) Two similarly charged silk cloths repel.

More sophisticated questions arise. Where do these charges come from? Can you create or destroy charge? Is there a smallest unit of charge?
Exactly how does the force depend on the amount of charge and the distance between charges? Such questions obviously occurred to Benjamin
Franklin and other early researchers, and they interest us even today.

Charge Carried by Electrons and Protons


Franklin wrote in his letters and books that he could see the effects of electric charge but did not understand what caused the phenomenon. Today
we have the advantage of knowing that normal matter is made of atoms, and that atoms contain positive and negative charges, usually in equal
amounts.
Figure 1.5 shows a simple model of an atom with negative electrons orbiting its positive nucleus. The nucleus is positive due to the presence of
positively charged protons. Nearly all charge in nature is due to electrons and protons, which are two of the three building blocks of most matter.
(The third is the neutron, which is neutral, carrying no charge.) Other charge-carrying particles are observed in cosmic rays and nuclear decay, and
are created in particle accelerators. All but the electron and proton survive only a short time and are quite rare by comparison.

CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Figure 1.5 This simplified (and not to scale) view of an atom is called the planetary model of the atom. Negative electrons orbit a much heavier positive nucleus, as the planets
orbit the much heavier sun. There the similarity ends, because forces in the atom are electromagnetic, whereas those in the planetary system are gravitational. Normal
macroscopic amounts of matter contain immense numbers of atoms and molecules and, hence, even greater numbers of individual negative and positive charges.

The charges of electrons and protons are identical in magnitude but opposite in sign. Furthermore, all charged objects in nature are integral multiples
of this basic quantity of charge, meaning that all charges are made of combinations of a basic unit of charge. Usually, charges are formed by
combinations of electrons and protons. The magnitude of this basic charge is

q e = 1.6010 19 C.
The symbol

(1.1)

q is commonly used for charge and the subscript e indicates the charge of a single electron (or proton).

The SI unit of charge is the coulomb (C). The number of protons needed to make a charge of 1.00 C is

1.00 C

1 proton
= 6.2510 18 protons.
1.6010 19 C

(1.2)

6.2510 18 electrons have a combined charge of 1.00 coulomb. Just as there is a smallest bit of an element (an atom), there is a
smallest bit of charge. There is no directly observed charge smaller than q e (see Things Great and Small: The Submicroscopic Origin of
Similarly,

Charge), and all observed charges are integral multiples of

qe .

Things Great and Small: The Submicroscopic Origin of Charge


With the exception of exotic, short-lived particles, all charge in nature is carried by electrons and protons. Electrons carry the charge we have
named negative. Protons carry an equal-magnitude charge that we call positive. (See Figure 1.6.) Electron and proton charges are considered
fundamental building blocks, since all other charges are integral multiples of those carried by electrons and protons. Electrons and protons are
also two of the three fundamental building blocks of ordinary matter. The neutron is the third and has zero total charge.
Figure 1.6 shows a person touching a Van de Graaff generator and receiving excess positive charge. The expanded view of a hair shows the
existence of both types of charges but an excess of positive. The repulsion of these positive like charges causes the strands of hair to repel other
strands of hair and to stand up. The further blowup shows an artists conception of an electron and a proton perhaps found in an atom in a strand of
hair.

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Figure 1.6 When this person touches a Van de Graaff generator, she receives an excess of positive charge, causing her hair to stand on end. The charges in one hair are
shown. An artists conception of an electron and a proton illustrate the particles carrying the negative and positive charges. We cannot really see these particles with visible
light because they are so small (the electron seems to be an infinitesimal point), but we know a great deal about their measurable properties, such as the charges they carry.

The electron seems to have no substructure; in contrast, when the substructure of protons is explored by scattering extremely energetic electrons
from them, it appears that there are point-like particles inside the proton. These sub-particles, named quarks, have never been directly observed, but
they are believed to carry fractional charges as seen in Figure 1.7. Charges on electrons and protons and all other directly observable particles are
unitary, but these quark substructures carry charges of either

1 or + 2 . There are continuing attempts to observe fractional charge directly and to


3
3

learn of the properties of quarks, which are perhaps the ultimate substructure of matter.

Figure 1.7 Artists conception of fractional quark charges inside a proton. A group of three quark charges add up to the single positive charge on the proton:

1 q e + 2 q e + 2 q e = +1q e .
3
3
3

Separation of Charge in Atoms


Charges in atoms and molecules can be separatedfor example, by rubbing materials together. Some atoms and molecules have a greater affinity
for electrons than others and will become negatively charged by close contact in rubbing, leaving the other material positively charged. (See Figure
1.8.) Positive charge can similarly be induced by rubbing. Methods other than rubbing can also separate charges. Batteries, for example, use
combinations of substances that interact in such a way as to separate charges. Chemical interactions may transfer negative charge from one
substance to the other, making one battery terminal negative and leaving the first one positive.

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CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Figure 1.8 When materials are rubbed together, charges can be separated, particularly if one material has a greater affinity for electrons than another. (a) Both the amber and
cloth are originally neutral, with equal positive and negative charges. Only a tiny fraction of the charges are involved, and only a few of them are shown here. (b) When rubbed
together, some negative charge is transferred to the amber, leaving the cloth with a net positive charge. (c) When separated, the amber and cloth now have net charges, but
the absolute value of the net positive and negative charges will be equal.

No charge is actually created or destroyed when charges are separated as we have been discussing. Rather, existing charges are moved about. In
fact, in all situations the total amount of charge is always constant. This universally obeyed law of nature is called the law of conservation of
charge.
Law of Conservation of Charge
Total charge is constant in any process.

In more exotic situations, such as in particle accelerators, mass,

m , can be created from energy in the amount m = E2 . Sometimes, the


c

created mass is charged, such as when an electron is created. Whenever a charged particle is created, another having an opposite charge is always
created along with it, so that the total charge created is zero. Usually, the two particles are matter-antimatter counterparts. For example, an
antielectron would usually be created at the same time as an electron. The antielectron has a positive charge (it is called a positron), and so the total
charge created is zero. (See Figure 1.9.) All particles have antimatter counterparts with opposite signs. When matter and antimatter counterparts are
brought together, they completely annihilate one another. By annihilate, we mean that the mass of the two particles is converted to energy E, again
obeying the relationship

m = E2 . Since the two particles have equal and opposite charge, the total charge is zero before and after the
c

annihilation; thus, total charge is conserved.


Making Connections: Conservation Laws

Only a limited number of physical quantities are universally conserved. Charge is oneenergy, momentum, and angular momentum are others.
Because they are conserved, these physical quantities are used to explain more phenomena and form more connections than other, less basic
quantities. We find that conserved quantities give us great insight into the rules followed by nature and hints to the organization of nature.
Discoveries of conservation laws have led to further discoveries, such as the weak nuclear force and the quark substructure of protons and other
particles.

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Figure 1.9 (a) When enough energy is present, it can be converted into matter. Here the matter created is an electronantielectron pair. ( m e is the electrons mass.) The total
charge before and after this event is zero. (b) When matter and antimatter collide, they annihilate each other; the total charge is conserved at zero before and after the
annihilation.

The law of conservation of charge is absoluteit has never been observed to be violated. Charge, then, is a special physical quantity, joining a very
short list of other quantities in nature that are always conserved. Other conserved quantities include energy, momentum, and angular momentum.
PhET Explorations: Balloons and Static Electricity
Why does a balloon stick to your sweater? Rub a balloon on a sweater, then let go of the balloon and it flies over and sticks to the sweater. View
the charges in the sweater, balloons, and the wall.

Figure 1.10 Balloons and Static Electricity (http://cnx.org/content/m42300/1.5/balloons_en.jar)

1.2 Conductors and Insulators

Figure 1.11 This power adapter uses metal wires and connectors to conduct electricity from the wall socket to a laptop computer. The conducting wires allow electrons to move
freely through the cables, which are shielded by rubber and plastic. These materials act as insulators that dont allow electric charge to escape outward. (credit: Evan-Amos,
Wikimedia Commons)

Some substances, such as metals and salty water, allow charges to move through them with relative ease. Some of the electrons in metals and
similar conductors are not bound to individual atoms or sites in the material. These free electrons can move through the material much as air moves
through loose sand. Any substance that has free electrons and allows charge to move relatively freely through it is called a conductor. The moving
electrons may collide with fixed atoms and molecules, losing some energy, but they can move in a conductor. Superconductors allow the movement
of charge without any loss of energy. Salty water and other similar conducting materials contain free ions that can move through them. An ion is an
atom or molecule having a positive or negative (nonzero) total charge. In other words, the total number of electrons is not equal to the total number of
protons.

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Other substances, such as glass, do not allow charges to move through them. These are called insulators. Electrons and ions in insulators are
23
bound in the structure and cannot move easilyas much as 10
times more slowly than in conductors. Pure water and dry table salt are
insulators, for example, whereas molten salt and salty water are conductors.

Figure 1.12 An electroscope is a favorite instrument in physics demonstrations and student laboratories. It is typically made with gold foil leaves hung from a (conducting)
metal stem and is insulated from the room air in a glass-walled container. (a) A positively charged glass rod is brought near the tip of the electroscope, attracting electrons to
the top and leaving a net positive charge on the leaves. Like charges in the light flexible gold leaves repel, separating them. (b) When the rod is touched against the ball,
electrons are attracted and transferred, reducing the net charge on the glass rod but leaving the electroscope positively charged. (c) The excess charges are evenly distributed
in the stem and leaves of the electroscope once the glass rod is removed.

Charging by Contact
Figure 1.12 shows an electroscope being charged by touching it with a positively charged glass rod. Because the glass rod is an insulator, it must
actually touch the electroscope to transfer charge to or from it. (Note that the extra positive charges reside on the surface of the glass rod as a result
of rubbing it with silk before starting the experiment.) Since only electrons move in metals, we see that they are attracted to the top of the
electroscope. There, some are transferred to the positive rod by touch, leaving the electroscope with a net positive charge.
Electrostatic repulsion in the leaves of the charged electroscope separates them. The electrostatic force has a horizontal component that results in
the leaves moving apart as well as a vertical component that is balanced by the gravitational force. Similarly, the electroscope can be negatively
charged by contact with a negatively charged object.

Charging by Induction
It is not necessary to transfer excess charge directly to an object in order to charge it. Figure 1.13 shows a method of induction wherein a charge is
created in a nearby object, without direct contact. Here we see two neutral metal spheres in contact with one another but insulated from the rest of
the world. A positively charged rod is brought near one of them, attracting negative charge to that side, leaving the other sphere positively charged.
This is an example of induced polarization of neutral objects. Polarization is the separation of charges in an object that remains neutral. If the
spheres are now separated (before the rod is pulled away), each sphere will have a net charge. Note that the object closest to the charged rod
receives an opposite charge when charged by induction. Note also that no charge is removed from the charged rod, so that this process can be
repeated without depleting the supply of excess charge.
Another method of charging by induction is shown in Figure 1.14. The neutral metal sphere is polarized when a charged rod is brought near it. The
sphere is then grounded, meaning that a conducting wire is run from the sphere to the ground. Since the earth is large and most ground is a good
conductor, it can supply or accept excess charge easily. In this case, electrons are attracted to the sphere through a wire called the ground wire,
because it supplies a conducting path to the ground. The ground connection is broken before the charged rod is removed, leaving the sphere with an
excess charge opposite to that of the rod. Again, an opposite charge is achieved when charging by induction and the charged rod loses none of its
excess charge.

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Figure 1.13 Charging by induction. (a) Two uncharged or neutral metal spheres are in contact with each other but insulated from the rest of the world. (b) A positively charged
glass rod is brought near the sphere on the left, attracting negative charge and leaving the other sphere positively charged. (c) The spheres are separated before the rod is
removed, thus separating negative and positive charge. (d) The spheres retain net charges after the inducing rod is removedwithout ever having been touched by a charged
object.

Figure 1.14 Charging by induction, using a ground connection. (a) A positively charged rod is brought near a neutral metal sphere, polarizing it. (b) The sphere is grounded,
allowing electrons to be attracted from the earths ample supply. (c) The ground connection is broken. (d) The positive rod is removed, leaving the sphere with an induced
negative charge.

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Figure 1.15 Both positive and negative objects attract a neutral object by polarizing its molecules. (a) A positive object brought near a neutral insulator polarizes its molecules.
There is a slight shift in the distribution of the electrons orbiting the molecule, with unlike charges being brought nearer and like charges moved away. Since the electrostatic
force decreases with distance, there is a net attraction. (b) A negative object produces the opposite polarization, but again attracts the neutral object. (c) The same effect
occurs for a conductor; since the unlike charges are closer, there is a net attraction.

Neutral objects can be attracted to any charged object. The pieces of straw attracted to polished amber are neutral, for example. If you run a plastic
comb through your hair, the charged comb can pick up neutral pieces of paper. Figure 1.15 shows how the polarization of atoms and molecules in
neutral objects results in their attraction to a charged object.
When a charged rod is brought near a neutral substance, an insulator in this case, the distribution of charge in atoms and molecules is shifted slightly.
Opposite charge is attracted nearer the external charged rod, while like charge is repelled. Since the electrostatic force decreases with distance, the
repulsion of like charges is weaker than the attraction of unlike charges, and so there is a net attraction. Thus a positively charged glass rod attracts
neutral pieces of paper, as will a negatively charged rubber rod. Some molecules, like water, are polar molecules. Polar molecules have a natural or
inherent separation of charge, although they are neutral overall. Polar molecules are particularly affected by other charged objects and show greater
polarization effects than molecules with naturally uniform charge distributions.

Check Your Understanding


Can you explain the attraction of water to the charged rod in the figure below?

Figure 1.16

Solution
Water molecules are polarized, giving them slightly positive and slightly negative sides. This makes water even more susceptible to a charged
rods attraction. As the water flows downward, due to the force of gravity, the charged conductor exerts a net attraction to the opposite charges in
the stream of water, pulling it closer.

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PhET Explorations: John Travoltage


Make sparks fly with John Travoltage. Wiggle Johnnie's foot and he picks up charges from the carpet. Bring his hand close to the door knob and
get rid of the excess charge.

Figure 1.17 John Travoltage (http://cnx.org/content/m42306/1.4/travoltage_en.jar)

1.3 Coulombs Law

Figure 1.18 This NASA image of Arp 87 shows the result of a strong gravitational attraction between two galaxies. In contrast, at the subatomic level, the electrostatic
attraction between two objects, such as an electron and a proton, is far greater than their mutual attraction due to gravity. (credit: NASA/HST)

Through the work of scientists in the late 18th century, the main features of the electrostatic forcethe existence of two types of charge, the
observation that like charges repel, unlike charges attract, and the decrease of force with distancewere eventually refined, and expressed as a
mathematical formula. The mathematical formula for the electrostatic force is called Coulombs law after the French physicist Charles Coulomb
(17361806), who performed experiments and first proposed a formula to calculate it.
Coulombs Law

q q
F = k | 1 2 2| .
r

Coulombs law calculates the magnitude of the force


constant

k is equal to

(1.3)

F between two point charges, q 1 and q 2 , separated by a distance r . In SI units, the


2

(1.4)

k = 8.98810 9 N m
8.9910 9 N m
.
C2
C2
The electrostatic force is a vector quantity and is expressed in units of newtons. The force is understood to be along the line joining the two
charges. (See Figure 1.19.)

Although the formula for Coulombs law is simple, it was no mean task to prove it. The experiments Coulomb did, with the primitive equipment then
available, were difficult. Modern experiments have verified Coulombs law to great precision. For example, it has been shown that the force is

16
inversely proportional to distance between two objects squared F 1 / r 2 to an accuracy of 1 part in 10 . No exceptions have ever been found,
even at the small distances within the atom.

Figure 1.19 The magnitude of the electrostatic force

between point charges

q1

and

q2

law (every force exerted creates an equal and opposite force) applies as usualthe force on
(a) Like charges. (b) Unlike charges.

separated by a distance

q1

is given by Coulombs law. Note that Newtons third

is equal in magnitude and opposite in direction to the force it exerts on

q2 .

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Example 1.1 How Strong is the Coulomb Force Relative to the Gravitational Force?
Compare the electrostatic force between an electron and proton separated by
distance is their average separation in a hydrogen atom.

0.53010 10 m with the gravitational force between them. This

Strategy
To compare the two forces, we first compute the electrostatic force using Coulombs law,

q q
F = k | 1 2 2| . We then calculate the gravitational
r

force using Newtons universal law of gravitation. Finally, we take a ratio to see how the forces compare in magnitude.
Solution

Entering the given and known information about the charges and separation of the electron and proton into the expression of Coulombs law
yields

q q
F = k | 1 2 2|
r
= 8.9910 9 N m 2 / C 2

(1.6010 19 C)(1.6010 19 C)
(0.53010 10 m) 2

(1.5)
(1.6)

Thus the Coulomb force is

F = 8.1910 8 N.

(1.7)

The charges are opposite in sign, so this is an attractive force. This is a very large force for an electronit would cause an acceleration of
8.9910 22 m / s 2 (verification is left as an end-of-section problem).The gravitational force is given by Newtons law of gravitation as:

F G = G mM
,
r2
where

(1.8)

G = 6.6710 11 N m 2 / kg 2 . Here m and M represent the electron and proton masses, which can be found in the appendices.

Entering values for the knowns yields

F G = (6.6710 11 N m 2 / kg 2)

(9.1110 31 kg)(1.6710 27 kg)


= 3.6110 47 N
(0.53010 10 m) 2

(1.9)

This is also an attractive force, although it is traditionally shown as positive since gravitational force is always attractive. The ratio of the
magnitude of the electrostatic force to gravitational force in this case is, thus,

F = 2.2710 39.
FG

(1.10)

Discussion
This is a remarkably large ratio! Note that this will be the ratio of electrostatic force to gravitational force for an electron and a proton at any
distance (taking the ratio before entering numerical values shows that the distance cancels). This ratio gives some indication of just how much
larger the Coulomb force is than the gravitational force between two of the most common particles in nature.

As the example implies, gravitational force is completely negligible on a small scale, where the interactions of individual charged particles are
important. On a large scale, such as between the Earth and a person, the reverse is true. Most objects are nearly electrically neutral, and so
attractive and repulsive Coulomb forces nearly cancel. Gravitational force on a large scale dominates interactions between large objects because it
is always attractive, while Coulomb forces tend to cancel.

1.4 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited


Contact forces, such as between a baseball and a bat, are explained on the small scale by the interaction of the charges in atoms and molecules in
close proximity. They interact through forces that include the Coulomb force. Action at a distance is a force between objects that are not close
enough for their atoms to touch. That is, they are separated by more than a few atomic diameters.
For example, a charged rubber comb attracts neutral bits of paper from a distance via the Coulomb force. It is very useful to think of an object being
surrounded in space by a force field. The force field carries the force to another object (called a test object) some distance away.

Concept of a Field
A field is a way of conceptualizing and mapping the force that surrounds any object and acts on another object at a distance without apparent
physical connection. For example, the gravitational field surrounding the earth (and all other masses) represents the gravitational force that would be
experienced if another mass were placed at a given point within the field.

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In the same way, the Coulomb force field surrounding any charge extends throughout space. Using Coulombs law,

F = k|q 1q 2| / r 2 , its magnitude

F = k|qQ| / r 2 , for a point charge (a particle having a charge Q ) acting on a test charge q at a distance r (see Figure
1.20). Both the magnitude and direction of the Coulomb force field depend on Q and the test charge q .
is given by the equation

Q is shown acting on two different charges. Both charges are the same distance from Q . (a) Since q 1 is
F 1 acting on it is repulsive. (b) The charge q 2 is negative and greater in magnitude than q 1 , and so the force F 2 acting on it is attractive and stronger

Figure 1.20 The Coulomb force field due to a positive charge


positive, the force
than

F 1 . The Coulomb force field is thus not unique at any point in space, because it depends on the test charges q 1

and

q2

as well as the charge

Q.

Q and not on the test charge q . The electric field is defined in such a
manner that it represents only the charge creating it and is unique at every point in space. Specifically, the electric field E is defined to be the ratio of
To simplify things, we would prefer to have a field that depends only on
the Coulomb force to the test charge:

E=F
q,

(1.11)

F is the electrostatic force (or Coulomb force) exerted on a positive test charge q . It is understood that E is in the same direction as F . It
is also assumed that q is so small that it does not alter the charge distribution creating the electric field. The units of electric field are newtons per
coulomb (N/C). If the electric field is known, then the electrostatic force on any charge q is simply obtained by multiplying charge times electric field,
or F = qE . Consider the electric field due to a point charge Q . According to Coulombs law, the force it exerts on a test charge q is
where

F = k|qQ| / r 2 . Thus the magnitude of the electric field, E , for a point charge is

||

||

qQ
|Q|
E= F
q = k 2 = k 2.
qr
r

(1.12)

Q
E = k | 2| .
r

(1.13)

Since the test charge cancels, we see that

The electric field is thus seen to depend only on the charge

Q and the distance r ; it is completely independent of the test charge q .

Example 1.2 Calculating the Electric Field of a Point Charge


Calculate the strength and direction of the electric field
charge.

E due to a point charge of 2.00 nC (nano-Coulombs) at a distance of 5.00 mm from the

Strategy
We can find the electric field created by a point charge by using the equation

E = kQ / r 2 .

Solution
Here

Q = 2.0010 9 C and r = 5.0010 3 m. Entering those values into the above equation gives
E = k

Q
r2

= (8.9910 9 N m 2/C 2 )
= 7.1910 5 N/C.

(1.14)

(2.0010 9 C)
(5.0010 3 m) 2

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Discussion
This electric field strength is the same at any point 5.00 mm away from the charge
direction pointing away from the charge

Q.

Q that creates the field. It is positive, meaning that it has a

Example 1.3 Calculating the Force Exerted on a Point Charge by an Electric Field
What force does the electric field found in the previous example exert on a point charge of

0.250 C ?

Strategy
Since we know the electric field strength and the charge in the field, the force on that charge can be calculated using the definition of electric field
E = F / q rearranged to F = qE .
Solution
The magnitude of the force on a charge

q = 0.250 C exerted by a field of strength E = 7.2010 5 N/C is thus,


F = qE
= (0.25010
= 0.180 N.

Because

(1.15)
6

C)(7.2010 N/C)

q is negative, the force is directed opposite to the direction of the field.

Discussion
The force is attractive, as expected for unlike charges. (The field was created by a positive charge and here acts on a negative charge.) The
charges in this example are typical of common static electricity, and the modest attractive force obtained is similar to forces experienced in static
cling and similar situations.

PhET Explorations: Electric Field of Dreams


Play ball! Add charges to the Field of Dreams and see how they react to the electric field. Turn on a background electric field and adjust the
direction and magnitude.

Figure 1.21 Electric Field of Dreams (http://cnx.org/content/m42310/1.6/efield_en.jar)

1.5 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges


Drawings using lines to represent electric fields around charged objects are very useful in visualizing field strength and direction. Since the electric
field has both magnitude and direction, it is a vector. Like all vectors, the electric field can be represented by an arrow that has length proportional to
its magnitude and that points in the correct direction. (We have used arrows extensively to represent force vectors, for example.)

Q . Figure 1.22 (b) shows the standard


representation using continuous lines. Figure 1.22 (b) shows numerous individual arrows with each arrow representing the force on a test charge q .
Figure 1.22 shows two pictorial representations of the same electric field created by a positive point charge
Field lines are essentially a map of infinitesimal force vectors.

Figure 1.22 Two equivalent representations of the electric field due to a positive charge

Q . (a) Arrows representing the electric fields magnitude and direction. (b) In the

standard representation, the arrows are replaced by continuous field lines having the same direction at any point as the electric field. The closeness of the lines is directly
related to the strength of the electric field. A test charge placed anywhere will feel a force in the direction of the field line; this force will have a strength proportional to the
density of the lines (being greater near the charge, for example).

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Note that the electric field is defined for a positive test charge

q , so that the field lines point away from a positive charge and toward a negative

charge. (See Figure 1.23.) The electric field strength is exactly proportional to the number of field lines per unit area, since the magnitude of the
electric field for a point charge is E = k Q / r 2 and area is proportional to r 2 . This pictorial representation, in which field lines represent the

| |

direction and their closeness (that is, their areal density or the number of lines crossing a unit area) represents strength, is used for all fields:
electrostatic, gravitational, magnetic, and others.

Figure 1.23 The electric field surrounding three different point charges. (a) A positive charge. (b) A negative charge of equal magnitude. (c) A larger negative charge.

In many situations, there are multiple charges. The total electric field created by multiple charges is the vector sum of the individual fields created by
each charge. The following example shows how to add electric field vectors.

Example 1.4 Adding Electric Fields


Find the magnitude and direction of the total electric field due to the two point charges,

q 1 and q 2 , at the origin of the coordinate system as

shown in Figure 1.24.

Figure 1.24 The electric fields

E1

and

E2

at the origin O add to

E tot .

Strategy
Since the electric field is a vector (having magnitude and direction), we add electric fields with the same vector techniques used for other types of
vectors. We first must find the electric field due to each charge at the point of interest, which is the origin of the coordinate system (O) in this
instance. We pretend that there is a positive test charge, q , at point O, which allows us to determine the direction of the fields E 1 and E 2 .
Once those fields are found, the total field can be determined using vector addition.
Solution
The electric field strength at the origin due to

q 1 is labeled E 1 and is calculated:

E1 = k

5.0010 9 C
q1
9
2 2
=
8.9910
N

m
/C

r 12
2.0010 2 m

(1.16)

E 1 = 1.12410 N/C.
Similarly,

E 2 is
E2 = k

10.010 9 C
q2
9
2 2
=
8.9910
N

m
/C

r 22
4.0010 2 m

(1.17)

E 2 = 0.561910 N/C.
Four digits have been retained in this solution to illustrate that
magnitudes and directions of

E 1 is exactly twice the magnitude of E 2 . Now arrows are drawn to represent the

E 1 and E 2 . (See Figure 1.24.) The direction of the electric field is that of the force on a positive charge so both

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arrows point directly away from the positive charges that create them. The arrow for

E 1 is exactly twice the length of that for E 2 . The arrows

form a right triangle in this case and can be added using the Pythagorean theorem. The magnitude of the total field

E tot = (E 12 + E 22 ) 1/2

E tot is

(1.18)

= {(1.12410 5 N/C) 2 + (0.561910 5 N/C) 2} 1/2


= 1.2610 5 N/C.

The direction is

E 1
E2

= tan 1

(1.19)

= tan 1 1.12410 5N/C


0.561910 N/C
= 63.4,

or

63.4 above the x-axis.

Discussion
In cases where the electric field vectors to be added are not perpendicular, vector components or graphical techniques can be used. The total
electric field found in this example is the total electric field at only one point in space. To find the total electric field due to these two charges over
an entire region, the same technique must be repeated for each point in the region. This impossibly lengthy task (there are an infinite number of
points in space) can be avoided by calculating the total field at representative points and using some of the unifying features noted next.

Figure 1.25 shows how the electric field from two point charges can be drawn by finding the total field at representative points and drawing electric
field lines consistent with those points. While the electric fields from multiple charges are more complex than those of single charges, some simple
features are easily noticed.
For example, the field is weaker between like charges, as shown by the lines being farther apart in that region. (This is because the fields from each
charge exert opposing forces on any charge placed between them.) (See Figure 1.25 and Figure 1.26(a).) Furthermore, at a great distance from two
like charges, the field becomes identical to the field from a single, larger charge.
Figure 1.26(b) shows the electric field of two unlike charges. The field is stronger between the charges. In that region, the fields from each charge
are in the same direction, and so their strengths add. The field of two unlike charges is weak at large distances, because the fields of the individual
charges are in opposite directions and so their strengths subtract. At very large distances, the field of two unlike charges looks like that of a smaller
single charge.

Figure 1.25 Two positive point charges

q1

and

q2

produce the resultant electric field shown. The field is calculated at representative points and then smooth field lines

drawn following the rules outlined in the text.

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Figure 1.26 (a) Two negative charges produce the fields shown. It is very similar to the field produced by two positive charges, except that the directions are reversed. The
field is clearly weaker between the charges. The individual forces on a test charge in that region are in opposite directions. (b) Two opposite charges produce the field shown,
which is stronger in the region between the charges.

We use electric field lines to visualize and analyze electric fields (the lines are a pictorial tool, not a physical entity in themselves). The properties of
electric field lines for any charge distribution can be summarized as follows:
1. Field lines must begin on positive charges and terminate on negative charges, or at infinity in the hypothetical case of isolated charges.
2. The number of field lines leaving a positive charge or entering a negative charge is proportional to the magnitude of the charge.
3. The strength of the field is proportional to the closeness of the field linesmore precisely, it is proportional to the number of lines per unit area
perpendicular to the lines.
4. The direction of the electric field is tangent to the field line at any point in space.
5. Field lines can never cross.
The last property means that the field is unique at any point. The field line represents the direction of the field; so if they crossed, the field would have
two directions at that location (an impossibility if the field is unique).
PhET Explorations: Charges and Fields
Move point charges around on the playing field and then view the electric field, voltages, equipotential lines, and more. It's colorful, it's dynamic,
it's free.

Figure 1.27 Charges and Fields (http://cnx.org/content/m42312/1.7/charges-and-fields_en.jar)

1.6 Electric Forces in Biology


Classical electrostatics has an important role to play in modern molecular biology. Large molecules such as proteins, nucleic acids, and so onso
important to lifeare usually electrically charged. DNA itself is highly charged; it is the electrostatic force that not only holds the molecule together but
gives the molecule structure and strength. Figure 1.28 is a schematic of the DNA double helix.

Figure 1.28 DNA is a highly charged molecule. The DNA double helix shows the two coiled strands each containing a row of nitrogenous bases, which code the genetic
information needed by a living organism. The strands are connected by bonds between pairs of bases. While pairing combinations between certain bases are fixed (C-G and
A-T), the sequence of nucleotides in the strand varies. (credit: Jerome Walker)

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The four nucleotide bases are given the symbols A (adenine), C (cytosine), G (guanine), and T (thymine). The order of the four bases varies in each
strand, but the pairing between bases is always the same. C and G are always paired and A and T are always paired, which helps to preserve the
order of bases in cell division (mitosis) so as to pass on the correct genetic information. Since the Coulomb force drops with distance ( F 1 / r 2 ),
the distances between the base pairs must be small enough that the electrostatic force is sufficient to hold them together.
DNA is a highly charged molecule, with about

2q e (fundamental charge) per 0.310 9 m. The distance separating the two strands that make up

the DNA structure is about 1 nm, while the distance separating the individual atoms within each base is about 0.3 nm.
One might wonder why electrostatic forces do not play a larger role in biology than they do if we have so many charged molecules. The reason is that
the electrostatic force is diluted due to screening between molecules. This is due to the presence of other charges in the cell.

Polarity of Water Molecules


The best example of this charge screening is the water molecule, represented as

H 2 O . Water is a strongly polar molecule. Its 10 electrons (8 from

the oxygen atom and 2 from the two hydrogen atoms) tend to remain closer to the oxygen nucleus than the hydrogen nuclei. This creates two centers
of equal and opposite chargeswhat is called a dipole, as illustrated in Figure 1.29. The magnitude of the dipole is called the dipole moment.
These two centers of charge will terminate some of the electric field lines coming from a free charge, as on a DNA molecule. This results in a
reduction in the strength of the Coulomb interaction. One might say that screening makes the Coulomb force a short range force rather than long
range.
Other ions of importance in biology that can reduce or screen Coulomb interactions are

Na + , and K + , and Cl . These ions are located both

inside and outside of living cells. The movement of these ions through cell membranes is crucial to the motion of nerve impulses through nerve
axons.
Recent studies of electrostatics in biology seem to show that electric fields in cells can be extended over larger distances, in spite of screening, by
microtubules within the cell. These microtubules are hollow tubes composed of proteins that guide the movement of chromosomes when cells
divide, the motion of other organisms within the cell, and provide mechanisms for motion of some cells (as motors).

Figure 1.29 This schematic shows water ( H 2 O ) as a polar molecule. Unequal sharing of electrons between the oxygen (O) and hydrogen (H) atoms leads to a net
separation of positive and negative chargeforming a dipole. The symbols

and

indicate that the oxygen side of the

H2 O

molecule tends to be more negative,

while the hydrogen ends tend to be more positive. This leads to an attraction of opposite charges between molecules.

1.7 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium


Conductors contain free charges that move easily. When excess charge is placed on a conductor or the conductor is put into a static electric field,
charges in the conductor quickly respond to reach a steady state called electrostatic equilibrium.
Figure 1.30 shows the effect of an electric field on free charges in a conductor. The free charges move until the field is perpendicular to the
conductors surface. There can be no component of the field parallel to the surface in electrostatic equilibrium, since, if there were, it would produce
further movement of charge. A positive free charge is shown, but free charges can be either positive or negative and are, in fact, negative in metals.
The motion of a positive charge is equivalent to the motion of a negative charge in the opposite direction.

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Figure 1.30 When an electric field

is applied to a conductor, free charges inside the conductor move until the field is perpendicular to the surface. (a) The electric field is a

vector quantity, with both parallel and perpendicular components. The parallel component (

) exerts a force ( F

) on the free charge

q , which moves the charge until

F = 0 . (b) The resulting field is perpendicular to the surface. The free charge has been brought to the conductors surface, leaving electrostatic forces in equilibrium.
A conductor placed in an electric field will be polarized. Figure 1.31 shows the result of placing a neutral conductor in an originally uniform electric
field. The field becomes stronger near the conductor but entirely disappears inside it.

Figure 1.31 This illustration shows a spherical conductor in static equilibrium with an originally uniform electric field. Free charges move within the conductor, polarizing it, until
the electric field lines are perpendicular to the surface. The field lines end on excess negative charge on one section of the surface and begin again on excess positive charge
on the opposite side. No electric field exists inside the conductor, since free charges in the conductor would continue moving in response to any field until it was neutralized.

Misconception Alert: Electric Field inside a Conductor


Excess charges placed on a spherical conductor repel and move until they are evenly distributed, as shown in Figure 1.32. Excess charge is
forced to the surface until the field inside the conductor is zero. Outside the conductor, the field is exactly the same as if the conductor were
replaced by a point charge at its center equal to the excess charge.

Figure 1.32 The mutual repulsion of excess positive charges on a spherical conductor distributes them uniformly on its surface. The resulting electric field is
perpendicular to the surface and zero inside. Outside the conductor, the field is identical to that of a point charge at the center equal to the excess charge.

Properties of a Conductor in Electrostatic Equilibrium


1. The electric field is zero inside a conductor.
2. Just outside a conductor, the electric field lines are perpendicular to its surface, ending or beginning on charges on the surface.

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3. Any excess charge resides entirely on the surface or surfaces of a conductor.


The properties of a conductor are consistent with the situations already discussed and can be used to analyze any conductor in electrostatic
equilibrium. This can lead to some interesting new insights, such as described below.
How can a very uniform electric field be created? Consider a system of two metal plates with opposite charges on them, as shown in Figure 1.33.
The properties of conductors in electrostatic equilibrium indicate that the electric field between the plates will be uniform in strength and direction.
Except near the edges, the excess charges distribute themselves uniformly, producing field lines that are uniformly spaced (hence uniform in
strength) and perpendicular to the surfaces (hence uniform in direction, since the plates are flat). The edge effects are less important when the plates
are close together.

Figure 1.33 Two metal plates with equal, but opposite, excess charges. The field between them is uniform in strength and direction except near the edges. One use of such a
field is to produce uniform acceleration of charges between the plates, such as in the electron gun of a TV tube.

Earths Electric Field


A near uniform electric field of approximately 150 N/C, directed downward, surrounds Earth, with the magnitude increasing slightly as we get closer to
the surface. What causes the electric field? At around 100 km above the surface of Earth we have a layer of charged particles, called the
ionosphere. The ionosphere is responsible for a range of phenomena including the electric field surrounding Earth. In fair weather the ionosphere is
positive and the Earth largely negative, maintaining the electric field (Figure 1.34(a)).
In storm conditions clouds form and localized electric fields can be larger and reversed in direction (Figure 1.34(b)). The exact charge distributions
depend on the local conditions, and variations of Figure 1.34(b) are possible.
If the electric field is sufficiently large, the insulating properties of the surrounding material break down and it becomes conducting. For air this occurs
6
at around 310 N/C. Air ionizes ions and electrons recombine, and we get discharge in the form of lightning sparks and corona discharge.

Figure 1.34 Earths electric field. (a) Fair weather field. Earth and the ionosphere (a layer of charged particles) are both conductors. They produce a uniform electric field of
about 150 N/C. (credit: D. H. Parks) (b) Storm fields. In the presence of storm clouds, the local electric fields can be larger. At very high fields, the insulating properties of the
air break down and lightning can occur. (credit: Jan-Joost Verhoef)

Electric Fields on Uneven Surfaces


So far we have considered excess charges on a smooth, symmetrical conductor surface. What happens if a conductor has sharp corners or is
pointed? Excess charges on a nonuniform conductor become concentrated at the sharpest points. Additionally, excess charge may move on or off
the conductor at the sharpest points.
To see how and why this happens, consider the charged conductor in Figure 1.35. The electrostatic repulsion of like charges is most effective in
moving them apart on the flattest surface, and so they become least concentrated there. This is because the forces between identical pairs of
charges at either end of the conductor are identical, but the components of the forces parallel to the surfaces are different. The component parallel to
the surface is greatest on the flattest surface and, hence, more effective in moving the charge.
The same effect is produced on a conductor by an externally applied electric field, as seen in Figure 1.35 (c). Since the field lines must be
perpendicular to the surface, more of them are concentrated on the most curved parts.

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Figure 1.35 Excess charge on a nonuniform conductor becomes most concentrated at the location of greatest curvature. (a) The forces between identical pairs of charges at
either end of the conductor are identical, but the components of the forces parallel to the surface are different. It is
reached the surface. (b)

that moves the charges apart once they have

is smallest at the more pointed end, the charges are left closer together, producing the electric field shown. (c) An uncharged conductor in an

originally uniform electric field is polarized, with the most concentrated charge at its most pointed end.

Applications of Conductors
On a very sharply curved surface, such as shown in Figure 1.36, the charges are so concentrated at the point that the resulting electric field can be
great enough to remove them from the surface. This can be useful.
Lightning rods work best when they are most pointed. The large charges created in storm clouds induce an opposite charge on a building that can
result in a lightning bolt hitting the building. The induced charge is bled away continually by a lightning rod, preventing the more dramatic lightning
strike.
Of course, we sometimes wish to prevent the transfer of charge rather than to facilitate it. In that case, the conductor should be very smooth and have
as large a radius of curvature as possible. (See Figure 1.37.) Smooth surfaces are used on high-voltage transmission lines, for example, to avoid
leakage of charge into the air.
Another device that makes use of some of these principles is a Faraday cage. This is a metal shield that encloses a volume. All electrical charges
will reside on the outside surface of this shield, and there will be no electrical field inside. A Faraday cage is used to prohibit stray electrical fields in
the environment from interfering with sensitive measurements, such as the electrical signals inside a nerve cell.
During electrical storms if you are driving a car, it is best to stay inside the car as its metal body acts as a Faraday cage with zero electrical field
inside. If in the vicinity of a lightning strike, its effect is felt on the outside of the car and the inside is unaffected, provided you remain totally inside.
This is also true if an active (hot) electrical wire was broken (in a storm or an accident) and fell on your car.

Figure 1.36 A very pointed conductor has a large charge concentration at the point. The electric field is very strong at the point and can exert a force large enough to transfer
charge on or off the conductor. Lightning rods are used to prevent the buildup of large excess charges on structures and, thus, are pointed.

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Figure 1.37 (a) A lightning rod is pointed to facilitate the transfer of charge. (credit: Romaine, Wikimedia Commons) (b) This Van de Graaff generator has a smooth surface
with a large radius of curvature to prevent the transfer of charge and allow a large voltage to be generated. The mutual repulsion of like charges is evident in the persons hair
while touching the metal sphere. (credit: Jon ShakataGaNai Davis/Wikimedia Commons).

1.8 Applications of Electrostatics


The study of electrostatics has proven useful in many areas. This module covers just a few of the many applications of electrostatics.

The Van de Graaff Generator


Van de Graaff generators (or Van de Graaffs) are not only spectacular devices used to demonstrate high voltage due to static electricitythey are
also used for serious research. The first was built by Robert Van de Graaff in 1931 (based on original suggestions by Lord Kelvin) for use in nuclear
physics research. Figure 1.38 shows a schematic of a large research version. Van de Graaffs utilize both smooth and pointed surfaces, and
conductors and insulators to generate large static charges and, hence, large voltages.
A very large excess charge can be deposited on the sphere, because it moves quickly to the outer surface. Practical limits arise because the large
electric fields polarize and eventually ionize surrounding materials, creating free charges that neutralize excess charge or allow it to escape.
Nevertheless, voltages of 15 million volts are well within practical limits.

Figure 1.38 Schematic of Van de Graaff generator. A battery (A) supplies excess positive charge to a pointed conductor, the points of which spray the charge onto a moving
insulating belt near the bottom. The pointed conductor (B) on top in the large sphere picks up the charge. (The induced electric field at the points is so large that it removes the
charge from the belt.) This can be done because the charge does not remain inside the conducting sphere but moves to its outside surface. An ion source inside the sphere
produces positive ions, which are accelerated away from the positive sphere to high velocities.

Take-Home Experiment: Electrostatics and Humidity


Rub a comb through your hair and use it to lift pieces of paper. It may help to tear the pieces of paper rather than cut them neatly. Repeat the
exercise in your bathroom after you have had a long shower and the air in the bathroom is moist. Is it easier to get electrostatic effects in dry or
moist air? Why would torn paper be more attractive to the comb than cut paper? Explain your observations.

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Xerography
Most copy machines use an electrostatic process called xerographya word coined from the Greek words xeros for dry and graphos for writing. The
heart of the process is shown in simplified form in Figure 1.39.
A selenium-coated aluminum drum is sprayed with positive charge from points on a device called a corotron. Selenium is a substance with an
interesting propertyit is a photoconductor. That is, selenium is an insulator when in the dark and a conductor when exposed to light.
In the first stage of the xerography process, the conducting aluminum drum is grounded so that a negative charge is induced under the thin layer of
uniformly positively charged selenium. In the second stage, the surface of the drum is exposed to the image of whatever is to be copied. Where the
image is light, the selenium becomes conducting, and the positive charge is neutralized. In dark areas, the positive charge remains, and so the image
has been transferred to the drum.
The third stage takes a dry black powder, called toner, and sprays it with a negative charge so that it will be attracted to the positive regions of the
drum. Next, a blank piece of paper is given a greater positive charge than on the drum so that it will pull the toner from the drum. Finally, the paper
and electrostatically held toner are passed through heated pressure rollers, which melt and permanently adhere the toner within the fibers of the
paper.

Figure 1.39 Xerography is a dry copying process based on electrostatics. The major steps in the process are the charging of the photoconducting drum, transfer of an image
creating a positive charge duplicate, attraction of toner to the charged parts of the drum, and transfer of toner to the paper. Not shown are heat treatment of the paper and
cleansing of the drum for the next copy.

Laser Printers
Laser printers use the xerographic process to make high-quality images on paper, employing a laser to produce an image on the photoconducting
drum as shown in Figure 1.40. In its most common application, the laser printer receives output from a computer, and it can achieve high-quality
output because of the precision with which laser light can be controlled. Many laser printers do significant information processing, such as making
sophisticated letters or fonts, and may contain a computer more powerful than the one giving them the raw data to be printed.

Figure 1.40 In a laser printer, a laser beam is scanned across a photoconducting drum, leaving a positive charge image. The other steps for charging the drum and
transferring the image to paper are the same as in xerography. Laser light can be very precisely controlled, enabling laser printers to produce high-quality images.

Ink Jet Printers and Electrostatic Painting


The ink jet printer, commonly used to print computer-generated text and graphics, also employs electrostatics. A nozzle makes a fine spray of tiny
ink droplets, which are then given an electrostatic charge. (See Figure 1.41.)
Once charged, the droplets can be directed, using pairs of charged plates, with great precision to form letters and images on paper. Ink jet printers
can produce color images by using a black jet and three other jets with primary colors, usually cyan, magenta, and yellow, much as a color television
produces color. (This is more difficult with xerography, requiring multiple drums and toners.)

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Figure 1.41 The nozzle of an ink-jet printer produces small ink droplets, which are sprayed with electrostatic charge. Various computer-driven devices are then used to direct
the droplets to the correct positions on a page.

Electrostatic painting employs electrostatic charge to spray paint onto odd-shaped surfaces. Mutual repulsion of like charges causes the paint to fly
away from its source. Surface tension forms drops, which are then attracted by unlike charges to the surface to be painted. Electrostatic painting can
reach those hard-to-get at places, applying an even coat in a controlled manner. If the object is a conductor, the electric field is perpendicular to the
surface, tending to bring the drops in perpendicularly. Corners and points on conductors will receive extra paint. Felt can similarly be applied.

Smoke Precipitators and Electrostatic Air Cleaning


Another important application of electrostatics is found in air cleaners, both large and small. The electrostatic part of the process places excess
(usually positive) charge on smoke, dust, pollen, and other particles in the air and then passes the air through an oppositely charged grid that attracts
and retains the charged particles. (See Figure 1.42.)
Large electrostatic precipitators are used industrially to remove over 99% of the particles from stack gas emissions associated with the burning of
coal and oil. Home precipitators, often in conjunction with the home heating and air conditioning system, are very effective in removing polluting
particles, irritants, and allergens.

Figure 1.42 (a) Schematic of an electrostatic precipitator. Air is passed through grids of opposite charge. The first grid charges airborne particles, while the second attracts and
collects them. (b) The dramatic effect of electrostatic precipitators is seen by the absence of smoke from this power plant. (credit: Cmdalgleish, Wikimedia Commons)

Problem-Solving Strategies for Electrostatics


1. Examine the situation to determine if static electricity is involved. This may concern separated stationary charges, the forces among them,
and the electric fields they create.
2. Identify the system of interest. This includes noting the number, locations, and types of charges involved.
3. Identify exactly what needs to be determined in the problem (identify the unknowns). A written list is useful. Determine whether the
Coulomb force is to be considered directlyif so, it may be useful to draw a free-body diagram, using electric field lines.
4. Make a list of what is given or can be inferred from the problem as stated (identify the knowns). It is important to distinguish the Coulomb
force F from the electric field E , for example.
5. Solve the appropriate equation for the quantity to be determined (the unknown) or draw the field lines as requested.
6. Examine the answer to see if it is reasonable: Does it make sense? Are units correct and the numbers involved reasonable?

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Integrated Concepts
The Integrated Concepts exercises for this module involve concepts such as electric charges, electric fields, and several other topics. Physics is most
interesting when applied to general situations involving more than a narrow set of physical principles. The electric field exerts force on charges, for
example, and hence the relevance of Dynamics: Force and Newtons Laws of Motion (http://cnx.org/content/m42129/latest/) . The following
topics are involved in some or all of the problems labeled Integrated Concepts:

Kinematics (http://cnx.org/content/m42122/latest/)
Two-Dimensional Kinematics (http://cnx.org/content/m42126/latest/)
Dynamics: Force and Newtons Laws of Motion (http://cnx.org/content/m42129/latest/)
Uniform Circular Motion and Gravitation (http://cnx.org/content/m42140/latest/)
Statics and Torque (http://cnx.org/content/m42167/latest/)
Fluid Statics (http://cnx.org/content/m42185/latest/)

The following worked example illustrates how this strategy is applied to an Integrated Concept problem:

Example 1.5 Acceleration of a Charged Drop of Gasoline


If steps are not taken to ground a gasoline pump, static electricity can be placed on gasoline when filling your cars tank. Suppose a tiny drop of
15
gasoline has a mass of 4.0010
kg and is given a positive charge of 3.2010 19 C . (a) Find the weight of the drop. (b) Calculate the
electric force on the drop if there is an upward electric field of strength
the drops acceleration.

3.0010 5 N/C due to other static electricity in the vicinity. (c) Calculate

Strategy
To solve an integrated concept problem, we must first identify the physical principles involved and identify the chapters in which they are found.
Part (a) of this example asks for weight. This is a topic of dynamics and is defined in Dynamics: Force and Newtons Laws of Motion
(http://cnx.org/content/m42129/latest/) . Part (b) deals with electric force on a charge, a topic of Electric Charge and Electric Field. Part (c)
asks for acceleration, knowing forces and mass. These are part of Newtons laws, also found in Dynamics: Force and Newtons Laws of
Motion (http://cnx.org/content/m42129/latest/) .
The following solutions to each part of the example illustrate how the specific problem-solving strategies are applied. These involve identifying
knowns and unknowns, checking to see if the answer is reasonable, and so on.
Solution for (a)
Weight is mass times the acceleration due to gravity, as first expressed in

w = mg.

(1.20)

Entering the given mass and the average acceleration due to gravity yields

w = (4.0010 15 kg)(9.80 m/s 2 ) = 3.9210 14 N.

(1.21)

Discussion for (a)


This is a small weight, consistent with the small mass of the drop.
Solution for (b)
The force an electric field exerts on a charge is given by rearranging the following equation:

F = qE.
Here we are given the charge ( 3.2010
is found to be

19

(1.22)

C is twice the fundamental unit of charge) and the electric field strength, and so the electric force

F = (3.2010 19 C)(3.0010 5 N/C) = 9.6010 14 N.

(1.23)

Discussion for (b)


While this is a small force, it is greater than the weight of the drop.
Solution for (c)
The acceleration can be found using Newtons second law, provided we can identify all of the external forces acting on the drop. We assume
only the drops weight and the electric force are significant. Since the drop has a positive charge and the electric field is given to be upward, the
electric force is upward. We thus have a one-dimensional (vertical direction) problem, and we can state Newtons second law as

F net
a= m
.
where

(1.24)

F net = F w . Entering this and the known values into the expression for Newtons second law yields
w
a = Fm
14
N 3.9210 14 N
= 9.6010
4.0010 15 kg
= 14.2 m/s 2.

(1.25)

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Discussion for (c)


This is an upward acceleration great enough to carry the drop to places where you might not wish to have gasoline.
This worked example illustrates how to apply problem-solving strategies to situations that include topics in different chapters. The first step is to
identify the physical principles involved in the problem. The second step is to solve for the unknown using familiar problem-solving strategies.
These are found throughout the text, and many worked examples show how to use them for single topics. In this integrated concepts example,
you can see how to apply them across several topics. You will find these techniques useful in applications of physics outside a physics course,
such as in your profession, in other science disciplines, and in everyday life. The following problems will build your skills in the broad application
of physical principles.

Unreasonable Results
The Unreasonable Results exercises for this module have results that are unreasonable because some premise is unreasonable or because
certain of the premises are inconsistent with one another. Physical principles applied correctly then produce unreasonable results. The purpose
of these problems is to give practice in assessing whether nature is being accurately described, and if it is not to trace the source of difficulty.
Problem-Solving Strategy
To determine if an answer is reasonable, and to determine the cause if it is not, do the following.
1. Solve the problem using strategies as outlined above. Use the format followed in the worked examples in the text to solve the problem
as usual.
2. Check to see if the answer is reasonable. Is it too large or too small, or does it have the wrong sign, improper units, and so on?
3. If the answer is unreasonable, look for what specifically could cause the identified difficulty. Usually, the manner in which the answer is
unreasonable is an indication of the difficulty. For example, an extremely large Coulomb force could be due to the assumption of an
excessively large separated charge.

Glossary
Coulomb force: another term for the electrostatic force
Coulomb interaction: the interaction between two charged particles generated by the Coulomb forces they exert on one another
Coulombs law: the mathematical equation calculating the electrostatic force vector between two charged particles
conductor: a material that allows electrons to move separately from their atomic orbits
conductor: an object with properties that allow charges to move about freely within it
dipole: a molecules lack of symmetrical charge distribution, causing one side to be more positive and another to be more negative
electric charge: a physical property of an object that causes it to be attracted toward or repelled from another charged object; each charged
object generates and is influenced by a force called an electromagnetic force
electric field lines: a series of lines drawn from a point charge representing the magnitude and direction of force exerted by that charge
electric field: a three-dimensional map of the electric force extended out into space from a point charge
electromagnetic force: one of the four fundamental forces of nature; the electromagnetic force consists of static electricity, moving electricity and
magnetism
electron: a particle orbiting the nucleus of an atom and carrying the smallest unit of negative charge
electrostatic equilibrium: an electrostatically balanced state in which all free electrical charges have stopped moving about
electrostatic force: the amount and direction of attraction or repulsion between two charged bodies
electrostatic precipitators: filters that apply charges to particles in the air, then attract those charges to a filter, removing them from the airstream
electrostatic repulsion: the phenomenon of two objects with like charges repelling each other
electrostatics: the study of electric forces that are static or slow-moving
Faraday cage: a metal shield which prevents electric charge from penetrating its surface
field: a map of the amount and direction of a force acting on other objects, extending out into space
free charge: an electrical charge (either positive or negative) which can move about separately from its base molecule
free electron: an electron that is free to move away from its atomic orbit
grounded: when a conductor is connected to the Earth, allowing charge to freely flow to and from Earths unlimited reservoir
grounded: connected to the ground with a conductor, so that charge flows freely to and from the Earth to the grounded object
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induction: the process by which an electrically charged object brought near a neutral object creates a charge in that object
ink-jet printer: small ink droplets sprayed with an electric charge are controlled by electrostatic plates to create images on paper
insulator: a material that holds electrons securely within their atomic orbits
ionosphere: a layer of charged particles located around 100 km above the surface of Earth, which is responsible for a range of phenomena
including the electric field surrounding Earth
laser printer: uses a laser to create a photoconductive image on a drum, which attracts dry ink particles that are then rolled onto a sheet of paper
to print a high-quality copy of the image
law of conservation of charge: states that whenever a charge is created, an equal amount of charge with the opposite sign is created
simultaneously
photoconductor: a substance that is an insulator until it is exposed to light, when it becomes a conductor
point charge: A charged particle, designated

Q , generating an electric field

polar molecule: a molecule with an asymmetrical distribution of positive and negative charge
polarization: slight shifting of positive and negative charges to opposite sides of an atom or molecule
polarized: a state in which the positive and negative charges within an object have collected in separate locations
proton: a particle in the nucleus of an atom and carrying a positive charge equal in magnitude and opposite in sign to the amount of negative
charge carried by an electron
screening: the dilution or blocking of an electrostatic force on a charged object by the presence of other charges nearby
static electricity: a buildup of electric charge on the surface of an object
test charge: A particle (designated

q ) with either a positive or negative charge set down within an electric field generated by a point charge

Van de Graaff generator: a machine that produces a large amount of excess charge, used for experiments with high voltage
vector addition: mathematical combination of two or more vectors, including their magnitudes, directions, and positions
vector: a quantity with both magnitude and direction
xerography: a dry copying process based on electrostatics

Section Summary
1.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge

There are only two types of charge, which we call positive and negative.
Like charges repel, unlike charges attract, and the force between charges decreases with the square of the distance.
The vast majority of positive charge in nature is carried by protons, while the vast majority of negative charge is carried by electrons.
The electric charge of one electron is equal in magnitude and opposite in sign to the charge of one proton.
An ion is an atom or molecule that has nonzero total charge due to having unequal numbers of electrons and protons.
The SI unit for charge is the coulomb (C), with protons and electrons having charges of opposite sign but equal magnitude; the magnitude of
this basic charge q e is

q e = 1.6010 19 C.

Whenever charge is created or destroyed, equal amounts of positive and negative are involved.
Most often, existing charges are separated from neutral objects to obtain some net charge.
Both positive and negative charges exist in neutral objects and can be separated by rubbing one object with another. For macroscopic objects,
negatively charged means an excess of electrons and positively charged means a depletion of electrons.
The law of conservation of charge ensures that whenever a charge is created, an equal charge of the opposite sign is created at the same time.

1.2 Conductors and Insulators

Polarization is the separation of positive and negative charges in a neutral object.


A conductor is a substance that allows charge to flow freely through its atomic structure.
An insulator holds charge within its atomic structure.
Objects with like charges repel each other, while those with unlike charges attract each other.
A conducting object is said to be grounded if it is connected to the Earth through a conductor. Grounding allows transfer of charge to and from
the earths large reservoir.
Objects can be charged by contact with another charged object and obtain the same sign charge.
If an object is temporarily grounded, it can be charged by induction, and obtains the opposite sign charge.
Polarized objects have their positive and negative charges concentrated in different areas, giving them a non-symmetrical charge.
Polar molecules have an inherent separation of charge.

1.3 Coulombs Law


Frenchman Charles Coulomb was the first to publish the mathematical equation that describes the electrostatic force between two objects.

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Coulombs law gives the magnitude of the force between point charges. It is

q q
F = k | 1 2 2| ,
r

where

q 1 and q 2 are two point charges separated by a distance r , and k 8.9910 9 N m 2 C 2

This Coulomb force is extremely basic, since most charges are due to point-like particles. It is responsible for all electrostatic effects and
underlies most macroscopic forces.
The Coulomb force is extraordinarily strong compared with the gravitational force, another basic forcebut unlike gravitational force it can
cancel, since it can be either attractive or repulsive.
The electrostatic force between two subatomic particles is far greater than the gravitational force between the same two particles.

1.4 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited


The electrostatic force field surrounding a charged object extends out into space in all directions.
The electrostatic force exerted by a point charge on a test charge at a distance r depends on the charge of both charges, as well as the
distance between the two.
The electric field E is defined to be

F
E = q,

F is the Coulomb or electrostatic force exerted on a small positive test charge q . E has units of N/C.
The magnitude of the electric field E created by a point charge Q is
Q
E = k | 2| .
r
where r is the distance from Q . The electric field E is a vector and fields due to multiple charges add like vectors.
where

1.5 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges

Drawings of electric field lines are useful visual tools. The properties of electric field lines for any charge distribution are that:
Field lines must begin on positive charges and terminate on negative charges, or at infinity in the hypothetical case of isolated charges.
The number of field lines leaving a positive charge or entering a negative charge is proportional to the magnitude of the charge.
The strength of the field is proportional to the closeness of the field linesmore precisely, it is proportional to the number of lines per unit area
perpendicular to the lines.
The direction of the electric field is tangent to the field line at any point in space.
Field lines can never cross.

1.6 Electric Forces in Biology

Many molecules in living organisms, such as DNA, carry a charge.


An uneven distribution of the positive and negative charges within a polar molecule produces a dipole.
The effect of a Coulomb field generated by a charged object may be reduced or blocked by other nearby charged objects.
Biological systems contain water, and because water molecules are polar, they have a strong effect on other molecules in living systems.

1.7 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium

A conductor allows free charges to move about within it.


The electrical forces around a conductor will cause free charges to move around inside the conductor until static equilibrium is reached.
Any excess charge will collect along the surface of a conductor.
Conductors with sharp corners or points will collect more charge at those points.
A lightning rod is a conductor with sharply pointed ends that collect excess charge on the building caused by an electrical storm and allow it to
dissipate back into the air.
Electrical storms result when the electrical field of Earths surface in certain locations becomes more strongly charged, due to changes in the
insulating effect of the air.
A Faraday cage acts like a shield around an object, preventing electric charge from penetrating inside.

1.8 Applications of Electrostatics


Electrostatics is the study of electric fields in static equilibrium.
In addition to research using equipment such as a Van de Graaff generator, many practical applications of electrostatics exist, including
photocopiers, laser printers, ink-jet printers and electrostatic air filters.

Conceptual Questions
1.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of Charge
1. There are very large numbers of charged particles in most objects. Why, then, dont most objects exhibit static electricity?
2. Why do most objects tend to contain nearly equal numbers of positive and negative charges?

1.2 Conductors and Insulators


3. An eccentric inventor attempts to levitate by first placing a large negative charge on himself and then putting a large positive charge on the ceiling
of his workshop. Instead, while attempting to place a large negative charge on himself, his clothes fly off. Explain.
4. If you have charged an electroscope by contact with a positively charged object, describe how you could use it to determine the charge of other
objects. Specifically, what would the leaves of the electroscope do if other charged objects were brought near its knob?

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5. When a glass rod is rubbed with silk, it becomes positive and the silk becomes negativeyet both attract dust. Does the dust have a third type of
charge that is attracted to both positive and negative? Explain.
6. Why does a car always attract dust right after it is polished? (Note that car wax and car tires are insulators.)
7. Describe how a positively charged object can be used to give another object a negative charge. What is the name of this process?
8. What is grounding? What effect does it have on a charged conductor? On a charged insulator?

1.3 Coulombs Law


9. Figure 1.43 shows the charge distribution in a water molecule, which is called a polar molecule because it has an inherent separation of charge.
Given waters polar character, explain what effect humidity has on removing excess charge from objects.

Figure 1.43 Schematic representation of the outer electron cloud of a neutral water molecule. The electrons spend more time near the oxygen than the hydrogens, giving a
permanent charge separation as shown. Water is thus a polar molecule. It is more easily affected by electrostatic forces than molecules with uniform charge distributions.

10. Using Figure 1.43, explain, in terms of Coulombs law, why a polar molecule (such as in Figure 1.43) is attracted by both positive and negative
charges.
11. Given the polar character of water molecules, explain how ions in the air form nucleation centers for rain droplets.

1.4 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited


12. Why must the test charge q in the definition of the electric field be vanishingly small?
13. Are the direction and magnitude of the Coulomb force unique at a given point in space? What about the electric field?

1.5 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges


14. Compare and contrast the Coulomb force field and the electric field. To do this, make a list of five properties for the Coulomb force field analogous
to the five properties listed for electric field lines. Compare each item in your list of Coulomb force field properties with those of the electric fieldare
they the same or different? (For example, electric field lines cannot cross. Is the same true for Coulomb field lines?)
15. Figure 1.44 shows an electric field extending over three regions, labeled I, II, and III. Answer the following questions. (a) Are there any isolated
charges? If so, in what region and what are their signs? (b) Where is the field strongest? (c) Where is it weakest? (d) Where is the field the most
uniform?

Figure 1.44

1.6 Electric Forces in Biology


16. A cell membrane is a thin layer enveloping a cell. The thickness of the membrane is much less than the size of the cell. In a static situation the
6
6
membrane has a charge distribution of 2.510
C/m 2 on its inner surface and +2.510
C/m2 on its outer surface. Draw a diagram of the

33

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CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

cell and the surrounding cell membrane. Include on this diagram the charge distribution and the corresponding electric field. Is there any electric field
inside the cell? Is there any electric field outside the cell?

1.7 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium


17. Is the object in Figure 1.45 a conductor or an insulator? Justify your answer.

Figure 1.45

18. If the electric field lines in the figure above were perpendicular to the object, would it necessarily be a conductor? Explain.
19. The discussion of the electric field between two parallel conducting plates, in this module states that edge effects are less important if the plates
are close together. What does close mean? That is, is the actual plate separation crucial, or is the ratio of plate separation to plate area crucial?
20. Would the self-created electric field at the end of a pointed conductor, such as a lightning rod, remove positive or negative charge from the
conductor? Would the same sign charge be removed from a neutral pointed conductor by the application of a similar externally created electric field?
(The answers to both questions have implications for charge transfer utilizing points.)
21. Why is a golfer with a metal club over her shoulder vulnerable to lightning in an open fairway? Would she be any safer under a tree?
22. Can the belt of a Van de Graaff accelerator be a conductor? Explain.
23. Are you relatively safe from lightning inside an automobile? Give two reasons.
24. Discuss pros and cons of a lightning rod being grounded versus simply being attached to a building.
25. Using the symmetry of the arrangement, show that the net Coulomb force on the charge

q at the center of the square below (Figure 1.46) is

zero if the charges on the four corners are exactly equal.

Figure 1.46 Four point charges

q a , q b , q c , and q d

lie on the corners of a square and

is located at its center.

26. (a) Using the symmetry of the arrangement, show that the electric field at the center of the square in Figure 1.46 is zero if the charges on the four
corners are exactly equal. (b) Show that this is also true for any combination of charges in which q a = q b and q b = q c
27. (a) What is the direction of the total Coulomb force on

q in Figure 1.46 if q is negative, q a = q c and both are negative, and q b = q c and

both are positive? (b) What is the direction of the electric field at the center of the square in this situation?

q a = q d and q b = q c . First show that q is in static equilibrium. (You may neglect the gravitational
force.) Then discuss whether the equilibrium is stable or unstable, noting that this may depend on the signs of the charges and the direction of
displacement of q from the center of the square.
28. Considering Figure 1.46, suppose that

29. If

q a = 0 in Figure 1.46, under what conditions will there be no net Coulomb force on q ?

30. In regions of low humidity, one develops a special grip when opening car doors, or touching metal door knobs. This involves placing as much of
the hand on the device as possible, not just the ends of ones fingers. Discuss the induced charge and explain why this is done.
31. Tollbooth stations on roadways and bridges usually have a piece of wire stuck in the pavement before them that will touch a car as it approaches.
Why is this done?
32. Suppose a woman carries an excess charge. To maintain her charged status can she be standing on ground wearing just any pair of shoes? How
would you discharge her? What are the consequences if she simply walks away?

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CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

by 2.00 nm (a typical distance between gas atoms). Explicitly show how


you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving Strategy for electrostatics.

Problems & Exercises


1.1 Static Electricity and Charge: Conservation of
Charge
1. Common static electricity involves charges ranging from
nanocoulombs to microcoulombs. (a) How many electrons are needed to
form a charge of 2.00 nC (b) How many electrons must be removed
from a neutral object to leave a net charge of

0.500 C ?

20
2. If 1.8010
electrons move through a pocket calculator during a full
days operation, how many coulombs of charge moved through it?

3. To start a car engine, the car battery moves 3.7510 21 electrons


through the starter motor. How many coulombs of charge were moved?
4. A certain lightning bolt moves 40.0 C of charge. How many
fundamental units of charge q e is this?

1.2 Conductors and Insulators


5. Suppose a speck of dust in an electrostatic precipitator has
1.000010 12 protons in it and has a net charge of 5.00 nC (a very
large charge for a small speck). How many electrons does it have?
16
6. An amoeba has 1.0010
protons and a net charge of 0.300 pC.
(a) How many fewer electrons are there than protons? (b) If you paired
them up, what fraction of the protons would have no electrons?

7. A 50.0 g ball of copper has a net charge of

2.00 C . What fraction of

the coppers electrons has been removed? (Each copper atom has 29
protons, and copper has an atomic mass of 63.5.)
8. What net charge would you place on a 100 g piece of sulfur if you put
an extra electron on 1 in 10 12 of its atoms? (Sulfur has an atomic mass
of 32.1.)
9. How many coulombs of positive charge are there in 4.00 kg of
plutonium, given its atomic mass is 244 and that each plutonium atom
has 94 protons?

1.3 Coulombs Law


10. What is the repulsive force between two pith balls that are 8.00 cm
apart and have equal charges of 30.0 nC?
11. (a) How strong is the attractive force between a glass rod with a
0.700 C charge and a silk cloth with a 0.600 C charge, which are
12.0 cm apart, using the approximation that they act like point charges?
(b) Discuss how the answer to this problem might be affected if the
charges are distributed over some area and do not act like point charges.
12. Two point charges exert a 5.00 N force on each other. What will the
force become if the distance between them is increased by a factor of
three?
13. Two point charges are brought closer together, increasing the force
between them by a factor of 25. By what factor was their separation
decreased?
14. How far apart must two point charges of 75.0 nC (typical of static
electricity) be to have a force of 1.00 N between them?
15. If two equal charges each of 1 C each are separated in air by a
distance of 1 km, what is the magnitude of the force acting between
them? You will see that even at a distance as large as 1 km, the repulsive
force is substantial because 1 C is a very significant amount of charge.

+2 C is placed halfway between a charge of


+6 C and another of +4 C separated by 10 cm. (a) What is the

16. A test charge of

magnitude of the force on the test charge? (b) What is the direction of
this force (away from or toward the +6 C charge)?
17. Bare free charges do not remain stationary when close together. To
illustrate this, calculate the acceleration of two isolated protons separated
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18. (a) By what factor must you change the distance between two point
charges to change the force between them by a factor of 10? (b) Explain
how the distance can either increase or decrease by this factor and still
cause a factor of 10 change in the force.
19. Suppose you have a total charge

q tot that you can split in any

manner. Once split, the separation distance is fixed. How do you split the
charge to achieve the greatest force?
20. (a) Common transparent tape becomes charged when pulled from a
dispenser. If one piece is placed above another, the repulsive force can
be great enough to support the top pieces weight. Assuming equal point
charges (only an approximation), calculate the magnitude of the charge if
electrostatic force is great enough to support the weight of a 10.0 mg
piece of tape held 1.00 cm above another. (b) Discuss whether the
magnitude of this charge is consistent with what is typical of static
electricity.
21. (a) Find the ratio of the electrostatic to gravitational force between
two electrons. (b) What is this ratio for two protons? (c) Why is the ratio
different for electrons and protons?
22. At what distance is the electrostatic force between two protons equal
to the weight of one proton?
23. A certain five cent coin contains 5.00 g of nickel. What fraction of the
nickel atoms electrons, removed and placed 1.00 m above it, would
support the weight of this coin? The atomic mass of nickel is 58.7, and
each nickel atom contains 28 electrons and 28 protons.
24. (a) Two point charges totaling

8.00 C exert a repulsive force of

0.150 N on one another when separated by 0.500 m. What is the charge


on each? (b) What is the charge on each if the force is attractive?
25. Point charges of

5.00 C and 3.00 C are placed 0.250 m apart.

(a) Where can a third charge be placed so that the net force on it is zero?
(b) What if both charges are positive?
26. Two point charges
charge is

q 1 and q 2 are 3.00 m apart, and their total

20 C . (a) If the force of repulsion between them is 0.075N,

what are magnitudes of the two charges? (b) If one charge attracts the
other with a force of 0.525N, what are the magnitudes of the two
charges? Note that you may need to solve a quadratic equation to reach
your answer.

1.4 Electric Field: Concept of a Field Revisited


27. What is the magnitude and direction of an electric field that exerts a
2.0010 -5 N upward force on a 1.75 C charge?
28. What is the magnitude and direction of the force exerted on a
3.50 C charge by a 250 N/C electric field that points due east?
29. Calculate the magnitude of the electric field 2.00 m from a point
charge of 5.00 mC (such as found on the terminal of a Van de Graaff).
30. (a) What magnitude point charge creates a 10,000 N/C electric field
at a distance of 0.250 m? (b) How large is the field at 10.0 m?
31. Calculate the initial (from rest) acceleration of a proton in a
5.0010 6 N/C electric field (such as created by a research Van de
Graaff). Explicitly show how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving
Strategy for electrostatics.
32. (a) Find the direction and magnitude of an electric field that exerts a
4.8010 17 N westward force on an electron. (b) What magnitude
and direction force does this field exert on a proton?

1.5 Electric Field Lines: Multiple Charges


33. (a) Sketch the electric field lines near a point charge
same for a point charge

3.00q .

+q . (b) Do the

CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

34. Sketch the electric field lines a long distance from the charge
distributions shown in Figure 1.26 (a) and (b)
35. Figure 1.47 shows the electric field lines near two charges

40. Sketch the electric field lines in the vicinity of the charged insulator in
Figure 1.51 noting its nonuniform charge distribution.

q 1 and

q 2 . What is the ratio of their magnitudes? (b) Sketch the electric field
lines a long distance from the charges shown in the figure.

Figure 1.51 A charged insulating rod such as might be used in a classroom


demonstration.

41. What is the force on the charge located at


1.52(a) given that

q = 1.00 C ?

x = 8.00 cm in Figure

Figure 1.47 The electric field near two charges.

36. Sketch the electric field lines in the vicinity of two opposite charges,
where the negative charge is three times greater in magnitude than the
positive. (See Figure 1.47 for a similar situation).

1.7 Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium


37. Sketch the electric field lines in the vicinity of the conductor in Figure
1.48 given the field was originally uniform and parallel to the objects long
axis. Is the resulting field small near the long side of the object?

Figure 1.52 (a) Point charges located at 3.00, 8.00, and 11.0 cm along the x-axis. (b)
Point charges located at 1.00, 5.00, 8.00, and 14.0 cm along the x-axis.

x = 1.00 cm in Figure 1.52(b)


q = 5.00 nC . (b) Find the total electric field at
x = 11.00 cm in Figure 1.52(b). (c) If the charges are allowed to move

42. (a) Find the total electric field at


given that

and eventually be brought to rest by friction, what will the final charge
configuration be? (That is, will there be a single charge, double charge,
etc., and what will its value(s) be?)
43. (a) Find the electric field at
Figure 1.48

38. Sketch the electric field lines in the vicinity of the conductor in Figure
1.49 given the field was originally uniform and parallel to the objects long
axis. Is the resulting field small near the long side of the object?

Figure 1.49

39. Sketch the electric field between the two conducting plates shown in
Figure 1.50, given the top plate is positive and an equal amount of
negative charge is on the bottom plate. Be certain to indicate the
distribution of charge on the plates.

that

q = 1.00 C . (b) At what position between 3.00 and 8.00 cm is the


2q alone? (c) Can the electric

total electric field the same as that for

field be zero anywhere between 0.00 and 8.00 cm? (d) At very large
positive or negative values of x, the electric field approaches zero in both
(a) and (b). In which does it most rapidly approach zero and why? (e) At
what position to the right of 11.0 cm is the total electric field zero, other
than at infinity? (Hint: A graphing calculator can yield considerable insight
in this problem.)
44. (a) Find the total Coulomb force on a charge of 2.00 nC located at
x = 4.00 cm in Figure 1.52 (b), given that q = 1.00 C . (b) Find the
x-position at which the electric field is zero in Figure 1.52 (b).
45. Using the symmetry of the arrangement, determine the direction of
the force on q in the figure below, given that q a = q b=+7.50 C and

q c = q d = 7.50 C . (b) Calculate the magnitude of the force on the

charge

Figure 1.50

x = 5.00 cm in Figure 1.52(a), given

q , given that the square is 10.0 cm on a side and q = 2.00 C .

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53. A simple and common technique for accelerating electrons is shown


in Figure 1.55, where there is a uniform electric field between two plates.
Electrons are released, usually from a hot filament, near the negative
plate, and there is a small hole in the positive plate that allows the
electrons to continue moving. (a) Calculate the acceleration of the
electron if the field strength is 2.5010 4 N/C . (b) Explain why the
electron will not be pulled back to the positive plate once it moves
through the hole.

Figure 1.53

46. (a) Using the symmetry of the arrangement, determine the direction
of the electric field at the center of the square in Figure 1.53, given that
q a = q b = 1.00 C and q c = q d=+1.00 C . (b) Calculate the
magnitude of the electric field at the location of

q , given that the square

is 5.00 cm on a side.

q a in Figure 1.53 given that


q b = q c = q d=+2.00 nC , q = 1.00 nC , and the square is 20.0 cm

47. Find the electric field at the location of


on a side.

q in Figure 1.53, given


q = 1.00 C , q a = 2.00 C , q b = 3.00 C ,

48. Find the total Coulomb force on the charge


that

q c = 4.00 C , and q d =+1.00 C . The square is 50.0 cm on a


side.
49. (a) Find the electric field at the location of
that

q a in Figure 1.54, given

q b = +10.00 C and q c = 5.00 C . (b) What is the force on

q a , given that q a = +1.50 nC ?

Figure 1.55 Parallel conducting plates with opposite charges on them create a
relatively uniform electric field used to accelerate electrons to the right. Those that go
through the hole can be used to make a TV or computer screen glow or to produce Xrays.

54. Earth has a net charge that produces an electric field of


approximately 150 N/C downward at its surface. (a) What is the
magnitude and sign of the excess charge, noting the electric field of a
conducting sphere is equivalent to a point charge at its center? (b) What
acceleration will the field produce on a free electron near Earths
surface? (c) What mass object with a single extra electron will have its
weight supported by this field?
55. Point charges of

25.0 C and 45.0 C are placed 0.500 m apart.

(a) At what point along the line between them is the electric field zero?
(b) What is the electric field halfway between them?
56. What can you say about two charges
Figure 1.54 Point charges located at the corners of an equilateral triangle 25.0 cm on
a side.

50. (a) Find the electric field at the center of the triangular configuration of
charges in Figure 1.54, given that q a =+2.50 nC , q b = 8.00 nC ,

one-fourth of the way from

q 1 and q 2 , if the electric field

q 1 to q 2 is zero?

57. Integrated Concepts


Calculate the angular velocity

of an electron orbiting a proton in the

and

10
hydrogen atom, given the radius of the orbit is 0.53010
m . You
may assume that the proton is stationary and the centripetal force is
supplied by Coulomb attraction.

center of the triangular configuration?

58. Integrated Concepts

q c =+1.50 nC . (b) Is there any combination of charges, other than


q a = q b = q c , that will produce a zero strength electric field at the

1.8 Applications of Electrostatics


51. (a) What is the electric field 5.00 m from the center of the terminal of
a Van de Graaff with a 3.00 mC charge, noting that the field is equivalent
to that of a point charge at the center of the terminal? (b) At this distance,
what force does the field exert on a 2.00 C charge on the Van de
Graaffs belt?
52. (a) What is the direction and magnitude of an electric field that
supports the weight of a free electron near the surface of Earth? (b)
Discuss what the small value for this field implies regarding the relative
strength of the gravitational and electrostatic forces.
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6
An electron has an initial velocity of 5.0010 m/s in a uniform
2.0010 5 N/C strength electric field. The field accelerates the electron
in the direction opposite to its initial velocity. (a) What is the direction of
the electric field? (b) How far does the electron travel before coming to
rest? (c) How long does it take the electron to come to rest? (d) What is
the electrons velocity when it returns to its starting point?

59. Integrated Concepts


6
The practical limit to an electric field in air is about 3.0010 N/C .
Above this strength, sparking takes place because air begins to ionize

CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

and charges flow, reducing the field. (a) Calculate the distance a free
proton must travel in this field to reach 3.00% of the speed of light,
starting from rest. (b) Is this practical in air, or must it occur in a vacuum?
60. Integrated Concepts
A 5.00 g charged insulating ball hangs on a 30.0 cm long string in a
uniform horizontal electric field as shown in Figure 1.56. Given the
charge on the ball is 1.00 C , find the strength of the field.

Figure 1.58 In the Millikan oil drop experiment, small drops can be suspended in an
electric field by the force exerted on a single excess electron. Classically, this
experiment was used to determine the electron charge q e by measuring the electric
field and mass of the drop.

63. Integrated Concepts


(a) In Figure 1.59, four equal charges

q lie on the corners of a square.

Q is on a mass m directly above the center of the


square, at a height equal to the length d of one side of the square.
Determine the magnitude of q in terms of Q , m , and d , if the
Coulomb force is to equal the weight of m . (b) Is this equilibrium stable
A fifth charge

or unstable? Discuss.
Figure 1.56 A horizontal electric field causes the charged ball to hang at an angle of

8.00 .

61. Integrated Concepts


Figure 1.57 shows an electron passing between two charged metal
plates that create an 100 N/C vertical electric field perpendicular to the
electrons original horizontal velocity. (These can be used to change the
electrons direction, such as in an oscilloscope.) The initial speed of the
6
electron is 3.0010 m/s , and the horizontal distance it travels in the
uniform field is 4.00 cm. (a) What is its vertical deflection? (b) What is the
vertical component of its final velocity? (c) At what angle does it exit?
Neglect any edge effects.
Figure 1.59 Four equal charges on the corners of a horizontal square support the
weight of a fifth charge located directly above the center of the square.

64. Unreasonable Results


(a) Calculate the electric field strength near a 10.0 cm diameter
conducting sphere that has 1.00 C of excess charge on it. (b) What is
unreasonable about this result? (c) Which assumptions are responsible?
65. Unreasonable Results

Figure 1.57

62. Integrated Concepts


The classic Millikan oil drop experiment was the first to obtain an
accurate measurement of the charge on an electron. In it, oil drops were
suspended against the gravitational force by a vertical electric field. (See
Figure 1.58.) Given the oil drop to be 1.00 m in radius and have a
density of

920 kg/m 3 : (a) Find the weight of the drop. (b) If the drop

has a single excess electron, find the electric field strength needed to
balance its weight.

(a) Two 0.500 g raindrops in a thunderhead are 1.00 cm apart when they
each acquire 1.00 mC charges. Find their acceleration. (b) What is
unreasonable about this result? (c) Which premise or assumption is
responsible?
66. Unreasonable Results
A wrecking yard inventor wants to pick up cars by charging a 0.400 m
diameter ball and inducing an equal and opposite charge on the car. If a
car has a 1000 kg mass and the ball is to be able to lift it from a distance
of 1.00 m: (a) What minimum charge must be used? (b) What is the
electric field near the surface of the ball? (c) Why are these results
unreasonable? (d) Which premise or assumption is responsible?
67. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider two insulating balls with evenly distributed equal and opposite
charges on their surfaces, held with a certain distance between the
centers of the balls. Construct a problem in which you calculate the
electric field (magnitude and direction) due to the balls at various points
along a line running through the centers of the balls and extending to
infinity on either side. Choose interesting points and comment on the
meaning of the field at those points. For example, at what points might
the field be just that due to one ball and where does the field become

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CHAPTER 1 | ELECTRIC CHARGE AND ELECTRIC FIELD

negligibly small? Among the things to be considered are the magnitudes


of the charges and the distance between the centers of the balls. Your
instructor may wish for you to consider the electric field off axis or for a
more complex array of charges, such as those in a water molecule.
68. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider identical spherical conducting space ships in deep space where
gravitational fields from other bodies are negligible compared to the
gravitational attraction between the ships. Construct a problem in which
you place identical excess charges on the space ships to exactly counter
their gravitational attraction. Calculate the amount of excess charge
needed. Examine whether that charge depends on the distance between
the centers of the ships, the masses of the ships, or any other factors.
Discuss whether this would be an easy, difficult, or even impossible thing
to do in practice.

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Figure 2.1 Automated external defibrillator unit (AED) (credit: U.S. Defense Department photo/Tech. Sgt. Suzanne M. Day)

Learning Objectives
2.1. Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
Define electric potential and electric potential energy.
Describe the relationship between potential difference and electrical potential energy.
Explain electron volt and its usage in submicroscopic process.
Determine electric potential energy given potential difference and amount of charge.
2.2. Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
Describe the relationship between voltage and electric field.
Derive an expression for the electric potential and electric field.
Calculate electric field strength given distance and voltage.
2.3. Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
Explain point charges and express the equation for electric potential of a point charge.
Distinguish between electric potential and electric field.
Determine the electric potential of a point charge given charge and distance.
2.4. Equipotential Lines
Explain equipotential lines and equipotential surfaces.
Describe the action of grounding an electrical appliance.
Compare electric field and equipotential lines.
2.5. Capacitors and Dielectrics
Describe the action of a capacitor and define capacitance.
Explain parallel plate capacitors and their capacitances.
Discuss the process of increasing the capacitance of a dielectric.
Determine capacitance given charge and voltage.
2.6. Capacitors in Series and Parallel
Derive expressions for total capacitance in series and in parallel.
Identify series and parallel parts in the combination of connection of capacitors.
Calculate the effective capacitance in series and parallel given individual capacitances.
2.7. Energy Stored in Capacitors
List some uses of capacitors.
Express in equation form the energy stored in a capacitor.
Explain the function of a defibrillator.

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Introduction to Electric Potential and Electric Energy


In Electric Charge and Electric Field, we just scratched the surface (or at least rubbed it) of electrical phenomena. Two of the most familiar aspects
of electricity are its energy and voltage. We know, for example, that great amounts of electrical energy can be stored in batteries, are transmitted
cross-country through power lines, and may jump from clouds to explode the sap of trees. In a similar manner, at molecular levels, ions cross cell
membranes and transfer information. We also know about voltages associated with electricity. Batteries are typically a few volts, the outlets in your
home produce 120 volts, and power lines can be as high as hundreds of thousands of volts. But energy and voltage are not the same thing. A
motorcycle battery, for example, is small and would not be very successful in replacing the much larger car battery, yet each has the same voltage. In
this chapter, we shall examine the relationship between voltage and electrical energy and begin to explore some of the many applications of
electricity.

2.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference


When a free positive charge

q is accelerated by an electric field, such as shown in Figure 2.2, it is given kinetic energy. The process is analogous to

an object being accelerated by a gravitational field. It is as if the charge is going down an electrical hill where its electric potential energy is converted
to kinetic energy. Let us explore the work done on a charge q by the electric field in this process, so that we may develop a definition of electric
potential energy.

Figure 2.2 A charge accelerated by an electric field is analogous to a mass going down a hill. In both cases potential energy is converted to another form. Work is done by a
force, but since this force is conservative, we can write

W = PE .

The electrostatic or Coulomb force is conservative, which means that the work done on

q is independent of the path taken. This is exactly analogous

to the gravitational force in the absence of dissipative forces such as friction. When a force is conservative, it is possible to define a potential energy
associated with the force, and it is usually easier to deal with the potential energy (because it depends only on position) than to calculate the work
directly.

PE , is crucial, since the


W = PE . For example, work W done to accelerate
a positive charge from rest is positive and results from a loss in PE, or a negative PE . There must be a minus sign in front of PE to make W
We use the letters PE to denote electric potential energy, which has units of joules (J). The change in potential energy,
work done by a conservative force is the negative of the change in potential energy; that is,

positive. PE can be found at any point by taking one point as a reference and calculating the work needed to move a charge to the other point.
Potential Energy

W = PE . For example, work W done to accelerate a positive charge from rest is positive and results from a loss in PE, or a negative
PE. There must be a minus sign in front of PE to make W positive. PE can be found at any point by taking one point as a reference and
calculating the work needed to move a charge to the other point.
Gravitational potential energy and electric potential energy are quite analogous. Potential energy accounts for work done by a conservative force and
gives added insight regarding energy and energy transformation without the necessity of dealing with the force directly. It is much more common, for
example, to use the concept of voltage (related to electric potential energy) than to deal with the Coulomb force directly.

W = Fd cos and the direction and magnitude of F can be complex for multiple charges,
for odd-shaped objects, and along arbitrary paths. But we do know that, since F = qE , the work, and hence PE , is proportional to the test
charge q. To have a physical quantity that is independent of test charge, we define electric potential V (or simply potential, since electric is
Calculating the work directly is generally difficult, since

understood) to be the potential energy per unit charge:

V = PE
q.
Electric Potential
This is the electric potential energy per unit charge.

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

V = PE
q
Since PE is proportional to

(2.2)

q , the dependence on q cancels. Thus V does not depend on q . The change in potential energy PE is crucial,
V between two points, where

and so we are concerned with the difference in potential or potential difference

V = V B V A = PE
q .
The potential difference between points A and B,

(2.3)

V B V A , is thus defined to be the change in potential energy of a charge q moved from A to

B, divided by the charge. Units of potential difference are joules per coulomb, given the name volt (V) after Alessandro Volta.

1V=1 J
C

(2.4)

Potential Difference
The potential difference between points A and B,

V B - V A , is defined to be the change in potential energy of a charge q moved from A to B,

divided by the charge. Units of potential difference are joules per coulomb, given the name volt (V) after Alessandro Volta.

1V=1 J
C

(2.5)

The familiar term voltage is the common name for potential difference. Keep in mind that whenever a voltage is quoted, it is understood to be the
potential difference between two points. For example, every battery has two terminals, and its voltage is the potential difference between them. More
fundamentally, the point you choose to be zero volts is arbitrary. This is analogous to the fact that gravitational potential energy has an arbitrary zero,
such as sea level or perhaps a lecture hall floor.
In summary, the relationship between potential difference (or voltage) and electrical potential energy is given by

V = PE
q and PE = qV.

(2.6)

Potential Difference and Electrical Potential Energy


The relationship between potential difference (or voltage) and electrical potential energy is given by

V = PE
q and PE = qV.

(2.7)

The second equation is equivalent to the first.


Voltage is not the same as energy. Voltage is the energy per unit charge. Thus a motorcycle battery and a car battery can both have the same
voltage (more precisely, the same potential difference between battery terminals), yet one stores much more energy than the other since
PE = qV . The car battery can move more charge than the motorcycle battery, although both are 12 V batteries.

Example 2.1 Calculating Energy


Suppose you have a 12.0 V motorcycle battery that can move 5000 C of charge, and a 12.0 V car battery that can move 60,000 C of charge.
How much energy does each deliver? (Assume that the numerical value of each charge is accurate to three significant figures.)
Strategy
To say we have a 12.0 V battery means that its terminals have a 12.0 V potential difference. When such a battery moves charge, it puts the
charge through a potential difference of 12.0 V, and the charge is given a change in potential energy equal to PE = qV .
So to find the energy output, we multiply the charge moved by the potential difference.
Solution
For the motorcycle battery,

q = 5000 C and V = 12.0 V . The total energy delivered by the motorcycle battery is
PE cycle = (5000 C)(12.0 V)

(2.8)

= (5000 C)(12.0 J/C)


= 6.0010 4 J.

Similarly, for the car battery,

q = 60,000 C and
PE car = (60,000 C)(12.0 V)
5

= 7.2010 J.
Discussion

(2.9)

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

While voltage and energy are related, they are not the same thing. The voltages of the batteries are identical, but the energy supplied by each is
quite different. Note also that as a battery is discharged, some of its energy is used internally and its terminal voltage drops, such as when
headlights dim because of a low car battery. The energy supplied by the battery is still calculated as in this example, but not all of the energy is
available for external use.

Note that the energies calculated in the previous example are absolute values. The change in potential energy for the battery is negative, since it
loses energy. These batteries, like many electrical systems, actually move negative chargeelectrons in particular. The batteries repel electrons from
their negative terminals (A) through whatever circuitry is involved and attract them to their positive terminals (B) as shown in Figure 2.3. The change
in potential is V = V B V A = +12 V and the charge q is negative, so that PE = qV is negative, meaning the potential energy of the
battery has decreased when

q has moved from A to B.

Figure 2.3 A battery moves negative charge from its negative terminal through a headlight to its positive terminal. Appropriate combinations of chemicals in the battery
separate charges so that the negative terminal has an excess of negative charge, which is repelled by it and attracted to the excess positive charge on the other terminal. In
terms of potential, the positive terminal is at a higher voltage than the negative. Inside the battery, both positive and negative charges move.

Example 2.2 How Many Electrons Move through a Headlight Each Second?
When a 12.0 V car battery runs a single 30.0 W headlight, how many electrons pass through it each second?
Strategy
To find the number of electrons, we must first find the charge that moved in 1.00 s. The charge moved is related to voltage and energy through
the equation PE = qV . A 30.0 W lamp uses 30.0 joules per second. Since the battery loses energy, we have PE = 30.0 J and, since
the electrons are going from the negative terminal to the positive, we see that

V = +12.0 V .

Solution
To find the charge

q moved, we solve the equation PE = qV :

Entering the values for

q = PE .
V

(2.10)

q = 30.0 J = 30.0 J = 2.50 C.


+12.0 V +12.0 J/C

(2.11)

PE and V , we get

The number of electrons

n e is the total charge divided by the charge per electron. That is,
ne =

2.50 C
= 1.5610 19 electrons.
19

1.6010
C/e

(2.12)

Discussion
This is a very large number. It is no wonder that we do not ordinarily observe individual electrons with so many being present in ordinary
systems. In fact, electricity had been in use for many decades before it was determined that the moving charges in many circumstances were
negative. Positive charge moving in the opposite direction of negative charge often produces identical effects; this makes it difficult to determine
which is moving or whether both are moving.

The Electron Volt


The energy per electron is very small in macroscopic situations like that in the previous examplea tiny fraction of a joule. But on a submicroscopic
scale, such energy per particle (electron, proton, or ion) can be of great importance. For example, even a tiny fraction of a joule can be great enough
for these particles to destroy organic molecules and harm living tissue. The particle may do its damage by direct collision, or it may create harmful x
rays, which can also inflict damage. It is useful to have an energy unit related to submicroscopic effects. Figure 2.4 shows a situation related to the
definition of such an energy unit. An electron is accelerated between two charged metal plates as it might be in an old-model television tube or

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

oscilloscope. The electron is given kinetic energy that is later converted to another formlight in the television tube, for example. (Note that downhill
for the electron is uphill for a positive charge.) Since energy is related to voltage by PE = qV, we can think of the joule as a coulomb-volt.

Figure 2.4 A typical electron gun accelerates electrons using a potential difference between two metal plates. The energy of the electron in electron volts is numerically the
same as the voltage between the plates. For example, a 5000 V potential difference produces 5000 eV electrons.

On the submicroscopic scale, it is more convenient to define an energy unit called the electron volt (eV), which is the energy given to a fundamental
charge accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V. In equation form,

1 eV =

19
1.6010

C(1 V) = 1.6010 19 C(1 J/C)

(2.13)

= 1.6010 19 J.
Electron Volt
On the submicroscopic scale, it is more convenient to define an energy unit called the electron volt (eV), which is the energy given to a
fundamental charge accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V. In equation form,

1 eV =

19
1.6010

C(1 V) = 1.6010 19 C(1 J/C)

(2.14)

= 1.6010 19 J.
An electron accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V is given an energy of 1 eV. It follows that an electron accelerated through 50 V is given
50 eV. A potential difference of 100,000 V (100 kV) will give an electron an energy of 100,000 eV (100 keV), and so on. Similarly, an ion with a double
positive charge accelerated through 100 V will be given 200 eV of energy. These simple relationships between accelerating voltage and particle
charges make the electron volt a simple and convenient energy unit in such circumstances.
Connections: Energy Units
The electron volt (eV) is the most common energy unit for submicroscopic processes. This will be particularly noticeable in the chapters on
modern physics. Energy is so important to so many subjects that there is a tendency to define a special energy unit for each major topic. There
are, for example, calories for food energy, kilowatt-hours for electrical energy, and therms for natural gas energy.
The electron volt is commonly employed in submicroscopic processeschemical valence energies and molecular and nuclear binding energies are
among the quantities often expressed in electron volts. For example, about 5 eV of energy is required to break up certain organic molecules. If a
proton is accelerated from rest through a potential difference of 30 kV, it is given an energy of 30 keV (30,000 eV) and it can break up as many as
6000 of these molecules ( 30,000 eV 5 eV per molecule = 6000 molecules ). Nuclear decay energies are on the order of 1 MeV (1,000,000
eV) per event and can, thus, produce significant biological damage.

Conservation of Energy
The total energy of a system is conserved if there is no net addition (or subtraction) of work or heat transfer. For conservative forces, such as the
electrostatic force, conservation of energy states that mechanical energy is a constant.
Mechanical energy is the sum of the kinetic energy and potential energy of a system; that is, KE + PE = constant . A loss of PE of a charged
particle becomes an increase in its KE. Here PE is the electric potential energy. Conservation of energy is stated in equation form as

KE + PE = constant

(2.15)

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

or

KE i + PE i= KEf + PEf ,

(2.16)

where i and f stand for initial and final conditions. As we have found many times before, considering energy can give us insights and facilitate problem
solving.

Example 2.3 Electrical Potential Energy Converted to Kinetic Energy


Calculate the final speed of a free electron accelerated from rest through a potential difference of 100 V. (Assume that this numerical value is
accurate to three significant figures.)
Strategy
We have a system with only conservative forces. Assuming the electron is accelerated in a vacuum, and neglecting the gravitational force (we
will check on this assumption later), all of the electrical potential energy is converted into kinetic energy. We can identify the initial and final forms
of energy to be KE i = 0, KE f = mv 2, PE i = qV, and PE f = 0.
Solution
Conservation of energy states that

KE i + PE i= KE f + PE f .

(2.17)

2
qV = mv .
2

(2.18)

2qV
m .

(2.19)

Entering the forms identified above, we obtain

We solve this for

v:
v=

Entering values for

q, V, and m gives
v =

21.6010 19 C(100 J/C)

(2.20)

9.1110 31 kg

= 5.9310 6 m/s.
Discussion

Note that both the charge and the initial voltage are negative, as in Figure 2.4. From the discussions in Electric Charge and Electric Field, we
know that electrostatic forces on small particles are generally very large compared with the gravitational force. The large final speed confirms
that the gravitational force is indeed negligible here. The large speed also indicates how easy it is to accelerate electrons with small voltages
because of their very small mass. Voltages much higher than the 100 V in this problem are typically used in electron guns. Those higher voltages
produce electron speeds so great that relativistic effects must be taken into account. That is why a low voltage is considered (accurately) in this
example.

2.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field


In the previous section, we explored the relationship between voltage and energy. In this section, we will explore the relationship between voltage and
electric field. For example, a uniform electric field E is produced by placing a potential difference (or voltage) V across two parallel metal plates,
labeled A and B. (See Figure 2.5.) Examining this will tell us what voltage is needed to produce a certain electric field strength; it will also reveal a
more fundamental relationship between electric potential and electric field. From a physicists point of view, either V or E can be used to describe
any charge distribution.
direction, while

V is most closely tied to energy, whereas E is most closely related to force. V is a scalar quantity and has no

E is a vector quantity, having both magnitude and direction. (Note that the magnitude of the electric field strength, a scalar quantity,

is represented by E below.) The relationship between V and E is revealed by calculating the work done by the force in moving a charge from
point A to point B. But, as noted in Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference, this is complex for arbitrary charge distributions, requiring
calculus. We therefore look at a uniform electric field as an interesting special case.

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Figure 2.5 The relationship between

and

for parallel conducting plates is

E = V / d . (Note that V = V AB

A at higher potential to plate B at lower potential, a minus sign needs to be included as follows:

The work done by the electric field in Figure 2.5 to move a positive charge

in magnitude. For a charge that is moved from plate

V = V A V B = V AB . See the text for details.)

q from A, the positive plate, higher potential, to B, the negative plate,

lower potential, is

W = PE = qV.

(2.21)

V = (V B V A) = V A V B = V AB.

(2.22)

W = qV AB.

(2.23)

The potential difference between points A and B is

Entering this into the expression for work yields

Work is

W = Fd cos ; here cos = 1 , since the path is parallel to the field, and so W = Fd . Since F = qE , we see that W = qEd .

Substituting this expression for work into the previous equation gives

qEd = qV AB.

(2.24)

The charge cancels, and so the voltage between points A and B is seen to be

V AB = Ed
V (uniform E - field only),
E = AB
d

(2.25)

where d is the distance from A to B, or the distance between the plates in Figure 2.5. Note that the above equation implies the units for electric field
are volts per meter. We already know the units for electric field are newtons per coulomb; thus the following relation among units is valid:

1 N / C = 1 V / m.
Voltage between Points A and B

where

V AB = Ed
V (uniform E - field only),
E = AB
d

(2.26)

(2.27)

d is the distance from A to B, or the distance between the plates.

Example 2.4 What Is the Highest Voltage Possible between Two Plates?
6
Dry air will support a maximum electric field strength of about 3.010 V/m . Above that value, the field creates enough ionization in the air to
make the air a conductor. This allows a discharge or spark that reduces the field. What, then, is the maximum voltage between two parallel
conducting plates separated by 2.5 cm of dry air?

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Strategy
We are given the maximum electric field

E between the plates and the distance d between them. The equation V AB = Ed can thus be used

to calculate the maximum voltage.


Solution
The potential difference or voltage between the plates is

Entering the given values for

V AB = Ed.

(2.28)

V AB = (3.010 6 V/m)(0.025 m) = 7.510 4 V

(2.29)

V AB = 75 kV.

(2.30)

E and d gives

or

(The answer is quoted to only two digits, since the maximum field strength is approximate.)
Discussion
One of the implications of this result is that it takes about 75 kV to make a spark jump across a 2.5 cm (1 in.) gap, or 150 kV for a 5 cm spark.
This limits the voltages that can exist between conductors, perhaps on a power transmission line. A smaller voltage will cause a spark if there are
points on the surface, since points create greater fields than smooth surfaces. Humid air breaks down at a lower field strength, meaning that a
smaller voltage will make a spark jump through humid air. The largest voltages can be built up, say with static electricity, on dry days.

Figure 2.6 A spark chamber is used to trace the paths of high-energy particles. Ionization created by the particles as they pass through the gas between the plates allows a
spark to jump. The sparks are perpendicular to the plates, following electric field lines between them. The potential difference between adjacent plates is not high enough to
cause sparks without the ionization produced by particles from accelerator experiments (or cosmic rays). (credit: Daderot, Wikimedia Commons)

Example 2.5 Field and Force inside an Electron Gun


(a) An electron gun has parallel plates separated by 4.00 cm and gives electrons 25.0 keV of energy. What is the electric field strength between
the plates? (b) What force would this field exert on a piece of plastic with a 0.500 C charge that gets between the plates?
Strategy
Since the voltage and plate separation are given, the electric field strength can be calculated directly from the expression
electric field strength is known, the force on a charge is found using
equation in terms of the magnitudes,

F =qE.

E=

V AB
. Once the
d

F = q E . Since the electric field is in only one direction, we can write this

Solution for (a)


The expression for the magnitude of the electric field between two uniform metal plates is

E=

V AB
.
d

Since the electron is a single charge and is given 25.0 keV of energy, the potential difference must be 25.0 kV. Entering this value for
the plate separation of 0.0400 m, we obtain

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(2.31)

V AB and

CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

E = 25.0 kV = 6.2510 5 V/m.


0.0400 m

(2.32)

Solution for (b)


The magnitude of the force on a charge in an electric field is obtained from the equation

F = qE.

(2.33)

F = (0.50010 6 C)(6.2510 5 V/m) = 0.313 N.

(2.34)

Substituting known values gives

Discussion
Note that the units are newtons, since 1 V/m = 1 N/C . The force on the charge is the same no matter where the charge is located between
the plates. This is because the electric field is uniform between the plates.

In more general situations, regardless of whether the electric field is uniform, it points in the direction of decreasing potential, because the force on a
positive charge is in the direction of E and also in the direction of lower potential V . Furthermore, the magnitude of E equals the rate of decrease
of V with distance. The faster
and electric field is

V decreases over distance, the greater the electric field. In equation form, the general relationship between voltage
E = V ,
s

where s is the distance over which the change in potential, V , takes place. The minus sign tells us that
potential. The electric field is said to be the gradient (as in grade or slope) of the electric potential.

(2.35)

E points in the direction of decreasing

Relationship between Voltage and Electric Field


In equation form, the general relationship between voltage and electric field is

E = V ,
s

(2.36)

where s is the distance over which the change in potential, V , takes place. The minus sign tells us that E points in the direction of
decreasing potential. The electric field is said to be the gradient (as in grade or slope) of the electric potential.
For continually changing potentials,

V and s become infinitesimals and differential calculus must be employed to determine the electric field.

2.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge


Point charges, such as electrons, are among the fundamental building blocks of matter. Furthermore, spherical charge distributions (like on a metal
sphere) create external electric fields exactly like a point charge. The electric potential due to a point charge is, thus, a case we need to consider.
Using calculus to find the work needed to move a test charge q from a large distance away to a distance of r from a point charge Q , and noting
the connection between work and potential

W = qV , it can be shown that the electric potential V of a point charge is


kQ
V = r (Point Charge),

where k is a constant equal to


Electric Potential

(2.37)

9.010 9 N m 2 /C 2 .

V of a Point Charge

The electric potential

V of a point charge is given by


kQ
V = r (Point Charge).

The potential at infinity is chosen to be zero. Thus


distance squared:

(2.38)

V for a point charge decreases with distance, whereas E for a point charge decreases with
kQ
E=F
q = 2.
r

(2.39)

Recall that the electric potential V is a scalar and has no direction, whereas the electric field E is a vector. To find the voltage due to a combination
of point charges, you add the individual voltages as numbers. To find the total electric field, you must add the individual fields as vectors, taking
magnitude and direction into account. This is consistent with the fact that V is closely associated with energy, a scalar, whereas E is closely
associated with force, a vector.

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Example 2.6 What Voltage Is Produced by a Small Charge on a Metal Sphere?


(nC) to microcoulomb C range. What is the voltage 5.00 cm away from the
center of a 1-cm diameter metal sphere that has a 3.00 nC static charge?
Charges in static electricity are typically in the nanocoulomb

Strategy
As we have discussed in Electric Charge and Electric Field, charge on a metal sphere spreads out uniformly and produces a field like that of a
point charge located at its center. Thus we can find the voltage using the equation V = kQ / r .
Solution
Entering known values into the expression for the potential of a point charge, we obtain

Q
V = kr
=

9
9.0010

= 540 V.

(2.40)
9

N m 2 / C 2 3.00102 C
5.0010 m

Discussion
The negative value for voltage means a positive charge would be attracted from a larger distance, since the potential is lower (more negative)
than at larger distances. Conversely, a negative charge would be repelled, as expected.

Example 2.7 What Is the Excess Charge on a Van de Graaff Generator


A demonstration Van de Graaff generator has a 25.0 cm diameter metal sphere that produces a voltage of 100 kV near its surface. (See Figure
2.7.) What excess charge resides on the sphere? (Assume that each numerical value here is shown with three significant figures.)

Figure 2.7 The voltage of this demonstration Van de Graaff generator is measured between the charged sphere and ground. Earths potential is taken to be zero as a
reference. The potential of the charged conducting sphere is the same as that of an equal point charge at its center.

Strategy
The potential on the surface will be the same as that of a point charge at the center of the sphere, 12.5 cm away. (The radius of the sphere is
12.5 cm.) We can thus determine the excess charge using the equation

kQ
V= r .

(2.41)

Q = rV
k
(0.125 m)10010 3 V
=
9.0010 9 N m 2 / C 2
= 1.3910 6 C = 1.39 C.

(2.42)

Solution
Solving for

Q and entering known values gives

Discussion

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

This is a relatively small charge, but it produces a rather large voltage. We have another indication here that it is difficult to store isolated
charges.

The voltages in both of these examples could be measured with a meter that compares the measured potential with ground potential. Ground
potential is often taken to be zero (instead of taking the potential at infinity to be zero). It is the potential difference between two points that is of
importance, and very often there is a tacit assumption that some reference point, such as Earth or a very distant point, is at zero potential. As noted in
Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference, this is analogous to taking sea level as h = 0 when considering gravitational potential energy,

PE g = mgh .

2.4 Equipotential Lines


We can represent electric potentials (voltages) pictorially, just as we drew pictures to illustrate electric fields. Of course, the two are related. Consider
Figure 2.8, which shows an isolated positive point charge and its electric field lines. Electric field lines radiate out from a positive charge and
terminate on negative charges. While we use blue arrows to represent the magnitude and direction of the electric field, we use green lines to
represent places where the electric potential is constant. These are called equipotential lines in two dimensions, or equipotential surfaces in three
dimensions. The term equipotential is also used as a noun, referring to an equipotential line or surface. The potential for a point charge is the same
anywhere on an imaginary sphere of radius r surrounding the charge. This is true since the potential for a point charge is given by V = kQ / r and,
thus, has the same value at any point that is a given distance r from the charge. An equipotential sphere is a circle in the two-dimensional view of
Figure 2.8. Since the electric field lines point radially away from the charge, they are perpendicular to the equipotential lines.

Figure 2.8 An isolated point charge

with its electric field lines in blue and equipotential lines in green. The potential is the same along each equipotential line, meaning that

no work is required to move a charge anywhere along one of those lines. Work is needed to move a charge from one equipotential line to another. Equipotential lines are
perpendicular to electric field lines in every case.

It is important to note that equipotential lines are always perpendicular to electric field lines. No work is required to move a charge along an
equipotential, since V = 0 . Thus the work is

W = PE = qV = 0.
Work is zero if force is perpendicular to motion. Force is in the same direction as

E . More precisely, work is related to the electric field by

(2.43)

E , so that motion along an equipotential must be perpendicular to

W = Fd cos = qEd cos = 0.

(2.44)

E and F symbolize the magnitudes of the electric field strength and force, respectively. Neither q nor E nor d is
zero, and so cos must be 0, meaning must be 90 . In other words, motion along an equipotential is perpendicular to E .
Note that in the above equation,

One of the rules for static electric fields and conductors is that the electric field must be perpendicular to the surface of any conductor. This implies
that a conductor is an equipotential surface in static situations. There can be no voltage difference across the surface of a conductor, or charges will
flow. One of the uses of this fact is that a conductor can be fixed at zero volts by connecting it to the earth with a good conductora process called
grounding. Grounding can be a useful safety tool. For example, grounding the metal case of an electrical appliance ensures that it is at zero volts
relative to the earth.
Grounding
A conductor can be fixed at zero volts by connecting it to the earth with a good conductora process called grounding.
Because a conductor is an equipotential, it can replace any equipotential surface. For example, in Figure 2.8 a charged spherical conductor can
replace the point charge, and the electric field and potential surfaces outside of it will be unchanged, confirming the contention that a spherical charge
distribution is equivalent to a point charge at its center.
Figure 2.9 shows the electric field and equipotential lines for two equal and opposite charges. Given the electric field lines, the equipotential lines can
be drawn simply by making them perpendicular to the electric field lines. Conversely, given the equipotential lines, as in Figure 2.10(a), the electric
field lines can be drawn by making them perpendicular to the equipotentials, as in Figure 2.10(b).

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Figure 2.9 The electric field lines and equipotential lines for two equal but opposite charges. The equipotential lines can be drawn by making them perpendicular to the electric
field lines, if those are known. Note that the potential is greatest (most positive) near the positive charge and least (most negative) near the negative charge.

Figure 2.10 (a) These equipotential lines might be measured with a voltmeter in a laboratory experiment. (b) The corresponding electric field lines are found by drawing them
perpendicular to the equipotentials. Note that these fields are consistent with two equal negative charges.

One of the most important cases is that of the familiar parallel conducting plates shown in Figure 2.11. Between the plates, the equipotentials are
evenly spaced and parallel. The same field could be maintained by placing conducting plates at the equipotential lines at the potentials shown.

Figure 2.11 The electric field and equipotential lines between two metal plates.

An important application of electric fields and equipotential lines involves the heart. The heart relies on electrical signals to maintain its rhythm. The
movement of electrical signals causes the chambers of the heart to contract and relax. When a person has a heart attack, the movement of these
electrical signals may be disturbed. An artificial pacemaker and a defibrillator can be used to initiate the rhythm of electrical signals. The equipotential
lines around the heart, the thoracic region, and the axis of the heart are useful ways of monitoring the structure and functions of the heart. An
electrocardiogram (ECG) measures the small electric signals being generated during the activity of the heart. More about the relationship between
electric fields and the heart is discussed in Energy Stored in Capacitors.
PhET Explorations: Charges and Fields
Move point charges around on the playing field and then view the electric field, voltages, equipotential lines, and more. It's colorful, it's dynamic,
it's free.

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Figure 2.12 Charges and Fields (http://cnx.org/content/m42331/1.3/charges-and-fields_en.jar)

2.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics


A capacitor is a device used to store electric charge. Capacitors have applications ranging from filtering static out of radio reception to energy
storage in heart defibrillators. Typically, commercial capacitors have two conducting parts close to one another, but not touching, such as those in
Figure 2.13. (Most of the time an insulator is used between the two plates to provide separationsee the discussion on dielectrics below.) When
battery terminals are connected to an initially uncharged capacitor, equal amounts of positive and negative charge, +Q and Q , are separated
into its two plates. The capacitor remains neutral overall, but we refer to it as storing a charge

Q in this circumstance.

Capacitor
A capacitor is a device used to store electric charge.

Figure 2.13 Both capacitors shown here were initially uncharged before being connected to a battery. They now have separated charges of

+Q

and

on their two

halves. (a) A parallel plate capacitor. (b) A rolled capacitor with an insulating material between its two conducting sheets.

The amount of charge

Q a capacitor can store depends on two major factorsthe voltage applied and the capacitors physical characteristics, such

as its size.
The Amount of Charge
The amount of charge

Q a Capacitor Can Store


Q a capacitor can store depends on two major factorsthe voltage applied and the capacitors physical characteristics,

such as its size.


A system composed of two identical, parallel conducting plates separated by a distance, as in Figure 2.14, is called a parallel plate capacitor. It is
easy to see the relationship between the voltage and the stored charge for a parallel plate capacitor, as shown in Figure 2.14. Each electric field line
starts on an individual positive charge and ends on a negative one, so that there will be more field lines if there is more charge. (Drawing a single field
line per charge is a convenience, only. We can draw many field lines for each charge, but the total number is proportional to the number of charges.)
The electric field strength is, thus, directly proportional to Q .

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Figure 2.14 Electric field lines in this parallel plate capacitor, as always, start on positive charges and end on negative charges. Since the electric field strength is proportional
to the density of field lines, it is also proportional to the amount of charge on the capacitor.

The field is proportional to the charge:

E Q,
where the symbol

(2.45)

means proportional to. From the discussion in Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field, we know that the voltage
V = Ed . Thus,

across parallel plates is

It follows, then, that

V E.

(2.46)

Q V.

(2.47)

V Q , and conversely,

This is true in general: The greater the voltage applied to any capacitor, the greater the charge stored in it.
Different capacitors will store different amounts of charge for the same applied voltage, depending on their physical characteristics. We define their
capacitance C to be such that the charge Q stored in a capacitor is proportional to C . The charge stored in a capacitor is given by

Q = CV.

(2.48)

This equation expresses the two major factors affecting the amount of charge stored. Those factors are the physical characteristics of the capacitor,
C , and the voltage, V . Rearranging the equation, we see that capacitance C is the amount of charge stored per volt, or

C=

Q
.
V

C=

Q
.
V

(2.49)

Capacitance
Capacitance

C is the amount of charge stored per volt, or


(2.50)

The unit of capacitance is the farad (F), named for Michael Faraday (17911867), an English scientist who contributed to the fields of
electromagnetism and electrochemistry. Since capacitance is charge per unit voltage, we see that a farad is a coulomb per volt, or

1 F = 1 C.
1V

(2.51)

A 1-farad capacitor would be able to store 1 coulomb (a very large amount of charge) with the application of only 1 volt. One farad is, thus, a very

3
large capacitance. Typical capacitors range from fractions of a picofarad 1 pF = 10 12 F to millifarads 1 mF = 10 F .

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Figure 2.15 shows some common capacitors. Capacitors are primarily made of ceramic, glass, or plastic, depending upon purpose and size.
Insulating materials, called dielectrics, are commonly used in their construction, as discussed below.

Figure 2.15 Some typical capacitors. Size and value of capacitance are not necessarily related. (credit: Windell Oskay)

Parallel Plate Capacitor


A , separated by a distance d
V is applied to the capacitor, it stores a charge Q , as shown. We can see how its

The parallel plate capacitor shown in Figure 2.16 has two identical conducting plates, each having a surface area
(with no material between the plates). When a voltage

capacitance depends on A and d by considering the characteristics of the Coulomb force. We know that like charges repel, unlike charges attract,
and the force between charges decreases with distance. So it seems quite reasonable that the bigger the plates are, the more charge they can
storebecause the charges can spread out more. Thus C should be greater for larger A . Similarly, the closer the plates are together, the greater
the attraction of the opposite charges on them. So

C should be greater for smaller d .

Figure 2.16 Parallel plate capacitor with plates separated by a distance

d . Each plate has an area A .

It can be shown that for a parallel plate capacitor there are only two factors (
plate capacitor in equation form is given by

A and d ) that affect its capacitance C . The capacitance of a parallel

C = 0 A.
d
Capacitance of a Parallel Plate Capacitor

C = 0 A
d

(2.52)

(2.53)

A is the area of one plate in square meters, and d is the distance between the plates in meters. The constant 0 is the permittivity of free space;
its numerical value in SI units is

0 = 8.8510 12 F/m . The units of F/m are equivalent to C 2 /N m 2 . The small numerical value of 0 is

related to the large size of the farad. A parallel plate capacitor must have a large area to have a capacitance approaching a farad. (Note that the
above equation is valid when the parallel plates are separated by air or free space. When another material is placed between the plates, the equation
is modified, as discussed below.)

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Example 2.8 Capacitance and Charge Stored in a Parallel Plate Capacitor


(a) What is the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor with metal plates, each of area
stored in this capacitor if a voltage of 3.0010 3 V is applied to it?

1.00 m 2 , separated by 1.00 mm? (b) What charge is

Strategy
Finding the capacitance
using the equation

C is a straightforward application of the equation C = 0 A / d . Once C is found, the charge stored can be found

Q = CV .

Solution for (a)


Entering the given values into the equation for the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor yields

F 1.00 m 2
C = 0 A = 8.8510 12 m

d
1.0010 3 m
= 8.8510 9 F = 8.85 nF.

(2.54)

Discussion for (a)


This small value for the capacitance indicates how difficult it is to make a device with a large capacitance. Special techniques help, such as using
very large area thin foils placed close together.
Solution for (b)
The charge stored in any capacitor is given by the equation

Q = CV . Entering the known values into this equation gives

Q = CV = 8.8510 9 F3.0010 3 V

(2.55)

= 26.6 C.
Discussion for (b)
This charge is only slightly greater than those found in typical static electricity. Since air breaks down at about
cannot be stored on this capacitor by increasing the voltage.

3.0010 6 V/m , more charge

Another interesting biological example dealing with electric potential is found in the cells plasma membrane. The membrane sets a cell off from its
surroundings and also allows ions to selectively pass in and out of the cell. There is a potential difference across the membrane of about 70 mV .
This is due to the mainly negatively charged ions in the cell and the predominance of positively charged sodium ( Na + ) ions outside. Things change
when a nerve cell is stimulated. Na + ions are allowed to pass through the membrane into the cell, producing a positive membrane potentialthe
nerve signal. The cell membrane is about 7 to 10 nm thick. An approximate value of the electric field across it is given by
3
E = V = 70109 V = 910 6 V/m.
d
810 m

(2.56)

This electric field is enough to cause a breakdown in air.

Dielectric
The previous example highlights the difficulty of storing a large amount of charge in capacitors. If
then the maximum voltage must be reduced proportionally to avoid breakdown (since

d is made smaller to produce a larger capacitance,

E = V / d ). An important solution to this difficulty is to put an


d make

insulating material, called a dielectric, between the plates of a capacitor and allow d to be as small as possible. Not only does the smaller
the capacitance greater, but many insulators can withstand greater electric fields than air before breaking down.

There is another benefit to using a dielectric in a capacitor. Depending on the material used, the capacitance is greater than that given by the
equation
given by

C = 0 A by a factor , called the dielectric constant. A parallel plate capacitor with a dielectric between its plates has a capacitance
d
C = 0 A (parallel plate capacitor with dielectric).
d

(2.57)

Values of the dielectric constant for various materials are given in Table 2.1. Note that for vacuum is exactly 1, and so the above equation is
valid in that case, too. If a dielectric is used, perhaps by placing Teflon between the plates of the capacitor in Example 2.8, then the capacitance is
greater by the factor , which for Teflon is 2.1.
Take-Home Experiment: Building a Capacitor
How large a capacitor can you make using a chewing gum wrapper? The plates will be the aluminum foil, and the separation (dielectric) in
between will be the paper.

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

Table 2.1 Dielectric Constants and Dielectric Strengths for Various Materials
at 20C
Material

Dielectric constant

Dielectric strength (V/m)

Vacuum

1.00000

Air

1.00059

310 6

Bakelite

4.9

2410 6

Fused quartz

3.78

810 6

Neoprene rubber 6.7

1210 6

Nylon

3.4

1410 6

Paper

3.7

1610 6

Polystyrene

2.56

2410 6

Pyrex glass

5.6

1410 6

Silicon oil

2.5

1510 6

Strontium titanate 233

810 6

Teflon

2.1

6010 6

Water

80

Note also that the dielectric constant for air is very close to 1, so that air-filled capacitors act much like those with vacuum between their plates except
that the air can become conductive if the electric field strength becomes too great. (Recall that E = V / d for a parallel plate capacitor.) Also shown
in Table 2.1 are maximum electric field strengths in V/m, called dielectric strengths, for several materials. These are the fields above which the
material begins to break down and conduct. The dielectric strength imposes a limit on the voltage that can be applied for a given plate separation. For
instance, in Example 2.8, the separation is 1.00 mm, and so the voltage limit for air is

V = Ed
= (310 6 V/m)(1.0010 3 m)
= 3000 V.

(2.58)

6
However, the limit for a 1.00 mm separation filled with Teflon is 60,000 V, since the dielectric strength of Teflon is 6010 V/m. So the same
capacitor filled with Teflon has a greater capacitance and can be subjected to a much greater voltage. Using the capacitance we calculated in the
above example for the air-filled parallel plate capacitor, we find that the Teflon-filled capacitor can store a maximum charge of

Q = CV
= C air V

(2.59)

= (2.1)(8.85 nF)(6.010 4 V)
= 1.1 mC.

This is 42 times the charge of the same air-filled capacitor.


Dielectric Strength
The maximum electric field strength above which an insulating material begins to break down and conduct is called its dielectric strength.
Microscopically, how does a dielectric increase capacitance? Polarization of the insulator is responsible. The more easily it is polarized, the greater its
dielectric constant . Water, for example, is a polar molecule because one end of the molecule has a slight positive charge and the other end has a
slight negative charge. The polarity of water causes it to have a relatively large dielectric constant of 80. The effect of polarization can be best
explained in terms of the characteristics of the Coulomb force. Figure 2.17 shows the separation of charge schematically in the molecules of a
dielectric material placed between the charged plates of a capacitor. The Coulomb force between the closest ends of the molecules and the charge
on the plates is attractive and very strong, since they are very close together. This attracts more charge onto the plates than if the space were empty
and the opposite charges were a distance d away.

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Figure 2.17 (a) The molecules in the insulating material between the plates of a capacitor are polarized by the charged plates. This produces a layer of opposite charge on the
surface of the dielectric that attracts more charge onto the plate, increasing its capacitance. (b) The dielectric reduces the electric field strength inside the capacitor, resulting in
a smaller voltage between the plates for the same charge. The capacitor stores the same charge for a smaller voltage, implying that it has a larger capacitance because of the
dielectric.

Another way to understand how a dielectric increases capacitance is to consider its effect on the electric field inside the capacitor. Figure 2.17(b)
shows the electric field lines with a dielectric in place. Since the field lines end on charges in the dielectric, there are fewer of them going from one
side of the capacitor to the other. So the electric field strength is less than if there were a vacuum between the plates, even though the same charge
is on the plates. The voltage between the plates is V = Ed , so it too is reduced by the dielectric. Thus there is a smaller voltage V for the same
charge

Q ; since C = Q / V , the capacitance C is greater.

The dielectric constant is generally defined to be

= E 0 / E , or the ratio of the electric field in a vacuum to that in the dielectric material, and is

intimately related to the polarizability of the material.


Things Great and Small
The Submicroscopic Origin of Polarization
Polarization is a separation of charge within an atom or molecule. As has been noted, the planetary model of the atom pictures it as having a
positive nucleus orbited by negative electrons, analogous to the planets orbiting the Sun. Although this model is not completely accurate, it is
very helpful in explaining a vast range of phenomena and will be refined elsewhere, such as in Atomic Physics (http://cnx.org/content/
m42585/latest/) . The submicroscopic origin of polarization can be modeled as shown in Figure 2.18.

Figure 2.18 Artists conception of a polarized atom. The orbits of electrons around the nucleus are shifted slightly by the external charges (shown exaggerated). The resulting
separation of charge within the atom means that it is polarized. Note that the unlike charge is now closer to the external charges, causing the polarization.

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We will find in Atomic Physics (http://cnx.org/content/m42585/latest/) that the orbits of electrons are more properly viewed as electron clouds with
the density of the cloud related to the probability of finding an electron in that location (as opposed to the definite locations and paths of planets in
their orbits around the Sun). This cloud is shifted by the Coulomb force so that the atom on average has a separation of charge. Although the atom
remains neutral, it can now be the source of a Coulomb force, since a charge brought near the atom will be closer to one type of charge than the
other.
Some molecules, such as those of water, have an inherent separation of charge and are thus called polar molecules. Figure 2.19 illustrates the

separation of charge in a water molecule, which has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom H 2 O . The water molecule is not symmetricthe
hydrogen atoms are repelled to one side, giving the molecule a boomerang shape. The electrons in a water molecule are more concentrated around
the more highly charged oxygen nucleus than around the hydrogen nuclei. This makes the oxygen end of the molecule slightly negative and leaves
the hydrogen ends slightly positive. The inherent separation of charge in polar molecules makes it easier to align them with external fields and
charges. Polar molecules therefore exhibit greater polarization effects and have greater dielectric constants. Those who study chemistry will find that
the polar nature of water has many effects. For example, water molecules gather ions much more effectively because they have an electric field and
a separation of charge to attract charges of both signs. Also, as brought out in the previous chapter, polar water provides a shield or screening of the
electric fields in the highly charged molecules of interest in biological systems.

Figure 2.19 Artists conception of a water molecule. There is an inherent separation of charge, and so water is a polar molecule. Electrons in the molecule are attracted to the
oxygen nucleus and leave an excess of positive charge near the two hydrogen nuclei. (Note that the schematic on the right is a rough illustration of the distribution of electrons
in the water molecule. It does not show the actual numbers of protons and electrons involved in the structure.)

PhET Explorations: Capacitor Lab


Explore how a capacitor works! Change the size of the plates and add a dielectric to see the effect on capacitance. Change the voltage and see
charges built up on the plates. Observe the electric field in the capacitor. Measure the voltage and the electric field.

Figure 2.20 Capacitor Lab (http://cnx.org/content/m42333/1.4/capacitor-lab_en.jar)

2.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel


Several capacitors may be connected together in a variety of applications. Multiple connections of capacitors act like a single equivalent capacitor.
The total capacitance of this equivalent single capacitor depends both on the individual capacitors and how they are connected. There are two simple
and common types of connections, called series and parallel, for which we can easily calculate the total capacitance. Certain more complicated
connections can also be related to combinations of series and parallel.

Capacitance in Series
Figure 2.21(a) shows a series connection of three capacitors with a voltage applied. As for any capacitor, the capacitance of the combination is
related to charge and voltage by

C=

Q
.
V

Note in Figure 2.21 that opposite charges of magnitude

Q flow to either side of the originally uncharged combination of capacitors when the voltage

V is applied. Conservation of charge requires that equal-magnitude charges be created on the plates of the individual capacitors, since charge is
only being separated in these originally neutral devices. The end result is that the combination resembles a single capacitor with an effective plate
separation greater than that of the individual capacitors alone. (See Figure 2.21(b).) Larger plate separation means smaller capacitance. It is a
general feature of series connections of capacitors that the total capacitance is less than any of the individual capacitances.

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Figure 2.21 (a) Capacitors connected in series. The magnitude of the charge on each plate is

Q . (b) An equivalent capacitor has a larger plate separation d . Series

connections produce a total capacitance that is less than that of any of the individual capacitors.

We can find an expression for the total capacitance by considering the voltage across the individual capacitors shown in Figure 2.21. Solving

C=

Q
Q
Q
Q
Q
for V gives V =
. The voltages across the individual capacitors are thus V 1 =
, V2 =
, and V 3 =
. The total voltage is
V
C
C1
C2
C3

the sum of the individual voltages:

V = V 1 + V 2 + V 3.
Now, calling the total capacitance

C S for series capacitance, consider that


V=

Entering the expressions for

Q
= V1 + V2 + V3 .
CS

(2.61)

V 1 , V 2 , and V 3 , we get
Q
Q
Q
Q
=
+
+ .
CS C1 C2 C3

Canceling the

(2.60)

(2.62)

Q s, we obtain the equation for the total capacitance in series C S to be


1 = 1 + 1 + 1 + ...,
CS C1 C2 C3

(2.63)

where ... indicates that the expression is valid for any number of capacitors connected in series. An expression of this form always results in a total
capacitance C S that is less than any of the individual capacitances C 1 , C 2 , ..., as the next example illustrates.
Total Capacitance in Series,
Total capacitance in series:

Cs
1 = 1 + 1 + 1 + ...
CS C1 C2 C3

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Example 2.9 What Is the Series Capacitance?


Find the total capacitance for three capacitors connected in series, given their individual capacitances are 1.000, 5.000, and 8.000

F .

Strategy
With the given information, the total capacitance can be found using the equation for capacitance in series.
Solution
Entering the given capacitances into the expression for

1 gives 1 = 1 + 1 + 1 .
CS
CS C1 C2 C3

1 =
1
1
1
+
+
= 1.325
F
C S 1.000 F 5.000 F 8.000 F
Inverting to find

C S yields C S =

(2.64)

F
= 0.755 F .
1.325

Discussion

C s is less than the smallest individual capacitance, as promised. In series connections of capacitors, the sum is
less than the parts. In fact, it is less than any individual. Note that it is sometimes possible, and more convenient, to solve an equation like the
above by finding the least common denominator, which in this case (showing only whole-number calculations) is 40. Thus,
The total series capacitance

1 = 40 + 8 + 5 = 53 ,
C S 40 F 40 F 40 F 40 F

(2.65)

so that

CS =

40 F
= 0.755 F.
53

(2.66)

Capacitors in Parallel
Figure 2.22(a) shows a parallel connection of three capacitors with a voltage applied. Here the total capacitance is easier to find than in the series
case. To find the equivalent total capacitance C p , we first note that the voltage across each capacitor is V , the same as that of the source, since
they are connected directly to it through a conductor. (Conductors are equipotentials, and so the voltage across the capacitors is the same as that
across the voltage source.) Thus the capacitors have the same charges on them as they would have if connected individually to the voltage source.
The total charge Q is the sum of the individual charges:

Q = Q 1 + Q 2 + Q 3.

(2.67)

Figure 2.22 (a) Capacitors in parallel. Each is connected directly to the voltage source just as if it were all alone, and so the total capacitance in parallel is just the sum of the
individual capacitances. (b) The equivalent capacitor has a larger plate area and can therefore hold more charge than the individual capacitors.

Using the relationship

Q = CV , we see that the total charge is Q = C pV , and the individual charges are Q 1 = C 1V , Q 2 = C 2V , and

Q 3 = C 3V . Entering these into the previous equation gives

C p V = C 1V + C 2V + C 3V.
Canceling

(2.68)

V from the equation, we obtain the equation for the total capacitance in parallel C p :
C p = C 1 + C 2 + C 3 + ....

(2.69)

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Total capacitance in parallel is simply the sum of the individual capacitances. (Again the ... indicates the expression is valid for any number of
capacitors connected in parallel.) So, for example, if the capacitors in the example above were connected in parallel, their capacitance would be

C p = 1.000 F+5.000 F+8.000 F = 14.000 F.

(2.70)

The equivalent capacitor for a parallel connection has an effectively larger plate area and, thus, a larger capacitance, as illustrated in Figure 2.22(b).
Total Capacitance in Parallel,
Total capacitance in parallel

Cp

C p = C 1 + C 2 + C 3 + ...

More complicated connections of capacitors can sometimes be combinations of series and parallel. (See Figure 2.23.) To find the total capacitance
of such combinations, we identify series and parallel parts, compute their capacitances, and then find the total.

Figure 2.23 (a) This circuit contains both series and parallel connections of capacitors. See Example 2.10 for the calculation of the overall capacitance of the circuit. (b)
and
and

C2

are in series; their equivalent capacitance

C3 .

CS

is less than either of them. (c) Note that

CS

is in parallel with

C1

C 3 . The total capacitance is, thus, the sum of C S

Example 2.10 A Mixture of Series and Parallel Capacitance


Find the total capacitance of the combination of capacitors shown in Figure 2.23. Assume the capacitances in Figure 2.23 are known to three
decimal places ( C 1 = 1.000 F , C 2 = 3.000 F , and C 3 = 8.000 F ), and round your answer to three decimal places.
Strategy
To find the total capacitance, we first identify which capacitors are in series and which are in parallel. Capacitors
Their combination, labeled

C S in the figure, is in parallel with C 3 .

C 1 and C 2 are in series.

Solution
Since

C 1 and C 2 are in series, their total capacitance is given by 1 = 1 + 1 + 1 . Entering their values into the equation gives
CS C1 C2 C3
1 = 1 + 1 =
1
1
+
= 1.200 .
F
C S C 1 C 2 1.000 F 5.000 F

(2.71)

C S = 0.833 F.

(2.72)

Inverting gives

This equivalent series capacitance is in parallel with the third capacitor; thus, the total is the sum

C tot = C S + C S
= 0.833 F + 8.000 F
= 8.833 F.

(2.73)

Discussion
This technique of analyzing the combinations of capacitors piece by piece until a total is obtained can be applied to larger combinations of
capacitors.

2.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors


Most of us have seen dramatizations in which medical personnel use a defibrillator to pass an electric current through a patients heart to get it to
beat normally. (Review Figure 2.24.) Often realistic in detail, the person applying the shock directs another person to make it 400 joules this time.
The energy delivered by the defibrillator is stored in a capacitor and can be adjusted to fit the situation. SI units of joules are often employed. Less

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CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

dramatic is the use of capacitors in microelectronics, such as certain handheld calculators, to supply energy when batteries are charged. (See Figure
2.24.) Capacitors are also used to supply energy for flash lamps on cameras.

Figure 2.24 Energy stored in the large capacitor is used to preserve the memory of an electronic calculator when its batteries are charged. (credit: Kucharek, Wikimedia
Commons)

Q and voltage V on the capacitor. We must be careful


PE = qV to a capacitor. Remember that PE is the potential energy of a charge q

Energy stored in a capacitor is electrical potential energy, and it is thus related to the charge
when applying the equation for electrical potential energy

V . But the capacitor starts with zero voltage and gradually comes up to its full voltage as it is charged. The first charge
V = 0 , since the capacitor has zero voltage when uncharged. The final charge placed on a
capacitor experiences V = V , since the capacitor now has its full voltage V on it. The average voltage on the capacitor during the charging
process is V / 2 , and so the average voltage experienced by the full charge q is V / 2 . Thus the energy stored in a capacitor, E cap , is
going through a voltage

placed on a capacitor experiences a change in voltage

E cap =
where

QV
,
2

(2.74)

Q is the charge on a capacitor with a voltage V applied. (Note that the energy is not QV , but QV / 2 .) Charge and voltage are related to
C of a capacitor by Q = CV , and so the expression for E cap can be algebraically manipulated into three equivalent expressions:

the capacitance

E cap =
where

QV CV 2 Q 2
=
=
,
2
2
2C

(2.75)

Q is the charge and V the voltage on a capacitor C . The energy is in joules for a charge in coulombs, voltage in volts, and capacitance in

farads.
Energy Stored in Capacitors
The energy stored in a capacitor can be expressed in three ways:

E cap =
where

QV CV 2 Q 2
=
=
,
2
2
2C

(2.76)

Q is the charge, V is the voltage, and C is the capacitance of the capacitor. The energy is in joules for a charge in coulombs, voltage

in volts, and capacitance in farads.


In a defibrillator, the delivery of a large charge in a short burst to a set of paddles across a persons chest can be a lifesaver. The persons heart
attack might have arisen from the onset of fast, irregular beating of the heartcardiac or ventricular fibrillation. The application of a large shock of
electrical energy can terminate the arrhythmia and allow the bodys pacemaker to resume normal patterns. Today it is common for ambulances to
carry a defibrillator, which also uses an electrocardiogram to analyze the patients heartbeat pattern. Automated external defibrillators (AED) are
found in many public places (Figure 2.25). These are designed to be used by lay persons. The device automatically diagnoses the patients heart
condition and then applies the shock with appropriate energy and waveform. CPR is recommended in many cases before use of an AED.

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Figure 2.25 Automated external defibrillators are found in many public places. These portable units provide verbal instructions for use in the important first few minutes for a
person suffering a cardiac attack. (credit: Owain Davies, Wikimedia Commons)

Example 2.11 Capacitance in a Heart Defibrillator


A heart defibrillator delivers

4.0010 2 J of energy by discharging a capacitor initially at 1.0010 4 V . What is its capacitance?

Strategy
We are given

E cap and V , and we are asked to find the capacitance C . Of the three expressions in the equation for E cap , the most

convenient relationship is
2
E cap = CV .
2

(2.77)

Solution
Solving this expression for

C and entering the given values yields


C =

2E cap
2

V
= 8.00 F.

2(4.0010 2 J)
= 8.0010 6 F
(1.0010 4 V) 2

(2.78)

Discussion
This is a fairly large, but manageable, capacitance at

1.0010 4 V .

Glossary
capacitance: amount of charge stored per unit volt
capacitor: a device that stores electric charge
defibrillator: a machine used to provide an electrical shock to a heart attack victim's heart in order to restore the heart's normal rhythmic pattern
dielectric strength: the maximum electric field above which an insulating material begins to break down and conduct
dielectric: an insulating material
electric potential: potential energy per unit charge
electron volt: the energy given to a fundamental charge accelerated through a potential difference of one volt
equipotential line: a line along which the electric potential is constant
grounding: fixing a conductor at zero volts by connecting it to the earth or ground
mechanical energy: sum of the kinetic energy and potential energy of a system; this sum is a constant

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parallel plate capacitor: two identical conducting plates separated by a distance


polar molecule: a molecule with inherent separation of charge
potential difference (or voltage): change in potential energy of a charge moved from one point to another, divided by the charge; units of
potential difference are joules per coulomb, known as volt
scalar: physical quantity with magnitude but no direction
vector: physical quantity with both magnitude and direction

Section Summary
2.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
Electric potential is potential energy per unit charge.
The potential difference between points A and B, V B

V A , defined to be the change in potential energy of a charge q moved from A to B, is

equal to the change in potential energy divided by the charge, Potential difference is commonly called voltage, represented by the symbol

V = PE
q and PE = qV.

V .

An electron volt is the energy given to a fundamental charge accelerated through a potential difference of 1 V. In equation form,
1 eV = 1.6010 19 C(1 V) = 1.6010 19 C(1 J/C)

= 1.6010 19 J.
Mechanical energy is the sum of the kinetic energy and potential energy of a system, that is,

KE + PE. This sum is a constant.

2.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field


The voltage between points A and B is

V AB = Ed
V (uniform E - field only),
E = AB
d

where d is the distance from A to B, or the distance between the plates.


In equation form, the general relationship between voltage and electric field is

E = V ,
s
where s is the distance over which the change in potential, V , takes place. The minus sign tells us that E points in the direction of
decreasing potential.) The electric field is said to be the gradient (as in grade or slope) of the electric potential.

2.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge


Electric potential of a point charge is V = kQ / r .
Electric potential is a scalar, and electric field is a vector. Addition of voltages as numbers gives the voltage due to a combination of point
charges, whereas addition of individual fields as vectors gives the total electric field.

2.4 Equipotential Lines

An equipotential line is a line along which the electric potential is constant.


An equipotential surface is a three-dimensional version of equipotential lines.
Equipotential lines are always perpendicular to electric field lines.
The process by which a conductor can be fixed at zero volts by connecting it to the earth with a good conductor is called grounding.

2.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics


A capacitor is a device used to store charge.
The amount of charge Q a capacitor can store depends on two major factorsthe voltage applied and the capacitors physical characteristics,
such as its size.
The capacitance

C is the amount of charge stored per volt, or


C=

The capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor is

Q
.
V

C = 0 A , when the plates are separated by air or free space. 0 is called the permittivity of
d

free space.
A parallel plate capacitor with a dielectric between its plates has a capacitance given by

C = 0 A ,
d

where is the dielectric constant of the material.


The maximum electric field strength above which an insulating material begins to break down and conduct is called dielectric strength.

2.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel

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Total capacitance in series


Total capacitance in parallel

1 = 1 + 1 + 1 + ...
CS C1 C2 C3
C p = C 1 + C 2 + C 3 + ...

If a circuit contains a combination of capacitors in series and parallel, identify series and parallel parts, compute their capacitances, and then
find the total.

2.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors


Capacitors are used in a variety of devices, including defibrillators, microelectronics such as calculators, and flash lamps, to supply energy.
The energy stored in a capacitor can be expressed in three ways:
QV CV 2 Q 2
E cap =
=
=
,
2
2
2C
where

Q is the charge, V is the voltage, and C is the capacitance of the capacitor. The energy is in joules when the charge is in coulombs,

voltage is in volts, and capacitance is in farads.

Conceptual Questions
2.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
1. Voltage is the common word for potential difference. Which term is more descriptive, voltage or potential difference?
2. If the voltage between two points is zero, can a test charge be moved between them with zero net work being done? Can this necessarily be done
without exerting a force? Explain.
3. What is the relationship between voltage and energy? More precisely, what is the relationship between potential difference and electric potential
energy?
4. Voltages are always measured between two points. Why?
5. How are units of volts and electron volts related? How do they differ?

2.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field


6. Discuss how potential difference and electric field strength are related. Give an example.
7. What is the strength of the electric field in a region where the electric potential is constant?
8. Will a negative charge, initially at rest, move toward higher or lower potential? Explain why.

2.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge


9. In what region of space is the potential due to a uniformly charged sphere the same as that of a point charge? In what region does it differ from that
of a point charge?
10. Can the potential of a non-uniformly charged sphere be the same as that of a point charge? Explain.

2.4 Equipotential Lines


11. What is an equipotential line? What is an equipotential surface?
12. Explain in your own words why equipotential lines and surfaces must be perpendicular to electric field lines.
13. Can different equipotential lines cross? Explain.

2.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics


14. Does the capacitance of a device depend on the applied voltage? What about the charge stored in it?
15. Use the characteristics of the Coulomb force to explain why capacitance should be proportional to the plate area of a capacitor. Similarly, explain
why capacitance should be inversely proportional to the separation between plates.
16. Give the reason why a dielectric material increases capacitance compared with what it would be with air between the plates of a capacitor. What
is the independent reason that a dielectric material also allows a greater voltage to be applied to a capacitor? (The dielectric thus increases C and
permits a greater

V .)

17. How does the polar character of water molecules help to explain waters relatively large dielectric constant? (Figure 2.19)
18. Sparks will occur between the plates of an air-filled capacitor at lower voltage when the air is humid than when dry. Explain why, considering the
polar character of water molecules.
19. Water has a large dielectric constant, but it is rarely used in capacitors. Explain why.
20. Membranes in living cells, including those in humans, are characterized by a separation of charge across the membrane. Effectively, the
membranes are thus charged capacitors with important functions related to the potential difference across the membrane. Is energy required to
separate these charges in living membranes and, if so, is its source the metabolization of food energy or some other source?

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Figure 2.26 The semipermeable membrane of a cell has different concentrations of ions inside and out. Diffusion moves the

K+

(potassium) and

Cl

(chloride) ions in the

directions shown, until the Coulomb force halts further transfer. This results in a layer of positive charge on the outside, a layer of negative charge on the inside, and thus a
voltage across the cell membrane. The membrane is normally impermeable to

Na +

(sodium ions).

2.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel


21. If you wish to store a large amount of energy in a capacitor bank, would you connect capacitors in series or parallel? Explain.

2.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors


22. How does the energy contained in a charged capacitor change when a dielectric is inserted, assuming the capacitor is isolated and its charge is
constant? Does this imply that work was done?
23. What happens to the energy stored in a capacitor connected to a battery when a dielectric is inserted? Was work done in the process?

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Problems & Exercises


2.1 Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
1. Find the ratio of speeds of an electron and a negative hydrogen ion
(one having an extra electron) accelerated through the same voltage,
assuming non-relativistic final speeds. Take the mass of the hydrogen ion
27
to be 1.6710
kg.
2. An evacuated tube uses an accelerating voltage of 40 kV to accelerate
electrons to hit a copper plate and produce x rays. Non-relativistically,
what would be the maximum speed of these electrons?
3. A bare helium nucleus has two positive charges and a mass of
6.6410 27 kg. (a) Calculate its kinetic energy in joules at 2.00% of
the speed of light. (b) What is this in electron volts? (c) What voltage
would be needed to obtain this energy?
4. Integrated Concepts
Singly charged gas ions are accelerated from rest through a voltage of
13.0 V. At what temperature will the average kinetic energy of gas
molecules be the same as that given these ions?
5. Integrated Concepts
The temperature near the center of the Sun is thought to be 15 million

7
degrees Celsius 1.510 C . Through what voltage must a singly
charged ion be accelerated to have the same energy as the average
kinetic energy of ions at this temperature?
6. Integrated Concepts
(a) What is the average power output of a heart defibrillator that
dissipates 400 J of energy in 10.0 ms? (b) Considering the high-power
output, why doesnt the defibrillator produce serious burns?
7. Integrated Concepts
A lightning bolt strikes a tree, moving 20.0 C of charge through a
potential difference of 1.0010 2 MV . (a) What energy was

dissipated? (b) What mass of water could be raised from 15C to the
boiling point and then boiled by this energy? (c) Discuss the damage that
could be caused to the tree by the expansion of the boiling steam.
8. Integrated Concepts
A 12.0 V battery-operated bottle warmer heats 50.0 g of glass,
2.5010 2 g of baby formula, and 2.0010 2 g of aluminum from

20.0C to 90.0C . (a) How much charge is moved by the battery? (b)
How many electrons per second flow if it takes 5.00 min to warm the
formula? (Hint: Assume that the specific heat of baby formula is about the
same as the specific heat of water.)
9. Integrated Concepts
A battery-operated car utilizes a 12.0 V system. Find the charge the
batteries must be able to move in order to accelerate the 750 kg car from
rest to 25.0 m/s, make it climb a 2.0010 2 m high hill, and then cause
it to travel at a constant 25.0 m/s by exerting a
an hour.

5.0010 2 N force for

10. Integrated Concepts


Fusion probability is greatly enhanced when appropriate nuclei are
brought close together, but mutual Coulomb repulsion must be overcome.
This can be done using the kinetic energy of high-temperature gas ions
or by accelerating the nuclei toward one another. (a) Calculate the
potential energy of two singly charged nuclei separated by
1.0010 12 m by finding the voltage of one at that distance and
multiplying by the charge of the other. (b) At what temperature will atoms
of a gas have an average kinetic energy equal to this needed electrical
potential energy?
11. Unreasonable Results

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(a) Find the voltage near a 10.0 cm diameter metal sphere that has 8.00
C of excess positive charge on it. (b) What is unreasonable about this
result? (c) Which assumptions are responsible?
12. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider a battery used to supply energy to a cellular phone. Construct a
problem in which you determine the energy that must be supplied by the
battery, and then calculate the amount of charge it must be able to move
in order to supply this energy. Among the things to be considered are the
energy needs and battery voltage. You may need to look ahead to
interpret manufacturers battery ratings in ampere-hours as energy in
joules.

2.2 Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field


13. Show that units of V/m and N/C for electric field strength are indeed
equivalent.
14. What is the strength of the electric field between two parallel
conducting plates separated by 1.00 cm and having a potential difference
(voltage) between them of 1.5010 4 V ?
15. The electric field strength between two parallel conducting plates
separated by 4.00 cm is 7.5010 4 V/m . (a) What is the potential
difference between the plates? (b) The plate with the lowest potential is
taken to be at zero volts. What is the potential 1.00 cm from that plate
(and 3.00 cm from the other)?
16. How far apart are two conducting plates that have an electric field
3
strength of 4.5010 V/m between them, if their potential difference is
15.0 kV?
17. (a) Will the electric field strength between two parallel conducting
6
plates exceed the breakdown strength for air ( 3.010 V/m ) if the
plates are separated by 2.00 mm and a potential difference of
5.010 3 V is applied? (b) How close together can the plates be with
this applied voltage?
18. The voltage across a membrane forming a cell wall is 80.0 mV and
the membrane is 9.00 nm thick. What is the electric field strength? (The
value is surprisingly large, but correct. Membranes are discussed in
Capacitors and Dielectrics and Nerve
ConductionElectrocardiograms.) You may assume a uniform electric
field.
19. Membrane walls of living cells have surprisingly large electric fields
across them due to separation of ions. (Membranes are discussed in
some detail in Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms.) What is the
voltage across an 8.00 nmthick membrane if the electric field strength
across it is 5.50 MV/m? You may assume a uniform electric field.
20. Two parallel conducting plates are separated by 10.0 cm, and one of
them is taken to be at zero volts. (a) What is the electric field strength
between them, if the potential 8.00 cm from the zero volt plate (and 2.00
cm from the other) is 450 V? (b) What is the voltage between the plates?
21. Find the maximum potential difference between two parallel
conducting plates separated by 0.500 cm of air, given the maximum
6
sustainable electric field strength in air to be 3.010 V/m .
22. A doubly charged ion is accelerated to an energy of 32.0 keV by the
electric field between two parallel conducting plates separated by 2.00
cm. What is the electric field strength between the plates?
23. An electron is to be accelerated in a uniform electric field having a
6
strength of 2.0010 V/m . (a) What energy in keV is given to the
electron if it is accelerated through 0.400 m? (b) Over what distance
would it have to be accelerated to increase its energy by 50.0 GeV?

2.3 Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge


24. A 0.500 cm diameter plastic sphere, used in a static electricity
demonstration, has a uniformly distributed 40.0 pC charge on its surface.
What is the potential near its surface?

CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

10
25. What is the potential 0.53010
m from a proton (the average
distance between the proton and electron in a hydrogen atom)?

26. (a) A sphere has a surface uniformly charged with 1.00 C. At what
distance from its center is the potential 5.00 MV? (b) What does your
answer imply about the practical aspect of isolating such a large charge?
27. How far from a

1.00 C point charge will the potential be 100 V? At

what distance will it be

38. Figure 2.28 shows the electric field lines near two charges

q 1 and

q 2 , the first having a magnitude four times that of the second. Sketch
the equipotential lines for these two charges, and indicate the direction of
increasing potential.
39. Sketch the equipotential lines a long distance from the charges
shown in Figure 2.28. Indicate the direction of increasing potential.

2.0010 2 V ?

28. What are the sign and magnitude of a point charge that produces a
potential of 2.00 V at a distance of 1.00 mm?
29. If the potential due to a point charge is 5.0010 2 V at a distance of
15.0 m, what are the sign and magnitude of the charge?
30. In nuclear fission, a nucleus splits roughly in half. (a) What is the
potential 2.0010 14 m from a fragment that has 46 protons in it? (b)
What is the potential energy in MeV of a similarly charged fragment at
this distance?
31. A research Van de Graaff generator has a 2.00-m-diameter metal
sphere with a charge of 5.00 mC on it. (a) What is the potential near its
surface? (b) At what distance from its center is the potential 1.00 MV? (c)
An oxygen atom with three missing electrons is released near the Van de
Graaff generator. What is its energy in MeV at this distance?

Figure 2.28 The electric field near two charges.

32. An electrostatic paint sprayer has a 0.200-m-diameter metal sphere


at a potential of 25.0 kV that repels paint droplets onto a grounded object.
(a) What charge is on the sphere? (b) What charge must a 0.100-mg
drop of paint have to arrive at the object with a speed of 10.0 m/s?

41. Sketch the equipotential lines in the vicinity of the negatively charged
conductor in Figure 2.29. How will these equipotentials look a long
distance from the object?

33. In one of the classic nuclear physics experiments at the beginning of


the 20th century, an alpha particle was accelerated toward a gold
nucleus, and its path was substantially deflected by the Coulomb
interaction. If the energy of the doubly charged alpha nucleus was 5.00
MeV, how close to the gold nucleus (79 protons) could it come before
being deflected?
34. (a) What is the potential between two points situated 10 cm and 20
cm from a 3.0 C point charge? (b) To what location should the point at
20 cm be moved to increase this potential difference by a factor of two?
35. Unreasonable Results

40. Sketch the equipotential lines in the vicinity of two opposite charges,
where the negative charge is three times as great in magnitude as the
positive. See Figure 2.28 for a similar situation. Indicate the direction of
increasing potential.

Figure 2.29 A negatively charged conductor.

42. Sketch the equipotential lines surrounding the two conducting plates
shown in Figure 2.30, given the top plate is positive and the bottom plate
has an equal amount of negative charge. Be certain to indicate the
distribution of charge on the plates. Is the field strongest where the plates
are closest? Why should it be?

(a) What is the final speed of an electron accelerated from rest through a
voltage of 25.0 MV by a negatively charged Van de Graaff terminal?
(b) What is unreasonable about this result?
(c) Which assumptions are responsible?

2.4 Equipotential Lines


36. (a) Sketch the equipotential lines near a point charge +

q . Indicate

the direction of increasing potential. (b) Do the same for a point charge
3q.
37. Sketch the equipotential lines for the two equal positive charges
shown in Figure 2.27. Indicate the direction of increasing potential.

Figure 2.27 The electric field near two equal positive charges is directed away from
each of the charges.

Figure 2.30

43. (a) Sketch the electric field lines in the vicinity of the charged insulator
in Figure 2.31. Note its non-uniform charge distribution. (b) Sketch
equipotential lines surrounding the insulator. Indicate the direction of
increasing potential.

Figure 2.31 A charged insulating rod such as might be used in a classroom


demonstration.

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44. The naturally occurring charge on the ground on a fine day out in the
open country is 1.00 nC/m 2 . (a) What is the electric field relative to
ground at a height of 3.00 m? (b) Calculate the electric potential at this
height. (c) Sketch electric field and equipotential lines for this scenario.
45. The lesser electric ray (Narcine bancroftii) maintains an incredible
charge on its head and a charge equal in magnitude but opposite in sign
on its tail (Figure 2.32). (a) Sketch the equipotential lines surrounding the
ray. (b) Sketch the equipotentials when the ray is near a ship with a
conducting surface. (c) How could this charge distribution be of use to the
ray?

Figure 2.33 A combination of series and parallel connections of capacitors.

58. Suppose you want a capacitor bank with a total capacitance of 0.750
F and you possess numerous 1.50 mF capacitors. What is the smallest
number you could hook together to achieve your goal, and how would
you connect them?
59. What total capacitances can you make by connecting a
an

8.00 F capacitor together?

5.00 F and

60. Find the total capacitance of the combination of capacitors shown in


Figure 2.34.
Figure 2.32 Lesser electric ray (Narcine bancroftii) (credit: National Oceanic and
Atmospheric Administration, NOAA's Fisheries Collection).

2.5 Capacitors and Dielectrics


46. What charge is stored in a

180 F capacitor when 120 V is applied

to it?
47. Find the charge stored when 5.50 V is applied to an 8.00 pF
capacitor.
48. What charge is stored in the capacitor in Example 2.8?
49. Calculate the voltage applied to a

3.10 C of charge.

2.00 F capacitor when it holds

Figure 2.34 A combination of series and parallel connections of capacitors.

61. Find the total capacitance of the combination of capacitors shown in


Figure 2.35.

50. What voltage must be applied to an 8.00 nF capacitor to store 0.160


mC of charge?
51. What capacitance is needed to store

3.00 C of charge at a voltage

of 120 V?
52. What is the capacitance of a large Van de Graaff generators
terminal, given that it stores 8.00 mC of charge at a voltage of 12.0 MV?
53. Find the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor having plates of
area 5.00 m 2 that are separated by 0.100 mm of Teflon.
54. (a)What is the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor having plates
of area 1.50 m 2 that are separated by 0.0200 mm of neoprene rubber?

Figure 2.35 A combination of series and parallel connections of capacitors.

(b) What charge does it hold when 9.00 V is applied to it?

62. Unreasonable Results

55. Integrated Concepts

(a) An

A prankster applies 450 V to an

80.0 F capacitor and then tosses it to

8.00 F capacitor is connected in parallel to another capacitor,

producing a total capacitance of

5.00 F . What is the capacitance of

an unsuspecting victim. The victims finger is burned by the discharge of


the capacitor through 0.200 g of flesh. What is the temperature increase
of the flesh? Is it reasonable to assume no phase change?

the second capacitor? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c)
Which assumptions are unreasonable or inconsistent?

56. Unreasonable Results

2.7 Energy Stored in Capacitors

(a) A certain parallel plate capacitor has plates of area 4.00 m 2 ,


separated by 0.0100 mm of nylon, and stores 0.170 C of charge. What is
the applied voltage? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c)
Which assumptions are responsible or inconsistent?

63. (a) What is the energy stored in the

2.6 Capacitors in Series and Parallel


57. Find the total capacitance of the combination of capacitors in Figure
2.33.

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defibrillator charged to
charge.

10.0 F capacitor of a heart

9.0010 V ? (b) Find the amount of stored

64. In open heart surgery, a much smaller amount of energy will


defibrillate the heart. (a) What voltage is applied to the 8.00 F
capacitor of a heart defibrillator that stores 40.0 J of energy? (b) Find the
amount of stored charge.

CHAPTER 2 | ELECTRIC POTENTIAL AND ELECTRIC FIELD

65. A

165 F capacitor is used in conjunction with a motor. How much

energy is stored in it when 119 V is applied?

2.00 F capacitor, and a


7.40 F capacitor. (a) Find the charge and energy stored if the

66. Suppose you have a 9.00 V battery, a

capacitors are connected to the battery in series. (b) Do the same for a
parallel connection.
67. A nervous physicist worries that the two metal shelves of his wood
frame bookcase might obtain a high voltage if charged by static
electricity, perhaps produced by friction. (a) What is the capacitance of
the empty shelves if they have area 1.0010 2 m 2 and are 0.200 m
apart? (b) What is the voltage between them if opposite charges of
magnitude 2.00 nC are placed on them? (c) To show that this voltage
poses a small hazard, calculate the energy stored.
68. Show that for a given dielectric material the maximum energy a
parallel plate capacitor can store is directly proportional to the volume of
dielectric ( Volume = A d ). Note that the applied voltage is limited by
the dielectric strength.
69. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider a heart defibrillator similar to that discussed in Example 2.11.
Construct a problem in which you examine the charge stored in the
capacitor of a defibrillator as a function of stored energy. Among the
things to be considered are the applied voltage and whether it should
vary with energy to be delivered, the range of energies involved, and the
capacitance of the defibrillator. You may also wish to consider the much
smaller energy needed for defibrillation during open-heart surgery as a
variation on this problem.
70. Unreasonable Results
(a) On a particular day, it takes 9.6010 3 J of electric energy to start a
trucks engine. Calculate the capacitance of a capacitor that could store
that amount of energy at 12.0 V. (b) What is unreasonable about this
result? (c) Which assumptions are responsible?

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CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

3 ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S


LAW

Figure 3.1 Electric energy in massive quantities is transmitted from this hydroelectric facility, the Srisailam power station located along the Krishna River in India, by the
movement of chargethat is, by electric current. (credit: Chintohere, Wikimedia Commons)

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Learning Objectives
3.1. Current
Define electric current, ampere, and drift velocity
Describe the direction of charge flow in conventional current.
Use drift velocity to calculate current and vice versa.
3.2. Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits
Explain the origin of Ohms law.
Calculate voltages, currents, or resistances with Ohms law.
Explain what an ohmic material is.
Describe a simple circuit.
3.3. Resistance and Resistivity
Explain the concept of resistivity.
Use resistivity to calculate the resistance of specified configurations of material.
Use the thermal coefficient of resistivity to calculate the change of resistance with temperature.
3.4. Electric Power and Energy
Calculate the power dissipated by a resistor and power supplied by a power supply.
Calculate the cost of electricity under various circumstances.
3.5. Alternating Current versus Direct Current
Explain the differences and similarities between AC and DC current.
Calculate rms voltage, current, and average power.
Explain why AC current is used for power transmission.
3.6. Electric Hazards and the Human Body
Define thermal hazard, shock hazard, and short circuit.
Explain what effects various levels of current have on the human body.
3.7. Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms
Explain the process by which electric signals are transmitted along a neuron.
Explain the effects myelin sheaths have on signal propagation.
Explain what the features of an ECG signal indicate.

Introduction to Electric Current, Resistance, and Ohm's Law


The flicker of numbers on a handheld calculator, nerve impulses carrying signals of vision to the brain, an ultrasound device sending a signal to a
computer screen, the brain sending a message for a baby to twitch its toes, an electric train pulling its load over a mountain pass, a hydroelectric
plant sending energy to metropolitan and rural usersthese and many other examples of electricity involve electric current, the movement of charge.
Humankind has indeed harnessed electricity, the basis of technology, to improve our quality of life. Whereas the previous two chapters concentrated
on static electricity and the fundamental force underlying its behavior, the next few chapters will be devoted to electric and magnetic phenomena
involving current. In addition to exploring applications of electricity, we shall gain new insights into naturein particular, the fact that all magnetism
results from electric current.

3.1 Current
Electric Current
Electric current is defined to be the rate at which charge flows. A large current, such as that used to start a truck engine, moves a large amount of
charge in a small time, whereas a small current, such as that used to operate a hand-held calculator, moves a small amount of charge over a long
period of time. In equation form, electric current I is defined to be

I=

Q
,
t

(3.1)

Q is the amount of charge passing through a given area in time t . (As in previous chapters, initial time is often taken to be zero, in which
t = t .) (See Figure 3.2.) The SI unit for current is the ampere (A), named for the French physicist Andr-Marie Ampre (17751836). Since
I = Q / t , we see that an ampere is one coulomb per second:

where
case

1 A = 1 C/s
Not only are fuses and circuit breakers rated in amperes (or amps), so are many electrical appliances.

Figure 3.2 The rate of flow of charge is current. An ampere is the flow of one coulomb through an area in one second.

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(3.2)

CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

Example 3.1 Calculating Currents: Current in a Truck Battery and a Handheld Calculator
(a) What is the current involved when a truck battery sets in motion 720 C of charge in 4.00 s while starting an engine? (b) How long does it take
1.00 C of charge to flow through a handheld calculator if a 0.300-mA current is flowing?
Strategy
We can use the definition of current in the equation

I = Q / t to find the current in part (a), since charge and time are given. In part (b), we

rearrange the definition of current and use the given values of charge and current to find the time required.
Solution for (a)
Entering the given values for charge and time into the definition of current gives

Q 720 C
=
= 180 C/s
t
4.00 s
= 180 A.

I =

(3.3)

Discussion for (a)


This large value for current illustrates the fact that a large charge is moved in a small amount of time. The currents in these starter motors are
fairly large because large frictional forces need to be overcome when setting something in motion.
Solution for (b)
Solving the relationship

I = Q / t for time t , and entering the known values for charge and current gives
Q
1.00 C
=
I
0.30010 -3 C/s
= 3.3310 3 s.

t =

(3.4)

Discussion for (b)


This time is slightly less than an hour. The small current used by the hand-held calculator takes a much longer time to move a smaller charge
than the large current of the truck starter. So why can we operate our calculators only seconds after turning them on? Its because calculators
require very little energy. Such small current and energy demands allow handheld calculators to operate from solar cells or to get many hours of
use out of small batteries. Remember, calculators do not have moving parts in the same way that a truck engine has with cylinders and pistons,
so the technology requires smaller currents.

Figure 3.3 shows a simple circuit and the standard schematic representation of a battery, conducting path, and load (a resistor). Schematics are very
useful in visualizing the main features of a circuit. A single schematic can represent a wide variety of situations. The schematic in Figure 3.3 (b), for
example, can represent anything from a truck battery connected to a headlight lighting the street in front of the truck to a small battery connected to a
penlight lighting a keyhole in a door. Such schematics are useful because the analysis is the same for a wide variety of situations. We need to
understand a few schematics to apply the concepts and analysis to many more situations.

Figure 3.3 (a) A simple electric circuit. A closed path for current to flow through is supplied by conducting wires connecting a load to the terminals of a battery. (b) In this
schematic, the battery is represented by the two parallel red lines, conducting wires are shown as straight lines, and the zigzag represents the load. The schematic represents
a wide variety of similar circuits.

Note that the direction of current flow in Figure 3.3 is from positive to negative. The direction of conventional current is the direction that positive
charge would flow. Depending on the situation, positive charges, negative charges, or both may move. In metal wires, for example, current is carried

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by electronsthat is, negative charges move. In ionic solutions, such as salt water, both positive and negative charges move. This is also true in
nerve cells. A Van de Graaff generator used for nuclear research can produce a current of pure positive charges, such as protons. Figure 3.4
illustrates the movement of charged particles that compose a current. The fact that conventional current is taken to be in the direction that positive
charge would flow can be traced back to American politician and scientist Benjamin Franklin in the 1700s. He named the type of charge associated
with electrons negative, long before they were known to carry current in so many situations. Franklin, in fact, was totally unaware of the small-scale
structure of electricity.
It is important to realize that there is an electric field in conductors responsible for producing the current, as illustrated in Figure 3.4. Unlike static
electricity, where a conductor in equilibrium cannot have an electric field in it, conductors carrying a current have an electric field and are not in static
equilibrium. An electric field is needed to supply energy to move the charges.
Making Connections: Take-Home InvestigationElectric Current Illustration
Find a straw and little peas that can move freely in the straw. Place the straw flat on a table and fill the straw with peas. When you pop one pea
in at one end, a different pea should pop out the other end. This demonstration is an analogy for an electric current. Identify what compares to
the electrons and what compares to the supply of energy. What other analogies can you find for an electric current?
Note that the flow of peas is based on the peas physically bumping into each other; electrons flow due to mutually repulsive electrostatic forces.

Figure 3.4 Current I is the rate at which charge moves through an area A , such as the cross-section of a wire. Conventional current is defined to move in the direction of
the electric field. (a) Positive charges move in the direction of the electric field and the same direction as conventional current. (b) Negative charges move in the direction
opposite to the electric field. Conventional current is in the direction opposite to the movement of negative charge. The flow of electrons is sometimes referred to as electronic
flow.

Example 3.2 Calculating the Number of Electrons that Move through a Calculator
If the 0.300-mA current through the calculator mentioned in the Example 3.1 example is carried by electrons, how many electrons per second
pass through it?
Strategy
The current calculated in the previous example was defined for the flow of positive charge. For electrons, the magnitude is the same, but the sign
19
3
is opposite, I electrons = 0.30010 C/s .Since each electron (e ) has a charge of 1.6010
C , we can convert the current in
coulombs per second to electrons per second.
Solution
Starting with the definition of current, we have

I electrons =

Q electrons 0.30010 3 C
=
.
s
t

(3.5)

We divide this by the charge per electron, so that

e = 0.30010 3 C
s
s

= 1.8810 15 es .

1 e
1.6010 19 C

(3.6)

Discussion
There are so many charged particles moving, even in small currents, that individual charges are not noticed, just as individual water molecules
are not noticed in water flow. Even more amazing is that they do not always keep moving forward like soldiers in a parade. Rather they are like a

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CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

crowd of people with movement in different directions but a general trend to move forward. There are lots of collisions with atoms in the metal
wire and, of course, with other electrons.

Drift Velocity
Electrical signals are known to move very rapidly. Telephone conversations carried by currents in wires cover large distances without noticeable
8
delays. Lights come on as soon as a switch is flicked. Most electrical signals carried by currents travel at speeds on the order of 10 m/s , a
significant fraction of the speed of light. Interestingly, the individual charges that make up the current move much more slowly on average, typically
drifting at speeds on the order of 10 4 m/s . How do we reconcile these two speeds, and what does it tell us about standard conductors?
The high speed of electrical signals results from the fact that the force between charges acts rapidly at a distance. Thus, when a free charge is forced
into a wire, as in Figure 3.5, the incoming charge pushes other charges ahead of it, which in turn push on charges farther down the line. The density
of charge in a system cannot easily be increased, and so the signal is passed on rapidly. The resulting electrical shock wave moves through the
system at nearly the speed of light. To be precise, this rapidly moving signal or shock wave is a rapidly propagating change in electric field.

Figure 3.5 When charged particles are forced into this volume of a conductor, an equal number are quickly forced to leave. The repulsion between like charges makes it
difficult to increase the number of charges in a volume. Thus, as one charge enters, another leaves almost immediately, carrying the signal rapidly forward.

Good conductors have large numbers of free charges in them. In metals, the free charges are free electrons. Figure 3.6 shows how free electrons
move through an ordinary conductor. The distance that an individual electron can move between collisions with atoms or other electrons is quite
small. The electron paths thus appear nearly random, like the motion of atoms in a gas. But there is an electric field in the conductor that causes the
electrons to drift in the direction shown (opposite to the field, since they are negative). The drift velocity v d is the average velocity of the free
charges. Drift velocity is quite small, since there are so many free charges. If we have an estimate of the density of free electrons in a conductor, we
can calculate the drift velocity for a given current. The larger the density, the lower the velocity required for a given current.

Figure 3.6 Free electrons moving in a conductor make many collisions with other electrons and atoms. The path of one electron is shown. The average velocity of the free
charges is called the drift velocity, v d , and it is in the direction opposite to the electric field for electrons. The collisions normally transfer energy to the conductor, requiring a
constant supply of energy to maintain a steady current.

Conduction of Electricity and Heat


Good electrical conductors are often good heat conductors, too. This is because large numbers of free electrons can carry electrical current and
can transport thermal energy.
The free-electron collisions transfer energy to the atoms of the conductor. The electric field does work in moving the electrons through a distance, but
that work does not increase the kinetic energy (nor speed, therefore) of the electrons. The work is transferred to the conductors atoms, possibly
increasing temperature. Thus a continuous power input is required to keep a current flowing. An exception, of course, is found in superconductors, for
reasons we shall explore in a later chapter. Superconductors can have a steady current without a continual supply of energya great energy
savings. In contrast, the supply of energy can be useful, such as in a lightbulb filament. The supply of energy is necessary to increase the
temperature of the tungsten filament, so that the filament glows.
Making Connections: Take-Home InvestigationFilament Observations
Find a lightbulb with a filament. Look carefully at the filament and describe its structure. To what points is the filament connected?

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We can obtain an expression for the relationship between current and drift velocity by considering the number of free charges in a segment of wire,
as illustrated in Figure 3.7. The number of free charges per unit volume is given the symbol n and depends on the material. The shaded segment
has a volume

Ax , so that the number of free charges in it is nAx . The charge Q in this segment is thus qnAx , where q is the amount of

charge on each carrier. (Recall that for electrons,


move out of this segment in time

q is 1.6010 19 C .) Current is charge moved per unit time; thus, if all the original charges

t , the current is

I=
Note that

Q qnAx
=
.
t
t

(3.7)

x / t is the magnitude of the drift velocity, v d , since the charges move an average distance x in a time t . Rearranging terms gives
I = nqAv d,

(3.8)

where I is the current through a wire of cross-sectional area A made of a material with a free charge density
have charge q and move with a drift velocity of magnitude v d .

Figure 3.7 All the charges in the shaded volume of this wire move out in a time

n . The carriers of the current each

t , having a drift velocity of magnitude v d = x / t . See text for further discussion.

Note that simple drift velocity is not the entire story. The speed of an electron is much greater than its drift velocity. In addition, not all of the electrons
in a conductor can move freely, and those that do might move somewhat faster or slower than the drift velocity. So what do we mean by free
electrons? Atoms in a metallic conductor are packed in the form of a lattice structure. Some electrons are far enough away from the atomic nuclei that
they do not experience the attraction of the nuclei as much as the inner electrons do. These are the free electrons. They are not bound to a single
atom but can instead move freely among the atoms in a sea of electrons. These free electrons respond by accelerating when an electric field is
applied. Of course as they move they collide with the atoms in the lattice and other electrons, generating thermal energy, and the conductor gets
warmer. In an insulator, the organization of the atoms and the structure do not allow for such free electrons.

Example 3.3 Calculating Drift Velocity in a Common Wire


Calculate the drift velocity of electrons in a 12-gauge copper wire (which has a diameter of 2.053 mm) carrying a 20.0-A current, given that there
is one free electron per copper atom. (Household wiring often contains 12-gauge copper wire, and the maximum current allowed in such wire is
3
3
usually 20 A.) The density of copper is 8.8010 kg/m .
Strategy
We can calculate the drift velocity using the equation

I = nqAv d . The current I = 20.0 A is given, and q = 1.6010 19 C is the

charge of an electron. We can calculate the area of a cross-section of the wire using the formula
diameter, 2.053 mm. We are given the density of copper,

A = r 2, where r is one-half the given

8.8010 3 kg/m 3, and the periodic table shows that the atomic mass of copper is

63.54 g/mol. We can use these two quantities along with Avogadros number,

6.0210 23 atoms/mol, to determine n, the number of free

electrons per cubic meter.


Solution
First, calculate the density of free electrons in copper. There is one free electron per copper atom. Therefore, is the same as the number of
3
copper atoms per m . We can now find n as follows:
3
1 e 6.0210 23 atoms 1 mol 1000 g 8.8010 kg
n = atom
mol
kg
63.54 g
1 m3

(3.9)

= 8.34210 28 e /m 3 .

The cross-sectional area of the wire is

A = r 2

(3.10)

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= 2.05310
2

= 3.31010

m .

CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

Rearranging

I = nqAv d to isolate drift velocity gives


vd = I
nqA
20.0
A
=
(8.34210 28/m 3)(1.6010 19 C)(3.31010 6 m 2)

(3.11)

= 4.5310 4 m/s.

Discussion
The minus sign indicates that the negative charges are moving in the direction opposite to conventional current. The small value for drift velocity
8
(on the order of 10 4 m/s ) confirms that the signal moves on the order of 10 12 times faster (about 10 m/s ) than the charges that carry it.

3.2 Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits


What drives current? We can think of various devicessuch as batteries, generators, wall outlets, and so onwhich are necessary to maintain a
current. All such devices create a potential difference and are loosely referred to as voltage sources. When a voltage source is connected to a
conductor, it applies a potential difference V that creates an electric field. The electric field in turn exerts force on charges, causing current.

Ohms Law
The current that flows through most substances is directly proportional to the voltage V applied to it. The German physicist Georg Simon Ohm
(17871854) was the first to demonstrate experimentally that the current in a metal wire is directly proportional to the voltage applied:

I V.

(3.12)

This important relationship is known as Ohms law. It can be viewed as a cause-and-effect relationship, with voltage the cause and current the effect.
This is an empirical law like that for frictionan experimentally observed phenomenon. Such a linear relationship doesnt always occur.

Resistance and Simple Circuits


If voltage drives current, what impedes it? The electric property that impedes current (crudely similar to friction and air resistance) is called
resistance R . Collisions of moving charges with atoms and molecules in a substance transfer energy to the substance and limit current. Resistance
is defined as inversely proportional to current, or

I 1.
R

(3.13)

Thus, for example, current is cut in half if resistance doubles. Combining the relationships of current to voltage and current to resistance gives

I = V.
R

(3.14)

This relationship is also called Ohms law. Ohms law in this form really defines resistance for certain materials. Ohms law (like Hookes law) is not
universally valid. The many substances for which Ohms law holds are called ohmic. These include good conductors like copper and aluminum, and
some poor conductors under certain circumstances. Ohmic materials have a resistance R that is independent of voltage V and current I . An
object that has simple resistance is called a resistor, even if its resistance is small. The unit for resistance is an ohm and is given the symbol
(upper case Greek omega). Rearranging

I = V/R gives R = V/I , and so the units of resistance are 1 ohm = 1 volt per ampere:
1 = 1V .
A

(3.15)

Figure 3.8 shows the schematic for a simple circuit. A simple circuit has a single voltage source and a single resistor. The wires connecting the
voltage source to the resistor can be assumed to have negligible resistance, or their resistance can be included in R .

Figure 3.8 A simple electric circuit in which a closed path for current to flow is supplied by conductors (usually metal wires) connecting a load to the terminals of a battery,
represented by the red parallel lines. The zigzag symbol represents the single resistor and includes any resistance in the connections to the voltage source.

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Example 3.4 Calculating Resistance: An Automobile Headlight


What is the resistance of an automobile headlight through which 2.50 A flows when 12.0 V is applied to it?
Strategy
We can rearrange Ohms law as stated by

I = V/R and use it to find the resistance.

Solution
Rearranging

I = V/R and substituting known values gives


R = V = 12.0 V = 4.80 .
I
2.50 A

(3.16)

Discussion
This is a relatively small resistance, but it is larger than the cold resistance of the headlight. As we shall see in Resistance and Resistivity,
resistance usually increases with temperature, and so the bulb has a lower resistance when it is first switched on and will draw considerably
more current during its brief warm-up period.

Resistances range over many orders of magnitude. Some ceramic insulators, such as those used to support power lines, have resistances of
10 12 or more. A dry person may have a hand-to-foot resistance of 10 5 , whereas the resistance of the human heart is about 10 3

.A
5
meter-long piece of large-diameter copper wire may have a resistance of 10
, and superconductors have no resistance at all (they are nonohmic). Resistance is related to the shape of an object and the material of which it is composed, as will be seen in Resistance and Resistivity.
Additional insight is gained by solving

I = V/R for V, yielding


V = IR.

This expression for

(3.17)

V can be interpreted as the voltage drop across a resistor produced by the flow of current I . The phrase IR drop is often used

for this voltage. For instance, the headlight in Example 3.4 has an IR drop of 12.0 V. If voltage is measured at various points in a circuit, it will be
seen to increase at the voltage source and decrease at the resistor. Voltage is similar to fluid pressure. The voltage source is like a pump, creating a
pressure difference, causing currentthe flow of charge. The resistor is like a pipe that reduces pressure and limits flow because of its resistance.
Conservation of energy has important consequences here. The voltage source supplies energy (causing an electric field and a current), and the
resistor converts it to another form (such as thermal energy). In a simple circuit (one with a single simple resistor), the voltage supplied by the source
equals the voltage drop across the resistor, since PE = qV , and the same q flows through each. Thus the energy supplied by the voltage source
and the energy converted by the resistor are equal. (See Figure 3.9.)

Figure 3.9 The voltage drop across a resistor in a simple circuit equals the voltage output of the battery.

Making Connections: Conservation of Energy


In a simple electrical circuit, the sole resistor converts energy supplied by the source into another form. Conservation of energy is evidenced here
by the fact that all of the energy supplied by the source is converted to another form by the resistor alone. We will find that conservation of
energy has other important applications in circuits and is a powerful tool in circuit analysis.
PhET Explorations: Ohm's Law
See how the equation form of Ohm's law relates to a simple circuit. Adjust the voltage and resistance, and see the current change according to
Ohm's law. The sizes of the symbols in the equation change to match the circuit diagram.

Figure 3.10 Ohm's Law (http://cnx.org/content/m42344/1.4/ohms-law_en.jar)

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3.3 Resistance and Resistivity


Material and Shape Dependence of Resistance
The resistance of an object depends on its shape and the material of which it is composed. The cylindrical resistor in Figure 3.11 is easy to analyze,
and, by so doing, we can gain insight into the resistance of more complicated shapes. As you might expect, the cylinders electric resistance R is

L , similar to the resistance of a pipe to fluid flow. The longer the cylinder, the more collisions charges will make with
R is
inversely proportional to the cylinders cross-sectional area A .
directly proportional to its length

its atoms. The greater the diameter of the cylinder, the more current it can carry (again similar to the flow of fluid through a pipe). In fact,

Figure 3.11 A uniform cylinder of length

and cross-sectional area

A . Its resistance to the flow of current is similar to the resistance posed by a pipe to fluid flow. The
A , the smaller its resistance.

longer the cylinder, the greater its resistance. The larger its cross-sectional area

For a given shape, the resistance depends on the material of which the object is composed. Different materials offer different resistance to the flow of
charge. We define the resistivity of a substance so that the resistance R of an object is directly proportional to . Resistivity is an intrinsic
property of a material, independent of its shape or size. The resistance
a material with resistivity , is

R=
Table 3.1 gives representative values of

R of a uniform cylinder of length L , of cross-sectional area A , and made of


L
.
A

(3.18)

. The materials listed in the table are separated into categories of conductors, semiconductors, and

insulators, based on broad groupings of resistivities. Conductors have the smallest resistivities, and insulators have the largest; semiconductors have
intermediate resistivities. Conductors have varying but large free charge densities, whereas most charges in insulators are bound to atoms and are
not free to move. Semiconductors are intermediate, having far fewer free charges than conductors, but having properties that make the number of
free charges depend strongly on the type and amount of impurities in the semiconductor. These unique properties of semiconductors are put to use in
modern electronics, as will be explored in later chapters.

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Table 3.1 Resistivities

of Various materials at 20C

Material

Resistivity

( m )

Conductors
Silver

1.5910 8

Copper

1.7210 8

Gold

2.4410 8

Aluminum

2.6510 8

Tungsten

5.610 8

Iron

9.7110 8

Platinum

10.610 8

Steel

2010 8

Lead

2210 8

Manganin (Cu, Mn, Ni alloy)

4410 8

Constantan (Cu, Ni alloy)

4910 8

Mercury

9610 8

Nichrome (Ni, Fe, Cr alloy)

10010 8

Semiconductors[1]
Carbon (pure)

3.510 5

Carbon

(3.5 60)10 5

Germanium (pure)

60010 3

Germanium

(1 600)10 3

Silicon (pure)

2300

Silicon

0.12300

Insulators
Amber

510 14

Glass

10 9 10 14

Lucite

>10 13

Mica

10 11 10 15

Quartz (fused)

7510 16

Rubber (hard)

10 13 10 16

Sulfur

10 15

Teflon

>10 13

Wood

10 8 10 11

1. Values depend strongly on amounts and types of impurities


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Example 3.5 Calculating Resistor Diameter: A Headlight Filament


A car headlight filament is made of tungsten and has a cold resistance of
to save space), what is its diameter?

0.350 . If the filament is a cylinder 4.00 cm long (it may be coiled

Strategy
We can rearrange the equation

R=

L
to find the cross-sectional area A of the filament from the given information. Then its diameter can be
A

found by assuming it has a circular cross-section.


Solution

The cross-sectional area, found by rearranging the expression for the resistance of a cylinder given in

A=
Substituting the given values, and taking

R=

L
, is
A

L
.
R

(3.19)

from Table 3.1, yields


(5.610 8 m)(4.0010 2 m)
1.350
9
= 6.4010 m 2 .

A =

The area of a circle is related to its diameter

D by
2
A = D .
4

Solving for the diameter

(3.20)

(3.21)

D , and substituting the value found for A , gives


1
2

6.4010 m

D = 2 A
p = 2

3.14
9

1
2

(3.22)

= 9.010 5 m.

Discussion
The diameter is just under a tenth of a millimeter. It is quoted to only two digits, because

is known to only two digits.

Temperature Variation of Resistance


The resistivity of all materials depends on temperature. Some even become superconductors (zero resistivity) at very low temperatures. (See Figure
3.12.) Conversely, the resistivity of conductors increases with increasing temperature. Since the atoms vibrate more rapidly and over larger distances
at higher temperatures, the electrons moving through a metal make more collisions, effectively making the resistivity higher. Over relatively small
temperature changes (about 100C or less), resistivity varies with temperature change T as expressed in the following equation

= 0(1 + T),

(3.23)

0 is the original resistivity and is the temperature coefficient of resistivity. (See the values of in Table 3.2 below.) For larger
temperature changes, may vary or a nonlinear equation may be needed to find . Note that is positive for metals, meaning their resistivity
where

increases with temperature. Some alloys have been developed specifically to have a small temperature dependence. Manganin (which is made of
copper, manganese and nickel), for example, has close to zero (to three digits on the scale in Table 3.2), and so its resistivity varies only slightly
with temperature. This is useful for making a temperature-independent resistance standard, for example.

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Figure 3.12 The resistance of a sample of mercury is zero at very low temperaturesit is a superconductor up to about 4.2 K. Above that critical temperature, its resistance
makes a sudden jump and then increases nearly linearly with temperature.

Table 3.2 Tempature Coefficients of Resistivity


Coefficient

Material

(1/C)[2]

Conductors
Silver

3.810 3

Copper

3.910 3

Gold

3.410 3

Aluminum

3.910 3

Tungsten

4.510 3

Iron

5.010 3

Platinum

3.9310 3

Lead

3.910 3

Manganin (Cu, Mn, Ni alloy)

0.00010 3

Constantan (Cu, Ni alloy)

0.00210 3

Mercury

0.8910 3

Nichrome (Ni, Fe, Cr alloy)

0.410 3

Semiconductors
Carbon (pure)

0.510 3

Germanium (pure)

5010 3

Silicon (pure)

7010 3

Note also that is negative for the semiconductors listed in Table 3.2, meaning that their resistivity decreases with increasing temperature. They
become better conductors at higher temperature, because increased thermal agitation increases the number of free charges available to carry
current. This property of decreasing with temperature is also related to the type and amount of impurities present in the semiconductors.
The resistance of an object also depends on temperature, since
and

R 0 is directly proportional to . For a cylinder we know R = L / A , and so, if L

A do not change greatly with temperature, R will have the same temperature dependence as . (Examination of the coefficients of linear

expansion shows them to be about two orders of magnitude less than typical temperature coefficients of resistivity, and so the effect of temperature
on L and A is about two orders of magnitude less than on .) Thus,

R = R 0(1 + T)
2. Values at 20C.
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CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

is the temperature dependence of the resistance of an object, where

R 0 is the original resistance and R is the resistance after a temperature

change T . Numerous thermometers are based on the effect of temperature on resistance. (See Figure 3.13.) One of the most common is the
thermistor, a semiconductor crystal with a strong temperature dependence, the resistance of which is measured to obtain its temperature. The device
is small, so that it quickly comes into thermal equilibrium with the part of a person it touches.

Figure 3.13 These familiar thermometers are based on the automated measurement of a thermistors temperature-dependent resistance. (credit: Biol, Wikimedia Commons)

Example 3.6 Calculating Resistance: Hot-Filament Resistance


Although caution must be used in applying

= 0(1 + T) and R = R 0(1 + T) for temperature changes greater than 100C , for

tungsten the equations work reasonably well for very large temperature changes. What, then, is the resistance of the tungsten filament in the
previous example if its temperature is increased from room temperature ( 20C ) to a typical operating temperature of 2850C ?
Strategy
This is a straightforward application of
the temperature change is

R = R 0(1 + T) , since the original resistance of the filament was given to be R 0 = 0.350 , and

T = 2830C .

Solution
The hot resistance

R is obtained by entering known values into the above equation:


R = R 0(1 + T)

(3.25)

= (0.350 )[1 + (4.510 3 / C)(2830C)]


= 4.8 .

Discussion
This value is consistent with the headlight resistance example in Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits.

PhET Explorations: Resistance in a Wire


Learn about the physics of resistance in a wire. Change its resistivity, length, and area to see how they affect the wire's resistance. The sizes of
the symbols in the equation change along with the diagram of a wire.

Figure 3.14 Resistance in a Wire (http://cnx.org/content/m42346/1.5/resistance-in-a-wire_en.jar)

3.4 Electric Power and Energy


Power in Electric Circuits
Power is associated by many people with electricity. Knowing that power is the rate of energy use or energy conversion, what is the expression for
electric power? Power transmission lines might come to mind. We also think of lightbulbs in terms of their power ratings in watts. Let us compare a
25-W bulb with a 60-W bulb. (See Figure 3.15(a).) Since both operate on the same voltage, the 60-W bulb must draw more current to have a greater
power rating. Thus the 60-W bulbs resistance must be lower than that of a 25-W bulb. If we increase voltage, we also increase power. For example,
when a 25-W bulb that is designed to operate on 120 V is connected to 240 V, it briefly glows very brightly and then burns out. Precisely how are
voltage, current, and resistance related to electric power?

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Figure 3.15 (a) Which of these lightbulbs, the 25-W bulb (upper left) or the 60-W bulb (upper right), has the higher resistance? Which draws more current? Which uses the
most energy? Can you tell from the color that the 25-W filament is cooler? Is the brighter bulb a different color and if so why? (credits: Dickbauch, Wikimedia Commons; Greg
Westfall, Flickr) (b) This compact fluorescent light (CFL) puts out the same intensity of light as the 60-W bulb, but at 1/4 to 1/10 the input power. (credit: dbgg1979, Flickr)

Electric energy depends on both the voltage involved and the charge moved. This is expressed most simply as

PE = qV , where q is the charge

moved and V is the voltage (or more precisely, the potential difference the charge moves through). Power is the rate at which energy is moved, and
so electric power is

qV
P = PE
t = t .
Recognizing that current is

(3.26)

I = q / t (note that t = t here), the expression for power becomes


P = IV.

(3.27)

Electric power ( P ) is simply the product of current times voltage. Power has familiar units of watts. Since the SI unit for potential energy (PE) is the

joule, power has units of joules per second, or watts. Thus, 1 A V = 1 W . For example, cars often have one or more auxiliary power outlets with
which you can charge a cell phone or other electronic devices. These outlets may be rated at 20 A, so that the circuit can deliver a maximum power
P = IV = (20 A)(12 V) = 240 W . In some applications, electric power may be expressed as volt-amperes or even kilovolt-amperes (

1 kA V = 1 kW ).

To see the relationship of power to resistance, we combine Ohms law with


substituting

P = IV . Substituting I = V/R gives P = (V / R)V = V 2 /R . Similarly,

V = IR gives P = I(IR) = I 2R . Three expressions for electric power are listed together here for convenience:
P = IV

(3.28)

2
P=V
R

(3.29)

P = I 2R.

(3.30)

Note that the first equation is always valid, whereas the other two can be used only for resistors. In a simple circuit, with one voltage source and a
single resistor, the power supplied by the voltage source and that dissipated by the resistor are identical. (In more complicated circuits, P can be the
power dissipated by a single device and not the total power in the circuit.)
Different insights can be gained from the three different expressions for electric power. For example,

P = V 2 / R implies that the lower the

resistance connected to a given voltage source, the greater the power delivered. Furthermore, since voltage is squared in P = V 2 / R , the effect of
applying a higher voltage is perhaps greater than expected. Thus, when the voltage is doubled to a 25-W bulb, its power nearly quadruples to about
100 W, burning it out. If the bulbs resistance remained constant, its power would be exactly 100 W, but at the higher temperature its resistance is
higher, too.

Example 3.7 Calculating Power Dissipation and Current: Hot and Cold Power
(a) Consider the examples given in Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits and Resistance and Resistivity. Then find the power
dissipated by the car headlight in these examples, both when it is hot and when it is cold. (b) What current does it draw when cold?
Strategy for (a)

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CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

For the hot headlight, we know voltage and current, so we can use
resistance, so we can use P = V 2 / R to find the power.

P = IV to find the power. For the cold headlight, we know the voltage and

Solution for (a)


Entering the known values of current and voltage for the hot headlight, we obtain

P = IV = (2.50 A)(12.0 V) = 30.0 W.


The cold resistance was

(3.31)

0.350 , and so the power it uses when first switched on is


2
(12.0 V) 2
P=V =
= 411 W.
R
0.350

(3.32)

Discussion for (a)


The 30 W dissipated by the hot headlight is typical. But the 411 W when cold is surprisingly higher. The initial power quickly decreases as the
bulbs temperature increases and its resistance increases.
Strategy and Solution for (b)
The current when the bulb is cold can be found several different ways. We rearrange one of the power equations,
values, obtaining

P = I 2R , and enter known

I = P = 411 W = 34.3 A.
R
0.350

(3.33)

Discussion for (b)


The cold current is remarkably higher than the steady-state value of 2.50 A, but the current will quickly decline to that value as the bulbs
temperature increases. Most fuses and circuit breakers (used to limit the current in a circuit) are designed to tolerate very high currents briefly as
a device comes on. In some cases, such as with electric motors, the current remains high for several seconds, necessitating special slow blow
fuses.

The Cost of Electricity


The more electric appliances you use and the longer they are left on, the higher your electric bill. This familiar fact is based on the relationship
between energy and power. You pay for the energy used. Since P = E / t , we see that

E = Pt
is the energy used by a device using power

(3.34)

P for a time interval t . For example, the more lightbulbs burning, the greater P used; the longer they

are on, the greater t is. The energy unit on electric bills is the kilowatt-hour ( kW h ), consistent with the relationship E = Pt . It is easy to
estimate the cost of operating electric appliances if you have some idea of their power consumption rate in watts or kilowatts, the time they are on in
hours, and the cost per kilowatt-hour for your electric utility. Kilowatt-hours, like all other specialized energy units such as food calories, can be
6
converted to joules. You can prove to yourself that 1 kW h = 3.610 J .
The electrical energy ( E ) used can be reduced either by reducing the time of use or by reducing the power consumption of that appliance or fixture.
This will not only reduce the cost, but it will also result in a reduced impact on the environment. Improvements to lighting are some of the fastest ways
to reduce the electrical energy used in a home or business. About 20% of a homes use of energy goes to lighting, while the number for commercial
establishments is closer to 40%. Fluorescent lights are about four times more efficient than incandescent lightsthis is true for both the long tubes
and the compact fluorescent lights (CFL). (See Figure 3.15(b).) Thus, a 60-W incandescent bulb can be replaced by a 15-W CFL, which has the
same brightness and color. CFLs have a bent tube inside a globe or a spiral-shaped tube, all connected to a standard screw-in base that fits standard
incandescent light sockets. (Original problems with color, flicker, shape, and high initial investment for CFLs have been addressed in recent years.)
The heat transfer from these CFLs is less, and they last up to 10 times longer. The significance of an investment in such bulbs is addressed in the
next example. New white LED lights (which are clusters of small LED bulbs) are even more efficient (twice that of CFLs) and last 5 times longer than
CFLs. However, their cost is still high.
Making Connections: Energy, Power, and Time
The relationship E = Pt is one that you will find useful in many different contexts. The energy your body uses in exercise is related to the power
level and duration of your activity, for example. The amount of heating by a power source is related to the power level and time it is applied. Even
the radiation dose of an X-ray image is related to the power and time of exposure.

Example 3.8 Calculating the Cost Effectiveness of Compact Fluorescent Lights (CFL)
If the cost of electricity in your area is 12 cents per kWh, what is the total cost (capital plus operation) of using a 60-W incandescent bulb for 1000
hours (the lifetime of that bulb) if the bulb cost 25 cents? (b) If we replace this bulb with a compact fluorescent light that provides the same light
output, but at one-quarter the wattage, and which costs $1.50 but lasts 10 times longer (10,000 hours), what will that total cost be?
Strategy
To find the operating cost, we first find the energy used in kilowatt-hours and then multiply by the cost per kilowatt-hour.

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Solution for (a)


The energy used in kilowatt-hours is found by entering the power and time into the expression for energy:

E = Pt = (60 W)(1000 h) = 60,000 W h.

(3.35)

E = 60.0 kW h.

(3.36)

cost = (60.0 kW h)($0.12/kW h) = $7.20.

(3.37)

In kilowatt-hours, this is

Now the electricity cost is

The total cost will be $7.20 for 1000 hours (about one-half year at 5 hours per day).
Solution for (b)
Since the CFL uses only 15 W and not 60 W, the electricity cost will be $7.20/4 = $1.80. The CFL will last 10 times longer than the incandescent,
so that the investment cost will be 1/10 of the bulb cost for that time period of use, or 0.1($1.50) = $0.15. Therefore, the total cost will be $1.95
for 1000 hours.
Discussion
Therefore, it is much cheaper to use the CFLs, even though the initial investment is higher. The increased cost of labor that a business must
include for replacing the incandescent bulbs more often has not been figured in here.

Making Connections: Take-Home ExperimentElectrical Energy Use Inventory


1) Make a list of the power ratings on a range of appliances in your home or room. Explain why something like a toaster has a higher rating than
a digital clock. Estimate the energy consumed by these appliances in an average day (by estimating their time of use). Some appliances might
only state the operating current. If the household voltage is 120 V, then use P = IV . 2) Check out the total wattage used in the rest rooms of
your schools floor or building. (You might need to assume the long fluorescent lights in use are rated at 32 W.) Suppose that the building was
closed all weekend and that these lights were left on from 6 p.m. Friday until 8 a.m. Monday. What would this oversight cost? How about for an
entire year of weekends?

3.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current


Alternating Current
Most of the examples dealt with so far, and particularly those utilizing batteries, have constant voltage sources. Once the current is established, it is
thus also a constant. Direct current (DC) is the flow of electric charge in only one direction. It is the steady state of a constant-voltage circuit. Most
well-known applications, however, use a time-varying voltage source. Alternating current (AC) is the flow of electric charge that periodically
reverses direction. If the source varies periodically, particularly sinusoidally, the circuit is known as an alternating current circuit. Examples include the
commercial and residential power that serves so many of our needs. Figure 3.16 shows graphs of voltage and current versus time for typical DC and
AC power. The AC voltages and frequencies commonly used in homes and businesses vary around the world.

Figure 3.16 (a) DC voltage and current are constant in time, once the current is established. (b) A graph of voltage and current versus time for 60-Hz AC power. The voltage
and current are sinusoidal and are in phase for a simple resistance circuit. The frequencies and peak voltages of AC sources differ greatly.

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Figure 3.17 The potential difference

V = V 0 sin 2 ft .

between the terminals of an AC voltage source fluctuates as shown. The mathematical expression for

is given by

Figure 3.17 shows a schematic of a simple circuit with an AC voltage source. The voltage between the terminals fluctuates as shown, with the AC
voltage given by

V = V 0 sin 2 ft,
where

(3.38)

V is the voltage at time t , V 0 is the peak voltage, and f is the frequency in hertz. For this simple resistance circuit, I = V/R , and so the

AC current is

I = I 0 sin 2 ft,
where

(3.39)

I is the current at time t , and I 0 = V 0 /R is the peak current. For this example, the voltage and current are said to be in phase, as seen in

Figure 3.16(b).
Current in the resistor alternates back and forth just like the driving voltage, since I = V/R . If the resistor is a fluorescent light bulb, for example, it
brightens and dims 120 times per second as the current repeatedly goes through zero. A 120-Hz flicker is too rapid for your eyes to detect, but if you
wave your hand back and forth between your face and a fluorescent light, you will see a stroboscopic effect evidencing AC. The fact that the light
output fluctuates means that the power is fluctuating. The power supplied is P = IV . Using the expressions for I and V above, we see that the
time dependence of power is P = I 0V 0 sin 2 2 ft , as shown in Figure 3.18.
Making Connections: Take-Home ExperimentAC/DC Lights
Wave your hand back and forth between your face and a fluorescent light bulb. Do you observe the same thing with the headlights on your car?
Explain what you observe. Warning: Do not look directly at very bright light.

Figure 3.18 AC power as a function of time. Since the voltage and current are in phase here, their product is non-negative and fluctuates between zero and
power is

(1 / 2)I 0 V 0 .

I 0 V 0 . Average

We are most often concerned with average power rather than its fluctuationsthat 60-W light bulb in your desk lamp has an average power
consumption of 60 W, for example. As illustrated in Figure 3.18, the average power P ave is

P ave = 1 I 0 V 0.
2
This is evident from the graph, since the areas above and below the
identities. Similarly, we define an average or rms current

(1 / 2)I 0 V 0 line are equal, but it can also be proven using trigonometric

I rms and average or rms voltage V rms to be, respectively,

(3.40)

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I rms =

I0
2

(3.41)

V rms =

V0
.
2

(3.42)

and

where rms stands for root mean square, a particular kind of average. In general, to obtain a root mean square, the particular quantity is squared, its
mean (or average) is found, and the square root is taken. This is useful for AC, since the average value is zero. Now,

P ave = I rmsV rms,

(3.43)

which gives

P ave =

I0 V0 1

= I V ,
2
2 2 0 0

(3.44)

I rms , V rms , and P ave rather than the peak values. For example, most household electricity is 120
V AC, which means that V rms is 120 V. The common 10-A circuit breaker will interrupt a sustained I rms greater than 10 A. Your 1.0-kW microwave
oven consumes P ave = 1.0 kW , and so on. You can think of these rms and average values as the equivalent DC values for a simple resistive
as stated above. It is standard practice to quote

circuit.
To summarize, when dealing with AC, Ohms law and the equations for power are completely analogous to those for DC, but rms and average values
are used for AC. Thus, for AC, Ohms law is written

I rms =
The various expressions for AC power

V rms
.
R

(3.45)

P ave are
P ave = I rmsV rms,
P ave =

2
V rms
,

(3.46)
(3.47)

and
2
P ave = I rms
R.

(3.48)

Example 3.9 Peak Voltage and Power for AC


(a) What is the value of the peak voltage for 120-V AC power? (b) What is the peak power consumption rate of a 60.0-W AC light bulb?
Strategy
We are told that

V rms is 120 V and P ave is 60.0 W. We can use V rms =

power to find the peak power from the given average power.

V0
to find the peak voltage, and we can manipulate the definition of
2

Solution for (a)


Solving the equation

V rms =

V0
for the peak voltage V 0 and substituting the known value for V rms gives
2
V 0 = 2V rms = 1.414(120 V) = 170 V.

(3.49)

Discussion for (a)


This means that the AC voltage swings from 170 V to

170 V and back 60 times every second. An equivalent DC voltage is a constant 120 V.

Solution for (b)


Peak power is peak current times peak voltage. Thus,

P 0 = I 0V 0 = 21 I 0 V 0 = 2P ave .
2

(3.50)

P 0 = 2(60.0 W) = 120 W.

(3.51)

We know the average power is 60.0 W, and so

Discussion
So the power swings from zero to 120 W one hundred twenty times per second (twice each cycle), and the power averages 60 W.

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Why Use AC for Power Distribution?


Most large power-distribution systems are AC. Moreover, the power is transmitted at much higher voltages than the 120-V AC (240 V in most parts of
the world) we use in homes and on the job. Economies of scale make it cheaper to build a few very large electric power-generation plants than to
build numerous small ones. This necessitates sending power long distances, and it is obviously important that energy losses en route be minimized.
High voltages can be transmitted with much smaller power losses than low voltages, as we shall see. (See Figure 3.19.) For safety reasons, the
voltage at the user is reduced to familiar values. The crucial factor is that it is much easier to increase and decrease AC voltages than DC, so AC is
used in most large power distribution systems.

Figure 3.19 Power is distributed over large distances at high voltage to reduce power loss in the transmission lines. The voltages generated at the power plant are stepped up
by passive devices called transformers (see Transformers) to 330,000 volts (or more in some places worldwide). At the point of use, the transformers reduce the voltage
transmitted for safe residential and commercial use. (Credit: GeorgHH, Wikimedia Commons)

Example 3.10 Power Losses Are Less for High-Voltage Transmission


(a) What current is needed to transmit 100 MW of power at 200 kV? (b) What is the power dissipated by the transmission lines if they have a
resistance of 1.00 ? (c) What percentage of the power is lost in the transmission lines?
Strategy
We are given

P ave = 100 MW , V rms = 200 kV , and the resistance of the lines is R = 1.00 . Using these givens, we can find the

current flowing (from

P = IV ) and then the power dissipated in the lines ( P = I 2R ), and we take the ratio to the total power transmitted.

Solution
To find the current, we rearrange the relationship

P ave = I rmsV rms and substitute known values. This gives


I rms =

P ave 10010 6 W
=
= 500 A.
V rms 20010 3 V

(3.52)

Solution
Knowing the current and given the resistance of the lines, the power dissipated in them is found from

2
P ave = I rms
R . Substituting the known

values gives
2
P ave = I rms
R = (500 A) 2(1.00 ) = 250 kW.

(3.53)

Solution
The percent loss is the ratio of this lost power to the total or input power, multiplied by 100:

% loss= 250 kW 100 = 0.250 %.


100 MW

(3.54)

Discussion
One-fourth of a percent is an acceptable loss. Note that if 100 MW of power had been transmitted at 25 kV, then a current of 4000 A would have
been needed. This would result in a power loss in the lines of 16.0 MW, or 16.0% rather than 0.250%. The lower the voltage, the more current is
needed, and the greater the power loss in the fixed-resistance transmission lines. Of course, lower-resistance lines can be built, but this requires
larger and more expensive wires. If superconducting lines could be economically produced, there would be no loss in the transmission lines at
all. But, as we shall see in a later chapter, there is a limit to current in superconductors, too. In short, high voltages are more economical for
transmitting power, and AC voltage is much easier to raise and lower, so that AC is used in most large-scale power distribution systems.

It is widely recognized that high voltages pose greater hazards than low voltages. But, in fact, some high voltages, such as those associated with
common static electricity, can be harmless. So it is not voltage alone that determines a hazard. It is not so widely recognized that AC shocks are often
more harmful than similar DC shocks. Thomas Edison thought that AC shocks were more harmful and set up a DC power-distribution system in New
York City in the late 1800s. There were bitter fights, in particular between Edison and George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla, who were advocating
the use of AC in early power-distribution systems. AC has prevailed largely due to transformers and lower power losses with high-voltage
transmission.

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PhET Explorations: Generator


Generate electricity with a bar magnet! Discover the physics behind the phenomena by exploring magnets and how you can use them to make a
bulb light.

Figure 3.20 Generator (http://cnx.org/content/m42348/1.4/generator_en.jar)

3.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body


There are two known hazards of electricitythermal and shock. A thermal hazard is one where excessive electric power causes undesired thermal
effects, such as starting a fire in the wall of a house. A shock hazard occurs when electric current passes through a person. Shocks range in severity
from painful, but otherwise harmless, to heart-stopping lethality. This section considers these hazards and the various factors affecting them in a
quantitative manner. Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices will consider systems and devices for preventing electrical hazards.

Thermal Hazards
Electric power causes undesired heating effects whenever electric energy is converted to thermal energy at a rate faster than it can be safely
dissipated. A classic example of this is the short circuit, a low-resistance path between terminals of a voltage source. An example of a short circuit is
shown in Figure 3.21. Insulation on wires leading to an appliance has worn through, allowing the two wires to come into contact. Such an undesired
contact with a high voltage is called a short. Since the resistance of the short, r , is very small, the power dissipated in the short, P = V 2 / r , is very
large. For example, if V is 120 V and r is 0.100 , then the power is 144 kW, much greater than that used by a typical household appliance.
Thermal energy delivered at this rate will very quickly raise the temperature of surrounding materials, melting or perhaps igniting them.

Figure 3.21 A short circuit is an undesired low-resistance path across a voltage source. (a) Worn insulation on the wires of a toaster allow them to come into contact with a low
resistance

r . Since P = V 2 / r , thermal power is created so rapidly that the cord melts or burns. (b) A schematic of the short circuit.

One particularly insidious aspect of a short circuit is that its resistance may actually be decreased due to the increase in temperature. This can
happen if the short creates ionization. These charged atoms and molecules are free to move and, thus, lower the resistance r . Since P = V 2 / r ,
the power dissipated in the short rises, possibly causing more ionization, more power, and so on. High voltages, such as the 480-V AC used in some
industrial applications, lend themselves to this hazard, because higher voltages create higher initial power production in a short.
Another serious, but less dramatic, thermal hazard occurs when wires supplying power to a user are overloaded with too great a current. As
discussed in the previous section, the power dissipated in the supply wires is P = I 2R w , where R w is the resistance of the wires and I the

I or R w is too large, the wires overheat. For example, a worn appliance cord (with some of its braided wires
R w = 2.00 rather than the 0.100 it should be. If 10.0 A of current passes through the cord, then

current flowing through them. If either


broken) may have

P = I 2R w = 200 W is dissipated in the cordmuch more than is safe. Similarly, if a wire with a 0.100 - resistance is meant to carry a few
amps, but is instead carrying 100 A, it will severely overheat. The power dissipated in the wire will in that case be P = 1000 W . Fuses and circuit
breakers are used to limit excessive currents. (See Figure 3.22 and Figure 3.23.) Each device opens the circuit automatically when a sustained
current exceeds safe limits.

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Figure 3.22 (a) A fuse has a metal strip with a low melting point that, when overheated by an excessive current, permanently breaks the connection of a circuit to a voltage
source. (b) A circuit breaker is an automatic but restorable electric switch. The one shown here has a bimetallic strip that bends to the right and into the notch if overheated.
The spring then forces the metal strip downward, breaking the electrical connection at the points.

Figure 3.23 Schematic of a circuit with a fuse or circuit breaker in it. Fuses and circuit breakers act like automatic switches that open when sustained current exceeds desired
limits.

Fuses and circuit breakers for typical household voltages and currents are relatively simple to produce, but those for large voltages and currents
experience special problems. For example, when a circuit breaker tries to interrupt the flow of high-voltage electricity, a spark can jump across its
points that ionizes the air in the gap and allows the current to continue flowing. Large circuit breakers found in power-distribution systems employ
insulating gas and even use jets of gas to blow out such sparks. Here AC is safer than DC, since AC current goes through zero 120 times per
second, giving a quick opportunity to extinguish these arcs.

Shock Hazards
Electrical currents through people produce tremendously varied effects. An electrical current can be used to block back pain. The possibility of using
electrical current to stimulate muscle action in paralyzed limbs, perhaps allowing paraplegics to walk, is under study. TV dramatizations in which
electrical shocks are used to bring a heart attack victim out of ventricular fibrillation (a massively irregular, often fatal, beating of the heart) are more
than common. Yet most electrical shock fatalities occur because a current put the heart into fibrillation. A pacemaker uses electrical shocks to
stimulate the heart to beat properly. Some fatal shocks do not produce burns, but warts can be safely burned off with electric current (though freezing
using liquid nitrogen is now more common). Of course, there are consistent explanations for these disparate effects. The major factors upon which
the effects of electrical shock depend are
1.
2.
3.
4.

The amount of current I


The path taken by the current
The duration of the shock
The frequency f of the current (

f = 0 for DC)

Table 3.3 gives the effects of electrical shocks as a function of current for a typical accidental shock. The effects are for a shock that passes through
the trunk of the body, has a duration of 1 s, and is caused by 60-Hz power.

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Figure 3.24 An electric current can cause muscular contractions with varying effects. (a) The victim is thrown backward by involuntary muscle contractions that extend the
legs and torso. (b) The victim cant let go of the wire that is stimulating all the muscles in the hand. Those that close the fingers are stronger than those that open them.

Table 3.3 Effects of Electrical Shock as a Function of Current[3]


Current
(mA)

Effect

Threshold of sensation

Maximum harmless current

1020

Onset of sustained muscular contraction; cannot let go for duration of shock; contraction of chest muscles may stop breathing during
shock

50

Onset of pain

100300+

Ventricular fibrillation possible; often fatal

300

Onset of burns depending on concentration of current

6000 (6 A)

Onset of sustained ventricular contraction and respiratory paralysis; both cease when shock ends; heartbeat may return to normal;
used to defibrillate the heart

Our bodies are relatively good conductors due to the water in our bodies. Given that larger currents will flow through sections with lower resistance
(to be further discussed in the next chapter), electric currents preferentially flow through paths in the human body that have a minimum resistance in
a direct path to earth. The earth is a natural electron sink. Wearing insulating shoes, a requirement in many professions, prohibits a pathway for
electrons by providing a large resistance in that path. Whenever working with high-power tools (drills), or in risky situations, ensure that you do not
provide a pathway for current flow (especially through the heart).
Very small currents pass harmlessly and unfelt through the body. This happens to you regularly without your knowledge. The threshold of sensation is
only 1 mA and, although unpleasant, shocks are apparently harmless for currents less than 5 mA. A great number of safety rules take the 5-mA value
for the maximum allowed shock. At 10 to 20 mA and above, the current can stimulate sustained muscular contractions much as regular nerve
impulses do. People sometimes say they were knocked across the room by a shock, but what really happened was that certain muscles contracted,
propelling them in a manner not of their own choosing. (See Figure 3.24(a).) More frightening, and potentially more dangerous, is the cant let go
effect illustrated in Figure 3.24(b). The muscles that close the fingers are stronger than those that open them, so the hand closes involuntarily on the
wire shocking it. This can prolong the shock indefinitely. It can also be a danger to a person trying to rescue the victim, because the rescuers hand
may close about the victims wrist. Usually the best way to help the victim is to give the fist a hard knock/blow/jar with an insulator or to throw an
insulator at the fist. Modern electric fences, used in animal enclosures, are now pulsed on and off to allow people who touch them to get free,
rendering them less lethal than in the past.
Greater currents may affect the heart. Its electrical patterns can be disrupted, so that it beats irregularly and ineffectively in a condition called
ventricular fibrillation. This condition often lingers after the shock and is fatal due to a lack of blood circulation. The threshold for ventricular
fibrillation is between 100 and 300 mA. At about 300 mA and above, the shock can cause burns, depending on the concentration of currentthe
more concentrated, the greater the likelihood of burns.
Very large currents cause the heart and diaphragm to contract for the duration of the shock. Both the heart and breathing stop. Interestingly, both
often return to normal following the shock. The electrical patterns on the heart are completely erased in a manner that the heart can start afresh with
normal beating, as opposed to the permanent disruption caused by smaller currents that can put the heart into ventricular fibrillation. The latter is
something like scribbling on a blackboard, whereas the former completely erases it. TV dramatizations of electric shock used to bring a heart attack
victim out of ventricular fibrillation also show large paddles. These are used to spread out current passed through the victim to reduce the likelihood of
burns.
Current is the major factor determining shock severity (given that other conditions such as path, duration, and frequency are fixed, such as in the
table and preceding discussion). A larger voltage is more hazardous, but since I = V/R , the severity of the shock depends on the combination of

200 k . If he comes into contact with 120-V AC, a current


I = (120 V) / (200 k )= 0.6 mA passes harmlessly through him. The same person soaking wet may have a resistance of 10.0 k and the

voltage and resistance. For example, a person with dry skin has a resistance of about

same 120 V will produce a current of 12 mAabove the cant let go threshold and potentially dangerous.
Most of the bodys resistance is in its dry skin. When wet, salts go into ion form, lowering the resistance significantly. The interior of the body has a
much lower resistance than dry skin because of all the ionic solutions and fluids it contains. If skin resistance is bypassed, such as by an intravenous
3. For an average male shocked through trunk of body for 1 s by 60-Hz AC. Values for females are 6080% of those listed.
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infusion, a catheter, or exposed pacemaker leads, a person is rendered microshock sensitive. In this condition, currents about 1/1000 those listed
in Table 3.3 produce similar effects. During open-heart surgery, currents as small as 20 A can be used to still the heart. Stringent electrical safety
requirements in hospitals, particularly in surgery and intensive care, are related to the doubly disadvantaged microshock-sensitive patient. The break
in the skin has reduced his resistance, and so the same voltage causes a greater current, and a much smaller current has a greater effect.

Figure 3.25 Graph of average values for the threshold of sensation and the cant let go current as a function of frequency. The lower the value, the more sensitive the body is
at that frequency.

Factors other than current that affect the severity of a shock are its path, duration, and AC frequency. Path has obvious consequences. For example,
the heart is unaffected by an electric shock through the brain, such as may be used to treat manic depression. And it is a general truth that the longer
the duration of a shock, the greater its effects. Figure 3.25 presents a graph that illustrates the effects of frequency on a shock. The curves show the
minimum current for two different effects, as a function of frequency. The lower the current needed, the more sensitive the body is at that frequency.
Ironically, the body is most sensitive to frequencies near the 50- or 60-Hz frequencies in common use. The body is slightly less sensitive for DC (
f = 0 ), mildly confirming Edisons claims that AC presents a greater hazard. At higher and higher frequencies, the body becomes progressively less
sensitive to any effects that involve nerves. This is related to the maximum rates at which nerves can fire or be stimulated. At very high frequencies,
electrical current travels only on the surface of a person. Thus a wart can be burned off with very high frequency current without causing the heart to
stop. (Do not try this at home with 60-Hz AC!) Some of the spectacular demonstrations of electricity, in which high-voltage arcs are passed through
the air and over peoples bodies, employ high frequencies and low currents. (See Figure 3.26.) Electrical safety devices and techniques are
discussed in detail in Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices.

Figure 3.26 Is this electric arc dangerous? The answer depends on the AC frequency and the power involved. (credit: Khimich Alex, Wikimedia Commons)

3.7 Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms


Nerve Conduction
Electric currents in the vastly complex system of billions of nerves in our body allow us to sense the world, control parts of our body, and think. These
are representative of the three major functions of nerves. First, nerves carry messages from our sensory organs and others to the central nervous
system, consisting of the brain and spinal cord. Second, nerves carry messages from the central nervous system to muscles and other organs. Third,
nerves transmit and process signals within the central nervous system. The sheer number of nerve cells and the incredibly greater number of
connections between them makes this system the subtle wonder that it is. Nerve conduction is a general term for electrical signals carried by nerve
cells. It is one aspect of bioelectricity, or electrical effects in and created by biological systems.
Nerve cells, properly called neurons, look different from other cellsthey have tendrils, some of them many centimeters long, connecting them with
other cells. (See Figure 3.27.) Signals arrive at the cell body across synapses or through dendrites, stimulating the neuron to generate its own signal,
sent along its long axon to other nerve or muscle cells. Signals may arrive from many other locations and be transmitted to yet others, conditioning
the synapses by use, giving the system its complexity and its ability to learn.

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Figure 3.27 A neuron with its dendrites and long axon. Signals in the form of electric currents reach the cell body through dendrites and across synapses, stimulating the
neuron to generate its own signal sent down the axon. The number of interconnections can be far greater than shown here.

The method by which these electric currents are generated and transmitted is more complex than the simple movement of free charges in a
conductor, but it can be understood with principles already discussed in this text. The most important of these are the Coulomb force and diffusion.
Figure 3.28 illustrates how a voltage (potential difference) is created across the cell membrane of a neuron in its resting state. This thin membrane
+
+
separates electrically neutral fluids having differing concentrations of ions, the most important varieties being Na , K , and Cl - (these are
sodium, potassium, and chlorine ions with single plus or minus charges as indicated). As discussed in Molecular Transport Phenomena: Diffusion,
Osmosis, and Related Processes (http://cnx.org/content/m42212/latest/) , free ions will diffuse from a region of high concentration to one of low
concentration. But the cell membrane is semipermeable, meaning that some ions may cross it while others cannot. In its resting state, the cell
+
+
+
membrane is permeable to K and Cl - , and impermeable to Na . Diffusion of K and Cl - thus creates the layers of positive and negative
charge on the outside and inside of the membrane. The Coulomb force prevents the ions from diffusing across in their entirety. Once the charge layer
has built up, the repulsion of like charges prevents more from moving across, and the attraction of unlike charges prevents more from leaving either
side. The result is two layers of charge right on the membrane, with diffusion being balanced by the Coulomb force. A tiny fraction of the charges
move across and the fluids remain neutral (other ions are present), while a separation of charge and a voltage have been created across the
membrane.

Figure 3.28 The semipermeable membrane of a cell has different concentrations of ions inside and out. Diffusion moves the

K+

and

Cl -

ions in the direction shown, until

the Coulomb force halts further transfer. This results in a layer of positive charge on the outside, a layer of negative charge on the inside, and thus a voltage across the cell
membrane. The membrane is normally impermeable to

Na + .

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Figure 3.29 An action potential is the pulse of voltage inside a nerve cell graphed here. It is caused by movements of ions across the cell membrane as shown. Depolarization
occurs when a stimulus makes the membrane permeable to

Na +

ions. Repolarization follows as the membrane again becomes impermeable to

Na + ,

and

K+

moves

from high to low concentration. In the long term, active transport slowly maintains the concentration differences, but the cell may fire hundreds of times in rapid succession
without seriously depleting them.

The separation of charge creates a potential difference of 70 to 90 mV across the cell membrane. While this is a small voltage, the resulting electric
field ( E = V / d ) across the only 8-nm-thick membrane is immense (on the order of 11 MV/m!) and has fundamental effects on its structure and
permeability. Now, if the exterior of a neuron is taken to be at 0 V, then the interior has a resting potential of about 90 mV. Such voltages are created
across the membranes of almost all types of animal cells but are largest in nerve and muscle cells. In fact, fully 25% of the energy used by cells goes
toward creating and maintaining these potentials.
Electric currents along the cell membrane are created by any stimulus that changes the membranes permeability. The membrane thus temporarily
+
+
becomes permeable to Na , which then rushes in, driven both by diffusion and the Coulomb force. This inrush of Na first neutralizes the inside
+
membrane, or depolarizes it, and then makes it slightly positive. The depolarization causes the membrane to again become impermeable to Na ,
+
and the movement of K quickly returns the cell to its resting potential, or repolarizes it. This sequence of events results in a voltage pulse, called
the action potential. (See Figure 3.29.) Only small fractions of the ions move, so that the cell can fire many hundreds of times without depleting the
+
+
excess concentrations of Na and K . Eventually, the cell must replenish these ions to maintain the concentration differences that create
bioelectricity. This sodium-potassium pump is an example of active transport, wherein cell energy is used to move ions across membranes against
diffusion gradients and the Coulomb force.
The action potential is a voltage pulse at one location on a cell membrane. How does it get transmitted along the cell membrane, and in particular
down an axon, as a nerve impulse? The answer is that the changing voltage and electric fields affect the permeability of the adjacent cell membrane,
so that the same process takes place there. The adjacent membrane depolarizes, affecting the membrane further down, and so on, as illustrated in
Figure 3.30. Thus the action potential stimulated at one location triggers a nerve impulse that moves slowly (about 1 m/s) along the cell membrane.

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Figure 3.30 A nerve impulse is the propagation of an action potential along a cell membrane. A stimulus causes an action potential at one location, which changes the
permeability of the adjacent membrane, causing an action potential there. This in turn affects the membrane further down, so that the action potential moves slowly (in
electrical terms) along the cell membrane. Although the impulse is due to
outside and inside of the membrane.

Na +

and

K+

going across the membrane, it is equivalent to a wave of charge moving along the

Some axons, like that in Figure 3.27, are sheathed with myelin, consisting of fat-containing cells. Figure 3.31 shows an enlarged view of an axon
having myelin sheaths characteristically separated by unmyelinated gaps (called nodes of Ranvier). This arrangement gives the axon a number of
interesting properties. Since myelin is an insulator, it prevents signals from jumping between adjacent nerves (cross talk). Additionally, the myelinated
regions transmit electrical signals at a very high speed, as an ordinary conductor or resistor would. There is no action potential in the myelinated
regions, so that no cell energy is used in them. There is an IR signal loss in the myelin, but the signal is regenerated in the gaps, where the voltage
pulse triggers the action potential at full voltage. So a myelinated axon transmits a nerve impulse faster, with less energy consumption, and is better
protected from cross talk than an unmyelinated one. Not all axons are myelinated, so that cross talk and slow signal transmission are a characteristic
of the normal operation of these axons, another variable in the nervous system.
The degeneration or destruction of the myelin sheaths that surround the nerve fibers impairs signal transmission and can lead to numerous
neurological effects. One of the most prominent of these diseases comes from the bodys own immune system attacking the myelin in the central
nervous systemmultiple sclerosis. MS symptoms include fatigue, vision problems, weakness of arms and legs, loss of balance, and tingling or
numbness in ones extremities (neuropathy). It is more apt to strike younger adults, especially females. Causes might come from infection,
environmental or geographic affects, or genetics. At the moment there is no known cure for MS.

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Most animal cells can fire or create their own action potential. Muscle cells contract when they fire and are often induced to do so by a nerve impulse.
In fact, nerve and muscle cells are physiologically similar, and there are even hybrid cells, such as in the heart, that have characteristics of both
nerves and muscles. Some animals, like the infamous electric eel (see Figure 3.32), use muscles ganged so that their voltages add in order to create
a shock great enough to stun prey.

Figure 3.31 Propagation of a nerve impulse down a myelinated axon, from left to right. The signal travels very fast and without energy input in the myelinated regions, but it
loses voltage. It is regenerated in the gaps. The signal moves faster than in unmyelinated axons and is insulated from signals in other nerves, limiting cross talk.

Figure 3.32 An electric eel flexes its muscles to create a voltage that stuns prey. (credit: chrisbb, Flickr)

Electrocardiograms
Just as nerve impulses are transmitted by depolarization and repolarization of adjacent membrane, the depolarization that causes muscle contraction
can also stimulate adjacent muscle cells to depolarize (fire) and contract. Thus, a depolarization wave can be sent across the heart, coordinating its
rhythmic contractions and enabling it to perform its vital function of propelling blood through the circulatory system. Figure 3.33 is a simplified graphic
of a depolarization wave spreading across the heart from the sinoarterial (SA) node, the hearts natural pacemaker.

Figure 3.33 The outer surface of the heart changes from positive to negative during depolarization. This wave of depolarization is spreading from the top of the heart and is
represented by a vector pointing in the direction of the wave. This vector is a voltage (potential difference) vector. Three electrodes, labeled RA, LA, and LL, are placed on the
patient. Each pair (called leads I, II, and III) measures a component of the depolarization vector and is graphed in an ECG.

An electrocardiogram (ECG) is a record of the voltages created by the wave of depolarization and subsequent repolarization in the heart. Voltages
between pairs of electrodes placed on the chest are vector components of the voltage wave on the heart. Standard ECGs have 12 or more
electrodes, but only three are shown in Figure 3.33 for clarity. Decades ago, three-electrode ECGs were performed by placing electrodes on the left
and right arms and the left leg. The voltage between the right arm and the left leg is called the lead II potential and is the most often graphed. We
shall examine the lead II potential as an indicator of heart-muscle function and see that it is coordinated with arterial blood pressure as well.
Heart function and its four-chamber action are explored in Viscosity and Laminar Flow; Poiseuilles Law (http://cnx.org/content/m42209/latest/)
. Basically, the right and left atria receive blood from the body and lungs, respectively, and pump the blood into the ventricles. The right and left
ventricles, in turn, pump blood through the lungs and the rest of the body, respectively. Depolarization of the heart muscle causes it to contract. After

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contraction it is repolarized to ready it for the next beat. The ECG measures components of depolarization and repolarization of the heart muscle and
can yield significant information on the functioning and malfunctioning of the heart.
Figure 3.34 shows an ECG of the lead II potential and a graph of the corresponding arterial blood pressure. The major features are labeled P, Q, R,
S, and T. The P wave is generated by the depolarization and contraction of the atria as they pump blood into the ventricles. The QRS complex is
created by the depolarization of the ventricles as they pump blood to the lungs and body. Since the shape of the heart and the path of the
depolarization wave are not simple, the QRS complex has this typical shape and time span. The lead II QRS signal also masks the repolarization of
the atria, which occur at the same time. Finally, the T wave is generated by the repolarization of the ventricles and is followed by the next P wave in
the next heartbeat. Arterial blood pressure varies with each part of the heartbeat, with systolic (maximum) pressure occurring closely after the QRS
complex, which signals contraction of the ventricles.

Figure 3.34 A lead II ECG with corresponding arterial blood pressure. The QRS complex is created by the depolarization and contraction of the ventricles and is followed
shortly by the maximum or systolic blood pressure. See text for further description.

Taken together, the 12 leads of a state-of-the-art ECG can yield a wealth of information about the heart. For example, regions of damaged heart
tissue, called infarcts, reflect electrical waves and are apparent in one or more lead potentials. Subtle changes due to slight or gradual damage to the
heart are most readily detected by comparing a recent ECG to an older one. This is particularly the case since individual heart shape, size, and
orientation can cause variations in ECGs from one individual to another. ECG technology has advanced to the point where a portable ECG monitor
with a liquid crystal instant display and a printer can be carried to patients' homes or used in emergency vehicles. See Figure 3.35.

Figure 3.35 This NASA scientist and NEEMO 5 aquanauts heart rate and other vital signs are being recorded by a portable device while living in an underwater habitat.
(credit: NASA, Life Sciences Data Archive at Johnson Space Center, Houston, Texas)

PhET Explorations: Neuron

Figure 3.36 Neuron (http://cnx.org/content/m42352/1.3/neuron_en.jar)

Stimulate a neuron and monitor what happens. Pause, rewind, and move forward in time in order to observe the ions as they move across the
neuron membrane.

Glossary
AC current: current that fluctuates sinusoidally with time, expressed as I = I0 sin 2ft, where I is the current at time t, I0 is the peak current, and f
is the frequency in hertz
AC voltage: voltage that fluctuates sinusoidally with time, expressed as V = V0 sin 2ft, where V is the voltage at time t, V0 is the peak voltage,
and f is the frequency in hertz
alternating current: (AC) the flow of electric charge that periodically reverses direction

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CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

ampere: (amp) the SI unit for current; 1 A = 1 C/s


bioelectricity: electrical effects in and created by biological systems
direct current: (DC) the flow of electric charge in only one direction
drift velocity: the average velocity at which free charges flow in response to an electric field
electric current: the rate at which charge flows, I = Q/t
electric power: the rate at which electrical energy is supplied by a source or dissipated by a device; it is the product of current times voltage
electrocardiogram (ECG): usually abbreviated ECG, a record of voltages created by depolarization and repolarization, especially in the heart
microshock sensitive: a condition in which a persons skin resistance is bypassed, possibly by a medical procedure, rendering the person
vulnerable to electrical shock at currents about 1/1000 the normally required level
nerve conduction: the transport of electrical signals by nerve cells
Ohms law: an empirical relation stating that the current I is proportional to the potential difference V, V; it is often written as I = V/R, where R is
the resistance
ohmic: a type of a material for which Ohm's law is valid
ohm: the unit of resistance, given by 1 = 1 V/A
resistance: the electric property that impedes current; for ohmic materials, it is the ratio of voltage to current, R = V/I
resistivity: an intrinsic property of a material, independent of its shape or size, directly proportional to the resistance, denoted by
rms current: the root mean square of the current,

I rms = I 0 / 2 , where I0 is the peak current, in an AC system

rms voltage: the root mean square of the voltage,

V rms = V 0 / 2 , where V0 is the peak voltage, in an AC system

semipermeable: property of a membrane that allows only certain types of ions to cross it
shock hazard: when electric current passes through a person
short circuit: also known as a short, a low-resistance path between terminals of a voltage source
simple circuit: a circuit with a single voltage source and a single resistor
temperature coefficient of resistivity: an empirical quantity, denoted by , which describes the change in resistance or resistivity of a material
with temperature
thermal hazard: a hazard in which electric current causes undesired thermal effects

Section Summary
3.1 Current
Electric current

I is the rate at which charge flows, given by

Q
,
t
where Q is the amount of charge passing through an area in time t .
I=

The direction of conventional current is taken as the direction in which positive charge moves.
The SI unit for current is the ampere (A), where 1 A = 1 C/s.
Current is the flow of free charges, such as electrons and ions.
Drift velocity v d is the average speed at which these charges move.

Current

I is proportional to drift velocity v d , as expressed in the relationship I = nqAv d . Here, I is the current through a wire of cross-

sectional area

A . The wires material has a free-charge density n , and each carrier has charge q and a drift velocity v d .

Electrical signals travel at speeds about

10 12 times greater than the drift velocity of free electrons.

3.2 Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits


A simple circuit is one in which there is a single voltage source and a single resistance.

I , voltage V , and resistance R in a simple circuit to be I = V .


R
Resistance has units of ohms ( ), related to volts and amperes by 1 = 1 V/A .
There is a voltage or IR drop across a resistor, caused by the current flowing through it, given by V = IR .
One statement of Ohms law gives the relationship between current

3.3 Resistance and Resistivity

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The resistance

R of a cylinder of length L and cross-sectional area A is R =

L
, where is the resistivity of the material.
A

in Table 3.1 show that materials fall into three groupsconductors, semiconductors, and insulators.
Temperature affects resistivity; for relatively small temperature changes T , resistivity is = 0(1 + T) , where 0 is the original
resistivity and is the temperature coefficient of resistivity.
Table 3.2 gives values for , the temperature coefficient of resistivity.
The resistance R of an object also varies with temperature: R = R 0(1 + T) , where R 0 is the original resistance, and R is the
Values of

resistance after the temperature change.

3.4 Electric Power and Energy


Electric power P is the rate (in watts) that energy is supplied by a source or dissipated by a device.
Three expressions for electrical power are

P = IV,

2
P=V ,
R

and

P = I 2R.
The energy used by a device with a power P over a time t is E = Pt .
3.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current
Direct current (DC) is the flow of electric current in only one direction. It refers to systems where the source voltage is constant.
The voltage source of an alternating current (AC) system puts out V = V 0 sin 2 ft , where V is the voltage at time t , V 0 is the peak
voltage, and

f is the frequency in hertz.


I = V/R and AC current is I = I 0 sin 2 ft , where I is the current at time t , and I 0 = V 0 /R is the peak current.

In a simple circuit,

The average AC power is


Average (rms) current
Thus,

P ave = 1 I 0 V 0 .
2

I rms and average (rms) voltage V rms are I rms =

P ave = I rmsV rms .

Ohms law for AC is

I rms =

I0
V
and V rms = 0 , where rms stands for root mean square.
2
2

V rms
.
R

Expressions for the average power of an AC circuit are


for DC circuits.

P ave = I rmsV rms , P ave =

2
V rms
2
, and P ave = I rms
R , analogous to the expressions
R

3.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body

The two types of electric hazards are thermal (excessive power) and shock (current through a person).
Shock severity is determined by current, path, duration, and AC frequency.
Table 3.3 lists shock hazards as a function of current.
Figure 3.25 graphs the threshold current for two hazards as a function of frequency.

3.7 Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms

Electric potentials in neurons and other cells are created by ionic concentration differences across semipermeable membranes.
Stimuli change the permeability and create action potentials that propagate along neurons.
Myelin sheaths speed this process and reduce the needed energy input.
This process in the heart can be measured with an electrocardiogram (ECG).

Conceptual Questions
3.1 Current
1. Can a wire carry a current and still be neutralthat is, have a total charge of zero? Explain.
2. Car batteries are rated in ampere-hours ( A h ). To what physical quantity do ampere-hours correspond (voltage, charge, . . .), and what
relationship do ampere-hours have to energy content?
3. If two different wires having identical cross-sectional areas carry the same current, will the drift velocity be higher or lower in the better conductor?
Explain in terms of the equation

v d = I , by considering how the density of charge carriers n relates to whether or not a material is a good
nqA

conductor.
4. Why are two conducting paths from a voltage source to an electrical device needed to operate the device?
5. In cars, one battery terminal is connected to the metal body. How does this allow a single wire to supply current to electrical devices rather than
two wires?

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CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

6. Why isnt a bird sitting on a high-voltage power line electrocuted? Contrast this with the situation in which a large bird hits two wires simultaneously
with its wings.

3.2 Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits


7. The IR drop across a resistor means that there is a change in potential or voltage across the resistor. Is there any change in current as it passes
through a resistor? Explain.
8. How is the

IR drop in a resistor similar to the pressure drop in a fluid flowing through a pipe?

3.3 Resistance and Resistivity


9. In which of the three semiconducting materials listed in Table 3.1 do impurities supply free charges? (Hint: Examine the range of resistivity for each
and determine whether the pure semiconductor has the higher or lower conductivity.)
10. Does the resistance of an object depend on the path current takes through it? Consider, for example, a rectangular baris its resistance the
same along its length as across its width? (See Figure 3.37.)

Figure 3.37 Does current taking two different paths through the same object encounter different resistance?

11. If aluminum and copper wires of the same length have the same resistance, which has the larger diameter? Why?

R = R 0(1 + T) for the temperature variation of the resistance R of an object is not as accurate as = 0(1 + T) , which
gives the temperature variation of resistivity .
12. Explain why

3.4 Electric Power and Energy


13. Why do incandescent lightbulbs grow dim late in their lives, particularly just before their filaments break?
14. The power dissipated in a resistor is given by P = V 2 / R , which means power decreases if resistance increases. Yet this power is also given by
P = I 2R , which means power increases if resistance increases. Explain why there is no contradiction here.

3.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current


15. Give an example of a use of AC power other than in the household. Similarly, give an example of a use of DC power other than that supplied by
batteries.
16. Why do voltage, current, and power go through zero 120 times per second for 60-Hz AC electricity?
17. You are riding in a train, gazing into the distance through its window. As close objects streak by, you notice that the nearby fluorescent lights make
dashed streaks. Explain.

3.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body


18. Using an ohmmeter, a student measures the resistance between various points on his body. He finds that the resistance between two points on
the same finger is about the same as the resistance between two points on opposite handsboth are several hundred thousand ohms. Furthermore,
the resistance decreases when more skin is brought into contact with the probes of the ohmmeter. Finally, there is a dramatic drop in resistance (to a
few thousand ohms) when the skin is wet. Explain these observations and their implications regarding skin and internal resistance of the human
body.
19. What are the two major hazards of electricity?
20. Why isnt a short circuit a shock hazard?
21. What determines the severity of a shock? Can you say that a certain voltage is hazardous without further information?
22. An electrified needle is used to burn off warts, with the circuit being completed by having the patient sit on a large butt plate. Why is this plate
large?
23. Some surgery is performed with high-voltage electricity passing from a metal scalpel through the tissue being cut. Considering the nature of
electric fields at the surface of conductors, why would you expect most of the current to flow from the sharp edge of the scalpel? Do you think high- or
low-frequency AC is used?
24. Some devices often used in bathrooms, such as hairdryers, often have safety messages saying Do not use when the bathtub or basin is full of
water. Why is this so?
25. We are often advised to not flick electric switches with wet hands, dry your hand first. We are also advised to never throw water on an electric fire.
Why is this so?
26. Before working on a power transmission line, linemen will touch the line with the back of the hand as a final check that the voltage is zero. Why
the back of the hand?
27. Why is the resistance of wet skin so much smaller than dry, and why do blood and other bodily fluids have low resistances?

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28. Could a person on intravenous infusion (an IV) be microshock sensitive?


29. In view of the small currents that cause shock hazards and the larger currents that circuit breakers and fuses interrupt, how do they play a role in
preventing shock hazards?

3.7 Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms


30. Note that in Figure 3.28, both the concentration gradient and the Coulomb force tend to move
31. Define depolarization, repolarization, and the action potential.
32. Explain the properties of myelinated nerves in terms of the insulating properties of myelin.

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Na + ions into the cell. What prevents this?

CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

He ++ nuclei onto a target with a


++
beam current of 0.250 mA. (a) How many He
nuclei per second is

Problems & Exercises

13. A large cyclotron directs a beam of

3.1 Current
1. What is the current in milliamperes produced by the solar cells of a
pocket calculator through which 4.00 C of charge passes in 4.00 h?
2. A total of 600 C of charge passes through a flashlight in 0.500 h. What
is the average current?
3. What is the current when a typical static charge of
from your finger to a metal doorknob in

1.00 s ?

0.250 C moves

4. Find the current when 2.00 nC jumps between your comb and hair
over a 0.500 - s time interval.
5. A large lightning bolt had a 20,000-A current and moved 30.0 C of
charge. What was its duration?
6. The 200-A current through a spark plug moves 0.300 mC of charge.
How long does the spark last?
7. (a) A defibrillator sends a 6.00-A current through the chest of a patient
by applying a 10,000-V potential as in the figure below. What is the
resistance of the path? (b) The defibrillator paddles make contact with the
patient through a conducting gel that greatly reduces the path resistance.
Discuss the difficulties that would ensue if a larger voltage were used to
produce the same current through the patient, but with the path having
perhaps 50 times the resistance. (Hint: The current must be about the
same, so a higher voltage would imply greater power. Use this equation
for power: P = I 2R .)

this? (b) How long does it take for 1.00 C to strike the target? (c) How
++
long before 1.00 mol of He
nuclei strike the target?

14. Repeat the above example on Example 3.3, but for a wire made of
silver and given there is one free electron per silver atom.
15. Using the results of the above example on Example 3.3, find the drift
velocity in a copper wire of twice the diameter and carrying 20.0 A.
16. A 14-gauge copper wire has a diameter of 1.628 mm. What
magnitude current flows when the drift velocity is 1.00 mm/s? (See above
example on Example 3.3 for useful information.)
17. SPEAR, a storage ring about 72.0 m in diameter at the Stanford
Linear Accelerator (closed in 2009), has a 20.0-A circulating beam of
electrons that are moving at nearly the speed of light. (See Figure 3.39.)
How many electrons are in the beam?

Figure 3.39 Electrons circulating in the storage ring called SPEAR constitute a 20.0-A
current. Because they travel close to the speed of light, each electron completes
many orbits in each second.

3.2 Ohms Law: Resistance and Simple Circuits


18. What current flows through the bulb of a 3.00-V flashlight when its hot
resistance is 3.60 ?
19. Calculate the effective resistance of a pocket calculator that has a
1.35-V battery and through which 0.200 mA flows.
20. What is the effective resistance of a cars starter motor when 150 A
flows through it as the car battery applies 11.0 V to the motor?
21. How many volts are supplied to operate an indicator light on a DVD
player that has a resistance of 140 , given that 25.0 mA passes
through it?

Figure 3.38 The capacitor in a defibrillation unit drives a current through the heart of a
patient.

8. During open-heart surgery, a defibrillator can be used to bring a patient


out of cardiac arrest. The resistance of the path is 500 and a
10.0-mA current is needed. What voltage should be applied?
9. (a) A defibrillator passes 12.0 A of current through the torso of a
person for 0.0100 s. How much charge moves? (b) How many electrons
pass through the wires connected to the patient? (See figure two
problems earlier.)
10. A clock battery wears out after moving 10,000 C of charge through
the clock at a rate of 0.500 mA. (a) How long did the clock run? (b) How
many electrons per second flowed?
11. The batteries of a submerged non-nuclear submarine supply 1000 A
at full speed ahead. How long does it take to move Avogadros number (
6.0210 23 ) of electrons at this rate?
12. Electron guns are used in X-ray tubes. The electrons are accelerated
through a relatively large voltage and directed onto a metal target,
producing X-rays. (a) How many electrons per second strike the target if
the current is 0.500 mA? (b) What charge strikes the target in 0.750 s?

22. (a) Find the voltage drop in an extension cord having a 0.0600-
resistance and through which 5.00 A is flowing. (b) A cheaper cord
utilizes thinner wire and has a resistance of 0.300 . What is the
voltage drop in it when 5.00 A flows? (c) Why is the voltage to whatever
appliance is being used reduced by this amount? What is the effect on
the appliance?
23. A power transmission line is hung from metal towers with glass
9
insulators having a resistance of 1.0010 . What current flows
through the insulator if the voltage is 200 kV? (Some high-voltage lines
are DC.)

3.3 Resistance and Resistivity


24. What is the resistance of a 20.0-m-long piece of 12-gauge copper
wire having a 2.053-mm diameter?
25. The diameter of 0-gauge copper wire is 8.252 mm. Find the
resistance of a 1.00-km length of such wire used for power transmission.
26. If the 0.100-mm diameter tungsten filament in a light bulb is to have a
resistance of 0.200 at 20.0C , how long should it be?
27. Find the ratio of the diameter of aluminum to copper wire, if they have
the same resistance per unit length (as they might in household wiring).

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28. What current flows through a 2.54-cm-diameter rod of pure silicon


that is 20.0 cm long, when 1.00 10 3 V is applied to it? (Such a rod
may be used to make nuclear-particle detectors, for example.)
29. (a) To what temperature must you raise a copper wire, originally at
20.0C , to double its resistance, neglecting any changes in
dimensions? (b) Does this happen in household wiring under ordinary
circumstances?
30. A resistor made of Nichrome wire is used in an application where its
resistance cannot change more than 1.00% from its value at 20.0C .
Over what temperature range can it be used?
31. Of what material is a resistor made if its resistance is 40.0% greater
at 100C than at 20.0C ?
32. An electronic device designed to operate at any temperature in the
range from 10.0C to 55.0C contains pure carbon resistors. By what
factor does their resistance increase over this range?
33. (a) Of what material is a wire made, if it is 25.0 m long with a 0.100
mm diameter and has a resistance of 77.7 at 20.0C ? (b) What is
its resistance at

150C ?

34. Assuming a constant temperature coefficient of resistivity, what is the


maximum percent decrease in the resistance of a constantan wire
starting at 20.0C ?
35. A wire is drawn through a die, stretching it to four times its original
length. By what factor does its resistance increase?

0.500 at 20.0C , and an


iron wire has a resistance of 0.525 at the same temperature. At
36. A copper wire has a resistance of

what temperature are their resistances equal?


37. (a) Digital medical thermometers determine temperature by
measuring the resistance of a semiconductor device called a thermistor
(which has = 0.0600 / C ) when it is at the same temperature as
the patient. What is a patients temperature if the thermistors resistance
at that temperature is 82.0% of its value at 37.0C (normal body
temperature)? (b) The negative value for may not be maintained for
very low temperatures. Discuss why and whether this is the case here.
(Hint: Resistance cant become negative.)
38. Integrated Concepts
(a) Redo Exercise 3.25 taking into account the thermal expansion of the
tungsten filament. You may assume a thermal expansion coefficient of
1210 6 / C . (b) By what percentage does your answer differ from
that in the example?

Figure 3.40 The strip of solar cells just above the keys of this calculator convert light
to electricity to supply its energy needs. (credit: Evan-Amos, Wikimedia Commons)

43. How many watts does a flashlight that has 6.0010 2


through it in 0.500 h use if its voltage is 3.00 V?

C pass

44. Find the power dissipated in each of these extension cords: (a) an
extension cord having a 0.0600 - resistance and through which
5.00 A is flowing; (b) a cheaper cord utilizing thinner wire and with a
resistance of 0.300 .
45. Verify that the units of a volt-ampere are watts, as implied by the
equation P = IV .
46. Show that the units
P = V2/ R .
47. Show that the units
P = I 2R .

1 V 2 / = 1W , as implied by the equation


1 A 2 = 1 W , as implied by the equation

48. Verify the energy unit equivalence that

1 kW h = 3.6010 6 J .

49. Electrons in an X-ray tube are accelerated through 1.0010 2 kV


and directed toward a target to produce X-rays. Calculate the power of
the electron beam in this tube if it has a current of 15.0 mA.
50. An electric water heater consumes 5.00 kW for 2.00 h per day. What
is the cost of running it for one year if electricity costs
12.0 cents/kW h ? See Figure 3.41.

39. Unreasonable Results


(a) To what temperature must you raise a resistor made of constantan to
double its resistance, assuming a constant temperature coefficient of
resistivity? (b) To cut it in half? (c) What is unreasonable about these
results? (d) Which assumptions are unreasonable, or which premises are
inconsistent?

3.4 Electric Power and Energy


40. What is the power of a 1.0010 2
current of 2.00 10 4 A ?

MV lightning bolt having a

41. What power is supplied to the starter motor of a large truck that draws
250 A of current from a 24.0-V battery hookup?
42. A charge of 4.00 C of charge passes through a pocket calculators
solar cells in 4.00 h. What is the power output, given the calculators
voltage output is 3.00 V? (See Figure 3.40.)

Figure 3.41 On-demand electric hot water heater. Heat is supplied to water only when
needed. (credit: aviddavid, Flickr)

51. With a 1200-W toaster, how much electrical energy is needed to


make a slice of toast (cooking time = 1 minute)? At 9.0 cents/kW
how much does this cost?

h,

52. What would be the maximum cost of a CFL such that the total cost
(investment plus operating) would be the same for both CFL and
incandescent 60-W bulbs? Assume the cost of the incandescent bulb is
25 cents and that electricity costs 10 cents/kWh . Calculate the cost for
1000 hours, as in the cost effectiveness of CFL example.
53. Some makes of older cars have 6.00-V electrical systems. (a) What is
the hot resistance of a 30.0-W headlight in such a car? (b) What current
flows through it?

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54. Alkaline batteries have the advantage of putting out constant voltage
until very nearly the end of their life. How long will an alkaline battery
rated at 1.00 A h and 1.58 V keep a 1.00-W flashlight bulb burning?

160 m in altitude. How many cubic meters per second are needed,
assuming 85.0% efficiency?

55. A cauterizer, used to stop bleeding in surgery, puts out 2.00 mA at


15.0 kV. (a) What is its power output? (b) What is the resistance of the
path?
56. The average television is said to be on 6 hours per day. Estimate the
yearly cost of electricity to operate 100 million TVs, assuming their power
consumption averages 150 W and the cost of electricity averages
12.0 cents/kW h .
57. An old lightbulb draws only 50.0 W, rather than its original 60.0 W,
due to evaporative thinning of its filament. By what factor is its diameter
reduced, assuming uniform thinning along its length? Neglect any effects
caused by temperature differences.
58. 00-gauge copper wire has a diameter of 9.266 mm. Calculate the
power loss in a kilometer of such wire when it carries 1.0010 2 A .
59. Integrated Concepts
Cold vaporizers pass a current through water, evaporating it with only a
small increase in temperature. One such home device is rated at 3.50 A
and utilizes 120 V AC with 95.0% efficiency. (a) What is the vaporization
rate in grams per minute? (b) How much water must you put into the
vaporizer for 8.00 h of overnight operation? (See Figure 3.42.)

Figure 3.43 Hydroelectric generators at the Hoover dam. (credit: Jon Sullivan)

64. Integrated Concepts


(a) Assuming 95.0% efficiency for the conversion of electrical power by
the motor, what current must the 12.0-V batteries of a 750-kg electric car
be able to supply: (a) To accelerate from rest to 25.0 m/s in 1.00 min? (b)
To climb a 2.0010 2 -m -high hill in 2.00 min at a constant 25.0-m/s

speed while exerting 5.0010 2 N of force to overcome air resistance


and friction? (c) To travel at a constant 25.0-m/s speed, exerting a
5.0010 2 N force to overcome air resistance and friction? See Figure
3.44.

Figure 3.42 This cold vaporizer passes current directly through water, vaporizing it
directly with relatively little temperature increase.

Figure 3.44 This REVAi, an electric car, gets recharged on a street in London. (credit:
Frank Hebbert)

60. Integrated Concepts

65. Integrated Concepts

(a) What energy is dissipated by a lightning bolt having a 20,000-A


current, a voltage of 1.0010 2 MV , and a length of 1.00 ms? (b) What

A light-rail commuter train draws 630 A of 650-V DC electricity when


accelerating. (a) What is its power consumption rate in kilowatts? (b) How
long does it take to reach 20.0 m/s starting from rest if its loaded mass is
5.3010 4 kg , assuming 95.0% efficiency and constant power? (c) Find

mass of tree sap could be raised from 18.0C to its boiling point and
then evaporated by this energy, assuming sap has the same thermal
characteristics as water?
61. Integrated Concepts
What current must be produced by a 12.0-V battery-operated bottle
warmer in order to heat 75.0 g of glass, 250 g of baby formula, and
3.0010 2 g of aluminum from 20.0C to 90.0C in 5.00 min?
62. Integrated Concepts

How much time is needed for a surgical cauterizer to raise the


temperature of 1.00 g of tissue from 37.0C to 100C and then boil
away 0.500 g of water, if it puts out 2.00 mA at 15.0 kV? Ignore heat
transfer to the surroundings.
63. Integrated Concepts
Hydroelectric generators (see Figure 3.43) at Hoover Dam produce a
maximum current of 8.0010 3 A at 250 kV. (a) What is the power
output? (b) The water that powers the generators enters and leaves the
system at low speed (thus its kinetic energy does not change) but loses

its average acceleration. (d) Discuss how the acceleration you found for
the light-rail train compares to what might be typical for an automobile.
66. Integrated Concepts
(a) An aluminum power transmission line has a resistance of
0.0580 / km . What is its mass per kilometer? (b) What is the mass
per kilometer of a copper line having the same resistance? A lower
resistance would shorten the heating time. Discuss the practical limits to
speeding the heating by lowering the resistance.
67. Integrated Concepts
(a) An immersion heater utilizing 120 V can raise the temperature of a
1.0010 2 -g aluminum cup containing 350 g of water from 20.0C to

95.0C in 2.00 min. Find its resistance, assuming it is constant during


the process. (b) A lower resistance would shorten the heating time.
Discuss the practical limits to speeding the heating by lowering the
resistance.
68. Integrated Concepts

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(a) What is the cost of heating a hot tub containing 1500 kg of water from
10.0C to 40.0C , assuming 75.0% efficiency to account for heat

transfer to the surroundings? The cost of electricity is 12 cents/kW h .


(b) What current was used by the 220-V AC electric heater, if this took
4.00 h?
69. Unreasonable Results

(c) What power will it draw when first switched on?


83. Find the time after

(a) What current is needed to transmit 1.0010 MW of power at 480


V? (b) What power is dissipated by the transmission lines if they have a
1.00 - resistance? (c) What is unreasonable about this result? (d)
Which assumptions are unreasonable, or which premises are
inconsistent?
70. Unreasonable Results
(a) What current is needed to transmit 1.0010 2 MW of power at 10.0
kV? (b) Find the resistance of 1.00 km of wire that would cause a
0.0100% power loss. (c) What is the diameter of a 1.00-km-long copper
wire having this resistance? (d) What is unreasonable about these
results? (e) Which assumptions are unreasonable, or which premises are
inconsistent?
71. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider an electric immersion heater used to heat a cup of water to
make tea. Construct a problem in which you calculate the needed
resistance of the heater so that it increases the temperature of the water
and cup in a reasonable amount of time. Also calculate the cost of the
electrical energy used in your process. Among the things to be
considered are the voltage used, the masses and heat capacities
involved, heat losses, and the time over which the heating takes place.
Your instructor may wish for you to consider a thermal safety switch
(perhaps bimetallic) that will halt the process before damaging
temperatures are reached in the immersion unit.

3.5 Alternating Current versus Direct Current


72. (a) What is the hot resistance of a 25-W light bulb that runs on 120-V
AC? (b) If the bulbs operating temperature is 2700C , what is its
resistance at

82. Nichrome wire is used in some radiative heaters. (a) Find the
resistance needed if the average power output is to be 1.00 kW utilizing
120-V AC. (b) What length of Nichrome wire, having a cross-sectional
area of 5.00mm 2 , is needed if the operating temperature is 500 C ?

2600C ?

73. Certain heavy industrial equipment uses AC power that has a peak
voltage of 679 V. What is the rms voltage?
74. A certain circuit breaker trips when the rms current is 15.0 A. What is
the corresponding peak current?
75. Military aircraft use 400-Hz AC power, because it is possible to
design lighter-weight equipment at this higher frequency. What is the time
for one complete cycle of this power?
76. A North American tourist takes his 25.0-W, 120-V AC razor to
Europe, finds a special adapter, and plugs it into 240 V AC. Assuming
constant resistance, what power does the razor consume as it is ruined?
77. In this problem, you will verify statements made at the end of the
power losses for Example 3.10. (a) What current is needed to transmit
100 MW of power at a voltage of 25.0 kV? (b) Find the power loss in a
1.00 - transmission line. (c) What percent loss does this represent?
78. A small office-building air conditioner operates on 408-V AC and
consumes 50.0 kW. (a) What is its effective resistance? (b) What is the
cost of running the air conditioner during a hot summer month when it is
on 8.00 h per day for 30 days and electricity costs 9.00 cents/kW h ?
79. What is the peak power consumption of a 120-V AC microwave oven
that draws 10.0 A?
80. What is the peak current through a 500-W room heater that operates
on 120-V AC power?
81. Two different electrical devices have the same power consumption,
but one is meant to be operated on 120-V AC and the other on 240-V
AC. (a) What is the ratio of their resistances? (b) What is the ratio of their
currents? (c) Assuming its resistance is unaffected, by what factor will the
power increase if a 120-V AC device is connected to 240-V AC?

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t = 0 when the instantaneous voltage of 60-Hz


V 0 / 2 (b) V 0 (c) 0.

AC first reaches the following values: (a)

t = 0 does the
instantaneous voltage in 60-Hz AC equal V rms ? (b) V rms ?
84. (a) At what two times in the first period following

3.6 Electric Hazards and the Human Body


85. (a) How much power is dissipated in a short circuit of 240-V AC
through a resistance of 0.250 ? (b) What current flows?
86. What voltage is involved in a 1.44-kW short circuit through a
0.100 - resistance?
87. Find the current through a person and identify the likely effect on her
if she touches a 120-V AC source: (a) if she is standing on a rubber mat
and offers a total resistance of 300 k ; (b) if she is standing barefoot
on wet grass and has a resistance of only

4000 k .

88. While taking a bath, a person touches the metal case of a radio. The
path through the person to the drainpipe and ground has a resistance of
4000 . What is the smallest voltage on the case of the radio that
could cause ventricular fibrillation?
89. Foolishly trying to fish a burning piece of bread from a toaster with a
metal butter knife, a man comes into contact with 120-V AC. He does not
even feel it since, luckily, he is wearing rubber-soled shoes. What is the
minimum resistance of the path the current follows through the person?
90. (a) During surgery, a current as small as

20.0 A applied directly to

the heart may cause ventricular fibrillation. If the resistance of the


exposed heart is 300 , what is the smallest voltage that poses this
danger? (b) Does your answer imply that special electrical safety
precautions are needed?
91. (a) What is the resistance of a 220-V AC short circuit that generates a
peak power of 96.8 kW? (b) What would the average power be if the
voltage was 120 V AC?
92. A heart defibrillator passes 10.0 A through a patients torso for 5.00
ms in an attempt to restore normal beating. (a) How much charge
passed? (b) What voltage was applied if 500 J of energy was dissipated?
(c) What was the paths resistance? (d) Find the temperature increase
caused in the 8.00 kg of affected tissue.
93. Integrated Concepts
A short circuit in a 120-V appliance cord has a 0.500- resistance.
Calculate the temperature rise of the 2.00 g of surrounding materials,
assuming their specific heat capacity is 0.200 cal/gC and that it takes
0.0500 s for a circuit breaker to interrupt the current. Is this likely to be
damaging?
94. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider a person working in an environment where electric currents
might pass through her body. Construct a problem in which you calculate
the resistance of insulation needed to protect the person from harm.
Among the things to be considered are the voltage to which the person
might be exposed, likely body resistance (dry, wet, ), and acceptable
currents (safe but sensed, safe and unfelt, ).

3.7 Nerve ConductionElectrocardiograms


95. Integrated Concepts
Use the ECG in Figure 3.34 to determine the heart rate in beats per
minute assuming a constant time between beats.
96. Integrated Concepts

CHAPTER 3 | ELECTRIC CURRENT, RESISTANCE, AND OHM'S LAW

(a) Referring to Figure 3.34, find the time systolic pressure lags behind
the middle of the QRS complex. (b) Discuss the reasons for the time lag.

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CHAPTER 4 | CIRCUITS, BIOELECTRICITY, AND DC INSTRUMENTS

4 CIRCUITS, BIOELECTRICITY, AND DC


INSTRUMENTS

Figure 4.1 The complexity of the electric circuits in a computer is surpassed by those in the human brain. (credit: Airman 1st Class Mike Meares, United States Air Force)

Learning Objectives
4.1. Resistors in Series and Parallel
Draw a circuit with resistors in parallel and in series.
Calculate the voltage drop of a current across a resistor using Ohms law.
Contrast the way total resistance is calculated for resistors in series and in parallel.
Explain why total resistance of a parallel circuit is less than the smallest resistance of any of the resistors in that circuit.
Calculate total resistance of a circuit that contains a mixture of resistors connected in series and in parallel.
4.2. Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage
Compare and contrast the voltage and the electromagnetic force of an electric power source.
Describe what happens to the terminal voltage, current, and power delivered to a load as internal resistance of the voltage source
increases (due to aging of batteries, for example).
Explain why it is beneficial to use more than one voltage source connected in parallel.
4.3. Kirchhoffs Rules
Analyze a complex circuit using Kirchhoffs rules, using the conventions for determining the correct signs of various terms.
4.4. DC Voltmeters and Ammeters
Explain why a voltmeter must be connected in parallel with the circuit.
Draw a diagram showing an ammeter correctly connected in a circuit.
Describe how a galvanometer can be used as either a voltmeter or an ammeter.
Find the resistance that must be placed in series with a galvanometer to allow it to be used as a voltmeter with a given reading.
Explain why measuring the voltage or current in a circuit can never be exact.
4.5. Null Measurements
Explain why a null measurement device is more accurate than a standard voltmeter or ammeter.
Demonstrate how a Wheatstone bridge can be used to accurately calculate the resistance in a circuit.
4.6. DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors
Explain the importance of the time constant, , and calculate the time constant for a given resistance and capacitance.
Explain why batteries in a flashlight gradually lose power and the light dims over time.
Describe what happens to a graph of the voltage across a capacitor over time as it charges.
Explain how a timing circuit works and list some applications.
Calculate the necessary speed of a strobe flash needed to stop the movement of an object over a particular length.

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Introduction to Circuits, Bioelectricity, and DC Instruments


Electric circuits are commonplace. Some are simple, such as those in flashlights. Others, such as those used in supercomputers, are extremely
complex.
This collection of modules takes the topic of electric circuits a step beyond simple circuits. When the circuit is purely resistive, everything in this
module applies to both DC and AC. Matters become more complex when capacitance is involved. We do consider what happens when capacitors
are connected to DC voltage sources, but the interaction of capacitors and other nonresistive devices with AC is left for a later chapter. Finally, a
number of important DC instruments, such as meters that measure voltage and current, are covered in this chapter.

4.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel


Most circuits have more than one component, called a resistor that limits the flow of charge in the circuit. A measure of this limit on charge flow is
called resistance. The simplest combinations of resistors are the series and parallel connections illustrated in Figure 4.2. The total resistance of a
combination of resistors depends on both their individual values and how they are connected.

Figure 4.2 (a) A series connection of resistors. (b) A parallel connection of resistors.

Resistors in Series
When are resistors in series? Resistors are in series whenever the flow of charge, called the current, must flow through devices sequentially. For
example, if current flows through a person holding a screwdriver and into the Earth, then R 1 in Figure 4.2(a) could be the resistance of the
screwdrivers shaft,

R 2 the resistance of its handle, R 3 the persons body resistance, and R 4 the resistance of her shoes.

Figure 4.3 shows resistors in series connected to a voltage source. It seems reasonable that the total resistance is the sum of the individual
resistances, considering that the current has to pass through each resistor in sequence. (This fact would be an advantage to a person wishing to
avoid an electrical shock, who could reduce the current by wearing high-resistance rubber-soled shoes. It could be a disadvantage if one of the
resistances were a faulty high-resistance cord to an appliance that would reduce the operating current.)

Figure 4.3 Three resistors connected in series to a battery (left) and the equivalent single or series resistance (right).

To verify that resistances in series do indeed add, let us consider the loss of electrical power, called a voltage drop, in each resistor in Figure 4.3.

V , across a resistor when a current flows through it is calculated using the equation V = IR , where I
equals the current in amps (A) and R is the resistance in ohms ( ) . Another way to think of this is that V is the voltage necessary to make a
current I flow through a resistance R .
According to Ohms law, the voltage drop,

So the voltage drop across

R 1 is V 1 = IR 1 , that across R 2 is V 2 = IR 2 , and that across R 3 is V 3 = IR 3 . The sum of these voltages equals

the voltage output of the source; that is,

V = V 1 + V 2 + V 3.

(4.1)

This equation is based on the conservation of energy and conservation of charge. Electrical potential energy can be described by the equation
PE = qV , where q is the electric charge and V is the voltage. Thus the energy supplied by the source is qV , while that dissipated by the
resistors is

qV 1 + qV 2 + qV 3.

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Connections: Conservation Laws


The derivations of the expressions for series and parallel resistance are based on the laws of conservation of energy and conservation of charge,
which state that total charge and total energy are constant in any process. These two laws are directly involved in all electrical phenomena and
will be invoked repeatedly to explain both specific effects and the general behavior of electricity.
These energies must be equal, because there is no other source and no other destination for energy in the circuit. Thus,
The charge

qV = qV 1 + qV 2 + qV 3 .

q cancels, yielding V = V 1 + V 2 + V 3 , as stated. (Note that the same amount of charge passes through the battery and each resistor

in a given amount of time, since there is no capacitance to store charge, there is no place for charge to leak, and charge is conserved.)
Now substituting the values for the individual voltages gives

V = IR 1 + IR 2 + IR 3 = I(R 1 + R 2 + R 3).
Note that for the equivalent single series resistance

(4.3)

R s , we have
V = IR s.

This implies that the total or equivalent series resistance

(4.4)

R s of three resistors is R s = R 1 + R 2 + R 3 .

This logic is valid in general for any number of resistors in series; thus, the total resistance

R s of a series connection is

R s = R 1 + R 2 + R 3 + ...,

(4.5)

as proposed. Since all of the current must pass through each resistor, it experiences the resistance of each, and resistances in series simply add up.

Example 4.1 Calculating Resistance, Current, Voltage Drop, and Power Dissipation: Analysis of a Series
Circuit
Suppose the voltage output of the battery in Figure 4.3 is

12.0 V , and the resistances are R 1 = 1.00 , R 2 = 6.00 , and

R 3 = 13.0 . (a) What is the total resistance? (b) Find the current. (c) Calculate the voltage drop in each resistor, and show these add to
equal the voltage output of the source. (d) Calculate the power dissipated by each resistor. (e) Find the power output of the source, and show
that it equals the total power dissipated by the resistors.
Strategy and Solution for (a)
The total resistance is simply the sum of the individual resistances, as given by this equation:

Rs = R1 + R2 + R3
= 1.00 + 6.00 + 13.0
= 20.0 .

(4.6)

Strategy and Solution for (b)


The current is found using Ohms law,
circuit:

V = IR . Entering the value of the applied voltage and the total resistance yields the current for the
I = V = 12.0 V = 0.600 A.
R s 20.0

(4.7)

Strategy and Solution for (c)


The voltageor

IR dropin a resistor is given by Ohms law. Entering the current and the value of the first resistance yields
V 1 = IR 1 = (0.600 A)(1.0 ) = 0.600 V.

(4.8)

V 2 = IR 2 = (0.600 A)(6.0 ) = 3.60 V

(4.9)

V 3 = IR 3 = (0.600 A)(13.0 ) = 7.80 V.

(4.10)

Similarly,

and

Discussion for (c)


The three

IR drops add to 12.0 V , as predicted:


V 1 + V 2 + V 3 = (0.600 + 3.60 + 7.80) V = 12.0 V.

(4.11)

Strategy and Solution for (d)

P = IV , where P is electric
V = IR into Joules law, we get the

The easiest way to calculate power in watts (W) dissipated by a resistor in a DC circuit is to use Joules law,
power. In this case, each resistor has the same full current flowing through it. By substituting Ohms law
power dissipated by the first resistor as

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P 1 = I 2R 1 = (0.600 A) 2(1.00 ) = 0.360 W.

(4.12)

P 2 = I 2R 2 = (0.600 A) 2(6.00 ) = 2.16 W

(4.13)

P 3 = I 2R 3 = (0.600 A) 2(13.0 ) = 4.68 W.

(4.14)

Similarly,

and

Discussion for (d)


Power can also be calculated using either
source). The same values will be obtained.

2
P = IV or P = V , where V is the voltage drop across the resistor (not the full voltage of the
R

Strategy and Solution for (e)


The easiest way to calculate power output of the source is to use

P = IV , where V is the source voltage. This gives

P = (0.600 A)(12.0 V) = 7.20 W.

(4.15)

Discussion for (e)


Note, coincidentally, that the total power dissipated by the resistors is also 7.20 W, the same as the power put out by the source. That is,

P 1 + P 2 + P 3 = (0.360 + 2.16 + 4.68) W = 7.20 W.

(4.16)

Power is energy per unit time (watts), and so conservation of energy requires the power output of the source to be equal to the total power
dissipated by the resistors.

Major Features of Resistors in Series


1. Series resistances add: R s = R 1 + R 2 + R 3 + ....
2. The same current flows through each resistor in series.
3. Individual resistors in series do not get the total source voltage, but divide it.

Resistors in Parallel
Figure 4.4 shows resistors in parallel, wired to a voltage source. Resistors are in parallel when each resistor is connected directly to the voltage
source by connecting wires having negligible resistance. Each resistor thus has the full voltage of the source applied to it.
Each resistor draws the same current it would if it alone were connected to the voltage source (provided the voltage source is not overloaded). For
example, an automobiles headlights, radio, and so on, are wired in parallel, so that they utilize the full voltage of the source and can operate
completely independently. The same is true in your house, or any building. (See Figure 4.4(b).)

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CHAPTER 4 | CIRCUITS, BIOELECTRICITY, AND DC INSTRUMENTS

Figure 4.4 (a) Three resistors connected in parallel to a battery and the equivalent single or parallel resistance. (b) Electrical power setup in a house. (credit: Dmitry G,
Wikimedia Commons)

To find an expression for the equivalent parallel resistance

R p , let us consider the currents that flow and how they are related to resistance. Since

each resistor in the circuit has the full voltage, the currents flowing through the individual resistors are
Conservation of charge implies that the total current

I 1 = V , I 2 = V , and I 3 = V .
R1
R2
R3

I produced by the source is the sum of these currents:


I = I 1 + I 2 + I 3.

(4.17)

Substituting the expressions for the individual currents gives

I= V + V + V =V 1 + 1 + 1 .
R 1 R 2 R 3
R1 R2 R3

Note that Ohms law for the equivalent single resistance gives

(4.18)


I= V =V 1 .
Rp
R p

The terms inside the parentheses in the last two equations must be equal. Generalizing to any number of resistors, the total resistance

(4.19)

R p of a

parallel connection is related to the individual resistances by

1 = 1 + 1 + 1 + ....
R p R 1 R 2 R .3
This relationship results in a total resistance

(4.20)

R p that is less than the smallest of the individual resistances. (This is seen in the next example.) When

resistors are connected in parallel, more current flows from the source than would flow for any of them individually, and so the total resistance is
lower.

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Example 4.2 Calculating Resistance, Current, Power Dissipation, and Power Output: Analysis of a Parallel
Circuit
Let the voltage output of the battery and resistances in the parallel connection in Figure 4.4 be the same as the previously considered series
connection: V = 12.0 V , R 1 = 1.00 , R 2 = 6.00 , and R 3 = 13.0 . (a) What is the total resistance? (b) Find the total current.
(c) Calculate the currents in each resistor, and show these add to equal the total current output of the source. (d) Calculate the power dissipated
by each resistor. (e) Find the power output of the source, and show that it equals the total power dissipated by the resistors.
Strategy and Solution for (a)
The total resistance for a parallel combination of resistors is found using the equation below. Entering known values gives

1 = 1 + 1 + 1 =
1
1
1 .
+
+
R p R 1 R 2 R 3 1.00
13.0
6.00

(4.21)

1 = 1.00 + 0.1667 + 0.07692 = 1.2436 .


Rp

(4.22)

Thus,

(Note that in these calculations, each intermediate answer is shown with an extra digit.)
We must invert this to find the total resistance

R p . This yields
Rp =

1 = 0.8041 .
1.2436

The total resistance with the correct number of significant digits is

(4.23)

R p = 0.804 .

Discussion for (a)

R p is, as predicted, less than the smallest individual resistance.


Strategy and Solution for (b)
The total current can be found from Ohms law, substituting

R p for the total resistance. This gives

I = V = 12.0 V = 14.92 A.
R p 0.8041

(4.24)

Discussion for (b)


Current I for each device is much larger than for the same devices connected in series (see the previous example). A circuit with parallel
connections has a smaller total resistance than the resistors connected in series.
Strategy and Solution for (c)
The individual currents are easily calculated from Ohms law, since each resistor gets the full voltage. Thus,

I 1 = V = 12.0 V = 12.0 A.
R 1 1.00

(4.25)

I 2 = V = 12.0 V = 2.00 A
R 2 6.00

(4.26)

I 3 = V = 12.0 V = 0.92 A.
R 3 13.0

(4.27)

Similarly,

and

Discussion for (c)


The total current is the sum of the individual currents:

I 1 + I 2 + I 3 = 14.92 A.

(4.28)

This is consistent with conservation of charge.


Strategy and Solution for (d)
The power dissipated by each resistor can be found using any of the equations relating power to current, voltage, and resistance, since all three
2
are known. Let us use P = V , since each resistor gets full voltage. Thus,

2
(12.0 V) 2
P1 = V =
= 144 W.
R1
1.00

Similarly,

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2
(12.0 V) 2
P2 = V =
= 24.0 W
R2
6.00

(4.30)

2
(12.0 V) 2
P3 = V =
= 11.1 W.
R3
13.0

(4.31)

and

Discussion for (d)


The power dissipated by each resistor is considerably higher in parallel than when connected in series to the same voltage source.
Strategy and Solution for (e)
The total power can also be calculated in several ways. Choosing

P = IV , and entering the total current, yields

P = IV = (14.92 A)(12.0 V) = 179 W.

(4.32)

Discussion for (e)


Total power dissipated by the resistors is also 179 W:

P 1 + P 2 + P 3 = 144 W + 24.0 W + 11.1 W = 179 W.

(4.33)

This is consistent with the law of conservation of energy.


Overall Discussion
Note that both the currents and powers in parallel connections are greater than for the same devices in series.

Major Features of Resistors in Parallel


1. Parallel resistance is found from

1 = 1 + 1 + 1 + ... , and it is smaller than any individual resistance in the combination.


Rp R1 R2 R3

2. Each resistor in parallel has the same full voltage of the source applied to it. (Power distribution systems most often use parallel
connections to supply the myriad devices served with the same voltage and to allow them to operate independently.)
3. Parallel resistors do not each get the total current; they divide it.

Combinations of Series and Parallel


More complex connections of resistors are sometimes just combinations of series and parallel. These are commonly encountered, especially when
wire resistance is considered. In that case, wire resistance is in series with other resistances that are in parallel.
Combinations of series and parallel can be reduced to a single equivalent resistance using the technique illustrated in Figure 4.5. Various parts are
identified as either series or parallel, reduced to their equivalents, and further reduced until a single resistance is left. The process is more time
consuming than difficult.

Figure 4.5 This combination of seven resistors has both series and parallel parts. Each is identified and reduced to an equivalent resistance, and these are further reduced
until a single equivalent resistance is reached.

The simplest combination of series and parallel resistance, shown in Figure 4.6, is also the most instructive, since it is found in many applications.
For example, R 1 could be the resistance of wires from a car battery to its electrical devices, which are in parallel. R 2 and R 3 could be the starter

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motor and a passenger compartment light. We have previously assumed that wire resistance is negligible, but, when it is not, it has important effects,
as the next example indicates.

Example 4.3 Calculating Resistance, IR Drop, Current, and Power Dissipation: Combining Series and Parallel
Circuits
Figure 4.6 shows the resistors from the previous two examples wired in a different waya combination of series and parallel. We can consider
R 1 to be the resistance of wires leading to R 2 and R 3 . (a) Find the total resistance. (b) What is the IR drop in R 1 ? (c) Find the current I 2
through

R 2 . (d) What power is dissipated by R 2 ?

Figure 4.6 These three resistors are connected to a voltage source so that

R2

and

R3

are in parallel with one another and that combination is in series with

R1 .

Strategy and Solution for (a)


To find the total resistance, we note that

R 2 and R 3 are in parallel and their combination R p is in series with R 1 . Thus the total (equivalent)

resistance of this combination is

R tot = R 1 + R p.
First, we find

(4.34)

R p using the equation for resistors in parallel and entering known values:
1 = 1 + 1 =
1
1
+
= 0.2436 .
R p R 2 R 3 6.00
13.0

(4.35)

Inverting gives

Rp =

1 = 4.11 .
0.2436

(4.36)

So the total resistance is

R tot = R 1 + R p = 1.00 + 4.11 = 5.11 .

(4.37)

Discussion for (a)


The total resistance of this combination is intermediate between the pure series and pure parallel values ( 20.0
found for the same resistors in the two previous examples.

and 0.804 , respectively)

Strategy and Solution for (b)


To find the

IR drop in R 1 , we note that the full current I flows through R 1 . Thus its IR drop is
V 1 = IR 1.

We must find

(4.38)

I before we can calculate V 1 . The total current I is found using Ohms law for the circuit. That is,
I = V = 12.0 V = 2.35 A.
R tot 5.11

(4.39)

V 1 = IR 1 = (2.35 A)(1.00 ) = 2.35 V.

(4.40)

Entering this into the expression above, we get

Discussion for (b)


The voltage applied to

R 2 and R 3 is less than the total voltage by an amount V 1 . When wire resistance is large, it can significantly affect the

operation of the devices represented by

R 2 and R 3 .

Strategy and Solution for (c)


To find the current through

R 2 , we must first find the voltage applied to it. We call this voltage V p , because it is applied to a parallel

combination of resistors. The voltage applied to both

R 2 and R 3 is reduced by the amount V 1 , and so it is

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V p = V V 1 = 12.0 V 2.35 V = 9.65 V.


Now the current

(4.41)

I 2 through resistance R 2 is found using Ohms law:


I2 =

Vp
= 9.65 V = 1.61 A.
R 2 6.00

(4.42)

Discussion for (c)


The current is less than the 2.00 A that flowed through

R 2 when it was connected in parallel to the battery in the previous parallel circuit

example.
Strategy and Solution for (d)
The power dissipated by

R 2 is given by
P 2 = (I 2 ) 2R 2 = (1.61 A) 2(6.00 ) = 15.5 W.

(4.43)

Discussion for (d)


The power is less than the 24.0 W this resistor dissipated when connected in parallel to the 12.0-V source.

Practical Implications
One implication of this last example is that resistance in wires reduces the current and power delivered to a resistor. If wire resistance is relatively
large, as in a worn (or a very long) extension cord, then this loss can be significant. If a large current is drawn, the IR drop in the wires can also be
significant.
For example, when you are rummaging in the refrigerator and the motor comes on, the refrigerator light dims momentarily. Similarly, you can see the
passenger compartment light dim when you start the engine of your car (although this may be due to resistance inside the battery itself).
What is happening in these high-current situations is illustrated in Figure 4.7. The device represented by
it is switched on, a large current flows. This increased current causes a larger
the light bulb (which is

R 2 ), which then dims noticeably.

R 3 has a very low resistance, and so when

IR drop in the wires represented by R 1 , reducing the voltage across

Figure 4.7 Why do lights dim when a large appliance is switched on? The answer is that the large current the appliance motor draws causes a significant
and reduces the voltage across the light.

IR

drop in the wires

Check Your Understanding


Can any arbitrary combination of resistors be broken down into series and parallel combinations? See if you can draw a circuit diagram of
resistors that cannot be broken down into combinations of series and parallel.
Solution
No, there are many ways to connect resistors that are not combinations of series and parallel, including loops and junctions. In such cases
Kirchhoffs rules, to be introduced in Kirchhoffs Rules, will allow you to analyze the circuit.
Problem-Solving Strategies for Series and Parallel Resistors
1. Draw a clear circuit diagram, labeling all resistors and voltage sources. This step includes a list of the knowns for the problem, since they
are labeled in your circuit diagram.
2. Identify exactly what needs to be determined in the problem (identify the unknowns). A written list is useful.
3. Determine whether resistors are in series, parallel, or a combination of both series and parallel. Examine the circuit diagram to make this
assessment. Resistors are in series if the same current must pass sequentially through them.

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4. Use the appropriate list of major features for series or parallel connections to solve for the unknowns. There is one list for series and
another for parallel. If your problem has a combination of series and parallel, reduce it in steps by considering individual groups of series or
parallel connections, as done in this module and the examples. Special note: When finding R , the reciprocal must be taken with care.
5. Check to see whether the answers are reasonable and consistent. Units and numerical results must be reasonable. Total series resistance
should be greater, whereas total parallel resistance should be smaller, for example. Power should be greater for the same devices in
parallel compared with series, and so on.

4.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage


When you forget to turn off your car lights, they slowly dim as the battery runs down. Why dont they simply blink off when the batterys energy is
gone? Their gradual dimming implies that battery output voltage decreases as the battery is depleted.
Furthermore, if you connect an excessive number of 12-V lights in parallel to a car battery, they will be dim even when the battery is fresh and even if
the wires to the lights have very low resistance. This implies that the batterys output voltage is reduced by the overload.
The reason for the decrease in output voltage for depleted or overloaded batteries is that all voltage sources have two fundamental partsa source
of electrical energy and an internal resistance. Let us examine both.

Electromotive Force
You can think of many different types of voltage sources. Batteries themselves come in many varieties. There are many types of mechanical/electrical
generators, driven by many different energy sources, ranging from nuclear to wind. Solar cells create voltages directly from light, while thermoelectric
devices create voltage from temperature differences.
A few voltage sources are shown in Figure 4.8. All such devices create a potential difference and can supply current if connected to a resistance.
On the small scale, the potential difference creates an electric field that exerts force on charges, causing current. We thus use the name
electromotive force, abbreviated emf.
Emf is not a force at all; it is a special type of potential difference. To be precise, the electromotive force (emf) is the potential difference of a source
when no current is flowing. Units of emf are volts.

Figure 4.8 A variety of voltage sources (clockwise from top left): the Brazos Wind Farm in Fluvanna, Texas (credit: Leaflet, Wikimedia Commons); the Krasnoyarsk Dam in
Russia (credit: Alex Polezhaev); a solar farm (credit: U.S. Department of Energy); and a group of nickel metal hydride batteries (credit: Tiaa Monto). The voltage output of each
depends on its construction and load, and equals emf only if there is no load.

Electromotive force is directly related to the source of potential difference, such as the particular combination of chemicals in a battery. However, emf
differs from the voltage output of the device when current flows. The voltage across the terminals of a battery, for example, is less than the emf when
the battery supplies current, and it declines further as the battery is depleted or loaded down. However, if the devices output voltage can be
measured without drawing current, then output voltage will equal emf (even for a very depleted battery).

Internal Resistance
As noted before, a 12-V truck battery is physically larger, contains more charge and energy, and can deliver a larger current than a 12-V motorcycle
battery. Both are lead-acid batteries with identical emf, but, because of its size, the truck battery has a smaller internal resistance r . Internal
resistance is the inherent resistance to the flow of current within the source itself.
Figure 4.9 is a schematic representation of the two fundamental parts of any voltage source. The emf (represented by a script E in the figure) and
internal resistance r are in series. The smaller the internal resistance for a given emf, the more current and the more power the source can supply.

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Figure 4.9 Any voltage source (in this case, a carbon-zinc dry cell) has an emf related to its source of potential difference, and an internal resistance
construction. (Note that the script E stands for emf.). Also shown are the output terminals across which the terminal voltage
terminal voltage equals emf only if there is no current flowing.

is measured. Since

r related to its
V = emf Ir ,

The internal resistance r can behave in complex ways. As noted, r increases as a battery is depleted. But internal resistance may also depend on
the magnitude and direction of the current through a voltage source, its temperature, and even its history. The internal resistance of rechargeable
nickel-cadmium cells, for example, depends on how many times and how deeply they have been depleted.
Things Great and Small: The Submicroscopic Origin of Battery Potential
Various types of batteries are available, with emfs determined by the combination of chemicals involved. We can view this as a molecular
reaction (what much of chemistry is about) that separates charge.
The lead-acid battery used in cars and other vehicles is one of the most common types. A single cell (one of six) of this battery is seen in Figure
4.10. The cathode (positive) terminal of the cell is connected to a lead oxide plate, while the anode (negative) terminal is connected to a lead
plate. Both plates are immersed in sulfuric acid, the electrolyte for the system.

Figure 4.10 Artists conception of a lead-acid cell. Chemical reactions in a lead-acid cell separate charge, sending negative charge to the anode, which is connected to
the lead plates. The lead oxide plates are connected to the positive or cathode terminal of the cell. Sulfuric acid conducts the charge as well as participating in the
chemical reaction.

The details of the chemical reaction are left to the reader to pursue in a chemistry text, but their results at the molecular level help explain the
potential created by the battery. Figure 4.11 shows the result of a single chemical reaction. Two electrons are placed on the anode, making it
negative, provided that the cathode supplied two electrons. This leaves the cathode positively charged, because it has lost two electrons. In
short, a separation of charge has been driven by a chemical reaction.
Note that the reaction will not take place unless there is a complete circuit to allow two electrons to be supplied to the cathode. Under many
circumstances, these electrons come from the anode, flow through a resistance, and return to the cathode. Note also that since the chemical
reactions involve substances with resistance, it is not possible to create the emf without an internal resistance.

Figure 4.11 Artists conception of two electrons being forced onto the anode of a cell and two electrons being removed from the cathode of the cell. The chemical reaction
in a lead-acid battery places two electrons on the anode and removes two from the cathode. It requires a closed circuit to proceed, since the two electrons must be
supplied to the cathode.

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Why are the chemicals able to produce a unique potential difference? Quantum mechanical descriptions of molecules, which take into account the
types of atoms and numbers of electrons in them, are able to predict the energy states they can have and the energies of reactions between them.
In the case of a lead-acid battery, an energy of 2 eV is given to each electron sent to the anode. Voltage is defined as the electrical potential energy
divided by charge:

P
V = qE . An electron volt is the energy given to a single electron by a voltage of 1 V. So the voltage here is 2 V, since 2 eV is

given to each electron. It is the energy produced in each molecular reaction that produces the voltage. A different reaction produces a different
energy and, hence, a different voltage.

Terminal Voltage
The voltage output of a device is measured across its terminals and, thus, is called its terminal voltage

V . Terminal voltage is given by

V = emf Ir,
where

(4.44)

r is the internal resistance and I is the current flowing at the time of the measurement.

I is positive if current flows away from the positive terminal, as shown in Figure 4.9. You can see that the larger the current, the smaller the terminal
voltage. And it is likewise true that the larger the internal resistance, the smaller the terminal voltage.
Suppose a load resistance
circuit is

R load is connected to a voltage source, as in Figure 4.12. Since the resistances are in series, the total resistance in the

R load + r . Thus the current is given by Ohms law to be

I=

Figure 4.12 Schematic of a voltage source and its load

emf .
R load + r

R load . Since the internal resistance r

(4.45)

is in series with the load, it can significantly affect the terminal voltage and

current delivered to the load. (Note that the script E stands for emf.)

r , the greater the current the voltage source supplies to its load R load . As
r becomes a significant fraction of the load resistance, then the current is significantly reduced, as the

We see from this expression that the smaller the internal resistance
batteries are depleted, r increases. If
following example illustrates.

Example 4.4 Calculating Terminal Voltage, Power Dissipation, Current, and Resistance: Terminal Voltage and
Load
0.100 . (a) Calculate its terminal voltage when connected to a 10.0-
0.500- load? (c) What power does the 0.500- load dissipate? (d) If the
internal resistance grows to 0.500 , find the current, terminal voltage, and power dissipated by a 0.500- load.
A certain battery has a 12.0-V emf and an internal resistance of
load. (b) What is the terminal voltage when connected to a
Strategy
The analysis above gave an expression for current when internal resistance is taken into account. Once the current is found, the terminal voltage
can be calculated using the equation V = emf Ir . Once current is found, the power dissipated by a resistor can also be found.
Solution for (a)
Entering the given values for the emf, load resistance, and internal resistance into the expression above yields

I=
Enter the known values into the equation

emf = 12.0 V = 1.188 A.


R load + r 10.1

(4.46)

V = emf Ir to get the terminal voltage:


V = emf Ir = 12.0 V (1.188 A)(0.100 )
= 11.9 V.

Discussion for (a)


The terminal voltage here is only slightly lower than the emf, implying that
Solution for (b)

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10.0 is a light load for this particular battery.

(4.47)

CHAPTER 4 | CIRCUITS, BIOELECTRICITY, AND DC INSTRUMENTS

Similarly, with

R load = 0.500 , the current is


I=

emf = 12.0 V = 20.0 A.


R load + r 0.600

(4.48)

The terminal voltage is now

V = emf Ir = 12.0 V (20.0 A)(0.100 )


= 10.0 V.

(4.49)

Discussion for (b)


This terminal voltage exhibits a more significant reduction compared with emf, implying

0.500 is a heavy load for this battery.

Solution for (c)


The power dissipated by the

0.500 - load can be found using the formula P = I 2R . Entering the known values gives
P load = I 2R load = (20.0 A) 2(0.500 ) = 2.0010 2 W.

(4.50)

Discussion for (c)


Note that this power can also be obtained using the expressions

V 2 or IV , where V is the terminal voltage (10.0 V in this case).


R

Solution for (d)


Here the internal resistance has increased, perhaps due to the depletion of the battery, to the point where it is as great as the load resistance. As
before, we first find the current by entering the known values into the expression, yielding

I=

emf = 12.0 V = 12.0 A.


R load + r 1.00

(4.51)

Now the terminal voltage is

V = emf Ir = 12.0 V (12.0 A)(0.500 )


= 6.00 V,

(4.52)

P load = I 2R load = (12.0 A) 2(0.500 ) = 72.0 W.

(4.53)

and the power dissipated by the load is

Discussion for (d)


We see that the increased internal resistance has significantly decreased terminal voltage, current, and power delivered to a load.

Battery testers, such as those in Figure 4.13, use small load resistors to intentionally draw current to determine whether the terminal voltage drops
below an acceptable level. They really test the internal resistance of the battery. If internal resistance is high, the battery is weak, as evidenced by its
low terminal voltage.

Figure 4.13 These two battery testers measure terminal voltage under a load to determine the condition of a battery. The large device is being used by a U.S. Navy electronics
technician to test large batteries aboard the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz and has a small resistance that can dissipate large amounts of power. (credit: U.S. Navy photo by
Photographers Mate Airman Jason A. Johnston) The small device is used on small batteries and has a digital display to indicate the acceptability of their terminal voltage.
(credit: Keith Williamson)

Some batteries can be recharged by passing a current through them in the direction opposite to the current they supply to a resistance. This is done
routinely in cars and batteries for small electrical appliances and electronic devices, and is represented pictorially in Figure 4.14. The voltage output
of the battery charger must be greater than the emf of the battery to reverse current through it. This will cause the terminal voltage of the battery to be
greater than the emf, since V = emf Ir , and I is now negative.

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Figure 4.14 A car battery charger reverses the normal direction of current through a battery, reversing its chemical reaction and replenishing its chemical potential.

Multiple Voltage Sources


There are two voltage sources when a battery charger is used. Voltage sources connected in series are relatively simple. When voltage sources are
in series, their internal resistances add and their emfs add algebraically. (See Figure 4.15.) Series connections of voltage sources are commonfor
example, in flashlights, toys, and other appliances. Usually, the cells are in series in order to produce a larger total emf.
But if the cells oppose one another, such as when one is put into an appliance backward, the total emf is less, since it is the algebraic sum of the
individual emfs.
A battery is a multiple connection of voltaic cells, as shown in Figure 4.16. The disadvantage of series connections of cells is that their internal
resistances add. One of the authors once owned a 1957 MGA that had two 6-V batteries in series, rather than a single 12-V battery. This
arrangement produced a large internal resistance that caused him many problems in starting the engine.

Figure 4.15 A series connection of two voltage sources. The emfs (each labeled with a script E) and internal resistances add, giving a total emf of
total internal resistance of

r1 + r2 .

emf 1 + emf 2

and a

Figure 4.16 Batteries are multiple connections of individual cells, as shown in this modern rendition of an old print. Single cells, such as AA or C cells, are commonly called
batteries, although this is technically incorrect.

If the series connection of two voltage sources is made into a complete circuit with the emfs in opposition, then a current of magnitude

I=

emf 1 emf 2
flows. See Figure 4.17, for example, which shows a circuit exactly analogous to the battery charger discussed above. If two
r1 + r2

voltage sources in series with emfs in the same sense are connected to a load

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R load , as in Figure 4.18, then I =

emf 1 + emf 2
flows.
r 1 + r 2 + R load

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Figure 4.17 These two voltage sources are connected in series with their emfs in opposition. Current flows in the direction of the greater emf and is limited to

I=

emf 1 emf 2
r1 + r2

by the sum of the internal resistances. (Note that each emf is represented by script E in the figure.) A battery charger connected to a battery is an

example of such a connection. The charger must have a larger emf than the battery to reverse current through it.

Figure 4.18 This schematic represents a flashlight with two cells (voltage sources) and a single bulb (load resistance) in series. The current that flows is

I=

emf 1 + emf 2
. (Note that each emf is represented by script E in the figure.)
r 1 + r 2 + R load

Take-Home Experiment: Flashlight Batteries


Find a flashlight that uses several batteries and find new and old batteries. Based on the discussions in this module, predict the brightness of the
flashlight when different combinations of batteries are used. Do your predictions match what you observe? Now place new batteries in the
flashlight and leave the flashlight switched on for several hours. Is the flashlight still quite bright? Do the same with the old batteries. Is the
flashlight as bright when left on for the same length of time with old and new batteries? What does this say for the case when you are limited in
the number of available new batteries?
Figure 4.19 shows two voltage sources with identical emfs in parallel and connected to a load resistance. In this simple case, the total emf is the
same as the individual emfs. But the total internal resistance is reduced, since the internal resistances are in parallel. The parallel connection thus
can produce a larger current.
Here,

I=

emf
flows through the load, and r tot is less than those of the individual batteries. For example, some diesel-powered cars
r tot + R load

use two 12-V batteries in parallel; they produce a total emf of 12 V but can deliver the larger current needed to start a diesel engine.

Figure 4.19 Two voltage sources with identical emfs (each labeled by script E) connected in parallel produce the same emf but have a smaller total internal resistance than the
individual sources. Parallel combinations are often used to deliver more current. Here

I=

emf
r tot + R load

flows through the load.

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Animals as Electrical Detectors


A number of animals both produce and detect electrical signals. Fish, sharks, platypuses, and echidnas (spiny anteaters) all detect electric fields
generated by nerve activity in prey. Electric eels produce their own emf through biological cells (electric organs) called electroplaques, which are
arranged in both series and parallel as a set of batteries.
Electroplaques are flat, disk-like cells; those of the electric eel have a voltage of 0.15 V across each one. These cells are usually located toward the
head or tail of the animal, although in the case of the electric eel, they are found along the entire body. The electroplaques in the South American eel
are arranged in 140 rows, with each row stretching horizontally along the body and containing 5,000 electroplaques. This can yield an emf of
approximately 600 V, and a current of 1 Adeadly.
The mechanism for detection of external electric fields is similar to that for producing nerve signals in the cell through depolarization and
repolarizationthe movement of ions across the cell membrane. Within the fish, weak electric fields in the water produce a current in a gel-filled
canal that runs from the skin to sensing cells, producing a nerve signal. The Australian platypus, one of the very few mammals that lay eggs, can
detect fields of 30

mV , while sharks have been found to be able to sense a field in their snouts as small as 100 mV (Figure 4.20). Electric eels
m
m

use their own electric fields produced by the electroplaques to stun their prey or enemies.

Figure 4.20 Sand tiger sharks (Carcharias taurus), like this one at the Minnesota Zoo, use electroreceptors in their snouts to locate prey. (credit: Jim Winstead, Flickr)

Solar Cell Arrays


Another example dealing with multiple voltage sources is that of combinations of solar cellswired in both series and parallel combinations to yield a
desired voltage and current. Photovoltaic generation (PV), the conversion of sunlight directly into electricity, is based upon the photoelectric effect, in
which photons hitting the surface of a solar cell create an electric current in the cell.
Most solar cells are made from pure siliconeither as single-crystal silicon, or as a thin film of silicon deposited upon a glass or metal backing. Most
single cells have a voltage output of about 0.5 V, while the current output is a function of the amount of sunlight upon the cell (the incident solar
radiationthe insolation). Under bright noon sunlight, a current of about 100 mA/cm 2 of cell surface area is produced by typical single-crystal
cells.
Individual solar cells are connected electrically in modules to meet electrical-energy needs. They can be wired together in series or in
parallelconnected like the batteries discussed earlier. A solar-cell array or module usually consists of between 36 and 72 cells, with a power output
of 50 W to 140 W.
The output of the solar cells is direct current. For most uses in a home, AC is required, so a device called an inverter must be used to convert the DC
to AC. Any extra output can then be passed on to the outside electrical grid for sale to the utility.
Take-Home Experiment: Virtual Solar Cells
One can assemble a virtual solar cell array by using playing cards, or business or index cards, to represent a solar cell. Combinations of these
cards in series and/or parallel can model the required array output. Assume each card has an output of 0.5 V and a current (under bright light) of
2 A. Using your cards, how would you arrange them to produce an output of 6 A at 3 V (18 W)?
Suppose you were told that you needed only 18 W (but no required voltage). Would you need more cards to make this arrangement?

4.3 Kirchhoffs Rules


Many complex circuits, such as the one in Figure 4.21, cannot be analyzed with the series-parallel techniques developed in Resistors in Series and
Parallel and Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage. There are, however, two circuit analysis rules that can be used to analyze any circuit, simple
or complex. These rules are special cases of the laws of conservation of charge and conservation of energy. The rules are known as Kirchhoffs
rules, after their inventor Gustav Kirchhoff (18241887).

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Figure 4.21 This circuit cannot be reduced to a combination of series and parallel connections. Kirchhoffs rules, special applications of the laws of conservation of charge and
energy, can be used to analyze it. (Note: The script E in the figure represents electromotive force, emf.)

Kirchhoffs Rules
Kirchhoffs first rulethe junction rule. The sum of all currents entering a junction must equal the sum of all currents leaving the junction.
Kirchhoffs second rulethe loop rule. The algebraic sum of changes in potential around any closed circuit path (loop) must be zero.
Explanations of the two rules will now be given, followed by problem-solving hints for applying Kirchhoffs rules, and a worked example that uses
them.

Kirchhoffs First Rule


Kirchhoffs first rule (the junction rule) is an application of the conservation of charge to a junction; it is illustrated in Figure 4.22. Current is the flow
of charge, and charge is conserved; thus, whatever charge flows into the junction must flow out. Kirchhoffs first rule requires that I 1 = I 2 + I 3 (see
figure). Equations like this can and will be used to analyze circuits and to solve circuit problems.
Making Connections: Conservation Laws
Kirchhoffs rules for circuit analysis are applications of conservation laws to circuits. The first rule is the application of conservation of charge,
while the second rule is the application of conservation of energy. Conservation laws, even used in a specific application, such as circuit analysis,
are so basic as to form the foundation of that application.

Figure 4.22 The junction rule. The diagram shows an example of Kirchhoffs first rule where the sum of the currents into a junction equals the sum of the currents out of a
junction. In this case, the current going into the junction splits and comes out as two currents, so that I 1 = I 2 + I 3 . Here I 1 must be 11 A, since I 2 is 7 A and I 3 is 4
A.

Kirchhoffs Second Rule


Kirchhoffs second rule (the loop rule) is an application of conservation of energy. The loop rule is stated in terms of potential,

V , rather than

PE elec = qV . Recall that emf is the potential difference of a source when no current is flowing. In a
closed loop, whatever energy is supplied by emf must be transferred into other forms by devices in the loop, since there are no other ways in which
energy can be transferred into or out of the circuit. Figure 4.23 illustrates the changes in potential in a simple series circuit loop.
potential energy, but the two are related since

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Kirchhoffs second rule requires


the

emf Ir IR 1 IR 2 = 0 . Rearranged, this is emf = Ir + IR 1 + IR 2 , which means the emf equals the sum of

IR (voltage) drops in the loop.

Figure 4.23 The loop rule. An example of Kirchhoffs second rule where the sum of the changes in potential around a closed loop must be zero. (a) In this standard schematic
of a simple series circuit, the emf supplies 18 V, which is reduced to zero by the resistances, with 1 V across the internal resistance, and 12 V and 5 V across the two load
resistances, for a total of 18 V. (b) This perspective view represents the potential as something like a roller coaster, where charge is raised in potential by the emf and lowered
by the resistances. (Note that the script E stands for emf.)

Applying Kirchhoffs Rules


By applying Kirchhoffs rules, we generate equations that allow us to find the unknowns in circuits. The unknowns may be currents, emfs, or
resistances. Each time a rule is applied, an equation is produced. If there are as many independent equations as unknowns, then the problem can be
solved. There are two decisions you must make when applying Kirchhoffs rules. These decisions determine the signs of various quantities in the
equations you obtain from applying the rules.
1. When applying Kirchhoffs first rule, the junction rule, you must label the current in each branch and decide in what direction it is going. For
example, in Figure 4.21, Figure 4.22, and Figure 4.23, currents are labeled I 1 , I 2 , I 3 , and I , and arrows indicate their directions. There is
no risk here, for if you choose the wrong direction, the current will be of the correct magnitude but negative.
2. When applying Kirchhoffs second rule, the loop rule, you must identify a closed loop and decide in which direction to go around it, clockwise or
counterclockwise. For example, in Figure 4.23 the loop was traversed in the same direction as the current (clockwise). Again, there is no risk;
going around the circuit in the opposite direction reverses the sign of every term in the equation, which is like multiplying both sides of the
equation by 1.
Figure 4.24 and the following points will help you get the plus or minus signs right when applying the loop rule. Note that the resistors and emfs are
traversed by going from a to b. In many circuits, it will be necessary to construct more than one loop. In traversing each loop, one needs to be
consistent for the sign of the change in potential. (See Example 4.5.)

Figure 4.24 Each of these resistors and voltage sources is traversed from a to b. The potential changes are shown beneath each element and are explained in the text. (Note
that the script E stands for emf.)

When a resistor is traversed in the same direction as the current, the change in potential is

IR . (See Figure 4.24.)

When a resistor is traversed in the direction opposite to the current, the change in potential is +IR . (See Figure 4.24.)
When an emf is traversed from to + (the same direction it moves positive charge), the change in potential is +emf. (See Figure 4.24.)
When an emf is traversed from + to (opposite to the direction it moves positive charge), the change in potential is emf. (See Figure
4.24.)
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Example 4.5 Calculating Current: Using Kirchhoffs Rules


Find the currents flowing in the circuit in Figure 4.25.

Figure 4.25 This circuit is similar to that in Figure 4.21, but the resistances and emfs are specified. (Each emf is denoted by script E.) The currents in each branch are
labeled and assumed to move in the directions shown. This example uses Kirchhoffs rules to find the currents.

Strategy
This circuit is sufficiently complex that the currents cannot be found using Ohms law and the series-parallel techniquesit is necessary to use
Kirchhoffs rules. Currents have been labeled I 1 , I 2 , and I 3 in the figure and assumptions have been made about their directions. Locations
on the diagram have been labeled with letters a through h. In the solution we will apply the junction and loop rules, seeking three independent
equations to allow us to solve for the three unknown currents.
Solution
We begin by applying Kirchhoffs first or junction rule at point a. This gives

I 1 = I 2 + I 3,
since

(4.54)

I 1 flows into the junction, while I 2 and I 3 flow out. Applying the junction rule at e produces exactly the same equation, so that no new

information is obtained. This is a single equation with three unknownsthree independent equations are needed, and so the loop rule must be
applied.
Now we consider the loop abcdea. Going from a to b, we traverse
potential is

R 2 in the same (assumed) direction of the current I 2 , and so the change in

I 2R 2 . Then going from b to c, we go from to +, so that the change in potential is +emf 1 . Traversing the internal resistance

r 1 from c to d gives I 2r 1 . Completing the loop by going from d to a again traverses a resistor in the same direction as its current, giving a
change in potential of

I 1R 1 .

The loop rule states that the changes in potential sum to zero. Thus,

I 2R 2 + emf 1 I 2r 1 I 1R 1 = I 2(R 2 + r 1) + emf 1 I 1R 1 = 0.

(4.55)

Substituting values from the circuit diagram for the resistances and emf, and canceling the ampere unit gives

3I 2 + 18 6I 1 = 0.

(4.56)

Now applying the loop rule to aefgha (we could have chosen abcdefgha as well) similarly gives

+ I 1R 1 + I 3R 3 + I 3r 2 emf 2= +I 1 R 1 + I 3R 3 + r 2 emf 2 = 0.

(4.57)

Note that the signs are reversed compared with the other loop, because elements are traversed in the opposite direction. With values entered,
this becomes

+ 6I 1 + 2I 3 45 = 0.
These three equations are sufficient to solve for the three unknown currents. First, solve the second equation for

Now solve the third equation for

(4.58)

I2 :

I 2 = 6 2I 1.

(4.59)

I 3 = 22.5 3I 1.

(4.60)

I3 :

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Substituting these two new equations into the first one allows us to find a value for

I1 :

I 1 = I 2 + I 3 = (6 2I 1) + (22.5 3I 1) = 28.5 5I 1.

(4.61)

6I 1 = 28.5, and

(4.62)

Combining terms gives

I 1 = 4.75 A.

Substituting this value for

I 1 back into the fourth equation gives


I 2 = 6 2I 1 = 6 9.50
I 2 = 3.50 A.

The minus sign means

(4.63)

(4.64)
(4.65)

I 2 flows in the direction opposite to that assumed in Figure 4.25.

Finally, substituting the value for

I 1 into the fifth equation gives


I 3 = 22.53I 1 = 22.5 14.25
I 3 = 8.25 A.

(4.66)
(4.67)

Discussion
Just as a check, we note that indeed

I 1 = I 2 + I 3 . The results could also have been checked by entering all of the values into the equation for

the abcdefgha loop.

Problem-Solving Strategies for Kirchhoffs Rules


1. Make certain there is a clear circuit diagram on which you can label all known and unknown resistances, emfs, and currents. If a current is
unknown, you must assign it a direction. This is necessary for determining the signs of potential changes. If you assign the direction
incorrectly, the current will be found to have a negative valueno harm done.
2. Apply the junction rule to any junction in the circuit. Each time the junction rule is applied, you should get an equation with a current that
does not appear in a previous applicationif not, then the equation is redundant.
3. Apply the loop rule to as many loops as needed to solve for the unknowns in the problem. (There must be as many independent equations
as unknowns.) To apply the loop rule, you must choose a direction to go around the loop. Then carefully and consistently determine the
signs of the potential changes for each element using the four bulleted points discussed above in conjunction with Figure 4.24.
4. Solve the simultaneous equations for the unknowns. This may involve many algebraic steps, requiring careful checking and rechecking.
5. Check to see whether the answers are reasonable and consistent. The numbers should be of the correct order of magnitude, neither
exceedingly large nor vanishingly small. The signs should be reasonablefor example, no resistance should be negative. Check to see
that the values obtained satisfy the various equations obtained from applying the rules. The currents should satisfy the junction rule, for
example.
The material in this section is correct in theory. We should be able to verify it by making measurements of current and voltage. In fact, some of the
devices used to make such measurements are straightforward applications of the principles covered so far and are explored in the next modules. As
we shall see, a very basic, even profound, fact resultsmaking a measurement alters the quantity being measured.

Check Your Understanding


Can Kirchhoffs rules be applied to simple series and parallel circuits or are they restricted for use in more complicated circuits that are not
combinations of series and parallel?
Solution
Kirchhoff's rules can be applied to any circuit since they are applications to circuits of two conservation laws. Conservation laws are the most
broadly applicable principles in physics. It is usually mathematically simpler to use the rules for series and parallel in simpler circuits so we
emphasize Kirchhoffs rules for use in more complicated situations. But the rules for series and parallel can be derived from Kirchhoffs rules.
Moreover, Kirchhoffs rules can be expanded to devices other than resistors and emfs, such as capacitors, and are one of the basic analysis
devices in circuit analysis.

4.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters


Voltmeters measure voltage, whereas ammeters measure current. Some of the meters in automobile dashboards, digital cameras, cell phones, and
tuner-amplifiers are voltmeters or ammeters. (See Figure 4.26.) The internal construction of the simplest of these meters and how they are
connected to the system they monitor give further insight into applications of series and parallel connections.

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Figure 4.26 The fuel and temperature gauges (far right and far left, respectively) in this 1996 Volkswagen are voltmeters that register the voltage output of sender units,
which are hopefully proportional to the amount of gasoline in the tank and the engine temperature. (credit: Christian Giersing)

Voltmeters are connected in parallel with whatever devices voltage is to be measured. A parallel connection is used because objects in parallel
experience the same potential difference. (See Figure 4.27, where the voltmeter is represented by the symbol V.)
Ammeters are connected in series with whatever devices current is to be measured. A series connection is used because objects in series have the
same current passing through them. (See Figure 4.28, where the ammeter is represented by the symbol A.)

Figure 4.27 (a) To measure potential differences in this series circuit, the voltmeter (V) is placed in parallel with the voltage source or either of the resistors. Note that terminal
voltage is measured between points a and b. It is not possible to connect the voltmeter directly across the emf without including its internal resistance, r . (b) A digital
voltmeter in use. (credit: Messtechniker, Wikimedia Commons)

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Figure 4.28 An ammeter (A) is placed in series to measure current. All of the current in this circuit flows through the meter. The ammeter would have the same reading if
located between points d and e or between points f and a as it does in the position shown. (Note that the script capital E stands for emf, and r stands for the internal
resistance of the source of potential difference.)

Analog Meters: Galvanometers


Analog meters have a needle that swivels to point at numbers on a scale, as opposed to digital meters, which have numerical readouts similar to a
hand-held calculator. The heart of most analog meters is a device called a galvanometer, denoted by G. Current flow through a galvanometer, I G ,
produces a proportional needle deflection. (This deflection is due to the force of a magnetic field upon a current-carrying wire.)
The two crucial characteristics of a given galvanometer are its resistance and current sensitivity. Current sensitivity is the current that gives a fullscale deflection of the galvanometers needle, the maximum current that the instrument can measure. For example, a galvanometer with a current
sensitivity of 50 A has a maximum deflection of its needle when 50 A flows through it, reads half-scale when 25 A flows through it, and so
on.
If such a galvanometer has a

25- resistance, then a voltage of only V = IR = 50 A(25 ) = 1.25 mV produces a full-scale reading. By

connecting resistors to this galvanometer in different ways, you can use it as either a voltmeter or ammeter that can measure a broad range of
voltages or currents.
Galvanometer as Voltmeter
Figure 4.29 shows how a galvanometer can be used as a voltmeter by connecting it in series with a large resistance,

R . The value of the resistance

R is determined by the maximum voltage to be measured. Suppose you want 10 V to produce a full-scale deflection of a voltmeter containing a
25- galvanometer with a 50-A sensitivity. Then 10 V applied to the meter must produce a current of 50 A . The total resistance must be
R tot = R + r = V = 10 V = 200 k, or
I
50 A

(4.68)

R = R tot r = 200 k 25 200 k .

(4.69)

( R is so large that the galvanometer resistance,


producing a

r , is nearly negligible.) Note that 5 V applied to this voltmeter produces a half-scale deflection by
25-A current through the meter, and so the voltmeters reading is proportional to voltage as desired.

This voltmeter would not be useful for voltages less than about half a volt, because the meter deflection would be small and difficult to read
accurately. For other voltage ranges, other resistances are placed in series with the galvanometer. Many meters have a choice of scales. That choice
involves switching an appropriate resistance into series with the galvanometer.

Figure 4.29 A large resistance

voltage to be measured, the larger

placed in series with a galvanometer G produces a voltmeter, the full-scale deflection of which depends on the choice of

must be. (Note that

R . The larger the

represents the internal resistance of the galvanometer.)

Galvanometer as Ammeter
The same galvanometer can also be made into an ammeter by placing it in parallel with a small resistance R , often called the shunt resistance, as
shown in Figure 4.30. Since the shunt resistance is small, most of the current passes through it, allowing an ammeter to measure currents much
greater than those producing a full-scale deflection of the galvanometer.
Suppose, for example, an ammeter is needed that gives a full-scale deflection for 1.0 A, and contains the same

50-A sensitivity. Since R and r are in parallel, the voltage across them is the same.
These

IR drops are IR = I Gr so that IR =

25- galvanometer with its

IG R
= r . Solving for R , and noting that I G is 50 A and I is 0.999950 A, we have
I

R=r

IG
50 A
= (25 )
= 1.2510 3 .
I
0.999950 A

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Figure 4.30 A small shunt resistance

placed in parallel with a galvanometer G produces an ammeter, the full-scale deflection of which depends on the choice of

R . The

larger the current to be measured, the smaller R must be. Most of the current ( I ) flowing through the meter is shunted through R to protect the galvanometer. (Note that
represents the internal resistance of the galvanometer.) Ammeters may also have multiple scales for greater flexibility in application. The various scales are achieved by
switching various shunt resistances in parallel with the galvanometerthe greater the maximum current to be measured, the smaller the shunt resistance must be.

Taking Measurements Alters the Circuit


When you use a voltmeter or ammeter, you are connecting another resistor to an existing circuit and, thus, altering the circuit. Ideally, voltmeters and
ammeters do not appreciably affect the circuit, but it is instructive to examine the circumstances under which they do or do not interfere.
First, consider the voltmeter, which is always placed in parallel with the device being measured. Very little current flows through the voltmeter if its
resistance is a few orders of magnitude greater than the device, and so the circuit is not appreciably affected. (See Figure 4.31(a).) (A large
resistance in parallel with a small one has a combined resistance essentially equal to the small one.) If, however, the voltmeters resistance is
comparable to that of the device being measured, then the two in parallel have a smaller resistance, appreciably affecting the circuit. (See Figure
4.31(b).) The voltage across the device is not the same as when the voltmeter is out of the circuit.

Figure 4.31 (a) A voltmeter having a resistance much larger than the device (

R Voltmeter >>R ) with which it is in parallel produces a parallel resistance essentially the

same as the device and does not appreciably affect the circuit being measured. (b) Here the voltmeter has the same resistance as the device (

R Voltmeter R ), so that the

parallel resistance is half of what it is when the voltmeter is not connected. This is an example of a significant alteration of the circuit and is to be avoided.

An ammeter is placed in series in the branch of the circuit being measured, so that its resistance adds to that branch. Normally, the ammeters
resistance is very small compared with the resistances of the devices in the circuit, and so the extra resistance is negligible. (See Figure 4.32(a).)
However, if very small load resistances are involved, or if the ammeter is not as low in resistance as it should be, then the total series resistance is
significantly greater, and the current in the branch being measured is reduced. (See Figure 4.32(b).)
A practical problem can occur if the ammeter is connected incorrectly. If it was put in parallel with the resistor to measure the current in it, you could
possibly damage the meter; the low resistance of the ammeter would allow most of the current in the circuit to go through the galvanometer, and this
current would be larger since the effective resistance is smaller.

Figure 4.32 (a) An ammeter normally has such a small resistance that the total series resistance in the branch being measured is not appreciably increased. The circuit is
essentially unaltered compared with when the ammeter is absent. (b) Here the ammeters resistance is the same as that of the branch, so that the total resistance is doubled
and the current is half what it is without the ammeter. This significant alteration of the circuit is to be avoided.

One solution to the problem of voltmeters and ammeters interfering with the circuits being measured is to use galvanometers with greater sensitivity.
This allows construction of voltmeters with greater resistance and ammeters with smaller resistance than when less sensitive galvanometers are
used.
There are practical limits to galvanometer sensitivity, but it is possible to get analog meters that make measurements accurate to a few percent. Note
that the inaccuracy comes from altering the circuit, not from a fault in the meter.
Connections: Limits to Knowledge
Making a measurement alters the system being measured in a manner that produces uncertainty in the measurement. For macroscopic systems,
such as the circuits discussed in this module, the alteration can usually be made negligibly small, but it cannot be eliminated entirely. For
submicroscopic systems, such as atoms, nuclei, and smaller particles, measurement alters the system in a manner that cannot be made

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arbitrarily small. This actually limits knowledge of the systemeven limiting what nature can know about itself. We shall see profound
implications of this when the Heisenberg uncertainty principle is discussed in the modules on quantum mechanics.
There is another measurement technique based on drawing no current at all and, hence, not altering the circuit at all. These are called null
measurements and are the topic of Null Measurements. Digital meters that employ solid-state electronics and null measurements can attain
6
accuracies of one part in 10 .

Check Your Understanding


Digital meters are able to detect smaller currents than analog meters employing galvanometers. How does this explain their ability to measure
voltage and current more accurately than analog meters?
Solution
Since digital meters require less current than analog meters, they alter the circuit less than analog meters. Their resistance as a voltmeter can be
far greater than an analog meter, and their resistance as an ammeter can be far less than an analog meter. Consult Figure 4.27 and Figure 4.28
and their discussion in the text.
PhET Explorations: Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only), Virtual Lab
Stimulate a neuron and monitor what happens. Pause, rewind, and move forward in time in order to observe the ions as they move across the
neuron membrane.

Figure 4.33 Circuit Construction Kit (DC Only), Virtual Lab (http://cnx.org/content/m42360/1.6/circuit-construction-kit-dc-virtual-lab_en.jar)

4.5 Null Measurements


Standard measurements of voltage and current alter the circuit being measured, introducing uncertainties in the measurements. Voltmeters draw
some extra current, whereas ammeters reduce current flow. Null measurements balance voltages so that there is no current flowing through the
measuring device and, therefore, no alteration of the circuit being measured.
Null measurements are generally more accurate but are also more complex than the use of standard voltmeters and ammeters, and they still have
limits to their precision. In this module, we shall consider a few specific types of null measurements, because they are common and interesting, and
they further illuminate principles of electric circuits.

The Potentiometer
Suppose you wish to measure the emf of a battery. Consider what happens if you connect the battery directly to a standard voltmeter as shown in
Figure 4.34. (Once we note the problems with this measurement, we will examine a null measurement that improves accuracy.) As discussed before,
the actual quantity measured is the terminal voltage V , which is related to the emf of the battery by V = emf Ir , where I is the current that
flows and r is the internal resistance of the battery.
The emf could be accurately calculated if r were very accurately known, but it is usually not. If the current I could be made zero, then
and so emf could be directly measured. However, standard voltmeters need a current to operate; thus, another technique is needed.

V = emf ,

Figure 4.34 An analog voltmeter attached to a battery draws a small but nonzero current and measures a terminal voltage that differs from the emf of the battery. (Note that
the script capital E symbolizes electromotive force, or emf.) Since the internal resistance of the battery is not known precisely, it is not possible to calculate the emf precisely.

A potentiometer is a null measurement device for measuring potentials (voltages). (See Figure 4.35.) A voltage source is connected to a resistor
R, say, a long wire, and passes a constant current through it. There is a steady drop in potential (an IR drop) along the wire, so that a variable
potential can be obtained by making contact at varying locations along the wire.

emf x (represented by script E x in the figure) connected in series with a galvanometer. Note that emf x
opposes the other voltage source. The location of the contact point (see the arrow on the drawing) is adjusted until the galvanometer reads zero.
Figure 4.35(b) shows an unknown

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emf x = IR x , where R x is the resistance of the section of wire up to the contact point. Since no current flows
through the galvanometer, none flows through the unknown emf, and so emf x is directly sensed.
When the galvanometer reads zero,

emf s is substituted for emf x , and the contact point is adjusted until the galvanometer again reads zero, so
that emf s = IR s . In both cases, no current passes through the galvanometer, and so the current I through the long wire is the same. Upon taking
emf x
the ratio
, I cancels, giving
emf s
Now, a very precisely known standard

emf x IR x R x
=
= .
emf s IR s R s
Solving for

emf x gives
emf x = emf s

Rx
.
Rs

Figure 4.35 The potentiometer, a null measurement device. (a) A voltage source connected to a long wire resistor passes a constant current
(labeled script
resistance

(4.71)

Rx

Ex

in the figure) is connected as shown, and the point of contact along

and script

E x = IR x , where I

(4.72)

through it. (b) An unknown emf

is adjusted until the galvanometer reads zero. The segment of wire has a

is unaffected by the connection since no current flows through the galvanometer. The unknown emf is thus proportional to

the resistance of the wire segment.

Because a long uniform wire is used for

R , the ratio of resistances R x / R s is the same as the ratio of the lengths of wire that zero the galvanometer
emf x can be calculated. The uncertainty

for each emf. The three quantities on the right-hand side of the equation are now known or measured, and

in this calculation can be considerably smaller than when using a voltmeter directly, but it is not zero. There is always some uncertainty in the ratio of
resistances R x / R s and in the standard emf s . Furthermore, it is not possible to tell when the galvanometer reads exactly zero, which introduces
error into both

R x and R s , and may also affect the current I .

Resistance Measurements and the Wheatstone Bridge


There is a variety of so-called ohmmeters that purport to measure resistance. What the most common ohmmeters actually do is to apply a voltage to
a resistance, measure the current, and calculate the resistance using Ohms law. Their readout is this calculated resistance. Two configurations for
ohmmeters using standard voltmeters and ammeters are shown in Figure 4.36. Such configurations are limited in accuracy, because the meters alter
both the voltage applied to the resistor and the current that flows through it.

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Figure 4.36 Two methods for measuring resistance with standard meters. (a) Assuming a known voltage for the source, an ammeter measures current, and resistance is
calculated as

R=V
I

. (b) Since the terminal voltage

varies with current, it is better to measure it.

is most accurately known when

is small, but

itself is most

accurately known when it is large.

The Wheatstone bridge is a null measurement device for calculating resistance by balancing potential drops in a circuit. (See Figure 4.37.) The
device is called a bridge because the galvanometer forms a bridge between two branches. A variety of bridge devices are used to make null
measurements in circuits.
Resistors

R 1 and R 2 are precisely known, while the arrow through R 3 indicates that it is a variable resistance. The value of R 3 can be precisely

read. With the unknown resistance

R x in the circuit, R 3 is adjusted until the galvanometer reads zero. The potential difference between points b

and d is then zero, meaning that b and d are at the same potential. With no current running through the galvanometer, it has no effect on the rest of
the circuit. So the branches abc and adc are in parallel, and each branch has the full voltage of the source. That is, the IR drops along abc and adc
are the same. Since b and d are at the same potential, the

IR drop along ad must equal the IR drop along ab. Thus,


I 1 R 1 = I 2R 3.

Again, since b and d are at the same potential, the

(4.73)

IR drop along dc must equal the IR drop along bc. Thus,


I 1 R 2 = I 2R x.

(4.74)

I1 R1 I2 R3
=
.
I1 R2 I2 Rx

(4.75)

Taking the ratio of these last two expressions gives

Canceling the currents and solving for Rx yields

Rx = R3

R2
.
R1

Figure 4.37 The Wheatstone bridge is used to calculate unknown resistances. The variable resistance
closed. This simplifies the circuit, allowing

Rx

to be calculated based on the

IR

(4.76)

R3

is adjusted until the galvanometer reads zero with the switch

drops as discussed in the text.

This equation is used to calculate the unknown resistance when current through the galvanometer is zero. This method can be very accurate (often to
four significant digits), but it is limited by two factors. First, it is not possible to get the current through the galvanometer to be exactly zero. Second,
there are always uncertainties in R 1 , R 2 , and R 3 , which contribute to the uncertainty in R x .

Check Your Understanding


Identify other factors that might limit the accuracy of null measurements. Would the use of a digital device that is more sensitive than a
galvanometer improve the accuracy of null measurements?

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Solution
One factor would be resistance in the wires and connections in a null measurement. These are impossible to make zero, and they can change
over time. Another factor would be temperature variations in resistance, which can be reduced but not completely eliminated by choice of
material. Digital devices sensitive to smaller currents than analog devices do improve the accuracy of null measurements because they allow you
to get the current closer to zero.

4.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors


When you use a flash camera, it takes a few seconds to charge the capacitor that powers the flash. The light flash discharges the capacitor in a tiny
fraction of a second. Why does charging take longer than discharging? This question and a number of other phenomena that involve charging and
discharging capacitors are discussed in this module.

RC Circuits
An

RC circuit is one containing a resistor R and a capacitor C . The capacitor is an electrical component that stores electric charge.

Figure 4.38 shows a simple RC circuit that employs a DC (direct current) voltage source. The capacitor is initially uncharged. As soon as the switch
is closed, current flows to and from the initially uncharged capacitor. As charge increases on the capacitor plates, there is increasing opposition to the
flow of charge by the repulsion of like charges on each plate.

V c = Q / C , where Q is the amount of charge stored on each plate and


C is the capacitance. This voltage opposes the battery, growing from zero to the maximum emf when fully charged. The current thus decreases
from its initial value of I 0 = emf to zero as the voltage on the capacitor reaches the same value as the emf. When there is no current, there is no
R
IR drop, and so the voltage on the capacitor must then equal the emf of the voltage source. This can also be explained with Kirchhoffs second rule
In terms of voltage, this is because voltage across the capacitor is given by

(the loop rule), discussed in Kirchhoffs Rules, which says that the algebraic sum of changes in potential around any closed loop must be zero.

I 0 = emf , because all of the IR drop is in the resistance. Therefore, the smaller the resistance, the faster a given capacitor
R
will be charged. Note that the internal resistance of the voltage source is included in R , as are the resistances of the capacitor and the connecting
The initial current is

wires. In the flash camera scenario above, when the batteries powering the camera begin to wear out, their internal resistance rises, reducing the
current and lengthening the time it takes to get ready for the next flash.

Figure 4.38 (a) An

RC

circuit with an initially uncharged capacitor. Current flows in the direction shown (opposite of electron flow) as soon as the switch is closed. Mutual

repulsion of like charges in the capacitor progressively slows the flow as the capacitor is charged, stopping the current when the capacitor is fully charged and

Q = C emf . (b) A graph of voltage across the capacitor versus time, with the switch closing at time t = 0 . (Note that in the two parts of the figure, the capital script E
q stands for the charge stored on the capacitor, and is the RC time constant.)

stands for emf,

Voltage on the capacitor is initially zero and rises rapidly at first, since the initial current is a maximum. Figure 4.38(b) shows a graph of capacitor
voltage versus time ( t ) starting when the switch is closed at t = 0 . The voltage approaches emf asymptotically, since the closer it gets to emf the
less current flows. The equation for voltage versus time when charging a capacitor

C through a resistor R , derived using calculus, is

V = emf(1 e t / RC) (charging),


where

(4.77)

V is the voltage across the capacitor, emf is equal to the emf of the DC voltage source, and the exponential e = 2.718 is the base of the
RC are seconds. We define

natural logarithm. Note that the units of

= RC,

(4.78)

(the Greek letter tau) is called the time constant for an RC circuit. As noted before, a small resistance R allows the capacitor to charge
C , the less
time needed to charge it. Both factors are contained in = RC .
where

faster. This is reasonable, since a larger current flows through a smaller resistance. It is also reasonable that the smaller the capacitor

More quantitatively, consider what happens when

t = = RC . Then the voltage on the capacitor is

V = emf 1 e 1 = emf(1 0.368) = 0.632 emf.

(4.79)

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This means that in the time = RC , the voltage rises to 0.632 of its final value. The voltage will rise 0.632 of the remainder in the next time . It is
a characteristic of the exponential function that the final value is never reached, but 0.632 of the remainder to that value is achieved in every time, .
In just a few multiples of the time constant , then, the final value is very nearly achieved, as the graph in Figure 4.38(b) illustrates.

Discharging a Capacitor
Discharging a capacitor through a resistor proceeds in a similar fashion, as Figure 4.39 illustrates. Initially, the current is
initial voltage
formula for

V . Using calculus, the voltage V on a capacitor C being discharged through a resistor R is found to be

Figure 4.39 (a) Closing the switch discharges the capacitor


voltage across the capacitor versus time, with

V0
, driven by the
R

V 0 on the capacitor. As the voltage decreases, the current and hence the rate of discharge decreases, implying another exponential
V = V e t / RC(discharging).

constant

I0 =

V = V0

at

(4.80)

C through the resistor R . Mutual repulsion of like charges on each plate drives the current. (b) A graph of
t = 0 . The voltage decreases exponentially, falling a fixed fraction of the way to zero in each subsequent time

The graph in Figure 4.39(b) is an example of this exponential decay. Again, the time constant is = RC . A small resistance R allows the capacitor
to discharge in a small time, since the current is larger. Similarly, a small capacitance requires less time to discharge, since less charge is stored. In
the first time interval = RC after the switch is closed, the voltage falls to 0.368 of its initial value, since V = V 0 e 1 = 0.368V 0 .
During each successive time , the voltage falls to 0.368 of its preceding value. In a few multiples of
indicated by the graph in Figure 4.39(b).

, the voltage becomes very close to zero, as

Now we can explain why the flash camera in our scenario takes so much longer to charge than discharge; the resistance while charging is
significantly greater than while discharging. The internal resistance of the battery accounts for most of the resistance while charging. As the battery
ages, the increasing internal resistance makes the charging process even slower. (You may have noticed this.)
The flash discharge is through a low-resistance ionized gas in the flash tube and proceeds very rapidly. Flash photographs, such as in Figure 4.40,
can capture a brief instant of a rapid motion because the flash can be less than a microsecond in duration. Such flashes can be made extremely
intense.
During World War II, nighttime reconnaissance photographs were made from the air with a single flash illuminating more than a square kilometer of
enemy territory. The brevity of the flash eliminated blurring due to the surveillance aircrafts motion. Today, an important use of intense flash lamps is
to pump energy into a laser. The short intense flash can rapidly energize a laser and allow it to reemit the energy in another form.

Figure 4.40 This stop-motion photograph of a rufous hummingbird (Selasphorus rufus) feeding on a flower was obtained with an extremely brief and intense flash of light
powered by the discharge of a capacitor through a gas. (credit: Dean E. Biggins, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service)

Example 4.6 Integrated Concept Problem: Calculating Capacitor SizeStrobe Lights


High-speed flash photography was pioneered by Doc Edgerton in the 1930s, while he was a professor of electrical engineering at MIT. You might
have seen examples of his work in the amazing shots of hummingbirds in motion, a drop of milk splattering on a table, or a bullet penetrating an
apple (see Figure 4.40). To stop the motion and capture these pictures, one needs a high-intensity, very short pulsed flash, as mentioned earlier
in this module.

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5.010 2 m/s ) that was passing through an apple. The duration of the flash is
related to the RC time constant, . What size capacitor would one need in the RC circuit to succeed, if the resistance of the flash tube was
Suppose one wished to capture the picture of a bullet (moving at

10.0 ? Assume the apple is a sphere with a diameter of 8.010 2 m.

Strategy
We begin by identifying the physical principles involved. This example deals with the strobe light, as discussed above. Figure 4.39 shows the
circuit for this probe. The characteristic time of the strobe is given as = RC .
Solution
We wish to find C , but we dont know . We want the flash to be on only while the bullet traverses the apple. So we need to use the kinematic
equations that describe the relationship between distance x , velocity v , and time t :

x = vt or t = vx .

The bullets velocity is given as

(4.81)

5.010 2 m/s , and the distance x is 8.010 2 m. The traverse time, then, is
2
t = vx = 8.0102 m = 1.610 4 s.
5.010 m/s

We set this value for the crossing time

(4.82)

t equal to . Therefore,
4
C = t = 1.610 s = 16 F.
R
10.0

(Note: Capacitance C is typically measured in farads,


in units of seconds per ohm.)

(4.83)

F , defined as Coulombs per volt. From the equation, we see that C can also be stated

Discussion
The flash interval of

160 s (the traverse time of the bullet) is relatively easy to obtain today. Strobe lights have opened up new worlds from

science to entertainment. The information from the picture of the apple and bullet was used in the Warren Commission Report on the
assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963 to confirm that only one bullet was fired.

RC Circuits for Timing


RC circuits are commonly used for timing purposes. A mundane example of this is found in the ubiquitous intermittent wiper systems of modern
cars. The time between wipes is varied by adjusting the resistance in an RC circuit. Another example of an RC circuit is found in novelty jewelry,
Halloween costumes, and various toys that have battery-powered flashing lights. (See Figure 4.41 for a timing circuit.)
A more crucial use of RC circuits for timing purposes is in the artificial pacemaker, used to control heart rate. The heart rate is normally controlled by
electrical signals generated by the sino-atrial (SA) node, which is on the wall of the right atrium chamber. This causes the muscles to contract and
pump blood. Sometimes the heart rhythm is abnormal and the heartbeat is too high or too low.
The artificial pacemaker is inserted near the heart to provide electrical signals to the heart when needed with the appropriate time constant.
Pacemakers have sensors that detect body motion and breathing to increase the heart rate during exercise to meet the bodys increased needs for
blood and oxygen.

Figure 4.41 (a) The lamp in this

RC

circuit ordinarily has a very high resistance, so that the battery charges the capacitor as if the lamp were not there. When the voltage

reaches a threshold value, a current flows through the lamp that dramatically reduces its resistance, and the capacitor discharges through the lamp as if the battery and
charging resistor were not there. Once discharged, the process starts again, with the flash period determined by the RC constant . (b) A graph of voltage versus time for
this circuit.

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Example 4.7 Calculating Time: RC Circuit in a Heart Defibrillator


A heart defibrillator is used to resuscitate an accident victim by discharging a capacitor through the trunk of her body. A simplified version of the
circuit is seen in Figure 4.39. (a) What is the time constant if an 8.00-F capacitor is used and the path resistance through her body is

1.0010 3 ? (b) If the initial voltage is 10.0 kV, how long does it take to decline to 5.0010 2 V ?
Strategy
Since the resistance and capacitance are given, it is straightforward to multiply them to give the time constant asked for in part (a). To find the
time for the voltage to decline to 5.0010 2 V , we repeatedly multiply the initial voltage by 0.368 until a voltage less than or equal to

5.0010 2 V is obtained. Each multiplication corresponds to a time of seconds.

Solution for (a)


The time constant

is given by the equation = RC . Entering the given values for resistance and capacitance (and remembering that units
s / ) gives

for a farad can be expressed as

= RC = (1.0010 3 )(8.00 F) = 8.00 ms.

(4.84)

Solution for (b)


In the first 8.00 ms, the voltage (10.0 kV) declines to 0.368 of its initial value. That is:

V = 0.368V 0 = 3.68010 3 V at t = 8.00 ms.

(4.85)

(Notice that we carry an extra digit for each intermediate calculation.) After another 8.00 ms, we multiply by 0.368 again, and the voltage is

V = 0.368V
= (0.368)3.68010 3 V

(4.86)

= 1.35410 3 V at t = 16.0 ms.


Similarly, after another 8.00 ms, the voltage is

V = 0.368V = (0.368)(1.35410 3 V)
= 498 V at t = 24.0 ms.

(4.87)

Discussion
So after only 24.0 ms, the voltage is down to 498 V, or 4.98% of its original value.Such brief times are useful in heart defibrillation, because the
brief but intense current causes a brief but effective contraction of the heart. The actual circuit in a heart defibrillator is slightly more complex than
the one in Figure 4.39, to compensate for magnetic and AC effects that will be covered in Magnetism.

Check Your Understanding


When is the potential difference across a capacitor an emf?
Solution
Only when the current being drawn from or put into the capacitor is zero. Capacitors, like batteries, have internal resistance, so their output
voltage is not an emf unless current is zero. This is difficult to measure in practice so we refer to a capacitors voltage rather than its emf. But the
source of potential difference in a capacitor is fundamental and it is an emf.
PhET Explorations: Circuit Construction Kit (DC only)
An electronics kit in your computer! Build circuits with resistors, light bulbs, batteries, and switches. Take measurements with the realistic
ammeter and voltmeter. View the circuit as a schematic diagram, or switch to a life-like view.

Figure 4.42 Circuit Construction Kit (DC only) (http://cnx.org/content/m42363/1.5/circuit-construction-kit-dc_en.jar)

Glossary
ammeter: an instrument that measures current
analog meter: a measuring instrument that gives a readout in the form of a needle movement over a marked gauge
bridge device: a device that forms a bridge between two branches of a circuit; some bridge devices are used to make null measurements in
circuits

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capacitance: the maximum amount of electric potential energy that can be stored (or separated) for a given electric potential
capacitor: an electrical component used to store energy by separating electric charge on two opposing plates
conservation laws: require that energy and charge be conserved in a system
current sensitivity: the maximum current that a galvanometer can read
current: the flow of charge through an electric circuit past a given point of measurement
digital meter: a measuring instrument that gives a readout in a digital form
electromotive force (emf): the potential difference of a source of electricity when no current is flowing; measured in volts
full-scale deflection: the maximum deflection of a galvanometer needle, also known as current sensitivity; a galvanometer with a full-scale
deflection of 50 A has a maximum deflection of its needle when 50 A flows through it
galvanometer: an analog measuring device, denoted by G, that measures current flow using a needle deflection caused by a magnetic field force
acting upon a current-carrying wire
internal resistance: the amount of resistance within the voltage source
Joules law: the relationship between potential electrical power, voltage, and resistance in an electrical circuit, given by:

P e = IV

junction rule: Kirchhoffs first rule, which applies the conservation of charge to a junction; current is the flow of charge; thus, whatever charge
flows into the junction must flow out; the rule can be stated I 1 = I 2 + I 3
Kirchhoffs rules: a set of two rules, based on conservation of charge and energy, governing current and changes in potential in an electric circuit
loop rule: Kirchhoffs second rule, which states that in a closed loop, whatever energy is supplied by emf must be transferred into other forms by
devices in the loop, since there are no other ways in which energy can be transferred into or out of the circuit. Thus, the emf equals the sum
of the IR (voltage) drops in the loop and can be stated: emf = Ir + IR 1 + IR 2
null measurements: methods of measuring current and voltage more accurately by balancing the circuit so that no current flows through the
measurement device
Ohms law: the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance within an electrical circuit:

V = IR

ohmmeter: an instrument that applies a voltage to a resistance, measures the current, calculates the resistance using Ohms law, and provides a
readout of this calculated resistance
parallel: the wiring of resistors or other components in an electrical circuit such that each component receives an equal voltage from the power
source; often pictured in a ladder-shaped diagram, with each component on a rung of the ladder
potential difference: the difference in electric potential between two points in an electric circuit, measured in volts
potentiometer: a null measurement device for measuring potentials (voltages)
RC circuit: a circuit that contains both a resistor and a capacitor
resistance: causing a loss of electrical power in a circuit
resistor: a component that provides resistance to the current flowing through an electrical circuit
series: a sequence of resistors or other components wired into a circuit one after the other

R placed in parallel with a galvanometer G to produce an ammeter; the larger the current to be measured,
R must be; most of the current flowing through the meter is shunted through R to protect the galvanometer

shunt resistance: a small resistance


the smaller

terminal voltage: the voltage measured across the terminals of a source of potential difference
voltage drop: the loss of electrical power as a current travels through a resistor, wire or other component
voltage: the electrical potential energy per unit charge; electric pressure created by a power source, such as a battery
voltmeter: an instrument that measures voltage
Wheatstone bridge: a null measurement device for calculating resistance by balancing potential drops in a circuit

Section Summary
4.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
The total resistance of an electrical circuit with resistors wired in a series is the sum of the individual resistances:
Each resistor in a series circuit has the same amount of current flowing through it.

R s = R 1 + R 2 + R 3 + ....

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The voltage drop, or power dissipation, across each individual resistor in a series is different, and their combined total adds up to the power
source input.
The total resistance of an electrical circuit with resistors wired in parallel is less than the lowest resistance of any of the components and can be
determined using the formula:

1 = 1 + 1 + 1 + ....
Rp R1 R2 R3

Each resistor in a parallel circuit has the same full voltage of the source applied to it.
The current flowing through each resistor in a parallel circuit is different, depending on the resistance.
If a more complex connection of resistors is a combination of series and parallel, it can be reduced to a single equivalent resistance by
identifying its various parts as series or parallel, reducing each to its equivalent, and continuing until a single resistance is eventually reached.

4.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage


All voltage sources have two fundamental partsa source of electrical energy that has a characteristic electromotive force (emf), and an
internal resistance r .
The emf is the potential difference of a source when no current is flowing.
The numerical value of the emf depends on the source of potential difference.
The internal resistance r of a voltage source affects the output voltage when a current flows.

The voltage output of a device is called its terminal voltage V and is given by V = emf Ir , where I is the electric current and is positive
when flowing away from the positive terminal of the voltage source.
When multiple voltage sources are in series, their internal resistances add and their emfs add algebraically.
Solar cells can be wired in series or parallel to provide increased voltage or current, respectively.

4.3 Kirchhoffs Rules

Kirchhoffs rules can be used to analyze any circuit, simple or complex.


Kirchhoffs first rulethe junction rule: The sum of all currents entering a junction must equal the sum of all currents leaving the junction.
Kirchhoffs second rulethe loop rule: The algebraic sum of changes in potential around any closed circuit path (loop) must be zero.
The two rules are based, respectively, on the laws of conservation of charge and energy.
When calculating potential and current using Kirchhoffs rules, a set of conventions must be followed for determining the correct signs of various
terms.
The simpler series and parallel rules are special cases of Kirchhoffs rules.

4.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters

Voltmeters measure voltage, and ammeters measure current.


A voltmeter is placed in parallel with the voltage source to receive full voltage and must have a large resistance to limit its effect on the circuit.
An ammeter is placed in series to get the full current flowing through a branch and must have a small resistance to limit its effect on the circuit.
Both can be based on the combination of a resistor and a galvanometer, a device that gives an analog reading of current.
Standard voltmeters and ammeters alter the circuit being measured and are thus limited in accuracy.

4.5 Null Measurements

Null measurement techniques achieve greater accuracy by balancing a circuit so that no current flows through the measuring device.
One such device, for determining voltage, is a potentiometer.
Another null measurement device, for determining resistance, is the Wheatstone bridge.
Other physical quantities can also be measured with null measurement techniques.

4.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors


An RC circuit is one that has both a resistor and a capacitor.
The time constant for an RC circuit is = RC .
When an initially uncharged ( V 0 = 0 at t = 0 ) capacitor in series with a resistor is charged by a DC voltage source, the voltage rises,
asymptotically approaching the emf of the voltage source; as a function of time,
t / RC

V = emf(1 e
)(charging).
, the voltage rises by 0.632 of the remaining value, approaching the final voltage asymptotically.
If a capacitor with an initial voltage V 0 is discharged through a resistor starting at t = 0 , then its voltage decreases exponentially as given by
Within the span of each time constant

V = V 0e t / RC (discharging).

In each time constant

, the voltage falls by 0.368 of its remaining initial value, approaching zero asymptotically.

Conceptual Questions
4.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel
1. A switch has a variable resistance that is nearly zero when closed and extremely large when open, and it is placed in series with the device it
controls. Explain the effect the switch in Figure 4.43 has on current when open and when closed.

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Figure 4.43 A switch is ordinarily in series with a resistance and voltage source. Ideally, the switch has nearly zero resistance when closed but has an extremely large
resistance when open. (Note that in this diagram, the script E represents the voltage (or electromotive force) of the battery.)

2. What is the voltage across the open switch in Figure 4.43?


3. There is a voltage across an open switch, such as in Figure 4.43. Why, then, is the power dissipated by the open switch small?
4. Why is the power dissipated by a closed switch, such as in Figure 4.43, small?
5. A student in a physics lab mistakenly wired a light bulb, battery, and switch as shown in Figure 4.44. Explain why the bulb is on when the switch is
open, and off when the switch is closed. (Do not try thisit is hard on the battery!)

Figure 4.44 A wiring mistake put this switch in parallel with the device represented by

R . (Note that in this diagram, the script E represents the voltage (or electromotive

force) of the battery.)

6. Knowing that the severity of a shock depends on the magnitude of the current through your body, would you prefer to be in series or parallel with a
resistance, such as the heating element of a toaster, if shocked by it? Explain.
7. Would your headlights dim when you start your cars engine if the wires in your automobile were superconductors? (Do not neglect the batterys
internal resistance.) Explain.
8. Some strings of holiday lights are wired in series to save wiring costs. An old version utilized bulbs that break the electrical connection, like an
open switch, when they burn out. If one such bulb burns out, what happens to the others? If such a string operates on 120 V and has 40 identical
bulbs, what is the normal operating voltage of each? Newer versions use bulbs that short circuit, like a closed switch, when they burn out. If one such
bulb burns out, what happens to the others? If such a string operates on 120 V and has 39 remaining identical bulbs, what is then the operating
voltage of each?
9. If two household lightbulbs rated 60 W and 100 W are connected in series to household power, which will be brighter? Explain.
10. Suppose you are doing a physics lab that asks you to put a resistor into a circuit, but all the resistors supplied have a larger resistance than the
requested value. How would you connect the available resistances to attempt to get the smaller value asked for?
11. Before World War II, some radios got power through a resistance cord that had a significant resistance. Such a resistance cord reduces the
voltage to a desired level for the radios tubes and the like, and it saves the expense of a transformer. Explain why resistance cords become warm
and waste energy when the radio is on.
12. Some light bulbs have three power settings (not including zero), obtained from multiple filaments that are individually switched and wired in
parallel. What is the minimum number of filaments needed for three power settings?

4.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage


13. Is every emf a potential difference? Is every potential difference an emf? Explain.
14. Explain which battery is doing the charging and which is being charged in Figure 4.45.

Figure 4.45

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15. Given a battery, an assortment of resistors, and a variety of voltage and current measuring devices, describe how you would determine the
internal resistance of the battery.
16. Two different 12-V automobile batteries on a store shelf are rated at 600 and 850 cold cranking amps. Which has the smallest internal
resistance?
17. What are the advantages and disadvantages of connecting batteries in series? In parallel?
18. Semitractor trucks use four large 12-V batteries. The starter system requires 24 V, while normal operation of the trucks other electrical
components utilizes 12 V. How could the four batteries be connected to produce 24 V? To produce 12 V? Why is 24 V better than 12 V for starting the
trucks engine (a very heavy load)?

4.3 Kirchhoffs Rules


19. Can all of the currents going into the junction in Figure 4.46 be positive? Explain.

Figure 4.46

20. Apply the junction rule to junction b in Figure 4.47. Is any new information gained by applying the junction rule at e? (In the figure, each emf is
represented by script E.)

Figure 4.47

21. (a) What is the potential difference going from point a to point b in Figure 4.47? (b) What is the potential difference going from c to b? (c) From e
to g? (d) From e to d?
22. Apply the loop rule to loop afedcba in Figure 4.47.
23. Apply the loop rule to loops abgefa and cbgedc in Figure 4.47.

4.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters


24. Why should you not connect an ammeter directly across a voltage source as shown in Figure 4.48? (Note that script E in the figure stands for
emf.)

Figure 4.48

25. Suppose you are using a multimeter (one designed to measure a range of voltages, currents, and resistances) to measure current in a circuit and
you inadvertently leave it in a voltmeter mode. What effect will the meter have on the circuit? What would happen if you were measuring voltage but
accidentally put the meter in the ammeter mode?

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26. Specify the points to which you could connect a voltmeter to measure the following potential differences in Figure 4.49: (a) the potential
difference of the voltage source; (b) the potential difference across R 1 ; (c) across R 2 ; (d) across R 3 ; (e) across R 2 and R 3 . Note that there may
be more than one answer to each part.

Figure 4.49

27. To measure currents in Figure 4.49, you would replace a wire between two points with an ammeter. Specify the points between which you would
place an ammeter to measure the following: (a) the total current; (b) the current flowing through R 1 ; (c) through R 2 ; (d) through R 3 . Note that
there may be more than one answer to each part.

4.5 Null Measurements


28. Why can a null measurement be more accurate than one using standard voltmeters and ammeters? What factors limit the accuracy of null
measurements?
29. If a potentiometer is used to measure cell emfs on the order of a few volts, why is it most accurate for the standard

emf s to be the same order of

magnitude and the resistances to be in the range of a few ohms?

4.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors


30. Regarding the units involved in the relationship
31. The

= RC , verify that the units of resistance times capacitance are time, that is, F = s .

RC time constant in heart defibrillation is crucial to limiting the time the current flows. If the capacitance in the defibrillation unit is fixed, how
RC constant ? Would an adjustment of the applied voltage also be needed to ensure

would you manipulate resistance in the circuit to adjust the


that the current delivered has an appropriate value?

RC
RC . How would you manipulate R and C in the circuit to allow the

32. When making an ECG measurement, it is important to measure voltage variations over small time intervals. The time is limited by the
constant of the circuitit is not possible to measure time variations shorter than
necessary measurements?

33. Draw two graphs of charge versus time on a capacitor. Draw one for charging an initially uncharged capacitor in series with a resistor, as in the
circuit in Figure 4.38, starting from t = 0 . Draw the other for discharging a capacitor through a resistor, as in the circuit in Figure 4.39, starting at

t = 0 , with an initial charge Q 0 . Show at least two intervals of .

34. When charging a capacitor, as discussed in conjunction with Figure 4.38, how long does it take for the voltage on the capacitor to reach emf? Is
this a problem?
35. When discharging a capacitor, as discussed in conjunction with Figure 4.39, how long does it take for the voltage on the capacitor to reach zero?
Is this a problem?
36. Referring to Figure 4.38, draw a graph of potential difference across the resistor versus time, showing at least two intervals of
graph of current versus time for this situation.

. Also draw a

37. A long, inexpensive extension cord is connected from inside the house to a refrigerator outside. The refrigerator doesnt run as it should. What
might be the problem?
38. In Figure 4.41, does the graph indicate the time constant is shorter for discharging than for charging? Would you expect ionized gas to have low
resistance? How would you adjust R to get a longer time between flashes? Would adjusting R affect the discharge time?
39. An electronic apparatus may have large capacitors at high voltage in the power supply section, presenting a shock hazard even when the
apparatus is switched off. A bleeder resistor is therefore placed across such a capacitor, as shown schematically in Figure 4.50, to bleed the charge
from it after the apparatus is off. Why must the bleeder resistance be much greater than the effective resistance of the rest of the circuit? How does
this affect the time constant for discharging the capacitor?

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Figure 4.50 A bleeder resistor

R bl

discharges the capacitor in this electronic device once it is switched off.

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Problems & Exercises

Figure 4.51 High-voltage (240-kV) transmission line carrying

5.0010 2 A

is

hung from a grounded metal transmission tower. The row of ceramic insulators

4.1 Resistors in Series and Parallel


Note: Data taken from figures can be assumed to be accurate to
three significant digits.
1. (a) What is the resistance of ten
series? (b) In parallel?
2. (a) What is the resistance of a

275- resistors connected in

1.0010 2 - , a 2.50-k , and a

4.00-k resistor connected in series? (b) In parallel?

3. What are the largest and smallest resistances you can obtain by
connecting a 36.0- , a 50.0- , and a 700- resistor together?
4. An 1800-W toaster, a 1400-W electric frying pan, and a 75-W lamp are
plugged into the same outlet in a 15-A, 120-V circuit. (The three devices
are in parallel when plugged into the same socket.). (a) What current is
drawn by each device? (b) Will this combination blow the 15-A fuse?
5. Your cars 30.0-W headlight and 2.40-kW starter are ordinarily
connected in parallel in a 12.0-V system. What power would one
headlight and the starter consume if connected in series to a 12.0-V
battery? (Neglect any other resistance in the circuit and any change in
resistance in the two devices.)
6. (a) Given a 48.0-V battery and 24.0- and 96.0- resistors, find
the current and power for each when connected in series. (b) Repeat
when the resistances are in parallel.
7. Referring to the example combining series and parallel circuits and
Figure 4.6, calculate I 3 in the following two different ways: (a) from the
known values of

I and I 2 ; (b) using Ohms law for R 3 . In both parts

explicitly show how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving


Strategies for Series and Parallel Resistors.
8. Referring to Figure 4.6: (a) Calculate

P 3 and note how it compares

P 3 found in the first two example problems in this module. (b) Find
the total power supplied by the source and compare it with the sum of the
powers dissipated by the resistors.

provide

1.0010 9

of resistance each.

11. Show that if two resistors

R 1 and R 2 are combined and one is

much greater than the other ( R 1 >>R 2 ): (a) Their series resistance is
very nearly equal to the greater resistance

R 1 . (b) Their parallel

resistance is very nearly equal to smaller resistance

R2 .

12. Unreasonable Results


Two resistors, one having a resistance of

145 , are connected in

parallel to produce a total resistance of 150 . (a) What is the value of


the second resistance? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c)
Which assumptions are unreasonable or inconsistent?
13. Unreasonable Results
Two resistors, one having a resistance of

900 k , are connected in

series to produce a total resistance of 0.500 M . (a) What is the value


of the second resistance? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c)
Which assumptions are unreasonable or inconsistent?

4.2 Electromotive Force: Terminal Voltage


14. Standard automobile batteries have six lead-acid cells in series,
creating a total emf of 12.0 V. What is the emf of an individual lead-acid
cell?
15. Carbon-zinc dry cells (sometimes referred to as non-alkaline cells)
have an emf of 1.54 V, and they are produced as single cells or in various
combinations to form other voltages. (a) How many 1.54-V cells are
needed to make the common 9-V battery used in many small electronic
devices? (b) What is the actual emf of the approximately 9-V battery? (c)
Discuss how internal resistance in the series connection of cells will
affect the terminal voltage of this approximately 9-V battery.

with

16. What is the output voltage of a 3.0000-V lithium cell in a digital


wristwatch that draws 0.300 mA, if the cells internal resistance is
2.00 ?

9. Refer to Figure 4.7 and the discussion of lights dimming when a heavy
appliance comes on. (a) Given the voltage source is 120 V, the wire
resistance is 0.800 , and the bulb is nominally 75.0 W, what power
will the bulb dissipate if a total of 15.0 A passes through the wires when
the motor comes on? Assume negligible change in bulb resistance. (b)
What power is consumed by the motor?

17. (a) What is the terminal voltage of a large 1.54-V carbon-zinc dry cell
used in a physics lab to supply 2.00 A to a circuit, if the cells internal
resistance is 0.100 ? (b) How much electrical power does the cell
produce? (c) What power goes to its load?

10. A 240-kV power transmission line carrying 5.0010 2 A is hung


from grounded metal towers by ceramic insulators, each having a
1.0010 9 - resistance. Figure 4.51. (a) What is the resistance to
ground of 100 of these insulators? (b) Calculate the power dissipated by
100 of them. (c) What fraction of the power carried by the line is this?
Explicitly show how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving
Strategies for Series and Parallel Resistors.

18. What is the internal resistance of an automobile battery that has an


emf of 12.0 V and a terminal voltage of 15.0 V while a current of 8.00 A is
charging it?
19. (a) Find the terminal voltage of a 12.0-V motorcycle battery having a
0.600- internal resistance, if it is being charged by a current of 10.0 A.
(b) What is the output voltage of the battery charger?
20. A car battery with a 12-V emf and an internal resistance of
0.050 is being charged with a current of 60 A. Note that in this
process the battery is being charged. (a) What is the potential difference
across its terminals? (b) At what rate is thermal energy being dissipated
in the battery? (c) At what rate is electric energy being converted to
chemical energy? (d) What are the answers to (a) and (b) when the
battery is used to supply 60 A to the starter motor?
21. The hot resistance of a flashlight bulb is

2.30 , and it is run by a

1.58-V alkaline cell having a 0.100- internal resistance. (a) What


current flows? (b) Calculate the power supplied to the bulb using
2
I 2 R bulb . (c) Is this power the same as calculated using V ?
R bulb

22. The label on a portable radio recommends the use of rechargeable


nickel-cadmium cells (nicads), although they have a 1.25-V emf while
alkaline cells have a 1.58-V emf. The radio has a 3.20- resistance. (a)
Draw a circuit diagram of the radio and its batteries. Now, calculate the
power delivered to the radio. (b) When using Nicad cells each having an

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CHAPTER 4 | CIRCUITS, BIOELECTRICITY, AND DC INSTRUMENTS

internal resistance of

0.0400 . (c) When using alkaline cells each


having an internal resistance of 0.200 . (d) Does this difference seem

33. Verify the second equation in Example 4.5 by substituting the values
found for the currents I 1 and I 2 .

significant, considering that the radios effective resistance is lowered


when its volume is turned up?

34. Verify the third equation in Example 4.5 by substituting the values
found for the currents I 1 and I 3 .

23. An automobile starter motor has an equivalent resistance of


0.0500 and is supplied by a 12.0-V battery with a 0.0100-
internal resistance. (a) What is the current to the motor? (b) What voltage
is applied to it? (c) What power is supplied to the motor? (d) Repeat
these calculations for when the battery connections are corroded and add
0.0900 to the circuit. (Significant problems are caused by even
small amounts of unwanted resistance in low-voltage, high-current
applications.)

35. Apply the junction rule at point a in Figure 4.52.

24. A childs electronic toy is supplied by three 1.58-V alkaline cells


having internal resistances of 0.0200 in series with a 1.53-V
carbon-zinc dry cell having a

0.100- internal resistance. The load

resistance is 10.0 . (a) Draw a circuit diagram of the toy and its
batteries. (b) What current flows? (c) How much power is supplied to the
load? (d) What is the internal resistance of the dry cell if it goes bad,
resulting in only 0.500 W being supplied to the load?
25. (a) What is the internal resistance of a voltage source if its terminal
voltage drops by 2.00 V when the current supplied increases by 5.00 A?
(b) Can the emf of the voltage source be found with the information
supplied?
26. A person with body resistance between his hands of 10.0 k
accidentally grasps the terminals of a 20.0-kV power supply. (Do NOT do
this!) (a) Draw a circuit diagram to represent the situation. (b) If the
internal resistance of the power supply is 2000 , what is the current
through his body? (c) What is the power dissipated in his body? (d) If the
power supply is to be made safe by increasing its internal resistance,
what should the internal resistance be for the maximum current in this
situation to be 1.00 mA or less? (e) Will this modification compromise the
effectiveness of the power supply for driving low-resistance devices?
Explain your reasoning.
27. Electric fish generate current with biological cells called
electroplaques, which are physiological emf devices. The electroplaques
in the South American eel are arranged in 140 rows, each row stretching
horizontally along the body and each containing 5000 electroplaques.
Each electroplaque has an emf of 0.15 V and internal resistance of
0.25 . If the water surrounding the fish has resistance of 800 ,
how much current can the eel produce in water from near its head to near
its tail?

Figure 4.52

36. Apply the loop rule to loop abcdefghija in Figure 4.52.


37. Apply the loop rule to loop akledcba in Figure 4.52.
38. Find the currents flowing in the circuit in Figure 4.52. Explicitly show
how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving Strategies for Series
and Parallel Resistors.
39. Solve Example 4.5, but use loop abcdefgha instead of loop akledcba.
Explicitly show how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving
Strategies for Series and Parallel Resistors.
40. Find the currents flowing in the circuit in Figure 4.47.
41. Unreasonable Results
Consider the circuit in Figure 4.53, and suppose that the emfs are
unknown and the currents are given to be I 1 = 5.00 A , I 2 = 3.0
and

A,

I 3 = 2.00 A . (a) Could you find the emfs? (b) What is wrong with

the assumptions?

28. Integrated Concepts


A 12.0-V emf automobile battery has a terminal voltage of 16.0 V when
being charged by a current of 10.0 A. (a) What is the batterys internal
resistance? (b) What power is dissipated inside the battery? (c) At what
rate (in C/min ) will its temperature increase if its mass is 20.0 kg and it
has a specific heat of

0.300 kcal/kg C , assuming no heat escapes?

29. Unreasonable Results


A 1.58-V alkaline cell with a 0.200- internal resistance is supplying
8.50 A to a load. (a) What is its terminal voltage? (b) What is the value of
the load resistance? (c) What is unreasonable about these results? (d)
Which assumptions are unreasonable or inconsistent?
30. Unreasonable Results
(a) What is the internal resistance of a 1.54-V dry cell that supplies 1.00
W of power to a 15.0- bulb? (b) What is unreasonable about this
result? (c) Which assumptions are unreasonable or inconsistent?

4.3 Kirchhoffs Rules


31. Apply the loop rule to loop abcdefgha in Figure 4.25.
32. Apply the loop rule to loop aedcba in Figure 4.25.

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Figure 4.53

4.4 DC Voltmeters and Ammeters


42. What is the sensitivity of the galvanometer (that is, what current gives
a full-scale deflection) inside a voltmeter that has a 1.00-M
resistance on its 30.0-V scale?
43. What is the sensitivity of the galvanometer (that is, what current gives
a full-scale deflection) inside a voltmeter that has a 25.0-k
resistance on its 100-V scale?

CHAPTER 4 | CIRCUITS, BIOELECTRICITY, AND DC INSTRUMENTS

44. Find the resistance that must be placed in series with a


galvanometer having a

25.0-

50.0-A sensitivity (the same as the one

discussed in the text) to allow it to be used as a voltmeter with a 0.100-V


full-scale reading.
45. Find the resistance that must be placed in series with a
galvanometer having a

25.0-

50.0-A sensitivity (the same as the one

discussed in the text) to allow it to be used as a voltmeter with a 3000-V


full-scale reading. Include a circuit diagram with your solution.
46. Find the resistance that must be placed in parallel with a
galvanometer having a

25.0-

50.0-A sensitivity (the same as the one

discussed in the text) to allow it to be used as an ammeter with a 10.0-A


full-scale reading. Include a circuit diagram with your solution.
47. Find the resistance that must be placed in parallel with a
galvanometer having a

25.0-

50.0-A sensitivity (the same as the one

discussed in the text) to allow it to be used as an ammeter with a 300-mA


full-scale reading.
48. Find the resistance that must be placed in series with a
galvanometer having a

10.0-

100-A sensitivity to allow it to be used as a

voltmeter with: (a) a 300-V full-scale reading, and (b) a 0.300-V full-scale
reading.
49. Find the resistance that must be placed in parallel with a
galvanometer having a

10.0-

100-A sensitivity to allow it to be used as an

what is the percent increase in voltage? (e) Are the changes found in
parts (c) and (d) significant? Discuss.
55. Unreasonable Results
Suppose you have a

40.0- galvanometer with a 25.0-A sensitivity.

(a) What resistance would you put in series with it to allow it to be used
as a voltmeter that has a full-scale deflection for 0.500 mV? (b) What is
unreasonable about this result? (c) Which assumptions are responsible?
56. Unreasonable Results

40.0-
25.0-A sensitivity to allow it to be used as an
ammeter that has a full-scale deflection for 10.0-A ? (b) What is
(a) What resistance would you put in parallel with a
galvanometer having a

unreasonable about this result? (c) Which assumptions are responsible?

4.5 Null Measurements


emf x of a cell being measured in a potentiometer, if the
standard cells emf is 12.0 V and the potentiometer balances for
R x = 5.000 and R s = 2.500 ?
57. What is the

emf x of a dry cell for which a potentiometer is


R x = 1.200 , while an alkaline standard cell with an
emf of 1.600 V requires R s = 1.247 to balance the potentiometer.
58. Calculate the
balanced when

59. When an unknown resistance

R x is placed in a Wheatstone bridge,


R 3 to be 2500 .

ammeter with: (a) a 20.0-A full-scale reading, and (b) a 100-mA full-scale
reading.

it is possible to balance the bridge by adjusting

50. Suppose you measure the terminal voltage of a 1.585-V alkaline cell
having an internal resistance of 0.100 by placing a 1.00-k
voltmeter across its terminals. (See Figure 4.54.) (a) What current flows?
(b) Find the terminal voltage. (c) To see how close the measured terminal
voltage is to the emf, calculate their ratio.

What is

R x if

R2
= 0.625 ?
R1

60. To what value must you adjust


if the unknown resistance

175 ?

R 3 to balance a Wheatstone bridge,

R x is 100 , R 1 is 50.0 , and R 2 is

emf x in a potentiometer that balances


when R x is 10.0 , and balances when R s is 15.0 for a
standard 3.000-V emf? (b) The same emf x is placed in the same
potentiometer, which now balances when R s is 15.0 for a standard
emf of 3.100 V. At what resistance R x will the potentiometer balance?
61. (a) What is the unknown

Figure 4.54

51. Suppose you measure the terminal voltage of a 3.200-V lithium cell
having an internal resistance of 5.00 by placing a 1.00-k
voltmeter across its terminals. (a) What current flows? (b) Find the
terminal voltage. (c) To see how close the measured terminal voltage is
to the emf, calculate their ratio.
52. A certain ammeter has a resistance of

5.0010 5 on its

3.00-A scale and contains a 10.0- galvanometer. What is the


sensitivity of the galvanometer?

53. A 1.00-M voltmeter is placed in parallel with a 75.0-k


resistor in a circuit. (a) Draw a circuit diagram of the connection. (b) What
is the resistance of the combination? (c) If the voltage across the
combination is kept the same as it was across the 75.0-k resistor
alone, what is the percent increase in current? (d) If the current through
the combination is kept the same as it was through the 75.0-k
resistor alone, what is the percentage decrease in voltage? (e) Are the
changes found in parts (c) and (d) significant? Discuss.
54. A 0.0200- ammeter is placed in series with a 10.00- resistor in
a circuit. (a) Draw a circuit diagram of the connection. (b) Calculate the
resistance of the combination. (c) If the voltage is kept the same across
the combination as it was through the 10.00- resistor alone, what is
the percent decrease in current? (d) If the current is kept the same
through the combination as it was through the 10.00- resistor alone,

62. Suppose you want to measure resistances in the range from


10.0 to 10.0 k using a Wheatstone bridge that has

R2
= 2.000 . Over what range should R 3 be adjustable?
R1

4.6 DC Circuits Containing Resistors and Capacitors


63. The timing device in an automobiles intermittent wiper system is
based on an RC time constant and utilizes a 0.500-F capacitor and
a variable resistor. Over what range must
time constants from 2.00 to 15.0 s?

R be made to vary to achieve

64. A heart pacemaker fires 72 times a minute, each time a 25.0-nF


capacitor is charged (by a battery in series with a resistor) to 0.632 of its
full voltage. What is the value of the resistance?
65. The duration of a photographic flash is related to an
constant, which is

RC time

0.100 s for a certain camera. (a) If the resistance of

the flash lamp is 0.0400 during discharge, what is the size of the
capacitor supplying its energy? (b) What is the time constant for charging
the capacitor, if the charging resistance is 800 k ?
66. A 2.00- and a

7.50-F capacitor can be connected in series or

parallel, as can a 25.0- and a

100-k resistor. Calculate the four RC

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time constants possible from connecting the resulting capacitance and


resistance in series.
67. After two time constants, what percentage of the final voltage, emf, is
on an initially uncharged capacitor C , charged through a resistance R
?
68. A

500- resistor, an uncharged 1.50-F capacitor, and a 6.16-V

emf are connected in series. (a) What is the initial current? (b) What is
the RC time constant? (c) What is the current after one time constant?
(d) What is the voltage on the capacitor after one time constant?

160-F capacitor charged to 450 V is discharged through a

31.2-k resistor. (a) Find the time constant. (b) Calculate the
temperature increase of the resistor, given that its mass is 2.50 g and its
specific heat is

1.67

kJ , noting that most of the thermal energy is


kg C

retained in the short time of the discharge. (c) Calculate the new
resistance, assuming it is pure carbon. (d) Does this change in resistance
seem significant?
77. Unreasonable Results

69. A heart defibrillator being used on a patient has an RC time


constant of 10.0 ms due to the resistance of the patient and the
capacitance of the defibrillator. (a) If the defibrillator has an 8.00-F

(a) Calculate the capacitance needed to get an RC time constant of


1.0010 3 s with a 0.100- resistor. (b) What is unreasonable about
this result? (c) Which assumptions are responsible?

capacitance, what is the resistance of the path through the patient? (You
may neglect the capacitance of the patient and the resistance of the
defibrillator.) (b) If the initial voltage is 12.0 kV, how long does it take to
decline to 6.0010 2 V ?

78. Construct Your Own Problem

70. An ECG monitor must have an RC time constant less than


1.0010 2 s to be able to measure variations in voltage over small
time intervals. (a) If the resistance of the circuit (due mostly to that of the
patients chest) is 1.00 k , what is the maximum capacitance of the
circuit? (b) Would it be difficult in practice to limit the capacitance to less
than the value found in (a)?
71. Figure 4.55 shows how a bleeder resistor is used to discharge a
capacitor after an electronic device is shut off, allowing a person to work
on the electronics with less risk of shock. (a) What is the time constant?
(b) How long will it take to reduce the voltage on the capacitor to 0.250%
(5% of 5%) of its full value once discharge begins? (c) If the capacitor is
charged to a voltage V 0 through a 100- resistance, calculate the
time it takes to rise to

0.865V 0 (This is about two time constants.)

Figure 4.55

72. Using the exact exponential treatment, find how much time is
required to discharge a 250-F capacitor through a 500- resistor
down to 1.00% of its original voltage.
73. Using the exact exponential treatment, find how much time is
required to charge an initially uncharged 100-pF capacitor through a
75.0-M resistor to 90.0% of its final voltage.
74. Integrated Concepts
If you wish to take a picture of a bullet traveling at 500 m/s, then a very
brief flash of light produced by an RC discharge through a flash tube

RC constant
600-F capacitor,

can limit blurring. Assuming 1.00 mm of motion during one


is acceptable, and given that the flash is driven by a
what is the resistance in the flash tube?
75. Integrated Concepts

A flashing lamp in a Christmas earring is based on an RC discharge of


a capacitor through its resistance. The effective duration of the flash is
0.250 s, during which it produces an average 0.500 W from an average
3.00 V. (a) What energy does it dissipate? (b) How much charge moves
through the lamp? (c) Find the capacitance. (d) What is the resistance of
the lamp?
76. Integrated Concepts
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Consider a cameras flash unit. Construct a problem in which you


calculate the size of the capacitor that stores energy for the flash lamp.
Among the things to be considered are the voltage applied to the
capacitor, the energy needed in the flash and the associated charge
needed on the capacitor, the resistance of the flash lamp during
discharge, and the desired RC time constant.
79. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider a rechargeable lithium cell that is to be used to power a
camcorder. Construct a problem in which you calculate the internal
resistance of the cell during normal operation. Also, calculate the
minimum voltage output of a battery charger to be used to recharge your
lithium cell. Among the things to be considered are the emf and useful
terminal voltage of a lithium cell and the current it should be able to
supply to a camcorder.

CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

MAGNETISM

Figure 5.1 The magnificent spectacle of the Aurora Borealis, or northern lights, glows in the northern sky above Bear Lake near Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska. Shaped by the
Earths magnetic field, this light is produced by radiation spewed from solar storms. (credit: Senior Airman Joshua Strang, via Flickr)

Learning Objectives
5.1. Magnets
Describe the difference between the north and south poles of a magnet.
Describe how magnetic poles interact with each other.
5.2. Ferromagnets and Electromagnets
Define ferromagnet.
Describe the role of magnetic domains in magnetization.
Explain the significance of the Curie temperature.
Describe the relationship between electricity and magnetism.
5.3. Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines
Define magnetic field and describe the magnetic field lines of various magnetic fields.
5.4. Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field
Describe the effects of magnetic fields on moving charges.
Use the right hand rule 1 to determine the velocity of a charge, the direction of the magnetic field, and the direction of the magnetic force
on a moving charge.
Calculate the magnetic force on a moving charge.
5.5. Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications
Describe the effects of a magnetic field on a moving charge.
Calculate the radius of curvature of the path of a charge that is moving in a magnetic field.
5.6. The Hall Effect
Describe the Hall effect.
Calculate the Hall emf across a current-carrying conductor.
5.7. Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor
Describe the effects of a magnetic force on a current-carrying conductor.
Calculate the magnetic force on a current-carrying conductor.
5.8. Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters
Describe how motors and meters work in terms of torque on a current loop.
Calculate the torque on a current-carrying loop in a magnetic field.
5.9. Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Amperes Law
Calculate current that produces a magnetic field.
Use the right hand rule 2 to determine the direction of current or the direction of magnetic field loops.
5.10. Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors
Describe the effects of the magnetic force between two conductors.
Calculate the force between two parallel conductors.
5.11. More Applications of Magnetism
Describe some applications of magnetism.

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Introduction to Magnetism
One evening, an Alaskan sticks a note to his refrigerator with a small magnet. Through the kitchen window, the Aurora Borealis glows in the night sky.
This grand spectacle is shaped by the same force that holds the note to the refrigerator.
People have been aware of magnets and magnetism for thousands of years. The earliest records date to well before the time of Christ, particularly in
a region of Asia Minor called Magnesia (the name of this region is the source of words like magnetic). Magnetic rocks found in Magnesia, which is
now part of western Turkey, stimulated interest during ancient times. A practical application for magnets was found later, when they were employed
as navigational compasses. The use of magnets in compasses resulted not only in improved long-distance sailing, but also in the names of north
and south being given to the two types of magnetic poles.
Today magnetism plays many important roles in our lives. Physicists understanding of magnetism has enabled the development of technologies that
affect our everyday lives. The iPod in your purse or backpack, for example, wouldnt have been possible without the applications of magnetism and
electricity on a small scale.
The discovery that weak changes in a magnetic field in a thin film of iron and chromium could bring about much larger changes in electrical
resistance was one of the first large successes of nanotechnology. The 2007 Nobel Prize in Physics went to Albert Fert from France and Peter
Grunberg from Germany for this discovery of giant magnetoresistance and its applications to computer memory.
All electric motors, with uses as diverse as powering refrigerators, starting cars, and moving elevators, contain magnets. Generators, whether
producing hydroelectric power or running bicycle lights, use magnetic fields. Recycling facilities employ magnets to separate iron from other refuse.
Hundreds of millions of dollars are spent annually on magnetic containment of fusion as a future energy source. Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
has become an important diagnostic tool in the field of medicine, and the use of magnetism to explore brain activity is a subject of contemporary
research and development. The list of applications also includes computer hard drives, tape recording, detection of inhaled asbestos, and levitation of
high-speed trains. Magnetism is used to explain atomic energy levels, cosmic rays, and charged particles trapped in the Van Allen belts. Once again,
we will find all these disparate phenomena are linked by a small number of underlying physical principles.

Figure 5.2 Engineering of technology like iPods would not be possible without a deep understanding magnetism. (credit: Jesse! S?, Flickr)

5.1 Magnets

Figure 5.3 Magnets come in various shapes, sizes, and strengths. All have both a north pole and a south pole. There is never an isolated pole (a monopole).

All magnets attract iron, such as that in a refrigerator door. However, magnets may attract or repel other magnets. Experimentation shows that all
magnets have two poles. If freely suspended, one pole will point toward the north. The two poles are thus named the north magnetic pole and the
south magnetic pole (or more properly, north-seeking and south-seeking poles, for the attractions in those directions).
Universal Characteristics of Magnets and Magnetic Poles
It is a universal characteristic of all magnets that like poles repel and unlike poles attract. (Note the similarity with electrostatics: unlike charges
attract and like charges repel.)
Further experimentation shows that it is impossible to separate north and south poles in the manner that + and charges can be separated.

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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

Figure 5.4 One end of a bar magnet is suspended from a thread that points toward north. The magnets two poles are labeled N and S for north-seeking and south-seeking
poles, respectively.

Misconception Alert: Earths Geographic North Pole Hides an S


The Earth acts like a very large bar magnet with its south-seeking pole near the geographic North Pole. That is why the north pole of your
compass is attracted toward the geographic north pole of the Earthbecause the magnetic pole that is near the geographic North Pole is
actually a south magnetic pole! Confusion arises because the geographic term North Pole has come to be used (incorrectly) for the magnetic
pole that is near the North Pole. Thus, North magnetic pole is actually a misnomerit should be called the South magnetic pole.

Figure 5.5 Unlike poles attract, whereas like poles repel.

Figure 5.6 North and south poles always occur in pairs. Attempts to separate them result in more pairs of poles. If we continue to split the magnet, we will eventually get down
to an iron atom with a north pole and a south polethese, too, cannot be separated.

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The fact that magnetic poles always occur in pairs of north and south is true from the very large scalefor example, sunspots always occur in pairs
that are north and south magnetic polesall the way down to the very small scale. Magnetic atoms have both a north pole and a south pole, as do
many types of subatomic particles, such as electrons, protons, and neutrons.
Making Connections: Take-Home ExperimentRefrigerator Magnets
We know that like magnetic poles repel and unlike poles attract. See if you can show this for two refrigerator magnets. Will the magnets stick if
you turn them over? Why do they stick to the door anyway? What can you say about the magnetic properties of the door next to the magnet? Do
refrigerator magnets stick to metal or plastic spoons? Do they stick to all types of metal?

5.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets


Ferromagnets
Only certain materials, such as iron, cobalt, nickel, and gadolinium, exhibit strong magnetic effects. Such materials are called ferromagnetic, after
the Latin word for iron, ferrum. A group of materials made from the alloys of the rare earth elements are also used as strong and permanent magnets;
a popular one is neodymium. Other materials exhibit weak magnetic effects, which are detectable only with sensitive instruments. Not only do
ferromagnetic materials respond strongly to magnets (the way iron is attracted to magnets), they can also be magnetized themselvesthat is, they
can be induced to be magnetic or made into permanent magnets.

Figure 5.7 An unmagnetized piece of iron is placed between two magnets, heated, and then cooled, or simply tapped when cold. The iron becomes a permanent magnet with
the poles aligned as shown: its south pole is adjacent to the north pole of the original magnet, and its north pole is adjacent to the south pole of the original magnet. Note that
there are attractive forces between the magnets.

When a magnet is brought near a previously unmagnetized ferromagnetic material, it causes local magnetization of the material with unlike poles
closest, as in Figure 5.7. (This results in the attraction of the previously unmagnetized material to the magnet.) What happens on a microscopic scale
is illustrated in Figure 5.8. The regions within the material called domains act like small bar magnets. Within domains, the poles of individual atoms
are aligned. Each atom acts like a tiny bar magnet. Domains are small and randomly oriented in an unmagnetized ferromagnetic object. In response
to an external magnetic field, the domains may grow to millimeter size, aligning themselves as shown in Figure 5.8(b). This induced magnetization
can be made permanent if the material is heated and then cooled, or simply tapped in the presence of other magnets.

Figure 5.8 (a) An unmagnetized piece of iron (or other ferromagnetic material) has randomly oriented domains. (b) When magnetized by an external field, the domains show
greater alignment, and some grow at the expense of others. Individual atoms are aligned within domains; each atom acts like a tiny bar magnet.

Conversely, a permanent magnet can be demagnetized by hard blows or by heating it in the absence of another magnet. Increased thermal motion at
higher temperature can disrupt and randomize the orientation and the size of the domains. There is a well-defined temperature for ferromagnetic
materials, which is called the Curie temperature, above which they cannot be magnetized. The Curie temperature for iron is 1043 K (770C) ,
which is well above room temperature. There are several elements and alloys that have Curie temperatures much lower than room temperature and
are ferromagnetic only below those temperatures.

Electromagnets
Early in the 19th century, it was discovered that electrical currents cause magnetic effects. The first significant observation was by the Danish
scientist Hans Christian Oersted (17771851), who found that a compass needle was deflected by a current-carrying wire. This was the first
significant evidence that the movement of charges had any connection with magnets. Electromagnetism is the use of electric current to make
magnets. These temporarily induced magnets are called electromagnets. Electromagnets are employed for everything from a wrecking yard crane
that lifts scrapped cars to controlling the beam of a 90-km-circumference particle accelerator to the magnets in medical imaging machines (See
Figure 5.9).

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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

Figure 5.9 Instrument for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI). The device uses a superconducting cylindrical coil for the main magnetic field. The patient goes into this tunnel
on the gurney. (credit: Bill McChesney, Flickr)

Figure 5.10 shows that the response of iron filings to a current-carrying coil and to a permanent bar magnet. The patterns are similar. In fact,
electromagnets and ferromagnets have the same basic characteristicsfor example, they have north and south poles that cannot be separated and
for which like poles repel and unlike poles attract.

Figure 5.10 Iron filings near (a) a current-carrying coil and (b) a magnet act like tiny compass needles, showing the shape of their fields. Their response to a current-carrying
coil and a permanent magnet is seen to be very similar, especially near the ends of the coil and the magnet.

Combining a ferromagnet with an electromagnet can produce particularly strong magnetic effects. (See Figure 5.11.) Whenever strong magnetic
effects are needed, such as lifting scrap metal, or in particle accelerators, electromagnets are enhanced by ferromagnetic materials. Limits to how
strong the magnets can be made are imposed by coil resistance (it will overheat and melt at sufficiently high current), and so superconducting
magnets may be employed. These are still limited, because superconducting properties are destroyed by too great a magnetic field.

Figure 5.11 An electromagnet with a ferromagnetic core can produce very strong magnetic effects. Alignment of domains in the core produces a magnet, the poles of which
are aligned with the electromagnet.

Figure 5.12 shows a few uses of combinations of electromagnets and ferromagnets. Ferromagnetic materials can act as memory devices, because
the orientation of the magnetic fields of small domains can be reversed or erased. Magnetic information storage on videotapes and computer hard
drives are among the most common applications. This property is vital in our digital world.

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Figure 5.12 An electromagnet induces regions of permanent magnetism on a floppy disk coated with a ferromagnetic material. The information stored here is digital (a region
is either magnetic or not); in other applications, it can be analog (with a varying strength), such as on audiotapes.

Current: The Source of All Magnetism


An electromagnet creates magnetism with an electric current. In later sections we explore this more quantitatively, finding the strength and direction
of magnetic fields created by various currents. But what about ferromagnets? Figure 5.13 shows models of how electric currents create magnetism
at the submicroscopic level. (Note that we cannot directly observe the paths of individual electrons about atoms, and so a model or visual image,
consistent with all direct observations, is made. We can directly observe the electrons orbital angular momentum, its spin momentum, and
subsequent magnetic moments, all of which are explained with electric-current-creating subatomic magnetism.) Currents, including those associated
with other submicroscopic particles like protons, allow us to explain ferromagnetism and all other magnetic effects. Ferromagnetism, for example,
results from an internal cooperative alignment of electron spins, possible in some materials but not in others.
Crucial to the statement that electric current is the source of all magnetism is the fact that it is impossible to separate north and south magnetic poles.
(This is far different from the case of positive and negative charges, which are easily separated.) A current loop always produces a magnetic
dipolethat is, a magnetic field that acts like a north pole and south pole pair. Since isolated north and south magnetic poles, called magnetic
monopoles, are not observed, currents are used to explain all magnetic effects. If magnetic monopoles did exist, then we would have to modify this
underlying connection that all magnetism is due to electrical current. There is no known reason that magnetic monopoles should not existthey are
simply never observedand so searches at the subnuclear level continue. If they do not exist, we would like to find out why not. If they do exist, we
would like to see evidence of them.
Electric Currents and Magnetism
Electric current is the source of all magnetism.

Figure 5.13 (a) In the planetary model of the atom, an electron orbits a nucleus, forming a closed-current loop and producing a magnetic field with a north pole and a south
pole. (b) Electrons have spin and can be crudely pictured as rotating charge, forming a current that produces a magnetic field with a north pole and a south pole. Neither the
planetary model nor the image of a spinning electron is completely consistent with modern physics. However, they do provide a useful way of understanding phenomena.

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PhET Explorations: Magnets and Electromagnets


Explore the interactions between a compass and bar magnet. Discover how you can use a battery and wire to make a magnet! Can you make it
a stronger magnet? Can you make the magnetic field reverse?

Figure 5.14 Magnets and Electromagnets (http://cnx.org/content/m42368/1.4/magnets-and-electromagnets_en.jar)

5.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines


Einstein is said to have been fascinated by a compass as a child, perhaps musing on how the needle felt a force without direct physical contact. His
ability to think deeply and clearly about action at a distance, particularly for gravitational, electric, and magnetic forces, later enabled him to create his
revolutionary theory of relativity. Since magnetic forces act at a distance, we define a magnetic field to represent magnetic forces. The pictorial
representation of magnetic field lines is very useful in visualizing the strength and direction of the magnetic field. As shown in Figure 5.15, the
direction of magnetic field lines is defined to be the direction in which the north end of a compass needle points. The magnetic field is traditionally
called the B-field.

Figure 5.15 Magnetic field lines are defined to have the direction that a small compass points when placed at a location. (a) If small compasses are used to map the magnetic
field around a bar magnet, they will point in the directions shown: away from the north pole of the magnet, toward the south pole of the magnet. (Recall that the Earths north
magnetic pole is really a south pole in terms of definitions of poles on a bar magnet.) (b) Connecting the arrows gives continuous magnetic field lines. The strength of the field
is proportional to the closeness (or density) of the lines. (c) If the interior of the magnet could be probed, the field lines would be found to form continuous closed loops.

Small compasses used to test a magnetic field will not disturb it. (This is analogous to the way we tested electric fields with a small test charge. In
both cases, the fields represent only the object creating them and not the probe testing them.) Figure 5.16 shows how the magnetic field appears for
a current loop and a long straight wire, as could be explored with small compasses. A small compass placed in these fields will align itself parallel to
the field line at its location, with its north pole pointing in the direction of B. Note the symbols used for field into and out of the paper.

Figure 5.16 Small compasses could be used to map the fields shown here. (a) The magnetic field of a circular current loop is similar to that of a bar magnet. (b) A long and
straight wire creates a field with magnetic field lines forming circular loops. (c) When the wire is in the plane of the paper, the field is perpendicular to the paper. Note that the
symbols used for the field pointing inward (like the tail of an arrow) and the field pointing outward (like the tip of an arrow).

Making Connections: Concept of a Field


A field is a way of mapping forces surrounding any object that can act on another object at a distance without apparent physical connection. The
field represents the object generating it. Gravitational fields map gravitational forces, electric fields map electrical forces, and magnetic fields map
magnetic forces.
Extensive exploration of magnetic fields has revealed a number of hard-and-fast rules. We use magnetic field lines to represent the field (the lines are
a pictorial tool, not a physical entity in and of themselves). The properties of magnetic field lines can be summarized by these rules:
1. The direction of the magnetic field is tangent to the field line at any point in space. A small compass will point in the direction of the field line.

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2. The strength of the field is proportional to the closeness of the lines. It is exactly proportional to the number of lines per unit area perpendicular
to the lines (called the areal density).
3. Magnetic field lines can never cross, meaning that the field is unique at any point in space.
4. Magnetic field lines are continuous, forming closed loops without beginning or end. They go from the north pole to the south pole.
The last property is related to the fact that the north and south poles cannot be separated. It is a distinct difference from electric field lines, which
begin and end on the positive and negative charges. If magnetic monopoles existed, then magnetic field lines would begin and end on them.

5.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field


What is the mechanism by which one magnet exerts a force on another? The answer is related to the fact that all magnetism is caused by current,
the flow of charge. Magnetic fields exert forces on moving charges, and so they exert forces on other magnets, all of which have moving charges.

Right Hand Rule 1


The magnetic force on a moving charge is one of the most fundamental known. Magnetic force is as important as the electrostatic or Coulomb force.
Yet the magnetic force is more complex, in both the number of factors that affects it and in its direction, than the relatively simple Coulomb force. The
magnitude of the magnetic force F on a charge q moving at a speed v in a magnetic field of strength B is given by

F = qvB sin ,

(5.1)

is the angle between the directions of v and B. This force is often called the Lorentz force. In fact, this is how we define the magnetic
B in terms of the force on a charged particle moving in a magnetic field. The SI unit for magnetic field strength B is called the tesla
(T) after the eccentric but brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla (18561943). To determine how the tesla relates to other SI units, we solve F = qvB sin
for B .
where

field strength

B=
Because

F
qv sin

(5.2)

sin is unitless, the tesla is


1T=

1N = 1N
C m/s A m

(5.3)

(note that C/s = A).


Another smaller unit, called the gauss (G), where

1 G = 10 4 T , is sometimes used. The strongest permanent magnets have fields near 2 T;

superconducting electromagnets may attain 10 T or more. The Earths magnetic field on its surface is only about

510 5 T , or 0.5 G.

The direction of the magnetic force F is perpendicular to the plane formed by v and B , as determined by the right hand rule 1 (or RHR-1), which
is illustrated in Figure 5.17. RHR-1 states that, to determine the direction of the magnetic force on a positive moving charge, you point the thumb of
the right hand in the direction of v , the fingers in the direction of B , and a perpendicular to the palm points in the direction of F . One way to
remember this is that there is one velocity, and so the thumb represents it. There are many field lines, and so the fingers represent them. The force is
in the direction you would push with your palm. The force on a negative charge is in exactly the opposite direction to that on a positive charge.

Figure 5.17 Magnetic fields exert forces on moving charges. This force is one of the most basic known. The direction of the magnetic force on a moving charge is
perpendicular to the plane formed by
the angle between

and

B.

and

and follows right hand rule1 (RHR-1) as shown. The magnitude of the force is proportional to

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Making Connections: Charges and Magnets


There is no magnetic force on static charges. However, there is a magnetic force on moving charges. When charges are stationary, their electric
fields do not affect magnets. But, when charges move, they produce magnetic fields that exert forces on other magnets. When there is relative
motion, a connection between electric and magnetic fields emergeseach affects the other.

Example 5.1 Calculating Magnetic Force: Earths Magnetic Field on a Charged Glass Rod
With the exception of compasses, you seldom see or personally experience forces due to the Earths small magnetic field. To illustrate this,
suppose that in a physics lab you rub a glass rod with silk, placing a 20-nC positive charge on it. Calculate the force on the rod due to the Earths
magnetic field, if you throw it with a horizontal velocity of 10 m/s due west in a place where the Earths field is due north parallel to the ground.
(The direction of the force is determined with right hand rule 1 as shown in Figure 5.18.)

Figure 5.18 A positively charged object moving due west in a region where the Earths magnetic field is due north experiences a force that is straight down as shown. A
negative charge moving in the same direction would feel a force straight up.

Strategy
We are given the charge, its velocity, and the magnetic field strength and direction. We can thus use the equation

F = qvB sin to find the

force.
Solution
The magnetic force is

F = qvb sin .
We see that

(5.4)

sin = 1 , since the angle between the velocity and the direction of the field is 90 . Entering the other given quantities yields
F =

9
2010

C(10 m/s)510 5 T

= 110 11 (C m/s)

(5.5)

N = 110 11 N.
C m/s

Discussion
This force is completely negligible on any macroscopic object, consistent with experience. (It is calculated to only one digit, since the Earths field
varies with location and is given to only one digit.) The Earths magnetic field, however, does produce very important effects, particularly on
submicroscopic particles. Some of these are explored in Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications.

5.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications


Magnetic force can cause a charged particle to move in a circular or spiral path. Cosmic rays are energetic charged particles in outer space, some of
which approach the Earth. They can be forced into spiral paths by the Earths magnetic field. Protons in giant accelerators are kept in a circular path
by magnetic force. The bubble chamber photograph in Figure 5.19 shows charged particles moving in such curved paths. The curved paths of
charged particles in magnetic fields are the basis of a number of phenomena and can even be used analytically, such as in a mass spectrometer.

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Figure 5.19 Trails of bubbles are produced by high-energy charged particles moving through the superheated liquid hydrogen in this artists rendition of a bubble chamber.
There is a strong magnetic field perpendicular to the page that causes the curved paths of the particles. The radius of the path can be used to find the mass, charge, and
energy of the particle.

So does the magnetic force cause circular motion? Magnetic force is always perpendicular to velocity, so that it does no work on the charged particle.
The particles kinetic energy and speed thus remain constant. The direction of motion is affected, but not the speed. This is typical of uniform circular
motion. The simplest case occurs when a charged particle moves perpendicular to a uniform B -field, such as shown in Figure 5.20. (If this takes
place in a vacuum, the magnetic field is the dominant factor determining the motion.) Here, the magnetic force supplies the centripetal force
F c = mv 2 / r . Noting that sin = 1 , we see that F = qvB .

Figure 5.20 A negatively charged particle moves in the plane of the page in a region where the magnetic field is perpendicular into the page (represented by the small circles
with xslike the tails of arrows). The magnetic force is perpendicular to the velocity, and so velocity changes in direction but not magnitude. Uniform circular motion results.

Because the magnetic force

F supplies the centripetal force F c , we have


2
qvB = mv
r .

Solving for

r yields

r = mv .
qB

(5.6)

(5.7)

r is the radius of curvature of the path of a charged particle with mass m and charge q , moving at a speed v perpendicular to a magnetic
field of strength B . If the velocity is not perpendicular to the magnetic field, then v is the component of the velocity perpendicular to the field. The
Here,

component of the velocity parallel to the field is unaffected, since the magnetic force is zero for motion parallel to the field. This produces a spiral
motion rather than a circular one.

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Example 5.2 Calculating the Curvature of the Path of an Electron Moving in a Magnetic Field: A Magnet on a TV
Screen
A magnet brought near an old-fashioned TV screen such as in Figure 5.21 (TV sets with cathode ray tubes instead of LCD screens) severely
distorts its picture by altering the path of the electrons that make its phosphors glow. (Dont try this at home, as it will permanently magnetize
7
and ruin the TV.) To illustrate this, calculate the radius of curvature of the path of an electron having a velocity of 6.0010 m/s
(corresponding to the accelerating voltage of about 10.0 kV used in some TVs) perpendicular to a magnetic field of strength
(obtainable with permanent magnets).

B = 0.500 T

Figure 5.21 Side view showing what happens when a magnet comes in contact with a computer monitor or TV screen. Electrons moving toward the screen spiral about
magnetic field lines, maintaining the component of their velocity parallel to the field lines. This distorts the image on the screen.

Strategy
We can find the radius of curvature

r directly from the equation r = mv , since all other quantities in it are given or known.
qB

Solution
Using known values for the mass and charge of an electron, along with the given values of

r = mv =
qB

v and B gives us

31
kg6.0010 7 m/s
9.1110

19
C(0.500 T)
1.6010

(5.8)

= 6.8310 4 m
or

r = 0.683 mm.

(5.9)

Discussion
The small radius indicates a large effect. The electrons in the TV picture tube are made to move in very tight circles, greatly altering their paths
and distorting the image.

Figure 5.22 shows how electrons not moving perpendicular to magnetic field lines follow the field lines. The component of velocity parallel to the lines
is unaffected, and so the charges spiral along the field lines. If field strength increases in the direction of motion, the field will exert a force to slow the
charges, forming a kind of magnetic mirror, as shown below.

Figure 5.22 When a charged particle moves along a magnetic field line into a region where the field becomes stronger, the particle experiences a force that reduces the
component of velocity parallel to the field. This force slows the motion along the field line and here reverses it, forming a magnetic mirror.

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The properties of charged particles in magnetic fields are related to such different things as the Aurora Australis or Aurora Borealis and particle
accelerators. Charged particles approaching magnetic field lines may get trapped in spiral orbits about the lines rather than crossing them, as seen
above. Some cosmic rays, for example, follow the Earths magnetic field lines, entering the atmosphere near the magnetic poles and causing the
southern or northern lights through their ionization of molecules in the atmosphere. This glow of energized atoms and molecules is seen in Figure
5.1. Those particles that approach middle latitudes must cross magnetic field lines, and many are prevented from penetrating the atmosphere.
Cosmic rays are a component of background radiation; consequently, they give a higher radiation dose at the poles than at the equator.

Figure 5.23 Energetic electrons and protons, components of cosmic rays, from the Sun and deep outer space often follow the Earths magnetic field lines rather than cross
them. (Recall that the Earths north magnetic pole is really a south pole in terms of a bar magnet.)

Some incoming charged particles become trapped in the Earths magnetic field, forming two belts above the atmosphere known as the Van Allen
radiation belts after the discoverer James A. Van Allen, an American astrophysicist. (See Figure 5.24.) Particles trapped in these belts form radiation
fields (similar to nuclear radiation) so intense that manned space flights avoid them and satellites with sensitive electronics are kept out of them. In
the few minutes it took lunar missions to cross the Van Allen radiation belts, astronauts received radiation doses more than twice the allowed annual
exposure for radiation workers. Other planets have similar belts, especially those having strong magnetic fields like Jupiter.

Figure 5.24 The Van Allen radiation belts are two regions in which energetic charged particles are trapped in the Earths magnetic field. One belt lies about 300 km above the
Earths surface, the other about 16,000 km. Charged particles in these belts migrate along magnetic field lines and are partially reflected away from the poles by the stronger
fields there. The charged particles that enter the atmosphere are replenished by the Sun and sources in deep outer space.

Back on Earth, we have devices that employ magnetic fields to contain charged particles. Among them are the giant particle accelerators that have
been used to explore the substructure of matter. (See Figure 5.25.) Magnetic fields not only control the direction of the charged particles, they also
are used to focus particles into beams and overcome the repulsion of like charges in these beams.

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Figure 5.25 The Fermilab facility in Illinois has a large particle accelerator (the most powerful in the world until 2008) that employs magnetic fields (magnets seen here in
orange) to contain and direct its beam. This and other accelerators have been in use for several decades and have allowed us to discover some of the laws underlying all
matter. (credit: ammcrim, Flickr)

Thermonuclear fusion (like that occurring in the Sun) is a hope for a future clean energy source. One of the most promising devices is the tokamak,
which uses magnetic fields to contain (or trap) and direct the reactive charged particles. (See Figure 5.26.) Less exotic, but more immediately
practical, amplifiers in microwave ovens use a magnetic field to contain oscillating electrons. These oscillating electrons generate the microwaves
sent into the oven.

Figure 5.26 Tokamaks such as the one shown in the figure are being studied with the goal of economical production of energy by nuclear fusion. Magnetic fields in the
doughnut-shaped device contain and direct the reactive charged particles. (credit: David Mellis, Flickr)

Mass spectrometers have a variety of designs, and many use magnetic fields to measure mass. The curvature of a charged particles path in the field
is related to its mass and is measured to obtain mass information. (See More Applications of Magnetism.) Historically, such techniques were
employed in the first direct observations of electron charge and mass. Today, mass spectrometers (sometimes coupled with gas chromatographs) are
used to determine the make-up and sequencing of large biological molecules.

5.6 The Hall Effect


We have seen effects of a magnetic field on free-moving charges. The magnetic field also affects charges moving in a conductor. One result is the
Hall effect, which has important implications and applications.
Figure 5.27 shows what happens to charges moving through a conductor in a magnetic field. The field is perpendicular to the electron drift velocity
and to the width of the conductor. Note that conventional current is to the right in both parts of the figure. In part (a), electrons carry the current and
move to the left. In part (b), positive charges carry the current and move to the right. Moving electrons feel a magnetic force toward one side of the
conductor, leaving a net positive charge on the other side. This separation of charge creates a voltage , known as the Hall emf, across the
conductor. The creation of a voltage across a current-carrying conductor by a magnetic field is known as the Hall effect, after Edwin Hall, the
American physicist who discovered it in 1879.

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Figure 5.27 The Hall effect. (a) Electrons move to the left in this flat conductor (conventional current to the right). The magnetic field is directly out of the page, represented by
circled dots; it exerts a force on the moving charges, causing a voltage , the Hall emf, across the conductor. (b) Positive charges moving to the right (conventional current
also to the right) are moved to the side, producing a Hall emf of the opposite sign,
can be determined from the Hall effect.

. Thus, if the direction of the field and current are known, the sign of the charge carriers

One very important use of the Hall effect is to determine whether positive or negative charges carries the current. Note that in Figure 5.27(b), where
positive charges carry the current, the Hall emf has the sign opposite to when negative charges carry the current. Historically, the Hall effect was
used to show that electrons carry current in metals and it also shows that positive charges carry current in some semiconductors. The Hall effect is
used today as a research tool to probe the movement of charges, their drift velocities and densities, and so on, in materials. In 1980, it was
discovered that the Hall effect is quantized, an example of quantum behavior in a macroscopic object.
The Hall effect has other uses that range from the determination of blood flow rate to precision measurement of magnetic field strength. To examine
these quantitatively, we need an expression for the Hall emf, , across a conductor. Consider the balance of forces on a moving charge in a situation

B , v , and l are mutually perpendicular, such as shown in Figure 5.28. Although the magnetic force moves negative charges to one side,
F = qvB , and the electric force,
F e = qE , eventually grows to equal it. That is,

where

they cannot build up without limit. The electric field caused by their separation opposes the magnetic force,

qE = qvB

(5.10)

E = vB.

(5.11)

or

Note that the electric field

E is uniform across the conductor because the magnetic field B is uniform, as is the conductor. For a uniform electric
E = / l , where l is the width of the conductor and is the Hall emf. Entering this into

field, the relationship between electric field and voltage is


the last expression gives

= vB.
l

(5.12)

= Blv (B, v, and l, mutually perpendicular),

(5.13)

Solving this for the Hall emf yields

where

is the Hall effect voltage across a conductor of width l through which charges move at a speed v .

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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

Figure 5.28 The Hall emf

produces an electric force that balances the magnetic force on the moving charges. The magnetic force produces charge separation, which builds

up until it is balanced by the electric force, an equilibrium that is quickly reached.

One of the most common uses of the Hall effect is in the measurement of magnetic field strength B . Such devices, called Hall probes, can be made
very small, allowing fine position mapping. Hall probes can also be made very accurate, usually accomplished by careful calibration. Another
application of the Hall effect is to measure fluid flow in any fluid that has free charges (most do). (See Figure 5.29.) A magnetic field applied
perpendicular to the flow direction produces a Hall emf as shown. Note that the sign of depends not on the sign of the charges, but only on the
directions of B and v . The magnitude of the Hall emf is
from providing the other factors are known.

= Blv , where l is the pipe diameter, so that the average velocity v can be determined

Figure 5.29 The Hall effect can be used to measure fluid flow in any fluid having free charges, such as blood. The Hall emf
the applied magnetic field and is proportional to the average velocity

v.

is measured across the tube perpendicular to

Example 5.3 Calculating the Hall emf: Hall Effect for Blood Flow
A Hall effect flow probe is placed on an artery, applying a 0.100-T magnetic field across it, in a setup similar to that in Figure 5.29. What is the
Hall emf, given the vessels inside diameter is 4.00 mm and the average blood velocity is 20.0 cm/s?
Strategy
Because

B , v , and l are mutually perpendicular, the equation = Blv can be used to find .

Solution
Entering the given values for

B , v , and l gives

= Blv = (0.100 T)4.0010 3 m(0.200 m/s)

(5.14)

= 80.0 V
Discussion
This is the average voltage output. Instantaneous voltage varies with pulsating blood flow. The voltage is small in this type of measurement.
particularly difficult to measure, because there are voltages associated with heart action (ECG voltages) that are on the order of millivolts. In

is

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practice, this difficulty is overcome by applying an AC magnetic field, so that the Hall emf is AC with the same frequency. An amplifier can be
very selective in picking out only the appropriate frequency, eliminating signals and noise at other frequencies.

5.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor


Because charges ordinarily cannot escape a conductor, the magnetic force on charges moving in a conductor is transmitted to the conductor itself.

Figure 5.30 The magnetic field exerts a force on a current-carrying wire in a direction given by the right hand rule 1 (the same direction as that on the individual moving
charges). This force can easily be large enough to move the wire, since typical currents consist of very large numbers of moving charges.

We can derive an expression for the magnetic force on a current by taking a sum of the magnetic forces on individual charges. (The forces add
because they are in the same direction.) The force on an individual charge moving at the drift velocity v d is given by F = qv dB sin . Taking
be uniform over a length of wire

B to

l and zero elsewhere, the total magnetic force on the wire is then F = (qv dB sin )(N) , where N is the number

l . Now, N = nV , where n is the number of charge carriers per unit volume and V is the volume
V = Al , where A is the cross-sectional area of the wire, then the force on the wire is F = (qv dB sin )(nAl) .

of charge carriers in the section of wire of length


of wire in the field. Noting that
Gathering terms,

Because

F = (nqAv d)lB sin .

(5.15)

F = IlB sin

(5.16)

nqAv d = I (see Current),

l of wire carrying a current I in a uniform magnetic field B , as shown in Figure 5.31. If we divide
both sides of this expression by l , we find that the magnetic force per unit length of wire in a uniform field is F = IB sin . The direction of this
l
force is given by RHR-1, with the thumb in the direction of the current I . Then, with the fingers in the direction of B , a perpendicular to the palm
points in the direction of F , as in Figure 5.31.
is the equation for magnetic force on a length

Figure 5.31 The force on a current-carrying wire in a magnetic field is

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F = IlB sin . Its direction is given by RHR-1.

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Example 5.4 Calculating Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Wire: A Strong Magnetic Field
Calculate the force on the wire shown in Figure 5.30, given

B = 1.50 T , l = 5.00 cm , and I = 20.0 A .

Strategy
The force can be found with the given information by using

sin = 1 .

F = IlB sin and noting that the angle between I and B is 90 , so that

Solution
Entering the given values into

F = IlB sin yields


F = IlB sin = (20.0 A)(0.0500 m)(1.50 T)(1).

The units for tesla are

1T=

(5.17)

N ; thus,
Am
F = 1.50 N.

(5.18)

Discussion
This large magnetic field creates a significant force on a small length of wire.

Magnetic force on current-carrying conductors is used to convert electric energy to work. (Motors are a prime examplethey employ loops of wire
and are considered in the next section.) Magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) is the technical name given to a clever application where magnetic force
pumps fluids without moving mechanical parts. (See Figure 5.32.)

Figure 5.32 Magnetohydrodynamics. The magnetic force on the current passed through this fluid can be used as a nonmechanical pump.

A strong magnetic field is applied across a tube and a current is passed through the fluid at right angles to the field, resulting in a force on the fluid
parallel to the tube axis as shown. The absence of moving parts makes this attractive for moving a hot, chemically active substance, such as the
liquid sodium employed in some nuclear reactors. Experimental artificial hearts are testing with this technique for pumping blood, perhaps
circumventing the adverse effects of mechanical pumps. (Cell membranes, however, are affected by the large fields needed in MHD, delaying its
practical application in humans.) MHD propulsion for nuclear submarines has been proposed, because it could be considerably quieter than
conventional propeller drives. The deterrent value of nuclear submarines is based on their ability to hide and survive a first or second nuclear strike.
As we slowly disassemble our nuclear weapons arsenals, the submarine branch will be the last to be decommissioned because of this ability (See
Figure 5.33.) Existing MHD drives are heavy and inefficientmuch development work is needed.

Figure 5.33 An MHD propulsion system in a nuclear submarine could produce significantly less turbulence than propellers and allow it to run more silently. The development of
a silent drive submarine was dramatized in the book and the film The Hunt for Red October.

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5.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters


Motors are the most common application of magnetic force on current-carrying wires. Motors have loops of wire in a magnetic field. When current is
passed through the loops, the magnetic field exerts torque on the loops, which rotates a shaft. Electrical energy is converted to mechanical work in
the process. (See Figure 5.34.)

Figure 5.34 Torque on a current loop. A current-carrying loop of wire attached to a vertically rotating shaft feels magnetic forces that produce a clockwise torque as viewed
from above.

Let us examine the force on each segment of the loop in Figure 5.34 to find the torques produced about the axis of the vertical shaft. (This will lead to
a useful equation for the torque on the loop.) We take the magnetic field to be uniform over the rectangular loop, which has width w and height l .
First, we note that the forces on the top and bottom segments are vertical and, therefore, parallel to the shaft, producing no torque. Those vertical
forces are equal in magnitude and opposite in direction, so that they also produce no net force on the loop. Figure 5.35 shows views of the loop from
above. Torque is defined as = rF sin , where F is the force, r is the distance from the pivot that the force is applied, and is the angle

r and F . As seen in Figure 5.35(a), right hand rule 1 gives the forces on the sides to be equal in magnitude and opposite in direction, so
r = w / 2 , the torque on each vertical segment is
(w / 2)F sin , and the two add to give a total torque.

between

that the net force is again zero. However, each force produces a clockwise torque. Since

= w F sin + w F sin = wF sin


2
2

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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

Figure 5.35 Top views of a current-carrying loop in a magnetic field. (a) The equation for torque is derived using this view. Note that the perpendicular to the loop makes an
angle

w / 2 and F . (b) The maximum torque occurs when


sin = 0 . (d) The torque reverses once the loop rotates past = 0 .

with the field that is the same as the angle between

torque occurs when

is zero and

Now, each vertical segment has a length


torque yields

is a right angle and

sin = 1 . (c) Zero (minimum)

l that is perpendicular to B , so that the force on each is F = IlB . Entering F into the expression for
= wIlB sin .

If we have a multiple loop of


the torque becomes

(5.20)

N turns, we get N times the torque of one loop. Finally, note that the area of the loop is A = wl ; the expression for
= NIAB sin .

(5.21)

This is the torque on a current-carrying loop in a uniform magnetic field. This equation can be shown to be valid for a loop of any shape. The loop
carries a current I , has N turns, each of area A , and the perpendicular to the loop makes an angle with the field B . The net force on the loop
is zero.

Example 5.5 Calculating Torque on a Current-Carrying Loop in a Strong Magnetic Field


Find the maximum torque on a 100-turn square loop of a wire of 10.0 cm on a side that carries 15.0 A of current in a 2.00-T field.
Strategy
Torque on the loop can be found using

= NIAB sin . Maximum torque occurs when = 90 and sin = 1 .

Solution
For

sin = 1 , the maximum torque is


max = NIAB.

(5.22)

max = (100)(15.0 A)0.100 m 2(2.00 T)

(5.23)

Entering known values yields

= 30.0 N m.

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Discussion
This torque is large enough to be useful in a motor.

= 0 . The torque then reverses its


= 0 . (See Figure 5.35(d).) This means that, unless we do something, the coil will oscillate back and forth about
equilibrium at = 0 . To get the coil to continue rotating in the same direction, we can reverse the current as it passes through = 0 with
The torque found in the preceding example is the maximum. As the coil rotates, the torque decreases to zero at
direction once the coil rotates past

automatic switches called brushes. (See Figure 5.36.)

Figure 5.36 (a) As the angular momentum of the coil carries it through

= 0 , the brushes reverse the current to keep the torque clockwise. (b) The coil will rotate

continuously in the clockwise direction, with the current reversing each half revolution to maintain the clockwise torque.

Meters, such as those in analog fuel gauges on a car, are another common application of magnetic torque on a current-carrying loop. Figure 5.37
shows that a meter is very similar in construction to a motor. The meter in the figure has its magnets shaped to limit the effect of by making B
perpendicular to the loop over a large angular range. Thus the torque is proportional to

I and not . A linear spring exerts a counter-torque that

balances the current-produced torque. This makes the needle deflection proportional to I . If an exact proportionality cannot be achieved, the gauge
reading can be calibrated. To produce a galvanometer for use in analog voltmeters and ammeters that have a low resistance and respond to small
currents, we use a large loop area A , high magnetic field B , and low-resistance coils.

Figure 5.37 Meters are very similar to motors but only rotate through a part of a revolution. The magnetic poles of this meter are shaped to keep the component of
perpendicular to the loop constant, so that the torque does not depend on

and the deflection against the return spring is proportional only to the current

I.

5.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Amperes Law


How much current is needed to produce a significant magnetic field, perhaps as strong as the Earths field? Surveyors will tell you that overhead
electric power lines create magnetic fields that interfere with their compass readings. Indeed, when Oersted discovered in 1820 that a current in a
wire affected a compass needle, he was not dealing with extremely large currents. How does the shape of wires carrying current affect the shape of
the magnetic field created? We noted earlier that a current loop created a magnetic field similar to that of a bar magnet, but what about a straight wire
or a toroid (doughnut)? How is the direction of a current-created field related to the direction of the current? Answers to these questions are explored
in this section, together with a brief discussion of the law governing the fields created by currents.

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Magnetic Field Created by a Long Straight Current-Carrying Wire: Right Hand Rule 2
Magnetic fields have both direction and magnitude. As noted before, one way to explore the direction of a magnetic field is with compasses, as
shown for a long straight current-carrying wire in Figure 5.38. Hall probes can determine the magnitude of the field. The field around a long straight
wire is found to be in circular loops. The right hand rule 2 (RHR-2) emerges from this exploration and is valid for any current segmentpoint the
thumb in the direction of the current, and the fingers curl in the direction of the magnetic field loops created by it.

Figure 5.38 (a) Compasses placed near a long straight current-carrying wire indicate that field lines form circular loops centered on the wire. (b) Right hand rule 2 states that, if
the right hand thumb points in the direction of the current, the fingers curl in the direction of the field. This rule is consistent with the field mapped for the long straight wire and
is valid for any current segment.

The magnetic field strength (magnitude) produced by a long straight current-carrying wire is found by experiment to be

B=

0 I
(long straight wire),
2r

(5.24)

I is the current, r is the shortest distance to the wire, and the constant 0 = 4 10 7 T m/A is the permeability of free space. ( 0
is one of the basic constants in nature. We will see later that 0 is related to the speed of light.) Since the wire is very long, the magnitude of the
field depends only on distance from the wire r , not on position along the wire.
where

Example 5.6 Calculating Current that Produces a Magnetic Field


Find the current in a long straight wire that would produce a magnetic field twice the strength of the Earths at a distance of 5.0 cm from the wire.
Strategy
The Earths field is about
find

5.010 5 T , and so here B due to the wire is taken to be 1.010 4 T . The equation B =

I , since all other quantities are known.

0 I
can be used to
2r

Solution
Solving for

I and entering known values gives

2 5.010 2 m1.010 4 T
I = 2rB
=
0
410 7 T m/A
= 25 A.

(5.25)

Discussion
So a moderately large current produces a significant magnetic field at a distance of 5.0 cm from a long straight wire. Note that the answer is
stated to only two digits, since the Earths field is specified to only two digits in this example.

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Amperes Law and Others


The magnetic field of a long straight wire has more implications than you might at first suspect. Each segment of current produces a magnetic field
like that of a long straight wire, and the total field of any shape current is the vector sum of the fields due to each segment. The formal statement of
the direction and magnitude of the field due to each segment is called the Biot-Savart law. Integral calculus is needed to sum the field for an
arbitrary shape current. This results in a more complete law, called Amperes law, which relates magnetic field and current in a general way.
Amperes law in turn is a part of Maxwells equations, which give a complete theory of all electromagnetic phenomena. Considerations of how
Maxwells equations appear to different observers led to the modern theory of relativity, and the realization that electric and magnetic fields are
different manifestations of the same thing. Most of this is beyond the scope of this text in both mathematical level, requiring calculus, and in the
amount of space that can be devoted to it. But for the interested student, and particularly for those who continue in physics, engineering, or similar
pursuits, delving into these matters further will reveal descriptions of nature that are elegant as well as profound. In this text, we shall keep the
general features in mind, such as RHR-2 and the rules for magnetic field lines listed in Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines, while
concentrating on the fields created in certain important situations.
Making Connections: Relativity
Hearing all we do about Einstein, we sometimes get the impression that he invented relativity out of nothing. On the contrary, one of Einsteins
motivations was to solve difficulties in knowing how different observers see magnetic and electric fields.

Magnetic Field Produced by a Current-Carrying Circular Loop


The magnetic field near a current-carrying loop of wire is shown in Figure 5.39. Both the direction and the magnitude of the magnetic field produced
by a current-carrying loop are complex. RHR-2 can be used to give the direction of the field near the loop, but mapping with compasses and the rules
about field lines given in Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines are needed for more detail. There is a simple formula for the magnetic field
strength at the center of a circular loop. It is

B=

0 I
(at center of loop),
2R

(5.26)

R is the radius of the loop. This equation is very similar to that for a straight wire, but it is valid only at the center of a circular loop of wire. The
N
loops; then, the field is B = N 0I / (2R) . Note that the larger the loop, the smaller the field at its center, because the current is farther away.
where

similarity of the equations does indicate that similar field strength can be obtained at the center of a loop. One way to get a larger field is to have

Figure 5.39 (a) RHR-2 gives the direction of the magnetic field inside and outside a current-carrying loop. (b) More detailed mapping with compasses or with a Hall probe
completes the picture. The field is similar to that of a bar magnet.

Magnetic Field Produced by a Current-Carrying Solenoid


A solenoid is a long coil of wire (with many turns or loops, as opposed to a flat loop). Because of its shape, the field inside a solenoid can be very
uniform, and also very strong. The field just outside the coils is nearly zero. Figure 5.40 shows how the field looks and how its direction is given by
RHR-2.

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Figure 5.40 (a) Because of its shape, the field inside a solenoid of length

is remarkably uniform in magnitude and direction, as indicated by the straight and uniformly

spaced field lines. The field outside the coils is nearly zero. (b) This cutaway shows the magnetic field generated by the current in the solenoid.

The magnetic field inside of a current-carrying solenoid is very uniform in direction and magnitude. Only near the ends does it begin to weaken and
change direction. The field outside has similar complexities to flat loops and bar magnets, but the magnetic field strength inside a solenoid is
simply

B = 0nI (inside a solenoid),


where

(5.27)

n is the number of loops per unit length of the solenoid (n = N / l , with N being the number of loops and l the length). Note that B is the

field strength anywhere in the uniform region of the interior and not just at the center. Large uniform fields spread over a large volume are possible
with solenoids, as Example 5.7 implies.

Example 5.7 Calculating Field Strength inside a Solenoid


What is the field inside a 2.00-m-long solenoid that has 2000 loops and carries a 1600-A current?
Strategy
To find the field strength inside a solenoid, we use

B = 0nI . First, we note the number of loops per unit length is

n 1 = N = 2000 = 1000 m 1 = 10 cm 1 .
2.00 m
l

(5.28)

Solution
Substituting known values gives

B = 0nI = 410 7 T m/A1000 m 1(1600 A)

(5.29)

= 2.01 T.

Discussion
This is a large field strength that could be established over a large-diameter solenoid, such as in medical uses of magnetic resonance imaging
(MRI). The very large current is an indication that the fields of this strength are not easily achieved, however. Such a large current through 1000
loops squeezed into a meters length would produce significant heating. Higher currents can be achieved by using superconducting wires,
although this is expensive. There is an upper limit to the current, since the superconducting state is disrupted by very large magnetic fields.

There are interesting variations of the flat coil and solenoid. For example, the toroidal coil used to confine the reactive particles in tokamaks is much
like a solenoid bent into a circle. The field inside a toroid is very strong but circular. Charged particles travel in circles, following the field lines, and
collide with one another, perhaps inducing fusion. But the charged particles do not cross field lines and escape the toroid. A whole range of coil
shapes are used to produce all sorts of magnetic field shapes. Adding ferromagnetic materials produces greater field strengths and can have a
significant effect on the shape of the field. Ferromagnetic materials tend to trap magnetic fields (the field lines bend into the ferromagnetic material,
leaving weaker fields outside it) and are used as shields for devices that are adversely affected by magnetic fields, including the Earths magnetic
field.
PhET Explorations: Generator
Generate electricity with a bar magnet! Discover the physics behind the phenomena by exploring magnets and how you can use them to make a
bulb light.

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Figure 5.41 Generator (http://cnx.org/content/m42382/1.2/generator_en.jar)

5.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors


You might expect that there are significant forces between current-carrying wires, since ordinary currents produce significant magnetic fields and
these fields exert significant forces on ordinary currents. But you might not expect that the force between wires is used to define the ampere. It might
also surprise you to learn that this force has something to do with why large circuit breakers burn up when they attempt to interrupt large currents.
The force between two long straight and parallel conductors separated by a distance r can be found by applying what we have developed in
preceding sections. Figure 5.42 shows the wires, their currents, the fields they create, and the subsequent forces they exert on one another. Let us
consider the field produced by wire 1 and the force it exerts on wire 2 (call the force F 2 ). The field due to I 1 at a distance r is given to be

B1 =

0 I1
.
2r

(5.30)

Figure 5.42 (a) The magnetic field produced by a long straight conductor is perpendicular to a parallel conductor, as indicated by RHR-2. (b) A view from above of the two
wires shown in (a), with one magnetic field line shown for each wire. RHR-1 shows that the force between the parallel conductors is attractive when the currents are in the
same direction. A similar analysis shows that the force is repulsive between currents in opposite directions.

This field is uniform along wire 2 and perpendicular to it, and so the force

F 2 it exerts on wire 2 is given by F = IlB sin with sin = 1 :

F 2 = I 2lB 1.
By Newtons third law, the forces on the wires are equal in magnitude, and so we just write
Since the wires are very long, it is convenient to think in terms of

(5.31)

F for the magnitude of F 2 . (Note that F 1 = F 2 .)

F / l , the force per unit length. Substituting the expression for B 1 into the last

equation and rearranging terms gives

F = 0 I1 I2.
2r
l

(5.32)

F / l is the force per unit length between two parallel currents I 1 and I 2 separated by a distance r . The force is attractive if the currents are in the
same direction and repulsive if they are in opposite directions.
This force is responsible for the pinch effect in electric arcs and plasmas. The force exists whether the currents are in wires or not. In an electric arc,
where currents are moving parallel to one another, there is an attraction that squeezes currents into a smaller tube. In large circuit breakers, like
those used in neighborhood power distribution systems, the pinch effect can concentrate an arc between plates of a switch trying to break a large
current, burn holes, and even ignite the equipment. Another example of the pinch effect is found in the solar plasma, where jets of ionized material,
such as solar flares, are shaped by magnetic forces.
The operational definition of the ampere is based on the force between current-carrying wires. Note that for parallel wires separated by 1 meter with
each carrying 1 ampere, the force per meter is

7
2
F = 410 T m/A(1 A) = 210 7 N/m.
(2)(1 m)
l

Since

(5.33)

0 is exactly 410 7 T m/A by definition, and because 1 T = 1 N/(A m) , the force per meter is exactly 210 7 N/m . This is the

basis of the operational definition of the ampere.

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The Ampere
The official definition of the ampere is:
One ampere of current through each of two parallel conductors of infinite length, separated by one meter in empty space free of other magnetic
7
fields, causes a force of exactly 210
N/m on each conductor.
Infinite-length straight wires are impractical and so, in practice, a current balance is constructed with coils of wire separated by a few centimeters.
Force is measured to determine current. This also provides us with a method for measuring the coulomb. We measure the charge that flows for a
current of one ampere in one second. That is, 1 C = 1 A s . For both the ampere and the coulomb, the method of measuring force between
conductors is the most accurate in practice.

5.11 More Applications of Magnetism


Mass Spectrometry
The curved paths followed by charged particles in magnetic fields can be put to use. A charged particle moving perpendicular to a magnetic field
travels in a circular path having a radius r .

r = mv
qB

(5.34)

It was noted that this relationship could be used to measure the mass of charged particles such as ions. A mass spectrometer is a device that
measures such masses. Most mass spectrometers use magnetic fields for this purpose, although some of them have extremely sophisticated
designs. Since there are five variables in the relationship, there are many possibilities. However, if v , q , and B can be fixed, then the radius of the
path r is simply proportional to the mass m of the charged particle. Let us examine one such mass spectrometer that has a relatively simple
design. (See Figure 5.43.) The process begins with an ion source, a device like an electron gun. The ion source gives ions their charge, accelerates
them to some velocity v , and directs a beam of them into the next stage of the spectrometer. This next region is a velocity selector that only allows
particles with a particular value of v to get through.

Figure 5.43 This mass spectrometer uses a velocity selector to fix

so that the radius of the path is proportional to mass.

The velocity selector has both an electric field and a magnetic field, perpendicular to one another, producing forces in opposite directions on the ions.
Only those ions for which the forces balance travel in a straight line into the next region. If the forces balance, then the electric force F = qE equals
the magnetic force

F = qvB , so that qE = qvB . Noting that q cancels, we see that


v=E
B

(5.35)

is the velocity particles must have to make it through the velocity selector, and further, that v can be selected by varying E and B . In the final
region, there is only a uniform magnetic field, and so the charged particles move in circular arcs with radii proportional to particle mass. The paths
also depend on charge q , but since q is in multiples of electron charges, it is easy to determine and to discriminate between ions in different charge
states.

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Mass spectrometry today is used extensively in chemistry and biology laboratories to identify chemical and biological substances according to their
mass-to-charge ratios. In medicine, mass spectrometers are used to measure the concentration of isotopes used as tracers. Usually, biological
molecules such as proteins are very large, so they are broken down into smaller fragments before analyzing. Recently, large virus particles have
been analyzed as a whole on mass spectrometers. Sometimes a gas chromatograph or high-performance liquid chromatograph provides an initial
separation of the large molecules, which are then input into the mass spectrometer.

Cathode Ray TubesCRTsand the Like


What do non-flat-screen TVs, old computer monitors, x-ray machines, and the 2-mile-long Stanford Linear Accelerator have in common? All of them
accelerate electrons, making them different versions of the electron gun. Many of these devices use magnetic fields to steer the accelerated
electrons. Figure 5.44 shows the construction of the type of cathode ray tube (CRT) found in some TVs, oscilloscopes, and old computer monitors.
Two pairs of coils are used to steer the electrons, one vertically and the other horizontally, to their desired destination.

Figure 5.44 The cathode ray tube (CRT) is so named because rays of electrons originate at the cathode in the electron gun. Magnetic coils are used to steer the beam in
many CRTs. In this case, the beam is moved down. Another pair of horizontal coils would steer the beam horizontally.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging


Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) is one of the most useful and rapidly growing medical imaging tools. It non-invasively produces two-dimensional
and three-dimensional images of the body that provide important medical information with none of the hazards of x-rays. MRI is based on an effect
called nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) in which an externally applied magnetic field interacts with the nuclei of certain atoms, particularly those
of hydrogen (protons). These nuclei possess their own small magnetic fields, similar to those of electrons and the current loops discussed earlier in
this chapter.
When placed in an external magnetic field, such nuclei experience a torque that pushes or aligns the nuclei into one of two new energy
statesdepending on the orientation of its spin (analogous to the N pole and S pole in a bar magnet). Transitions from the lower to higher energy
state can be achieved by using an external radio frequency signal to flip the orientation of the small magnets. (This is actually a quantum
mechanical process. The direction of the nuclear magnetic field is quantized as is energy in the radio waves. We will return to these topics in later
chapters.) The specific frequency of the radio waves that are absorbed and reemitted depends sensitively on the type of nucleus, the chemical
environment, and the external magnetic field strength. Therefore, this is a resonance phenomenon in which nuclei in a magnetic field act like
resonators (analogous to those discussed in the treatment of sound in Oscillatory Motion and Waves (http://cnx.org/content/m42239/latest/) )
that absorb and reemit only certain frequencies. Hence, the phenomenon is named nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR).
NMR has been used for more than 50 years as an analytical tool. It was formulated in 1946 by F. Bloch and E. Purcell, with the 1952 Nobel Prize in
Physics going to them for their work. Over the past two decades, NMR has been developed to produce detailed images in a process now called
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), a name coined to avoid the use of the word nuclear and the concomitant implication that nuclear radiation is
involved. (It is not.) The 2003 Nobel Prize in Medicine went to P. Lauterbur and P. Mansfield for their work with MRI applications.
The largest part of the MRI unit is a superconducting magnet that creates a magnetic field, typically between 1 and 2 T in strength, over a relatively
large volume. MRI images can be both highly detailed and informative about structures and organ functions. It is helpful that normal and non-normal
tissues respond differently for slight changes in the magnetic field. In most medical images, the protons that are hydrogen nuclei are imaged. (About
2/3 of the atoms in the body are hydrogen.) Their location and density give a variety of medically useful information, such as organ function, the
condition of tissue (as in the brain), and the shape of structures, such as vertebral disks and knee-joint surfaces. MRI can also be used to follow the
movement of certain ions across membranes, yielding information on active transport, osmosis, dialysis, and other phenomena. With excellent spatial
resolution, MRI can provide information about tumors, strokes, shoulder injuries, infections, etc.
An image requires position information as well as the density of a nuclear type (usually protons). By varying the magnetic field slightly over the
volume to be imaged, the resonant frequency of the protons is made to vary with position. Broadcast radio frequencies are swept over an appropriate
range and nuclei absorb and reemit them only if the nuclei are in a magnetic field with the correct strength. The imaging receiver gathers information
through the body almost point by point, building up a tissue map. The reception of reemitted radio waves as a function of frequency thus gives
position information. These slices or cross sections through the body are only several mm thick. The intensity of the reemitted radio waves is
proportional to the concentration of the nuclear type being flipped, as well as information on the chemical environment in that area of the body.
Various techniques are available for enhancing contrast in images and for obtaining more information. Scans called T1, T2, or proton density scans
rely on different relaxation mechanisms of nuclei. Relaxation refers to the time it takes for the protons to return to equilibrium after the external field is
turned off. This time depends upon tissue type and status (such as inflammation).
While MRI images are superior to x rays for certain types of tissue and have none of the hazards of x rays, they do not completely supplant x-ray
images. MRI is less effective than x rays for detecting breaks in bone, for example, and in imaging breast tissue, so the two diagnostic tools
complement each other. MRI images are also expensive compared to simple x-ray images and tend to be used most often where they supply
information not readily obtained from x rays. Another disadvantage of MRI is that the patient is totally enclosed with detectors close to the body for
about 30 minutes or more, leading to claustrophobia. It is also difficult for the obese patient to be in the magnet tunnel. New open-MRI machines are
now available in which the magnet does not completely surround the patient.
Over the last decade, the development of much faster scans, called functional MRI (fMRI), has allowed us to map the functioning of various regions
in the brain responsible for thought and motor control. This technique measures the change in blood flow for activities (thought, experiences, action)
in the brain. The nerve cells increase their consumption of oxygen when active. Blood hemoglobin releases oxygen to active nerve cells and has
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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

somewhat different magnetic properties when oxygenated than when deoxygenated. With MRI, we can measure this and detect a blood oxygendependent signal. Most of the brain scans today use fMRI.

Other Medical Uses of Magnetic Fields


Currents in nerve cells and the heart create magnetic fields like any other currents. These can be measured but with some difficulty since their
6
8
strengths are about 10
to 10
less than the Earths magnetic field. Recording of the hearts magnetic field as it beats is called a
magnetocardiogram (MCG), while measurements of the brains magnetic field is called a magnetoencephalogram (MEG). Both give information
that differs from that obtained by measuring the electric fields of these organs (ECGs and EEGs), but they are not yet of sufficient importance to
make these difficult measurements common.
In both of these techniques, the sensors do not touch the body. MCG can be used in fetal studies, and is probably more sensitive than
echocardiography. MCG also looks at the hearts electrical activity whose voltage output is too small to be recorded by surface electrodes as in EKG.
It has the potential of being a rapid scan for early diagnosis of cardiac ischemia (obstruction of blood flow to the heart) or problems with the fetus.
MEG can be used to identify abnormal electrical discharges in the brain that produce weak magnetic signals. Therefore, it looks at brain activity, not
just brain structure. It has been used for studies of Alzheimers disease and epilepsy. Advances in instrumentation to measure very small magnetic
fields have allowed these two techniques to be used more in recent years. What is used is a sensor called a SQUID, for superconducting quantum
interference device. This operates at liquid helium temperatures and can measure magnetic fields thousands of times smaller than the Earths.
Finally, there is a burgeoning market for magnetic cures in which magnets are applied in a variety of ways to the body, from magnetic bracelets to
magnetic mattresses. The best that can be said for such practices is that they are apparently harmless, unless the magnets get close to the patients
computer or magnetic storage disks. Claims are made for a broad spectrum of benefits from cleansing the blood to giving the patient more energy,
but clinical studies have not verified these claims, nor is there an identifiable mechanism by which such benefits might occur.
PhET Explorations: Magnet and Compass
Ever wonder how a compass worked to point you to the Arctic? Explore the interactions between a compass and bar magnet, and then add the
Earth and find the surprising answer! Vary the magnet's strength, and see how things change both inside and outside. Use the field meter to
measure how the magnetic field changes.

Figure 5.45 Magnet and Compass (http://cnx.org/content/m42388/1.3/magnet-and-compass_en.jar)

Glossary
B-field: another term for magnetic field
Amperes law: the physical law that states that the magnetic field around an electric current is proportional to the current; each segment of current
produces a magnetic field like that of a long straight wire, and the total field of any shape current is the vector sum of the fields due to each
segment
Biot-Savart law: a physical law that describes the magnetic field generated by an electric current in terms of a specific equation
Curie temperature: the temperature above which a ferromagnetic material cannot be magnetized
direction of magnetic field lines: the direction that the north end of a compass needle points
domains: regions within a material that behave like small bar magnets
electromagnet: an object that is temporarily magnetic when an electrical current is passed through it
electromagnetism: the use of electrical currents to induce magnetism
ferromagnetic: materials, such as iron, cobalt, nickel, and gadolinium, that exhibit strong magnetic effects
gauss: G, the unit of the magnetic field strength;

1 G = 10 4 T

Hall effect: the creation of voltage across a current-carrying conductor by a magnetic field
Hall emf: the electromotive force created by a current-carrying conductor by a magnetic field,

= Blv

Lorentz force: the force on a charge moving in a magnetic field


Maxwells equations: a set of four equations that describe electromagnetic phenomena
magnetic field lines: the pictorial representation of the strength and the direction of a magnetic field

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magnetic field strength (magnitude) produced by a long straight current-carrying wire:


the shortest distance to the wire, and

B=

0 is the permeability of free space

magnetic field strength at the center of a circular loop:

magnetic field strength inside a solenoid: defined as


with

defined as

defined as

B=

0 I
, where I is the current, r is
2r

0 I
where R is the radius of the loop
2R

B = 0nI where n is the number of loops per unit length of the solenoid (n = N / l ,

N being the number of loops and l the length)

magnetic field: the representation of magnetic forces


magnetic force: the force on a charge produced by its motion through a magnetic field; the Lorentz force
magnetic monopoles: an isolated magnetic pole; a south pole without a north pole, or vice versa (no magnetic monopole has ever been
observed)
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI): a medical imaging technique that uses magnetic fields create detailed images of internal tissues and organs
magnetized: to be turned into a magnet; to be induced to be magnetic
magnetocardiogram (MCG): a recording of the hearts magnetic field as it beats
magnetoencephalogram (MEG): a measurement of the brains magnetic field
meter: common application of magnetic torque on a current-carrying loop that is very similar in construction to a motor; by design, the torque is
proportional to I and not , so the needle deflection is proportional to the current
motor: loop of wire in a magnetic field; when current is passed through the loops, the magnetic field exerts torque on the loops, which rotates a
shaft; electrical energy is converted to mechanical work in the process
north magnetic pole: the end or the side of a magnet that is attracted toward Earths geographic north pole
nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR): a phenomenon in which an externally applied magnetic field interacts with the nuclei of certain atoms
permeability of free space: the measure of the ability of a material, in this case free space, to support a magnetic field; the constant
0 = 410 7 T m/A
right hand rule 1 (RHR-1): the rule to determine the direction of the magnetic force on a positive moving charge: when the thumb of the right hand
points in the direction of the charges velocity v and the fingers point in the direction of the magnetic field B , then the force on the charge is
perpendicular and away from the palm; the force on a negative charge is perpendicular and into the palm
right hand rule 2 (RHR-2): a rule to determine the direction of the magnetic field induced by a current-carrying wire: Point the thumb of the right
hand in the direction of current, and the fingers curl in the direction of the magnetic field loops
solenoid: a thin wire wound into a coil that produces a magnetic field when an electric current is passed through it
south magnetic pole: the end or the side of a magnet that is attracted toward Earths geographic south pole
tesla:

T, the SI unit of the magnetic field strength;

1T= 1N
Am

Section Summary
5.1 Magnets
Magnetism is a subject that includes the properties of magnets, the effect of the magnetic force on moving charges and currents, and the
creation of magnetic fields by currents.
There are two types of magnetic poles, called the north magnetic pole and south magnetic pole.
North magnetic poles are those that are attracted toward the Earths geographic north pole.
Like poles repel and unlike poles attract.
Magnetic poles always occur in pairs of north and southit is not possible to isolate north and south poles.

5.2 Ferromagnets and Electromagnets

Magnetic poles always occur in pairs of north and southit is not possible to isolate north and south poles.
All magnetism is created by electric current.
Ferromagnetic materials, such as iron, are those that exhibit strong magnetic effects.
The atoms in ferromagnetic materials act like small magnets (due to currents within the atoms) and can be aligned, usually in millimeter-sized
regions called domains.
Domains can grow and align on a larger scale, producing permanent magnets. Such a material is magnetized, or induced to be magnetic.
Above a materials Curie temperature, thermal agitation destroys the alignment of atoms, and ferromagnetism disappears.
Electromagnets employ electric currents to make magnetic fields, often aided by induced fields in ferromagnetic materials.
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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

5.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines

1.
2.
3.
4.

Magnetic fields can be pictorially represented by magnetic field lines, the properties of which are as follows:
The field is tangent to the magnetic field line.
Field strength is proportional to the line density.
Field lines cannot cross.
Field lines are continuous loops.

5.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field


Magnetic fields exert a force on a moving charge q, the magnitude of which is

F = qvB sin ,

where

is the angle between the directions of v and B .


B is the tesla (T), which is related to other units by
1T= 1N = 1N .
C m/s A m

The SI unit for magnetic field strength

The direction of the force on a moving charge is given by right hand rule 1 (RHR-1): Point the thumb of the right hand in the direction of

B , and a perpendicular to the palm points in the direction of F .


The force is perpendicular to the plane formed by v and B . Since the force is zero if v is parallel to B , charged particles often follow

v , the

fingers in the direction of

magnetic field lines rather than cross them.

5.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications


Magnetic force can supply centripetal force and cause a charged particle to move in a circular path of radius

r = mv ,
qB

where

v is the component of the velocity perpendicular to B for a charged particle with mass m and charge q .

5.6 The Hall Effect


The Hall effect is the creation of voltage
The Hall emf is given by
for a conductor of width

, known as the Hall emf, across a current-carrying conductor by a magnetic field.


= Blv (B, v, and l, mutually perpendicular)

l through which charges move at a speed v .

5.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor


The magnetic force on current-carrying conductors is given by

F = IlB sin ,
I is the current, l is the length of a straight conductor in a uniform magnetic field B , and is the angle between I and B . The force
follows RHR-1 with the thumb in the direction of I .
where

5.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters


The torque on a current-carrying loop of any shape in a uniform magnetic field. is
= NIAB sin ,
where N is the number of turns, I is the current, A is the area of the loop, B is the magnetic field strength, and is the angle between the
perpendicular to the loop and the magnetic field.

5.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Amperes Law


The strength of the magnetic field created by current in a long straight wire is given by

B=
where

0 I
(long straight wire),
2r

I is the current, r is the shortest distance to the wire, and the constant 0 = 4 10 7 T m/A is the permeability of free space.

The direction of the magnetic field created by a long straight wire is given by right hand rule 2 (RHR-2): Point the thumb of the right hand in the
direction of current, and the fingers curl in the direction of the magnetic field loops created by it.
The magnetic field created by current following any path is the sum (or integral) of the fields due to segments along the path (magnitude and
direction as for a straight wire), resulting in a general relationship between current and field known as Amperes law.
The magnetic field strength at the center of a circular loop is given by

0 I
(at center of loop),
2R
where R is the radius of the loop. This equation becomes B = 0nI / (2R) for a flat coil of N loops. RHR-2 gives the direction of the field
B=

about the loop. A long coil is called a solenoid.


The magnetic field strength inside a solenoid is
where

B = 0nI (inside a solenoid),


n is the number of loops per unit length of the solenoid. The field inside is very uniform in magnitude and direction.

5.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors

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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

The force between two parallel currents

I 1 and I 2 , separated by a distance r , has a magnitude per unit length given by


F = 0 I1 I2.
2r
l

The force is attractive if the currents are in the same direction, repulsive if they are in opposite directions.

5.11 More Applications of Magnetism


Crossed (perpendicular) electric and magnetic fields act as a velocity filter, giving equal and opposite forces on any charge with velocity
perpendicular to the fields and of magnitude

v = E.
B

Conceptual Questions
5.1 Magnets
1. Volcanic and other such activity at the mid-Atlantic ridge extrudes material to fill the gap between separating tectonic plates associated with
continental drift. The magnetization of rocks is found to reverse in a coordinated manner with distance from the ridge. What does this imply about the
Earths magnetic field and how could the knowledge of the spreading rate be used to give its historical record?

5.3 Magnetic Fields and Magnetic Field Lines


2. Explain why the magnetic field would not be unique (that is, not have a single value) at a point in space where magnetic field lines might cross.
(Consider the direction of the field at such a point.)
3. List the ways in which magnetic field lines and electric field lines are similar. For example, the field direction is tangent to the line at any point in
space. Also list the ways in which they differ. For example, electric force is parallel to electric field lines, whereas magnetic force on moving charges
is perpendicular to magnetic field lines.
4. Noting that the magnetic field lines of a bar magnet resemble the electric field lines of a pair of equal and opposite charges, do you expect the
magnetic field to rapidly decrease in strength with distance from the magnet? Is this consistent with your experience with magnets?
5. Is the Earths magnetic field parallel to the ground at all locations? If not, where is it parallel to the surface? Is its strength the same at all locations?
If not, where is it greatest?

5.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field


6. If a charged particle moves in a straight line through some region of space, can you say that the magnetic field in that region is necessarily zero?

5.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field: Examples and Applications


7. How can the motion of a charged particle be used to distinguish between a magnetic and an electric field?
8. High-velocity charged particles can damage biological cells and are a component of radiation exposure in a variety of locations ranging from
research facilities to natural background. Describe how you could use a magnetic field to shield yourself.
9. If a cosmic ray proton approaches the Earth from outer space along a line toward the center of the Earth that lies in the plane of the equator, in
what direction will it be deflected by the Earths magnetic field? What about an electron? A neutron?
10. What are the signs of the charges on the particles in Figure 5.46?

Figure 5.46

11. Which of the particles in Figure 5.47 has the greatest velocity, assuming they have identical charges and masses?

Figure 5.47

12. Which of the particles in Figure 5.47 has the greatest mass, assuming all have identical charges and velocities?
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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

13. While operating, a high-precision TV monitor is placed on its side during maintenance. The image on the monitor changes color and blurs slightly.
Discuss the possible relation of these effects to the Earths magnetic field.

5.6 The Hall Effect


14. Discuss how the Hall effect could be used to obtain information on free charge density in a conductor. (Hint: Consider how drift velocity and
current are related.)

5.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor


15. Draw a sketch of the situation in Figure 5.30 showing the direction of electrons carrying the current, and use RHR-1 to verify the direction of the
force on the wire.
16. Verify that the direction of the force in an MHD drive, such as that in Figure 5.32, does not depend on the sign of the charges carrying the current
across the fluid.
17. Why would a magnetohydrodynamic drive work better in ocean water than in fresh water? Also, why would superconducting magnets be
desirable?
18. Which is more likely to interfere with compass readings, AC current in your refrigerator or DC current when you start your car? Explain.

5.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters


19. Draw a diagram and use RHR-1 to show that the forces on the top and bottom segments of the motors current loop in Figure 5.34 are vertical
and produce no torque about the axis of rotation.

5.9 Magnetic Fields Produced by Currents: Amperes Law


20. Make a drawing and use RHR-2 to find the direction of the magnetic field of a current loop in a motor (such as in Figure 5.34). Then show that
the direction of the torque on the loop is the same as produced by like poles repelling and unlike poles attracting.

5.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors


21. Is the force attractive or repulsive between the hot and neutral lines hung from power poles? Why?
22. If you have three parallel wires in the same plane, as in Figure 5.48, with currents in the outer two running in opposite directions, is it possible for
the middle wire to be repelled by both? Attracted by both? Explain.

Figure 5.48 Three parallel coplanar wires with currents in the outer two in opposite directions.

23. Suppose two long straight wires run perpendicular to one another without touching. Does one exert a net force on the other? If so, what is its
direction? Does one exert a net torque on the other? If so, what is its direction? Justify your responses by using the right hand rules.
24. Use the right hand rules to show that the force between the two loops in Figure 5.49 is attractive if the currents are in the same direction and
repulsive if they are in opposite directions. Is this consistent with like poles of the loops repelling and unlike poles of the loops attracting? Draw
sketches to justify your answers.

181

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CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

Figure 5.49 Two loops of wire carrying currents can exert forces and torques on one another.

25. If one of the loops in Figure 5.49 is tilted slightly relative to the other and their currents are in the same direction, what are the directions of the
torques they exert on each other? Does this imply that the poles of the bar magnet-like fields they create will line up with each other if the loops are
allowed to rotate?
26. Electric field lines can be shielded by the Faraday cage effect. Can we have magnetic shielding? Can we have gravitational shielding?

5.11 More Applications of Magnetism


27. Measurements of the weak and fluctuating magnetic fields associated with brain activity are called magnetoencephalograms (MEGs). Do the
brains magnetic fields imply coordinated or uncoordinated nerve impulses? Explain.
28. Discuss the possibility that a Hall voltage would be generated on the moving heart of a patient during MRI imaging. Also discuss the same effect
on the wires of a pacemaker. (The fact that patients with pacemakers are not given MRIs is significant.)
29. A patient in an MRI unit turns his head quickly to one side and experiences momentary dizziness and a strange taste in his mouth. Discuss the
possible causes.
30. You are told that in a certain region there is either a uniform electric or magnetic field. What measurement or observation could you make to
determine the type? (Ignore the Earths magnetic field.)
31. An example of magnetohydrodynamics (MHD) comes from the flow of a river (salty water). This fluid interacts with the Earths magnetic field to
produce a potential difference between the two river banks. How would you go about calculating the potential difference?
32. Draw gravitational field lines between 2 masses, electric field lines between a positive and a negative charge, electric field lines between 2
positive charges and magnetic field lines around a magnet. Qualitatively describe the differences between the fields and the entities responsible for
the field lines.

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8. (a) Aircraft sometimes acquire small static charges. Suppose a


supersonic jet has a 0.500-C charge and flies due west at a speed of

Problems & Exercises


5.4 Magnetic Field Strength: Force on a Moving Charge
in a Magnetic Field
1. What is the direction of the magnetic force on a positive charge that
moves as shown in each of the six cases shown in Figure 5.50?

5
660 m/s over the Earths south magnetic pole, where the 8.0010 -T
magnetic field points straight up. What are the direction and the
magnitude of the magnetic force on the plane? (b) Discuss whether the
value obtained in part (a) implies this is a significant or negligible effect.
7
9. (a) A cosmic ray proton moving toward the Earth at 5.0010 m/s
16
experiences a magnetic force of 1.7010
N . What is the strength

of the magnetic field if there is a 45 angle between it and the protons


velocity? (b) Is the value obtained in part (a) consistent with the known
strength of the Earths magnetic field on its surface? Discuss.
10. An electron moving at

4.0010 3 m/s in a 1.25-T magnetic field

16
experiences a magnetic force of 1.4010
N . What angle does the
velocity of the electron make with the magnetic field? There are two
answers.

11. (a) A physicist performing a sensitive measurement wants to limit the


magnetic force on a moving charge in her equipment to less than
1.0010 12 N . What is the greatest the charge can be if it moves at a
maximum speed of 30.0 m/s in the Earths field? (b) Discuss whether it
would be difficult to limit the charge to less than the value found in (a) by
comparing it with typical static electricity and noting that static is often
absent.
Figure 5.50

2. Repeat Exercise 5.1 for a negative charge.


3. What is the direction of the velocity of a negative charge that
experiences the magnetic force shown in each of the three cases in
Figure 5.51, assuming it moves perpendicular to B?

5.5 Force on a Moving Charge in a Magnetic Field:


Examples and Applications
If you need additional support for these problems, see More
Applications of Magnetism.
6
12. A cosmic ray electron moves at 7.5010 m/s perpendicular to the
Earths magnetic field at an altitude where field strength is
1.0010 5 T . What is the radius of the circular path the electron
follows?
7
13. A proton moves at 7.5010 m/s perpendicular to a magnetic field.
The field causes the proton to travel in a circular path of radius 0.800 m.
What is the field strength?

Figure 5.51

4. Repeat Exercise 5.3 for a positive charge.


5. What is the direction of the magnetic field that produces the magnetic
force on a positive charge as shown in each of the three cases in the
figure below, assuming B is perpendicular to v ?

14. (a) Viewers of Star Trek hear of an antimatter drive on the Starship
Enterprise. One possibility for such a futuristic energy source is to store
antimatter charged particles in a vacuum chamber, circulating in a
magnetic field, and then extract them as needed. Antimatter annihilates
with normal matter, producing pure energy. What strength magnetic field
7
is needed to hold antiprotons, moving at 5.0010 m/s in a circular
path 2.00 m in radius? Antiprotons have the same mass as protons but
the opposite (negative) charge. (b) Is this field strength obtainable with
todays technology or is it a futuristic possibility?
15. (a) An oxygen-16 ion with a mass of

2.6610 26 kg travels at

5.0010 6 m/s perpendicular to a 1.20-T magnetic field, which makes it


move in a circular arc with a 0.231-m radius. What positive charge is on
the ion? (b) What is the ratio of this charge to the charge of an electron?
(c) Discuss why the ratio found in (b) should be an integer.
16. What radius circular path does an electron travel if it moves at the
same speed and in the same magnetic field as the proton in Exercise
5.13?
Figure 5.52

6. Repeat Exercise 5.5 for a negative charge.


7. What is the maximum force on an aluminum rod with a

0.100-C

charge that you pass between the poles of a 1.50-T permanent magnet
at a speed of 5.00 m/s? In what direction is the force?

17. A velocity selector in a mass spectrometer uses a 0.100-T magnetic


field. (a) What electric field strength is needed to select a speed of
4.0010 6 m/s ? (b) What is the voltage between the plates if they are
separated by 1.00 cm?
7
18. An electron in a TV CRT moves with a speed of 6.0010 m/s , in a
direction perpendicular to the Earths field, which has a strength of
5.0010 5 T . (a) What strength electric field must be applied

183

184

CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

perpendicular to the Earths field to make the electron moves in a straight


line? (b) If this is done between plates separated by 1.00 cm, what is the
voltage applied? (Note that TVs are usually surrounded by a
ferromagnetic material to shield against external magnetic fields and
avoid the need for such a correction.)

31. What is the direction of the magnetic force on the current in each of
the six cases in Figure 5.53?

19. (a) At what speed will a proton move in a circular path of the same
radius as the electron in Exercise 5.12? (b) What would the radius of the
path be if the proton had the same speed as the electron? (c) What
would the radius be if the proton had the same kinetic energy as the
electron? (d) The same momentum?
20. A mass spectrometer is being used to separate common oxygen-16
from the much rarer oxygen-18, taken from a sample of old glacial ice.
(The relative abundance of these oxygen isotopes is related to climatic
temperature at the time the ice was deposited.) The ratio of the masses
of these two ions is 16 to 18, the mass of oxygen-16 is
2.6610 26 kg, and they are singly charged and travel at

5.0010 6 m/s in a 1.20-T magnetic field. What is the separation


between their paths when they hit a target after traversing a semicircle?
21. (a) Triply charged uranium-235 and uranium-238 ions are being
separated in a mass spectrometer. (The much rarer uranium-235 is used
25
as reactor fuel.) The masses of the ions are 3.9010
kg and

3.9510

25

kg , respectively, and they travel at 3.0010 m/s in a

Figure 5.53

32. What is the direction of a current that experiences the magnetic force
shown in each of the three cases in Figure 5.54, assuming the current
runs perpendicular to B ?

0.250-T field. What is the separation between their paths when they hit a
target after traversing a semicircle? (b) Discuss whether this distance
between their paths seems to be big enough to be practical in the
separation of uranium-235 from uranium-238.

5.6 The Hall Effect


22. A large water main is 2.50 m in diameter and the average water
velocity is 6.00 m/s. Find the Hall voltage produced if the pipe runs
5
perpendicular to the Earths 5.0010 -T field.
23. What Hall voltage is produced by a 0.200-T field applied across a
2.60-cm-diameter aorta when blood velocity is 60.0 cm/s?
24. (a) What is the speed of a supersonic aircraft with a 17.0-m
wingspan, if it experiences a 1.60-V Hall voltage between its wing tips
when in level flight over the north magnetic pole, where the Earths field
5
strength is 8.0010
T? (b) Explain why very little current flows as a
result of this Hall voltage.

Figure 5.54

33. What is the direction of the magnetic field that produces the magnetic
force shown on the currents in each of the three cases in Figure 5.55,
assuming B is perpendicular to I ?

25. A nonmechanical water meter could utilize the Hall effect by applying
a magnetic field across a metal pipe and measuring the Hall voltage
produced. What is the average fluid velocity in a 3.00-cm-diameter pipe,
if a 0.500-T field across it creates a 60.0-mV Hall voltage?
26. Calculate the Hall voltage induced on a patients heart while being
scanned by an MRI unit. Approximate the conducting path on the heart
wall by a wire 7.50 cm long that moves at 10.0 cm/s perpendicular to a
1.50-T magnetic field.
27. A Hall probe calibrated to read

1.00 V when placed in a 2.00-T

field is placed in a 0.150-T field. What is its output voltage?


28. Using information in Example 3.6, what would the Hall voltage be if a
2.00-T field is applied across a 10-gauge copper wire (2.588 mm in
diameter) carrying a 20.0-A current?
29. Show that the Hall voltage across wires made of the same material,
carrying identical currents, and subjected to the same magnetic field is
inversely proportional to their diameters. (Hint: Consider how drift velocity
depends on wire diameter.)
30. A patient with a pacemaker is mistakenly being scanned for an MRI
image. A 10.0-cm-long section of pacemaker wire moves at a speed of
10.0 cm/s perpendicular to the MRI units magnetic field and a 20.0-mV
Hall voltage is induced. What is the magnetic field strength?

5.7 Magnetic Force on a Current-Carrying Conductor

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Figure 5.55

34. (a) What is the force per meter on a lightning bolt at the equator that
5
carries 20,000 A perpendicular to the Earths 3.0010 -T field? (b)
What is the direction of the force if the current is straight up and the
Earths field direction is due north, parallel to the ground?
35. (a) A DC power line for a light-rail system carries 1000 A at an angle
5
of 30.0 to the Earths 5.0010
-T field. What is the force on a
100-m section of this line? (b) Discuss practical concerns this presents, if
any.
36. What force is exerted on the water in an MHD drive utilizing a
25.0-cm-diameter tube, if 100-A current is passed across the tube that is
perpendicular to a 2.00-T magnetic field? (The relatively small size of this
force indicates the need for very large currents and magnetic fields to
make practical MHD drives.)

CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

37. A wire carrying a 30.0-A current passes between the poles of a


strong magnet that is perpendicular to its field and experiences a 2.16-N
force on the 4.00 cm of wire in the field. What is the average field
strength?

47. A proton has a magnetic field due to its spin on its axis. The field is
15
similar to that created by a circular current loop 0.65010
m in
4
radius with a current of 1.0510 A (no kidding). Find the maximum

38. (a) A 0.750-m-long section of cable carrying current to a car starter


5
motor makes an angle of 60 with the Earths 5.5010
T field.
3
What is the current when the wire experiences a force of 7.0010
N
? (b) If you run the wire between the poles of a strong horseshoe magnet,
subjecting 5.00 cm of it to a 1.75-T field, what force is exerted on this
segment of wire?

torque on a proton in a 2.50-T field. (This is a significant torque on a


small particle.)

39. (a) What is the angle between a wire carrying an 8.00-A current and
the 1.20-T field it is in if 50.0 cm of the wire experiences a magnetic force
of 2.40 N? (b) What is the force on the wire if it is rotated to make an
angle of 90 with the field?
40. The force on the rectangular loop of wire in the magnetic field in
Figure 5.56 can be used to measure field strength. The field is uniform,
and the plane of the loop is perpendicular to the field. (a) What is the
direction of the magnetic force on the loop? Justify the claim that the
forces on the sides of the loop are equal and opposite, independent of
how much of the loop is in the field and do not affect the net force on the
loop. (b) If a current of 5.00 A is used, what is the force per tesla on the
20.0-cm-wide loop?

48. (a) A 200-turn circular loop of radius 50.0 cm is vertical, with its axis
on an east-west line. A current of 100 A circulates clockwise in the loop
when viewed from the east. The Earths field here is due north, parallel to
5
the ground, with a strength of 3.0010
T . What are the direction and
magnitude of the torque on the loop? (b) Does this device have any
practical applications as a motor?
49. Repeat Exercise 5.41, but with the loop lying flat on the ground with
its current circulating counterclockwise (when viewed from above) in a
location where the Earths field is north, but at an angle 45.0 below the
5
horizontal and with a strength of 6.0010
T.

5.10 Magnetic Force between Two Parallel Conductors


50. (a) The hot and neutral wires supplying DC power to a light-rail
commuter train carry 800 A and are separated by 75.0 cm. What is the
magnitude and direction of the force between 50.0 m of these wires? (b)
Discuss the practical consequences of this force, if any.
51. The force per meter between the two wires of a jumper cable being
used to start a stalled car is 0.225 N/m. (a) What is the current in the
wires, given they are separated by 2.00 cm? (b) Is the force attractive or
repulsive?
52. A 2.50-m segment of wire supplying current to the motor of a
submerged submarine carries 1000 A and feels a 4.00-N repulsive force
from a parallel wire 5.00 cm away. What is the direction and magnitude of
the current in the other wire?
53. The wire carrying 400 A to the motor of a commuter train feels an
3
attractive force of 4.0010
N/m due to a parallel wire carrying 5.00
A to a headlight. (a) How far apart are the wires? (b) Are the currents in
the same direction?
54. An AC appliance cord has its hot and neutral wires separated by 3.00
mm and carries a 5.00-A current. (a) What is the average force per meter
between the wires in the cord? (b) What is the maximum force per meter
between the wires? (c) Are the forces attractive or repulsive? (d) Do
appliance cords need any special design features to compensate for
these forces?

Figure 5.56 A rectangular loop of wire carrying a current is perpendicular to a


magnetic field. The field is uniform in the region shown and is zero outside that region.

55. Figure 5.57 shows a long straight wire near a rectangular current
loop. What is the direction and magnitude of the total force on the loop?

5.8 Torque on a Current Loop: Motors and Meters


41. (a) By how many percent is the torque of a motor decreased if its
permanent magnets lose 5.0% of their strength? (b) How many percent
would the current need to be increased to return the torque to original
values?
42. (a) What is the maximum torque on a 150-turn square loop of wire
18.0 cm on a side that carries a 50.0-A current in a 1.60-T field? (b) What
is the torque when is 10.9?
43. Find the current through a loop needed to create a maximum torque
of 9.00 N m. The loop has 50 square turns that are 15.0 cm on a side
and is in a uniform 0.800-T magnetic field.
44. Calculate the magnetic field strength needed on a 200-turn square
loop 20.0 cm on a side to create a maximum torque of 300 N m if the
loop is carrying 25.0 A.
45. Since the equation for torque on a current-carrying loop is

= NIAB sin , the units of N m must equal units of A m 2 T .

Verify this.
46. (a) At what angle is the torque on a current loop 90.0% of
maximum? (b) 50.0% of maximum? (c) 10.0% of maximum?

Figure 5.57

56. Find the direction and magnitude of the force that each wire
experiences in Figure 5.58(a) by, using vector addition.

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Figure 5.58

57. Find the direction and magnitude of the force that each wire
experiences in Figure 5.58(b), using vector addition.

5.11 More Applications of Magnetism


58. Indicate whether the magnetic field created in each of the three
situations shown in Figure 5.59 is into or out of the page on the left and
right of the current.

66. How far from the starter cable of a car, carrying 150 A, must you be to
5
experience a field less than the Earths (5.0010
T)? Assume a
long straight wire carries the current. (In practice, the body of your car
shields the dashboard compass.)
67. Measurements affect the system being measured, such as the
current loop in Figure 5.56. (a) Estimate the field the loop creates by
calculating the field at the center of a circular loop 20.0 cm in diameter
carrying 5.00 A. (b) What is the smallest field strength this loop can be
used to measure, if its field must alter the measured field by less than
0.0100%?
68. Figure 5.62 shows a long straight wire just touching a loop carrying a
current I 1 . Both lie in the same plane. (a) What direction must the
current

I 2 in the straight wire have to create a field at the center of the

loop in the direction opposite to that created by the loop? (b) What is the
ratio of I 1 / I 2 that gives zero field strength at the center of the loop? (c)
What is the direction of the field directly above the loop under this
circumstance?

Figure 5.59

59. What are the directions of the fields in the center of the loop and coils
shown in Figure 5.60?
Figure 5.62

69. Find the magnitude and direction of the magnetic field at the point
equidistant from the wires in Figure 5.58(a), using the rules of vector
addition to sum the contributions from each wire.
Figure 5.60

60. What are the directions of the currents in the loop and coils shown in
Figure 5.61?

70. Find the magnitude and direction of the magnetic field at the point
equidistant from the wires in Figure 5.58(b), using the rules of vector
addition to sum the contributions from each wire.
71. What current is needed in the top wire in Figure 5.58(a) to produce a
field of zero at the point equidistant from the wires, if the currents in the
bottom two wires are both 10.0 A into the page?
72. Calculate the size of the magnetic field 20 m below a high voltage
power line. The line carries 450 MW at a voltage of 300,000 V.

Figure 5.61

73. Integrated Concepts

61. To see why an MRI utilizes iron to increase the magnetic field created
by a coil, calculate the current needed in a 400-loop-per-meter circular
coil 0.660 m in radius to create a 1.20-T field (typical of an MRI
instrument) at its center with no iron present. The magnetic field of a
proton is approximately like that of a circular current loop
0.65010 15 m in radius carrying 1.0510 4 A . What is the field at

(a) A pendulum is set up so that its bob (a thin copper disk) swings
between the poles of a permanent magnet as shown in Figure 5.63.
What is the magnitude and direction of the magnetic force on the bob at
the lowest point in its path, if it has a positive 0.250 C charge and is

the center of such a loop?


62. Inside a motor, 30.0 A passes through a 250-turn circular loop that is
10.0 cm in radius. What is the magnetic field strength created at its
center?
63. Nonnuclear submarines use batteries for power when submerged. (a)
Find the magnetic field 50.0 cm from a straight wire carrying 1200 A from
the batteries to the drive mechanism of a submarine. (b) What is the field
if the wires to and from the drive mechanism are side by side? (c)
Discuss the effects this could have for a compass on the submarine that
is not shielded.
64. How strong is the magnetic field inside a solenoid with 10,000 turns
per meter that carries 20.0 A?
65. What current is needed in the solenoid described in Exercise 5.58 to
produce a magnetic field 10 4 times the Earths magnetic field of

5.0010 5 T ?

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released from a height of 30.0 cm above its lowest point? The magnetic
field strength is 1.50 T. (b) What is the acceleration of the bob at the
bottom of its swing if its mass is 30.0 grams and it is hung from a flexible
string? Be certain to include a free-body diagram as part of your analysis.

CHAPTER 5 | MAGNETISM

Figure 5.64 Cyclotrons accelerate charged particles orbiting in a magnetic field by


placing an AC voltage on the metal Dees, between which the particles move, so that
energy is added twice each orbit. The frequency is constant, since it is independent of
the particle energythe radius of the orbit simply increases with energy until the
particles approach the edge and are extracted for various experiments and
applications.

Figure 5.63

74. Integrated Concepts


(a) What voltage will accelerate electrons to a speed of
6.0010 7 m/s ? (b) Find the radius of curvature of the path of a
proton accelerated through this potential in a 0.500-T field and compare
this with the radius of curvature of an electron accelerated through the
same potential.

81. Integrated Concepts

75. Integrated Concepts

(a) A 0.140-kg baseball, pitched at 40.0 m/s horizontally and


5
perpendicular to the Earths horizontal 5.0010
T field, has a
100-nC charge on it. What distance is it deflected from its path by the
magnetic force, after traveling 30.0 m horizontally? (b) Would you
suggest this as a secret technique for a pitcher to throw curve balls?

Find the radius of curvature of the path of a 25.0-MeV proton moving


perpendicularly to the 1.20-T field of a cyclotron.
76. Integrated Concepts
To construct a nonmechanical water meter, a 0.500-T magnetic field is
placed across the supply water pipe to a home and the Hall voltage is
recorded. (a) Find the flow rate in liters per second through a 3.00-cmdiameter pipe if the Hall voltage is 60.0 mV. (b) What would the Hall
voltage be for the same flow rate through a 10.0-cm-diameter pipe with
the same field applied?
77. Integrated Concepts
(a) Using the values given for an MHD drive in Exercise 5.59, and
assuming the force is uniformly applied to the fluid, calculate the pressure
created in N/m 2 . (b) Is this a significant fraction of an atmosphere?
78. Integrated Concepts
(a) Calculate the maximum torque on a 50-turn, 1.50 cm radius circular
current loop carrying 50 A in a 0.500-T field. (b) If this coil is to be
used in a galvanometer that reads

50 A full scale, what force constant

spring must be used, if it is attached 1.00 cm from the axis of rotation and
is stretched by the 60 arc moved?
79. Integrated Concepts
A current balance used to define the ampere is designed so that the
current through it is constant, as is the distance between wires. Even so,
if the wires change length with temperature, the force between them will
change. What percent change in force per degree will occur if the wires
are copper?

A cyclotron accelerates charged particles as shown in Figure 5.64. Using


the results of the previous problem, calculate the frequency of the
accelerating voltage needed for a proton in a 1.20-T field.
82. Integrated Concepts

83. Integrated Concepts


(a) What is the direction of the force on a wire carrying a current due east
in a location where the Earths field is due north? Both are parallel to the
ground. (b) Calculate the force per meter if the wire carries 20.0 A and
5
the field strength is 3.0010
T . (c) What diameter copper wire would
have its weight supported by this force? (d) Calculate the resistance per
meter and the voltage per meter needed.
84. Integrated Concepts
One long straight wire is to be held directly above another by repulsion
between their currents. The lower wire carries 100 A and the wire 7.50
cm above it is 10-gauge (2.588 mm diameter) copper wire. (a) What
current must flow in the upper wire, neglecting the Earths field? (b) What
5
is the smallest current if the Earths 3.0010
T field is parallel to the
ground and is not neglected? (c) Is the supported wire in a stable or
unstable equilibrium if displaced vertically? If displaced horizontally?
85. Unreasonable Results
(a) Find the charge on a baseball, thrown at 35.0 m/s perpendicular to
5
the Earths 5.0010
T field, that experiences a 1.00-N magnetic
force. (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c) Which assumption
or premise is responsible?
86. Unreasonable Results

6.6410 27 kg (that of a helium atom)

80. Integrated Concepts

A charged particle having mass

(a) Show that the period of the circular orbit of a charged particle moving
perpendicularly to a uniform magnetic field is T = 2m / (qB) . (b) What

5
moving at 8.7010 m/s perpendicular to a 1.50-T magnetic field
travels in a circular path of radius 16.0 mm. (a) What is the charge of the
particle? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c) Which
assumptions are responsible?

is the frequency

f ? (c) What is the angular velocity ? Note that these

results are independent of the velocity and radius of the orbit and, hence,
of the energy of the particle. (Figure 5.64.)

87. Unreasonable Results


An inventor wants to generate 120-V power by moving a 1.00-m-long
5
wire perpendicular to the Earths 5.0010
T field. (a) Find the speed

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with which the wire must move. (b) What is unreasonable about this
result? (c) Which assumption is responsible?
88. Unreasonable Results
Frustrated by the small Hall voltage obtained in blood flow
measurements, a medical physicist decides to increase the applied
magnetic field strength to get a 0.500-V output for blood moving at 30.0
cm/s in a 1.50-cm-diameter vessel. (a) What magnetic field strength is
needed? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c) Which premise
is responsible?
89. Unreasonable Results
A surveyor 100 m from a long straight 200-kV DC power line suspects
that its magnetic field may equal that of the Earth and affect compass
readings. (a) Calculate the current in the wire needed to create a
5.0010 5 T field at this distance. (b) What is unreasonable about this
result? (c) Which assumption or premise is responsible?
90. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider a mass separator that applies a magnetic field perpendicular to
the velocity of ions and separates the ions based on the radius of
curvature of their paths in the field. Construct a problem in which you
calculate the magnetic field strength needed to separate two ions that
differ in mass, but not charge, and have the same initial velocity. Among
the things to consider are the types of ions, the velocities they can be
given before entering the magnetic field, and a reasonable value for the
radius of curvature of the paths they follow. In addition, calculate the
separation distance between the ions at the point where they are
detected.
91. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider using the torque on a current-carrying coil in a magnetic field to
detect relatively small magnetic fields (less than the field of the Earth, for
example). Construct a problem in which you calculate the maximum
torque on a current-carrying loop in a magnetic field. Among the things to
be considered are the size of the coil, the number of loops it has, the
current you pass through the coil, and the size of the field you wish to
detect. Discuss whether the torque produced is large enough to be
effectively measured. Your instructor may also wish for you to consider
the effects, if any, of the field produced by the coil on the surroundings
that could affect detection of the small field.

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CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

6 ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS,


AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

Figure 6.1 This wind turbine in the Thames Estuary in the UK is an example of induction at work. Wind pushes the blades of the turbine, spinning a shaft attached to magnets.
The magnets spin around a conductive coil, inducing an electric current in the coil, and eventually feeding the electrical grid. (credit: phault, Flickr)

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Learning Objectives
6.1. Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
Calculate the flux of a uniform magnetic field through a loop of arbitrary orientation.
Describe methods to produce an electromotive force (emf) with a magnetic field or magnet and a loop of wire.
6.2. Faradays Law of Induction: Lenzs Law
Calculate emf, current, and magnetic fields using Faradays Law.
Explain the physical results of Lenzs Law
6.3. Motional Emf
Calculate emf, force, magnetic field, and work due to the motion of an object in a magnetic field.
6.4. Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
Explain the magnitude and direction of an induced eddy current, and the effect this will have on the object it is induced in.
Describe several applications of magnetic damping.
6.5. Electric Generators
Calculate the emf induced in a generator.
Calculate the peak emf which can be induced in a particular generator system.
6.6. Back Emf
Explain what back emf is and how it is induced.
6.7. Transformers
Explain how a transformer works.
Calculate voltage, current, and/or number of turns given the other quantities.
6.8. Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices
Explain how various modern safety features in electric circuits work, with an emphasis on how induction is employed.
6.9. Inductance
Calculate the inductance of an inductor.
Calculate the energy stored in an inductor.
Calculate the emf generated in an inductor.
6.10. RL Circuits
Calculate the current in an RL circuit after a specified number of characteristic time steps.
Calculate the characteristic time of an RL circuit.
Sketch the current in an RL circuit over time.
6.11. Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive
Sketch voltage and current versus time in simple inductive, capacitive, and resistive circuits.
Calculate inductive and capacitive reactance.
Calculate current and/or voltage in simple inductive, capacitive, and resistive circuits.
6.12. RLC Series AC Circuits
Calculate the impedance, phase angle, resonant frequency, power, power factor, voltage, and/or current in a RLC series circuit.
Draw the circuit diagram for an RLC series circuit.
Explain the significance of the resonant frequency.

Introduction to Electromagnetic Induction, AC Circuits and Electrical Technologies


Natures displays of symmetry are beautiful and alluring. A butterflys wings exhibit an appealing symmetry in a complex system. (See Figure 6.2.)
The laws of physics display symmetries at the most basic levelthese symmetries are a source of wonder and imply deeper meaning. Since we
place a high value on symmetry, we look for it when we explore nature. The remarkable thing is that we find it.

Figure 6.2 Physics, like this butterfly, has inherent symmetries. (credit: Thomas Bresson)

The hint of symmetry between electricity and magnetism found in the preceding chapter will be elaborated upon in this chapter. Specifically, we know
that a current creates a magnetic field. If nature is symmetric here, then perhaps a magnetic field can create a current. The Hall effect is a voltage
caused by a magnetic force. That voltage could drive a current. Historically, it was very shortly after Oersted discovered currents cause magnetic
fields that other scientists asked the following question: Can magnetic fields cause currents? The answer was soon found by experiment to be yes. In
1831, some 12 years after Oersteds discovery, the English scientist Michael Faraday (17911862) and the American scientist Joseph Henry
(17971878) independently demonstrated that magnetic fields can produce currents. The basic process of generating emfs (electromotive force) and,
hence, currents with magnetic fields is known as induction; this process is also called magnetic induction to distinguish it from charging by induction,
which utilizes the Coulomb force.
Today, currents induced by magnetic fields are essential to our technological society. The ubiquitous generatorfound in automobiles, on bicycles, in
nuclear power plants, and so onuses magnetism to generate current. Other devices that use magnetism to induce currents include pickup coils in
electric guitars, transformers of every size, certain microphones, airport security gates, and damping mechanisms on sensitive chemical balances.
Not so familiar perhaps, but important nevertheless, is that the behavior of AC circuits depends strongly on the effect of magnetic fields on currents.

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CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

6.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux


The apparatus used by Faraday to demonstrate that magnetic fields can create currents is illustrated in Figure 6.3. When the switch is closed, a
magnetic field is produced in the coil on the top part of the iron ring and transmitted to the coil on the bottom part of the ring. The galvanometer is
used to detect any current induced in the coil on the bottom. It was found that each time the switch is closed, the galvanometer detects a current in
one direction in the coil on the bottom. (You can also observe this in a physics lab.) Each time the switch is opened, the galvanometer detects a
current in the opposite direction. Interestingly, if the switch remains closed or open for any length of time, there is no current through the
galvanometer. Closing and opening the switch induces the current. It is the change in magnetic field that creates the current. More basic than the
current that flows is the emfthat causes it. The current is a result of an emf induced by a changing magnetic field, whether or not there is a path for
current to flow.

Figure 6.3 Faradays apparatus for demonstrating that a magnetic field can produce a current. A change in the field produced by the top coil induces an emf and, hence, a
current in the bottom coil. When the switch is opened and closed, the galvanometer registers currents in opposite directions. No current flows through the galvanometer when
the switch remains closed or open.

An experiment easily performed and often done in physics labs is illustrated in Figure 6.4. An emf is induced in the coil when a bar magnet is pushed
in and out of it. Emfs of opposite signs are produced by motion in opposite directions, and the emfs are also reversed by reversing poles. The same
results are produced if the coil is moved rather than the magnetit is the relative motion that is important. The faster the motion, the greater the emf,
and there is no emf when the magnet is stationary relative to the coil.

Figure 6.4 Movement of a magnet relative to a coil produces emfs as shown. The same emfs are produced if the coil is moved relative to the magnet. The greater the speed,
the greater the magnitude of the emf, and the emf is zero when there is no motion.

The method of inducing an emf used in most electric generators is shown in Figure 6.5. A coil is rotated in a magnetic field, producing an alternating
current emf, which depends on rotation rate and other factors that will be explored in later sections. Note that the generator is remarkably similar in
construction to a motor (another symmetry).

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Figure 6.5 Rotation of a coil in a magnetic field produces an emf. This is the basic construction of a generator, where work done to turn the coil is converted to electric energy.
Note the generator is very similar in construction to a motor.

So we see that changing the magnitude or direction of a magnetic field produces an emf. Experiments revealed that there is a crucial quantity called
the magnetic flux, , given by

= BA cos ,
where

(6.1)

B is the magnetic field strength over an area A , at an angle with the perpendicular to the area as shown in Figure 6.6. Any change in

induces an emf. This process is defined to be electromagnetic induction. Units of magnetic flux are T m 2 . As seen in
Figure 6.6, B cos = B , which is the component of B perpendicular to the area A . Thus magnetic flux is = B A , the product of the area
magnetic flux

and the component of the magnetic field perpendicular to it.

Figure 6.6 Magnetic flux


emf.

is related to the magnetic field and the area over which it exists. The flux

= BA cos

is related to induction; any change in

induces an

All induction, including the examples given so far, arises from some change in magnetic flux . For example, Faraday changed B and hence
when opening and closing the switch in his apparatus (shown in Figure 6.3). This is also true for the bar magnet and coil shown in Figure 6.4. When
rotating the coil of a generator, the angle and, hence, is changed. Just how great an emf and what direction it takes depend on the change in

and how rapidly the change is made, as examined in the next section.

6.2 Faradays Law of Induction: Lenzs Law


Faradays and Lenzs Law
Faradays experiments showed that the emf induced by a change in magnetic flux depends on only a few factors. First, emf is directly proportional to
the change in flux . Second, emf is greatest when the change in time t is smallestthat is, emf is inversely proportional to t . Finally, if a
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CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

coil has N turns, an emf will be produced that is


the emf induced by a change in magnetic flux is

N times greater than for a single coil, so that emf is directly proportional to N . The equation for
emf = N .
t

(6.2)

This relationship is known as Faradays law of induction. The units for emf are volts, as is usual.
The minus sign in Faradays law of induction is very important. The minus means that the emf creates a current I and magnetic field B that oppose
the change in flux this is known as Lenzs law. The direction (given by the minus sign) of the emfis so important that it is called Lenzs law
after the Russian Heinrich Lenz (18041865), who, like Faraday and Henry,independently investigated aspects of induction. Faraday was aware of
the direction, but Lenz stated it so clearly that he is credited for its discovery. (See Figure 6.7.)

Figure 6.7 (a) When this bar magnet is thrust into the coil, the strength of the magnetic field increases in the coil. The current induced in the coil creates another field, in the
opposite direction of the bar magnets to oppose the increase. This is one aspect of Lenzs lawinduction opposes any change in flux. (b) and (c) are two other situations.
Verify for yourself that the direction of the induced B coil shown indeed opposes the change in flux and that the current direction shown is consistent with RHR-2.

Problem-Solving Strategy for Lenzs Law


To use Lenzs law to determine the directions of the induced magnetic fields, currents, and emfs:
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.

Make a sketch of the situation for use in visualizing and recording directions.
Determine the direction of the magnetic field B.
Determine whether the flux is increasing or decreasing.
Now determine the direction of the induced magnetic field B. It opposes the change in flux by adding or subtracting from the original field.
Use RHR-2 to determine the direction of the induced current I that is responsible for the induced magnetic field B.
The direction (or polarity) of the induced emf will now drive a current in this direction and can be represented as current emerging from the
positive terminal of the emf and returning to its negative terminal.

For practice, apply these steps to the situations shown in Figure 6.7 and to others that are part of the following text material.

Applications of Electromagnetic Induction


There are many applications of Faradays Law of induction, as we will explore in this chapter and others. At this juncture, let us mention several that
have to do with data storage and magnetic fields. A very important application has to do with audio and video recording tapes. A plastic tape, coated
with iron oxide, moves past a recording head. This recording head is basically a round iron ring about which is wrapped a coil of wirean
electromagnet (Figure 6.8). A signal in the form of a varying input current from a microphone or camera goes to the recording head. These signals
(which are a function of the signal amplitude and frequency) produce varying magnetic fields at the recording head. As the tape moves past the
recording head, the magnetic field orientations of the iron oxide molecules on the tape are changed thus recording the signal. In the playback mode,
the magnetized tape is run past another head, similar in structure to the recording head. The different magnetic field orientations of the iron oxide
molecules on the tape induces an emf in the coil of wire in the playback head. This signal then is sent to a loudspeaker or video player.

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Figure 6.8 Recording and playback heads used with audio and video magnetic tapes. (credit: Steve Jurvetson)

Similar principles apply to computer hard drives, except at a much faster rate. Here recordings are on a coated, spinning disk. Read heads historically
were made to work on the principle of induction. However, the input information is carried in digital rather than analog form a series of 0s or 1s are
written upon the spinning hard drive. Today, most hard drive readout devices do not work on the principle of induction, but use a technique known as
giant magnetoresistance. (The discovery that weak changes in a magnetic field in a thin film of iron and chromium could bring about much larger
changes in electrical resistance was one of the first large successes of nanotechnology.) Another application of induction is found on the magnetic
stripe on the back of your personal credit card as used at the grocery store or the ATM machine. This works on the same principle as the audio or
video tape mentioned in the last paragraph in which a head reads personal information from your card.
Another application of electromagnetic induction is when electrical signals need to be transmitted across a barrier. Consider the cochlear implant
shown below. Sound is picked up by a microphone on the outside of the skull and is used to set up a varying magnetic field. A current is induced in a
receiver secured in the bone beneath the skin and transmitted to electrodes in the inner ear. Electromagnetic induction can be used in other
instances where electric signals need to be conveyed across various media.

Figure 6.9 Electromagnetic induction used in transmitting electric currents across mediums. The device on the babys head induces an electrical current in a receiver secured
in the bone beneath the skin. (credit: Bjorn Knetsch)

Another contemporary area of research in which electromagnetic induction is being successfully implemented (and with substantial potential) is
transcranial magnetic simulation. A host of disorders, including depression and hallucinations can be traced to irregular localized electrical activity in
the brain. In transcranial magnetic stimulation, a rapidly varying and very localized magnetic field is placed close to certain sites identified in the brain.
Weak electric currents are induced in the identified sites and can result in recovery of electrical functioning in the brain tissue.
Sleep apnea (the cessation of breath) affects both adults and infants (especially premature babies and it may be a cause of sudden infant deaths
[SID]). In such individuals, breath can stop repeatedly during their sleep. A cessation of more than 20 seconds can be very dangerous. Stroke, heart
failure, and tiredness are just some of the possible consequences for a person having sleep apnea. The concern in infants is the stopping of breath
for these longer times. One type of monitor to alert parents when a child is not breathing uses electromagnetic induction. A wire wrapped around the
infants chest has an alternating current running through it. The expansion and contraction of the infants chest as the infant breathes changes the
area through the coil. A pickup coil located nearby has an alternating current induced in it due to the changing magnetic field of the initial wire. If the
child stops breathing, there will be a change in the induced current, and so a parent can be alerted.
Making Connections: Conservation of Energy
Lenzs law is a manifestation of the conservation of energy. The induced emf produces a current that opposes the change in flux, because a
change in flux means a change in energy. Energy can enter or leave, but not instantaneously. Lenzs law is a consequence. As the change
begins, the law says induction opposes and, thus, slows the change. In fact, if the induced emf were in the same direction as the change in flux,
there would be a positive feedback that would give us free energy from no apparent sourceconservation of energy would be violated.

Example 6.1 Calculating Emf: How Great Is the Induced Emf?


Calculate the magnitude of the induced emf when the magnet in Figure 6.7(a) is thrust into the coil, given the following information: the single
loop coil has a radius of 6.00 cm and the average value of B cos (this is given, since the bar magnets field is complex) increases from 0.0500
T to 0.250 T in 0.100 s.
Strategy
To find the magnitude of emf, we use Faradays law of induction as stated by
direction:

emf = N .
t
Solution

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emf = N , but without the minus sign that indicates


t
(6.3)

CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

We are given that N = 1 and


loop is fixed, we see that

t = 0.100 s , but we must determine the change in flux before we can find emf. Since the area of the
= (BA cos ) = A(B cos ).

Now

(6.4)

(B cos ) = 0.200 T , since it was given that B cos changes from 0.0500 to 0.250 T. The area of the loop is

A = r 2 = (3.14...)(0.060 m) 2 = 1.1310 2 m 2 . Thus,


= (1.1310 2 m 2)(0.200 T).

(6.5)

Entering the determined values into the expression for emf gives

Emf = N =
t

(1.1310 2 m 2)(0.200 T)
= 22.6 mV.
0.100 s

(6.6)

Discussion
While this is an easily measured voltage, it is certainly not large enough for most practical applications. More loops in the coil, a stronger magnet,
and faster movement make induction the practical source of voltages that it is.

PhET Explorations: Faraday's Electromagnetic Lab


Play with a bar magnet and coils to learn about Faraday's law. Move a bar magnet near one or two coils to make a light bulb glow. View the
magnetic field lines. A meter shows the direction and magnitude of the current. View the magnetic field lines or use a meter to show the direction
and magnitude of the current. You can also play with electromagnets, generators and transformers!

Figure 6.10 Faraday's Electromagnetic Lab (http://cnx.org/content/m42392/1.3/faraday_en.jar)

6.3 Motional Emf


As we have seen, any change in magnetic flux induces an emf opposing that changea process known as induction. Motion is one of the major
causes of induction. For example, a magnet moved toward a coil induces an emf, and a coil moved toward a magnet produces a similar emf. In this
section, we concentrate on motion in a magnetic field that is stationary relative to the Earth, producing what is loosely called motional emf.
One situation where motional emf occurs is known as the Hall effect and has already been examined. Charges moving in a magnetic field experience
the magnetic force F = qvB sin , which moves opposite charges in opposite directions and produces an emf = Bv . We saw that the Hall effect
has applications, including measurements of B and v . We will now see that the Hall effect is one aspect of the broader phenomenon of induction,
and we will find that motional emf can be used as a power source.

v along a pair of conducting rails separated by a distance in a uniform


magnetic field B . The rails are stationary relative to B and are connected to a stationary resistor R . The resistor could be anything from a light bulb
to a voltmeter. Consider the area enclosed by the moving rod, rails, and resistor. B is perpendicular to this area, and the area is increasing as the
Consider the situation shown in Figure 6.11. A rod is moved at a speed

rod moves. Thus the magnetic flux enclosed by the rails, rod, and resistor is increasing. When flux changes, an emf is induced according to
Faradays law of induction.

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Figure 6.11 (a) A motional

emf = Bv

is induced between the rails when this rod moves to the right in the uniform magnetic field. The magnetic field

is into the page,

perpendicular to the moving rod and rails and, hence, to the area enclosed by them. (b) Lenzs law gives the directions of the induced field and current, and the polarity of the
induced emf. Since the flux is increasing, the induced field is in the opposite direction, or out of the page. RHR-2 gives the current direction shown, and the polarity of the rod
will drive such a current. RHR-1 also indicates the same polarity for the rod. (Note that the script E symbol used in the equivalent circuit at the bottom of part (b) represents
emf.)

To find the magnitude of emf induced along the moving rod, we use Faradays law of induction without the sign:

emf = N .
t

(6.7)

N = 1 and the flux = BA cos . We have = 0 and cos = 1 ,


B is perpendicular to A . Now = (BA) = BA , since B is uniform. Note that the area swept out by the rod is A = x .

Here and below, emf implies the magnitude of the emf. In this equation,
since

Entering these quantities into the expression for emf yields

emf = BA = B x .
t
t
Finally, note that

(6.8)

x / t = v , the velocity of the rod. Entering this into the last expression shows that
emf = Bv

(B, , and v perpendicular)

(6.9)

is the motional emf. This is the same expression given for the Hall effect previously.
Making Connections: Unification of Forces
There are many connections between the electric force and the magnetic force. The fact that a moving electric field produces a magnetic field
and, conversely, a moving magnetic field produces an electric field is part of why electric and magnetic forces are now considered to be different
manifestations of the same force. This classic unification of electric and magnetic forces into what is called the electromagnetic force is the
inspiration for contemporary efforts to unify other basic forces.

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To find the direction of the induced field, the direction of the current, and the polarity of the induced emf, we apply Lenzs law as explained in
Faraday's Law of Induction: Lenz's Law. (See Figure 6.11(b).) Flux is increasing, since the area enclosed is increasing. Thus the induced field
must oppose the existing one and be out of the page. And so the RHR-2 requires that I be counterclockwise, which in turn means the top of the rod is
positive as shown.
Motional emf also occurs if the magnetic field moves and the rod (or other object) is stationary relative to the Earth (or some observer). We have seen
an example of this in the situation where a moving magnet induces an emf in a stationary coil. It is the relative motion that is important. What is
emerging in these observations is a connection between magnetic and electric fields. A moving magnetic field produces an electric field through its
induced emf. We already have seen that a moving electric field produces a magnetic fieldmoving charge implies moving electric field and moving
charge produces a magnetic field.
Motional emfs in the Earths weak magnetic field are not ordinarily very large, or we would notice voltage along metal rods, such as a screwdriver,
during ordinary motions. For example, a simple calculation of the motional emf of a 1 m rod moving at 3.0 m/s perpendicular to the Earths field gives
emf = Bv = (5.010 5 T)(1.0 m)(3.0 m/s) = 150 V . This small value is consistent with experience. There is a spectacular exception,
however. In 1992 and 1996, attempts were made with the space shuttle to create large motional emfs. The Tethered Satellite was to be let out on a
20 km length of wire as shown in Figure 6.12, to create a 5 kV emf by moving at orbital speed through the Earths field. This emf could be used to
convert some of the shuttles kinetic and potential energy into electrical energy if a complete circuit could be made. To complete the circuit, the
stationary ionosphere was to supply a return path for the current to flow. (The ionosphere is the rarefied and partially ionized atmosphere at orbital
altitudes. It conducts because of the ionization. The ionosphere serves the same function as the stationary rails and connecting resistor in Figure
6.11, without which there would not be a complete circuit.) Drag on the current in the cable due to the magnetic force F = IB sin does the work
that reduces the shuttles kinetic and potential energy and allows it to be converted to electrical energy. The tests were both unsuccessful. In the first,
the cable hung up and could only be extended a couple of hundred meters; in the second, the cable broke when almost fully extended. Example 6.2
indicates feasibility in principle.

Example 6.2 Calculating the Large Motional Emf of an Object in Orbit

Figure 6.12 Motional emf as electrical power conversion for the space shuttle is the motivation for the Tethered Satellite experiment. A 5 kV emf was predicted to be
induced in the 20 km long tether while moving at orbital speed in the Earths magnetic field. The circuit is completed by a return path through the stationary ionosphere.

Calculate the motional emf induced along a 20.0 km long conductor moving at an orbital speed of 7.80 km/s perpendicular to the Earths
5.0010 5 T magnetic field.
Strategy
This is a straightforward application of the expression for motional emf

emf = Bv .

Solution
Entering the given values into

emf = Bv gives
emf = Bv
= (5.0010 5 T)(2.010 4 m)(7.8010 3 m/s)
= 7.8010 3 V.

Discussion
The value obtained is greater than the 5 kV measured voltage for the shuttle experiment, since the actual orbital motion of the tether is not
perpendicular to the Earths field. The 7.80 kV value is the maximum emf obtained when = 90 and sin = 1 .

(6.10)

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6.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping


Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping
As discussed in Motional Emf, motional emf is induced when a conductor moves in a magnetic field or when a magnetic field moves relative to a
conductor. If motional emf can cause a current loop in the conductor, we refer to that current as an eddy current. Eddy currents can produce
significant drag, called magnetic damping, on the motion involved. Consider the apparatus shown in Figure 6.13, which swings a pendulum bob
between the poles of a strong magnet. (This is another favorite physics lab activity.) If the bob is metal, there is significant drag on the bob as it enters
and leaves the field, quickly damping the motion. If, however, the bob is a slotted metal plate, as shown in Figure 6.13(b), there is a much smaller
effect due to the magnet. There is no discernible effect on a bob made of an insulator. Why is there drag in both directions, and are there any uses for
magnetic drag?

Figure 6.13 A common physics demonstration device for exploring eddy currents and magnetic damping. (a) The motion of a metal pendulum bob swinging between the poles
of a magnet is quickly damped by the action of eddy currents. (b) There is little effect on the motion of a slotted metal bob, implying that eddy currents are made less effective.
(c) There is also no magnetic damping on a nonconducting bob, since the eddy currents are extremely small.

Figure 6.14 shows what happens to the metal plate as it enters and leaves the magnetic field. In both cases, it experiences a force opposing its
motion. As it enters from the left, flux increases, and so an eddy current is set up (Faradays law) in the counterclockwise direction (Lenzs law), as
shown. Only the right-hand side of the current loop is in the field, so that there is an unopposed force on it to the left (RHR-1). When the metal plate is
completely inside the field, there is no eddy current if the field is uniform, since the flux remains constant in this region. But when the plate leaves the
field on the right, flux decreases, causing an eddy current in the clockwise direction that, again, experiences a force to the left, further slowing the
motion. A similar analysis of what happens when the plate swings from the right toward the left shows that its motion is also damped when entering
and leaving the field.

Figure 6.14 A more detailed look at the conducting plate passing between the poles of a magnet. As it enters and leaves the field, the change in flux produces an eddy
current. Magnetic force on the current loop opposes the motion. There is no current and no magnetic drag when the plate is completely inside the uniform field.

When a slotted metal plate enters the field, as shown in Figure 6.15, an emf is induced by the change in flux, but it is less effective because the slots
limit the size of the current loops. Moreover, adjacent loops have currents in opposite directions, and their effects cancel. When an insulating material
is used, the eddy current is extremely small, and so magnetic damping on insulators is negligible. If eddy currents are to be avoided in conductors,
then they can be slotted or constructed of thin layers of conducting material separated by insulating sheets.

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Figure 6.15 Eddy currents induced in a slotted metal plate entering a magnetic field form small loops, and the forces on them tend to cancel, thereby making magnetic drag
almost zero.

Applications of Magnetic Damping


One use of magnetic damping is found in sensitive laboratory balances. To have maximum sensitivity and accuracy, the balance must be as frictionfree as possible. But if it is friction-free, then it will oscillate for a very long time. Magnetic damping is a simple and ideal solution. With magnetic
damping, drag is proportional to speed and becomes zero at zero velocity. Thus the oscillations are quickly damped, after which the damping force
disappears, allowing the balance to be very sensitive. (See Figure 6.16.) In most balances, magnetic damping is accomplished with a conducting
disc that rotates in a fixed field.

Figure 6.16 Magnetic damping of this sensitive balance slows its oscillations. Since Faradays law of induction gives the greatest effect for the most rapid change, damping is
greatest for large oscillations and goes to zero as the motion stops.

Since eddy currents and magnetic damping occur only in conductors, recycling centers can use magnets to separate metals from other materials.
Trash is dumped in batches down a ramp, beneath which lies a powerful magnet. Conductors in the trash are slowed by magnetic damping while
nonmetals in the trash move on, separating from the metals. (See Figure 6.17.) This works for all metals, not just ferromagnetic ones. A magnet can
separate out the ferromagnetic materials alone by acting on stationary trash.

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Figure 6.17 Metals can be separated from other trash by magnetic drag. Eddy currents and magnetic drag are created in the metals sent down this ramp by the powerful
magnet beneath it. Nonmetals move on.

Other major applications of eddy currents are in metal detectors and braking systems in trains and roller coasters. Portable metal detectors (Figure
6.18) consist of a primary coil carrying an alternating current and a secondary coil in which a current is induced. An eddy current will be induced in a
piece of metal close to the detector which will cause a change in the induced current within the secondary coil, leading to some sort of signal like a
shrill noise. Braking using eddy currents is safer because factors such as rain do not affect the braking and the braking is smoother. However, eddy
currents cannot bring the motion to a complete stop, since the force produced decreases with speed. Thus, speed can be reduced from say 20 m/s to
5 m/s, but another form of braking is needed to completely stop the vehicle. Generally, powerful rare earth magnets such as neodymium magnets are
used in roller coasters. Figure 6.19 shows rows of magnets in such an application. The vehicle has metal fins (normally containing copper) which
pass through the magnetic field slowing the vehicle down in much the same way as with the pendulum bob shown in Figure 6.13.

Figure 6.18 A soldier in Iraq uses a metal detector to search for explosives and weapons. (credit: U.S. Army)

Figure 6.19 The rows of rare earth magnets (protruding horizontally) are used for magnetic braking in roller coasters. (credit: Stefan Scheer, Wikimedia Commons)

Induction cooktops have electromagnets under their surface. The magnetic field is varied rapidly producing eddy currents in the base of the pot,
causing the pot and its contents to increase in temperature. Induction cooktops have high efficiencies and good response times but the base of the
pot needs to be ferromagnetic, iron or steel for induction to work.

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6.5 Electric Generators


Electric generators induce an emf by rotating a coil in a magnetic field, as briefly discussed in Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux. We will now
explore generators in more detail. Consider the following example.

Example 6.3 Calculating the Emf Induced in a Generator Coil


The generator coil shown in Figure 6.20 is rotated through one-fourth of a revolution (from = 0 to = 90 ) in 15.0 ms. The 200-turn
circular coil has a 5.00 cm radius and is in a uniform 1.25 T magnetic field. What is the average emf induced?

Figure 6.20 When this generator coil is rotated through one-fourth of a revolution, the magnetic flux

changes from its maximum to zero, inducing an emf.

Strategy
We use Faradays law of induction to find the average emf induced over a time

t :

emf = N .
t
We know that

(6.11)

N = 200 and t = 15.0 ms , and so we must determine the change in flux to find emf.

Solution
Since the area of the loop and the magnetic field strength are constant, we see that

= (BA cos ) = AB(cos ).


Now,

(6.12)

(cos ) = 1.0 , since it was given that goes from 0 to 90 . Thus = AB , and
emf = N AB .
t

The area of the loop is

(6.13)

A = r 2 = (3.14...)(0.0500 m) 2 = 7.8510 3 m 2 . Entering this value gives


emf = 200

(7.8510 3 m 2)(1.25 T)
= 131 V.
15.010 3 s

(6.14)

Discussion
This is a practical average value, similar to the 120 V used in household power.

The emf calculated in Example 6.3 is the average over one-fourth of a revolution. What is the emf at any given instant? It varies with the angle
between the magnetic field and a perpendicular to the coil. We can get an expression for emf as a function of time by considering the motional emf on
a rotating rectangular coil of width w and height in a uniform magnetic field, as illustrated in Figure 6.21.

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Figure 6.21 A generator with a single rectangular coil rotated at constant angular velocity in a uniform magnetic field produces an emf that varies sinusoidally in time. Note the
generator is similar to a motor, except the shaft is rotated to produce a current rather than the other way around.

Charges in the wires of the loop experience the magnetic force, because they are moving in a magnetic field. Charges in the vertical wires experience
forces parallel to the wire, causing currents. But those in the top and bottom segments feel a force perpendicular to the wire, which does not cause a
current. We can thus find the induced emf by considering only the side wires. Motional emf is given to be emf = Bv , where the velocity v is
perpendicular to the magnetic field

B . Here the velocity is at an angle with B , so that its component perpendicular to B is v sin (see Figure
emf = Bv sin , and they are in the same direction. The total emf around the loop is then

6.21). Thus in this case the emf induced on each side is

emf = 2Bv sin .

(6.15)

This expression is valid, but it does not give emf as a function of time. To find the time dependence of emf, we assume the coil rotates at a constant
angular velocity . The angle is related to angular velocity by = t , so that

emf = 2Bv sin t.


Now, linear velocity

(6.16)

v is related to angular velocity by v = r . Here r = w / 2 , so that v = (w / 2) , and


emf = 2B w sin t = (w)B sin t.
2

Noting that the area of the loop is

(6.17)

A = w , and allowing for N loops, we find that


emf = NAB sin t

is the emf induced in a generator coil of


also be expressed as

(6.18)

N turns and area A rotating at a constant angular velocity in a uniform magnetic field B . This can
emf = emf 0 sin t,

(6.19)

emf 0 = NAB

(6.20)

where

is the maximum (peak) emf. Note that the frequency of the oscillation is

f = / 2 , and the period is T = 1 / f = 2 / . Figure 6.22 shows a

graph of emf as a function of time, and it now seems reasonable that AC voltage is sinusoidal.

Figure 6.22 The emf of a generator is sent to a light bulb with the system of rings and brushes shown. The graph gives the emf of the generator as a function of time.
is the peak emf. The period is

T = 1 / f = 2 / , where f

emf 0

is the frequency. Note that the script E stands for emf.

emf 0 = NAB , makes good sense. The greater the number of coils, the larger their area, and the stronger the field, the
greater the output voltage. It is interesting that the faster the generator is spun (greater ), the greater the emf. This is noticeable on bicycle
generatorsat least the cheaper varieties. One of the authors as a juvenile found it amusing to ride his bicycle fast enough to burn out his lights, until
he had to ride home lightless one dark night.
The fact that the peak emf,

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Figure 6.23 shows a scheme by which a generator can be made to produce pulsed DC. More elaborate arrangements of multiple coils and split rings
can produce smoother DC, although electronic rather than mechanical means are usually used to make ripple-free DC.

Figure 6.23 Split rings, called commutators, produce a pulsed DC emf output in this configuration.

Example 6.4 Calculating the Maximum Emf of a Generator


Calculate the maximum emf,

emf 0 , of the generator that was the subject of Example 6.3.

Strategy
Once

, the angular velocity, is determined, emf 0 = NAB can be used to find emf 0 . All other quantities are known.

Solution
Angular velocity is defined to be the change in angle per unit time:

= .
t
One-fourth of a revolution is

(6.21)

/2 radians, and the time is 0.0150 s; thus,


= / 2 rad
0.0150 s
= 104.7 rad/s.

104.7 rad/s is exactly 1000 rpm. We substitute this value for

(6.22)

and the information from the previous example into emf 0 = NAB , yielding

emf 0 = NAB

(6.23)

= 200(7.8510 3 m 2)(1.25 T)(104.7 rad/s).


= 206 V

Discussion
The maximum emf is greater than the average emf of 131 V found in the previous example, as it should be.

In real life, electric generators look a lot different than the figures in this section, but the principles are the same. The source of mechanical energy
that turns the coil can be falling water (hydropower), steam produced by the burning of fossil fuels, or the kinetic energy of wind. Figure 6.24 shows a
cutaway view of a steam turbine; steam moves over the blades connected to the shaft, which rotates the coil within the generator.

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Figure 6.24 Steam turbine/generator. The steam produced by burning coal impacts the turbine blades, turning the shaft which is connected to the generator. (credit:
Nabonaco, Wikimedia Commons)

Generators illustrated in this section look very much like the motors illustrated previously. This is not coincidental. In fact, a motor becomes a
generator when its shaft rotates. Certain early automobiles used their starter motor as a generator. In Back Emf, we shall further explore the action of
a motor as a generator.

6.6 Back Emf


It has been noted that motors and generators are very similar. Generators convert mechanical energy into electrical energy, whereas motors convert
electrical energy into mechanical energy. Furthermore, motors and generators have the same construction. When the coil of a motor is turned,
magnetic flux changes, and an emf (consistent with Faradays law of induction) is induced. The motor thus acts as a generator whenever its coil
rotates. This will happen whether the shaft is turned by an external input, like a belt drive, or by the action of the motor itself. That is, when a motor is
doing work and its shaft is turning, an emf is generated. Lenzs law tells us the emf opposes any change, so that the input emf that powers the motor
will be opposed by the motors self-generated emf, called the back emf of the motor. (See Figure 6.25.)

Figure 6.25 The coil of a DC motor is represented as a resistor in this schematic. The back emf is represented as a variable emf that opposes the one driving the motor. Back
emf is zero when the motor is not turning, and it increases proportionally to the motors angular velocity.

Back emf is the generator output of a motor, and so it is proportional to the motors angular velocity . It is zero when the motor is first turned on,
meaning that the coil receives the full driving voltage and the motor draws maximum current when it is on but not turning. As the motor turns faster
and faster, the back emf grows, always opposing the driving emf, and reduces the voltage across the coil and the amount of current it draws. This
effect is noticeable in a number of situations. When a vacuum cleaner, refrigerator, or washing machine is first turned on, lights in the same circuit dim
briefly due to the IR drop produced in feeder lines by the large current drawn by the motor. When a motor first comes on, it draws more current than
when it runs at its normal operating speed. When a mechanical load is placed on the motor, like an electric wheelchair going up a hill, the motor
slows, the back emf drops, more current flows, and more work can be done. If the motor runs at too low a speed, the larger current can overheat it
(via resistive power in the coil, P = I 2R ), perhaps even burning it out. On the other hand, if there is no mechanical load on the motor, it will increase
its angular velocity

until the back emf is nearly equal to the driving emf. Then the motor uses only enough energy to overcome friction.

Consider, for example, the motor coils represented in Figure 6.25. The coils have a
emf. Shortly after being turned on, they draw a current

0.400 equivalent resistance and are driven by a 48.0 V

I = V/R = (48.0 V)/(0.400 ) = 120 A and, thus, dissipate P = I 2R = 5.76 kW of

energy as heat transfer. Under normal operating conditions for this motor, suppose the back emf is 40.0 V. Then at operating speed, the total voltage
across the coils is 8.0 V (48.0 V minus the 40.0 V back emf), and the current drawn is I = V/R = (8.0 V)/(0.400 ) = 20 A . Under normal
load, then, the power dissipated is

P = IV = (20 A) / (8.0 V) = 160 W . The latter will not cause a problem for this motor, whereas the former

5.76 kW would burn out the coils if sustained.

6.7 Transformers
Transformers do what their name impliesthey transform voltages from one value to another (The term voltage is used rather than emf, because
transformers have internal resistance). For example, many cell phones, laptops, video games, and power tools and small appliances have a
transformer built into their plug-in unit (like that in Figure 6.26) that changes 120 V or 240 V AC into whatever voltage the device uses. Transformers
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are also used at several points in the power distribution systems, such as illustrated in Figure 6.27. Power is sent long distances at high voltages,
because less current is required for a given amount of power, and this means less line loss, as was discussed previously. But high voltages pose
greater hazards, so that transformers are employed to produce lower voltage at the users location.

Figure 6.26 The plug-in transformer has become increasingly familiar with the proliferation of electronic devices that operate on voltages other than common 120 V AC. Most
are in the 3 to 12 V range. (credit: Shop Xtreme)

Figure 6.27 Transformers change voltages at several points in a power distribution system. Electric power is usually generated at greater than 10 kV, and transmitted long
distances at voltages over 200 kVsometimes as great as 700 kVto limit energy losses. Local power distribution to neighborhoods or industries goes through a substation
and is sent short distances at voltages ranging from 5 to 13 kV. This is reduced to 120, 240, or 480 V for safety at the individual user site.

The type of transformer considered in this textsee Figure 6.28is based on Faradays law of induction and is very similar in construction to the
apparatus Faraday used to demonstrate magnetic fields could cause currents. The two coils are called the primary and secondary coils. In normal
use, the input voltage is placed on the primary, and the secondary produces the transformed output voltage. Not only does the iron core trap the
magnetic field created by the primary coil, its magnetization increases the field strength. Since the input voltage is AC, a time-varying magnetic flux is
sent to the secondary, inducing its AC output voltage.

Figure 6.28 A typical construction of a simple transformer has two coils wound on a ferromagnetic core that is laminated to minimize eddy currents. The magnetic field created
by the primary is mostly confined to and increased by the core, which transmits it to the secondary coil. Any change in current in the primary induces a current in the
secondary.

For the simple transformer shown in Figure 6.28, the output voltage

V s depends almost entirely on the input voltage V p and the ratio of the

number of loops in the primary and secondary coils. Faradays law of induction for the secondary coil gives its induced output voltage

V s to be

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V s = N s ,
t

(6.24)

N s is the number of loops in the secondary coil and / t is the rate of change of magnetic flux. Note that the output voltage equals the
induced emf ( V s = emf s ), provided coil resistance is small (a reasonable assumption for transformers). The cross-sectional area of the coils is the
same on either side, as is the magnetic field strength, and so / t is the same on either side. The input primary voltage V p is also related to
where

changing flux by

V p = N p .
t
The reason for this is a little more subtle. Lenzs law tells us that the primary coil opposes the change in flux caused by the input voltage

(6.25)

V p , hence

the minus sign (This is an example of self-inductance, a topic to be explored in some detail in later sections). Assuming negligible coil resistance,
Kirchhoffs loop rule tells us that the induced emf exactly equals the input voltage. Taking the ratio of these last two equations yields a useful
relationship:

Vs Ns
=
.
Vp Np

(6.26)

This is known as the transformer equation, and it simply states that the ratio of the secondary to primary voltages in a transformer equals the ratio
of the number of loops in their coils.
The output voltage of a transformer can be less than, greater than, or equal to the input voltage, depending on the ratio of the number of loops in their
coils. Some transformers even provide a variable output by allowing connection to be made at different points on the secondary coil. A step-up
transformer is one that increases voltage, whereas a step-down transformer decreases voltage. Assuming, as we have, that resistance is
negligible, the electrical power output of a transformer equals its input. This is nearly true in practicetransformer efficiency often exceeds 99%.
Equating the power input and output,

P p = I pV p = I sV s = P s.

(6.27)

Vs Ip
= .
Vp Is

(6.28)

Is Np
=
Ip Ns

(6.29)

Rearranging terms gives

Combining this with

Vs Ns
=
, we find that
Vp Np

is the relationship between the output and input currents of a transformer. So if voltage increases, current decreases. Conversely, if voltage
decreases, current increases.

Example 6.5 Calculating Characteristics of a Step-Up Transformer


A portable x-ray unit has a step-up transformer, the 120 V input of which is transformed to the 100 kV output needed by the x-ray tube. The
primary has 50 loops and draws a current of 10.00 A when in use. (a) What is the number of loops in the secondary? (b) Find the current output
of the secondary.
Strategy and Solution for (a)
We solve

Vs Ns
=
for N s , the number of loops in the secondary, and enter the known values. This gives
Vp Np
Ns = Np

Vs
Vp

(6.30)

= (50) 100,000 V = 4.1710 4 .


120 V
Discussion for (a)
A large number of loops in the secondary (compared with the primary) is required to produce such a large voltage. This would be true for neon
sign transformers and those supplying high voltage inside TVs and CRTs.
Strategy and Solution for (b)
We can similarly find the output current of the secondary by solving

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Is Np
=
for I s and entering known values. This gives
Ip Ns

CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

Is = Ip

Np
Ns

(6.31)

= (10.00 A)

50
= 12.0 mA.
4.1710 4

Discussion for (b)


As expected, the current output is significantly less than the input. In certain spectacular demonstrations, very large voltages are used to produce
long arcs, but they are relatively safe because the transformer output does not supply a large current. Note that the power input here is
P p = I pV p = (10.00 A)(120 V) = 1.20 kW . This equals the power output P p = I sV s = (12.0 mA)(100 kV) = 1.20 kW , as we
assumed in the derivation of the equations used.

The fact that transformers are based on Faradays law of induction makes it clear why we cannot use transformers to change DC voltages. If there is
no change in primary voltage, there is no voltage induced in the secondary. One possibility is to connect DC to the primary coil through a switch. As
the switch is opened and closed, the secondary produces a voltage like that in Figure 6.29. This is not really a practical alternative, and AC is in
common use wherever it is necessary to increase or decrease voltages.

Figure 6.29 Transformers do not work for pure DC voltage input, but if it is switched on and off as on the top graph, the output will look something like that on the bottom
graph. This is not the sinusoidal AC most AC appliances need.

Example 6.6 Calculating Characteristics of a Step-Down Transformer


A battery charger meant for a series connection of ten nickel-cadmium batteries (total emf of 12.5 V DC) needs to have a 15.0 V output to charge
the batteries. It uses a step-down transformer with a 200-loop primary and a 120 V input. (a) How many loops should there be in the secondary
coil? (b) If the charging current is 16.0 A, what is the input current?
Strategy and Solution for (a)
You would expect the secondary to have a small number of loops. Solving

Ns = Np

Vs Ns
=
for N s and entering known values gives
Vp Np

Vs
Vp

(6.32)

= (200) 15.0 V = 25.


120 V
Strategy and Solution for (b)
The current input can be obtained by solving

Is Np
=
for I p and entering known values. This gives
Ip Ns
Ip = Is

Ns
Np

= (16.0 A) 25 = 2.00 A.
200
Discussion

(6.33)

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The number of loops in the secondary is small, as expected for a step-down transformer. We also see that a small input current produces a
larger output current in a step-down transformer. When transformers are used to operate large magnets, they sometimes have a small number of
very heavy loops in the secondary. This allows the secondary to have low internal resistance and produce large currents. Note again that this
solution is based on the assumption of 100% efficiencyor power out equals power in ( P p = P s )reasonable for good transformers. In this
case the primary and secondary power is 240 W. (Verify this for yourself as a consistency check.) Note that the Ni-Cd batteries need to be
charged from a DC power source (as would a 12 V battery). So the AC output of the secondary coil needs to be converted into DC. This is done
using something called a rectifier, which uses devices called diodes that allow only a one-way flow of current.

Transformers have many applications in electrical safety systems, which are discussed in Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices.
PhET Explorations: Generator
Generate electricity with a bar magnet! Discover the physics behind the phenomena by exploring magnets and how you can use them to make a
bulb light.

Figure 6.30 Generator (http://cnx.org/content/m42414/1.4/generator_en.jar)

6.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices


Electricity has two hazards. A thermal hazard occurs when there is electrical overheating. A shock hazard occurs when electric current passes
through a person. Both hazards have already been discussed. Here we will concentrate on systems and devices that prevent electrical hazards.
Figure 6.31 shows the schematic for a simple AC circuit with no safety features. This is not how power is distributed in practice. Modern household
and industrial wiring requires the three-wire system, shown schematically in Figure 6.32, which has several safety features. First is the familiar
circuit breaker (or fuse) to prevent thermal overload. Second, there is a protective case around the appliance, such as a toaster or refrigerator. The
cases safety feature is that it prevents a person from touching exposed wires and coming into electrical contact with the circuit, helping prevent
shocks.

Figure 6.31 Schematic of a simple AC circuit with a voltage source and a single appliance represented by the resistance

R . There are no safety features in this circuit.

Figure 6.32 The three-wire system connects the neutral wire to the earth at the voltage source and user location, forcing it to be at zero volts and supplying an alternative
return path for the current through the earth. Also grounded to zero volts is the case of the appliance. A circuit breaker or fuse protects against thermal overload and is in
series on the active (live/hot) wire. Note that wire insulation colors vary with region and it is essential to check locally to determine which color codes are in use (and even if
they were followed in the particular installation).

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There are three connections to earth or ground (hereafter referred to as earth/ground) shown in Figure 6.32. Recall that an earth/ground connection
is a low-resistance path directly to the earth. The two earth/ground connections on the neutral wire force it to be at zero volts relative to the earth,
giving the wire its name. This wire is therefore safe to touch even if its insulation, usually white, is missing. The neutral wire is the return path for the
current to follow to complete the circuit. Furthermore, the two earth/ground connections supply an alternative path through the earth, a good
conductor, to complete the circuit. The earth/ground connection closest to the power source could be at the generating plant, while the other is at the
users location. The third earth/ground is to the case of the appliance, through the green earth/ground wire, forcing the case, too, to be at zero volts.
The live or hot wire (hereafter referred to as live/hot) supplies voltage and current to operate the appliance. Figure 6.33 shows a more pictorial
version of how the three-wire system is connected through a three-prong plug to an appliance.

Figure 6.33 The standard three-prong plug can only be inserted in one way, to assure proper function of the three-wire system.

A note on insulation color-coding: Insulating plastic is color-coded to identify live/hot, neutral and ground wires but these codes vary around the world.
Live/hot wires may be brown, red, black, blue or grey. Neutral wire may be blue, black or white. Since the same color may be used for live/hot or
neutral in different parts of the world, it is essential to determine the color code in your region. The only exception is the earth/ground wire which is
often green but may be yellow or just bare wire. Striped coatings are sometimes used for the benefit of those who are colorblind.
The three-wire system replaced the older two-wire system, which lacks an earth/ground wire. Under ordinary circumstances, insulation on the live/hot
and neutral wires prevents the case from being directly in the circuit, so that the earth/ground wire may seem like double protection. Grounding the
case solves more than one problem, however. The simplest problem is worn insulation on the live/hot wire that allows it to contact the case, as shown
in Figure 6.34. Lacking an earth/ground connection (some people cut the third prong off the plug because they only have outdated two hole
receptacles), a severe shock is possible. This is particularly dangerous in the kitchen, where a good connection to earth/ground is available through
water on the floor or a water faucet. With the earth/ground connection intact, the circuit breaker will trip, forcing repair of the appliance. Why are some
appliances still sold with two-prong plugs? These have nonconducting cases, such as power tools with impact resistant plastic cases, and are called
doubly insulated. Modern two-prong plugs can be inserted into the asymmetric standard outlet in only one way, to ensure proper connection of live/
hot and neutral wires.

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Figure 6.34 Worn insulation allows the live/hot wire to come into direct contact with the metal case of this appliance. (a) The earth/ground connection being broken, the person
is severely shocked. The appliance may operate normally in this situation. (b) With a proper earth/ground, the circuit breaker trips, forcing repair of the appliance.

Electromagnetic induction causes a more subtle problem that is solved by grounding the case. The AC current in appliances can induce an emf on
the case. If grounded, the case voltage is kept near zero, but if the case is not grounded, a shock can occur as pictured in Figure 6.35. Current
driven by the induced case emf is called a leakage current, although current does not necessarily pass from the resistor to the case.

Figure 6.35 AC currents can induce an emf on the case of an appliance. The voltage can be large enough to cause a shock. If the case is grounded, the induced emf is kept
near zero.

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A ground fault interrupter (GFI) is a safety device found in updated kitchen and bathroom wiring that works based on electromagnetic induction. GFIs
compare the currents in the live/hot and neutral wires. When live/hot and neutral currents are not equal, it is almost always because current in the
neutral is less than in the live/hot wire. Then some of the current, again called a leakage current, is returning to the voltage source by a path other
than through the neutral wire. It is assumed that this path presents a hazard, such as shown in Figure 6.36. GFIs are usually set to interrupt the
circuit if the leakage current is greater than 5 mA, the accepted maximum harmless shock. Even if the leakage current goes safely to earth/ground
through an intact earth/ground wire, the GFI will trip, forcing repair of the leakage.

Figure 6.36 A ground fault interrupter (GFI) compares the currents in the live/hot and neutral wires and will trip if their difference exceeds a safe value. The leakage current
here follows a hazardous path that could have been prevented by an intact earth/ground wire.

Figure 6.37 shows how a GFI works. If the currents in the live/hot and neutral wires are equal, then they induce equal and opposite emfs in the coil. If
not, then the circuit breaker will trip.

Figure 6.37 A GFI compares currents by using both to induce an emf in the same coil. If the currents are equal, they will induce equal but opposite emfs.

Another induction-based safety device is the isolation transformer, shown in Figure 6.38. Most isolation transformers have equal input and output
voltages. Their function is to put a large resistance between the original voltage source and the device being operated. This prevents a complete
circuit between them, even in the circumstance shown. There is a complete circuit through the appliance. But there is not a complete circuit for
current to flow through the person in the figure, who is touching only one of the transformers output wires, and neither output wire is grounded. The
appliance is isolated from the original voltage source by the high resistance of the material between the transformer coils, hence the name isolation
transformer. For current to flow through the person, it must pass through the high-resistance material between the coils, through the wire, the person,
and back through the eartha path with such a large resistance that the current is negligible.

Figure 6.38 An isolation transformer puts a large resistance between the original voltage source and the device, preventing a complete circuit between them.

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The basics of electrical safety presented here help prevent many electrical hazards. Electrical safety can be pursued to greater depths. There are, for
example, problems related to different earth/ground connections for appliances in close proximity. Many other examples are found in hospitals.
Microshock-sensitive patients, for instance, require special protection. For these people, currents as low as 0.1 mA may cause ventricular fibrillation.
The interested reader can use the material presented here as a basis for further study.

6.9 Inductance
Inductors
Induction is the process in which an emf is induced by changing magnetic flux. Many examples have been discussed so far, some more effective than
others. Transformers, for example, are designed to be particularly effective at inducing a desired voltage and current with very little loss of energy to
other forms. Is there a useful physical quantity related to how effective a given device is? The answer is yes, and that physical quantity is called
inductance.
Mutual inductance is the effect of Faradays law of induction for one device upon another, such as the primary coil in transmitting energy to the
secondary in a transformer. See Figure 6.39, where simple coils induce emfs in one another.

Figure 6.39 These coils can induce emfs in one another like an inefficient transformer. Their mutual inductance M indicates the effectiveness of the coupling between them.
Here a change in current in coil 1 is seen to induce an emf in coil 2. (Note that " E 2 induced" represents the induced emf in coil 2.)

In the many cases where the geometry of the devices is fixed, flux is changed by varying current. We therefore concentrate on the rate of change of
current, I/t , as the cause of induction. A change in the current I 1 in one device, coil 1 in the figure, induces an emf 2 in the other. We express
this in equation form as

emf 2 = M

I 1
,
t

(6.34)

M is defined to be the mutual inductance between the two devices. The minus sign is an expression of Lenzs law. The larger the mutual
M , the more effective the coupling. For example, the coils in Figure 6.39 have a small M compared with the transformer coils in Figure
6.28. Units for M are (V s)/A = s , which is named a henry (H), after Joseph Henry. That is, 1 H = 1 s .
where

inductance

Nature is symmetric here. If we change the current

I 2 in coil 2, we induce an emf 1 in coil 1, which is given by


emf 1 = M

where

I 2
,
t

(6.35)

M is the same as for the reverse process. Transformers run backward with the same effectiveness, or mutual inductance M .

A large mutual inductance M may or may not be desirable. We want a transformer to have a large mutual inductance. But an appliance, such as an
electric clothes dryer, can induce a dangerous emf on its case if the mutual inductance between its coils and the case is large. One way to reduce
mutual inductance M is to counterwind coils to cancel the magnetic field produced. (See Figure 6.40.)

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Figure 6.40 The heating coils of an electric clothes dryer can be counter-wound so that their magnetic fields cancel one another, greatly reducing the mutual inductance with
the case of the dryer.

Self-inductance, the effect of Faradays law of induction of a device on itself, also exists. When, for example, current through a coil is increased, the
magnetic field and flux also increase, inducing a counter emf, as required by Lenzs law. Conversely, if the current is decreased, an emf is induced
that opposes the decrease. Most devices have a fixed geometry, and so the change in flux is due entirely to the change in current I through the
device. The induced emf is related to the physical geometry of the device and the rate of change of current. It is given by

emf = L I ,
t
where
6.41.

(6.36)

L is the self-inductance of the device. A device that exhibits significant self-inductance is called an inductor, and given the symbol in Figure

Figure 6.41

The minus sign is an expression of Lenzs law, indicating that emf opposes the change in current. Units of self-inductance are henries (H) just as for
mutual inductance. The larger the self-inductance L of a device, the greater its opposition to any change in current through it. For example, a large
coil with many turns and an iron core has a large L and will not allow current to change quickly. To avoid this effect, a small
such as by counterwinding coils as in Figure 6.40.

L must be achieved,

L = 1.0 H that has a 10 A current flowing through it. What happens if we


emf = L(I / t) , will oppose the change. Thus an emf will be
induced given by emf = L(I / t) = (1.0 H)[(10 A) / (1.0 ms)] = 10,000 V . The positive sign means this large voltage is in the same
A 1 H inductor is a large inductor. To illustrate this, consider a device with

try to shut off the current rapidly, perhaps in only 1.0 ms? An emf, given by

direction as the current, opposing its decrease. Such large emfs can cause arcs, damaging switching equipment, and so it may be necessary to
change current more slowly.
There are uses for such a large induced voltage. Camera flashes use a battery, two inductors that function as a transformer, and a switching system
or oscillator to induce large voltages. (Remember that we need a changing magnetic field, brought about by a changing current, to induce a voltage in
another coil.) The oscillator system will do this many times as the battery voltage is boosted to over one thousand volts. (You may hear the high
pitched whine from the transformer as the capacitor is being charged.) A capacitor stores the high voltage for later use in powering the flash. (See
Figure 6.42.)

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Figure 6.42 Through rapid switching of an inductor, 1.5 V batteries can be used to induce emfs of several thousand volts. This voltage can be used to store charge in a
capacitor for later use, such as in a camera flash attachment.

It is possible to calculate

L for an inductor given its geometry (size and shape) and knowing the magnetic field that it produces. This is difficult in

most cases, because of the complexity of the field created. So in this text the inductance L is usually a given quantity. One exception is the solenoid,
because it has a very uniform field inside, a nearly zero field outside, and a simple shape. It is instructive to derive an equation for its inductance. We
start by noting that the induced emf is given by Faradays law of induction as emf = N( / t) and, by the definition of self-inductance, as

emf = L(I / t) . Equating these yields

Solving for

emf = N = L I .
t
t

(6.37)

L = N .
I

(6.38)

L gives

This equation for the self-inductance

L of a device is always valid. It means that self-inductance L depends on how effective the current is in
/ I is.

creating flux; the more effective, the greater

A of a solenoid is fixed, the change in flux is


= (BA) = AB . To find B , we note that the magnetic field of a solenoid is given by B = 0nI = 0 NI . (Here n = N / , where N is

the number of coils and is the solenoids length.) Only the current changes, so that = AB = 0NA I . Substituting into

L=N
gives
I
Let us use this last equation to find an expression for the inductance of a solenoid. Since the area

L = N = N
I

0 NA I
.
I

(6.39)

This simplifies to

L=
This is the self-inductance of a solenoid of cross-sectional area
characteristics of the solenoid, consistent with its definition.

0 N 2 A
(solenoid).

(6.40)

A and length . Note that the inductance depends only on the physical

Example 6.7 Calculating the Self-inductance of a Moderate Size Solenoid


Calculate the self-inductance of a 10.0 cm long, 4.00 cm diameter solenoid that has 200 coils.
Strategy
This is a straightforward application of

L=

0 N 2 A
, since all quantities in the equation except L are known.

Solution
Use the following expression for the self-inductance of a solenoid:

L=
The cross-sectional area in this example is

0 N 2 A
.

(6.41)

A = r 2 = (3.14...)(0.0200 m) 2 = 1.2610 3 m 2 , N is given to be 200, and the length is

0.100 m. We know the permeability of free space is

0 = 410 7 T m/A . Substituting these into the expression for L gives

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(410 7 T m/A)(200) 2(1.2610 3 m 2)


0.100 m
= 0.632 mH.

L =

(6.42)

Discussion
This solenoid is moderate in size. Its inductance of nearly a millihenry is also considered moderate.

One common application of inductance is used in traffic lights that can tell when vehicles are waiting at the intersection. An electrical circuit with an
inductor is placed in the road under the place a waiting car will stop over. The body of the car increases the inductance and the circuit changes
sending a signal to the traffic lights to change colors. Similarly, metal detectors used for airport security employ the same technique. A coil or inductor
in the metal detector frame acts as both a transmitter and a receiver. The pulsed signal in the transmitter coil induces a signal in the receiver. The
self-inductance of the circuit is affected by any metal object in the path. Such detectors can be adjusted for sensitivity and also can indicate the
approximate location of metal found on a person. (But they will not be able to detect any plastic explosive such as that found on the underwear
bomber.) See Figure 6.43.

Figure 6.43 The familiar security gate at an airport can not only detect metals but also indicate their approximate height above the floor. (credit: Alexbuirds, Wikimedia
Commons)

Energy Stored in an Inductor


We know from Lenzs law that inductances oppose changes in current. There is an alternative way to look at this opposition that is based on energy.
Energy is stored in a magnetic field. It takes time to build up energy, and it also takes time to deplete energy; hence, there is an opposition to rapid
change. In an inductor, the magnetic field is directly proportional to current and to the inductance of the device. It can be shown that the energy
stored in an inductor E ind is given by

E ind = 1 LI 2.
2

(6.43)

This expression is similar to that for the energy stored in a capacitor.

Example 6.8 Calculating the Energy Stored in the Field of a Solenoid


How much energy is stored in the 0.632 mH inductor of the preceding example when a 30.0 A current flows through it?
Strategy
The energy is given by the equation

E ind = 1 LI 2 , and all quantities except E ind are known.


2

Solution
Substituting the value for

L found in the previous example and the given current into E ind = 1 LI 2 gives
2
E ind = 1 LI 2
2
= 0.5(0.63210 3 H)(30.0 A) 2 = 0.284 J.

(6.44)

Discussion
This amount of energy is certainly enough to cause a spark if the current is suddenly switched off. It cannot be built up instantaneously unless
the power input is infinite.

6.10 RL Circuits
We know that the current through an inductor L cannot be turned on or off instantaneously. The change in current changes flux, inducing an emf
opposing the change (Lenzs law). How long does the opposition last? Current will flow and can be turned off, but how long does it take? Figure 6.44
shows a switching circuit that can be used to examine current through an inductor as a function of time.

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Figure 6.44 (a) An RL circuit with a switch to turn current on and off. When in position 1, the battery, resistor, and inductor are in series and a current is established. In position
2, the battery is removed and the current eventually stops because of energy loss in the resistor. (b) A graph of current growth versus time when the switch is moved to
position 1. (c) A graph of current decay when the switch is moved to position 2.

When the switch is first moved to position 1 (at

t = 0 ), the current is zero and it eventually rises to I 0 = V/R , where R is the total resistance of

the circuit. The opposition of the inductor L is greatest at the beginning, because the amount of change is greatest. The opposition it poses is in the
form of an induced emf, which decreases to zero as the current approaches its final value. The opposing emf is proportional to the amount of change
left. This is the hallmark of an exponential behavior, and it can be shown with calculus that

I = I 0(1 e t / ) (turning on),

(6.45)

is the current in an RL circuit when switched on (Note the similarity to the exponential behavior of the voltage on a charging capacitor). The initial
current is zero and approaches I 0 = V/R with a characteristic time constant for an RL circuit, given by

= L,
R
where

(6.46)

has units of seconds, since 1 H=1 s . In the first period of time , the current rises from zero to 0.632I 0 , since

I = I 0(1 e 1) = I 0(1 0.368) = 0.632I 0 . The current will go 0.632 of the remainder in the next time . A well-known property of the
exponential is that the final value is never exactly reached, but 0.632 of the remainder to that value is achieved in every characteristic time . In just
a few multiples of the time , the final value is very nearly achieved, as the graph in Figure 6.44(b) illustrates.
depends on only two factors, the inductance L and the resistance R . The greater the inductance L , the greater is,
R , the greater is. Again this makes
sense, since a small resistance means a large final current and a greater change to get there. In both caseslarge L and small R more energy
The characteristic time

which makes sense since a large inductance is very effective in opposing change. The smaller the resistance
is stored in the inductor and more time is required to get it in and out.

When the switch in Figure 6.44(a) is moved to position 2 and cuts the battery out of the circuit, the current drops because of energy dissipation by
the resistor. But this is also not instantaneous, since the inductor opposes the decrease in current by inducing an emf in the same direction as the
battery that drove the current. Furthermore, there is a certain amount of energy, (1/2)LI 02 , stored in the inductor, and it is dissipated at a finite rate.
As the current approaches zero, the rate of decrease slows, since the energy dissipation rate is I 2 R . Once again the behavior is exponential, and

I is found to be

I = I 0e t /

(turning off).

(6.47)

(See Figure 6.44(c).) In the first period of time = L / R after the switch is closed, the current falls to 0.368 of its initial value, since
I = I 0e 1 = 0.368I 0 . In each successive time , the current falls to 0.368 of the preceding value, and in a few multiples of , the current
becomes very close to zero, as seen in the graph in Figure 6.44(c).

Example 6.9 Calculating Characteristic Time and Current in an RL Circuit


(a) What is the characteristic time constant for a 7.50 mH inductor in series with a
is moved to position 2 to disconnect the battery, if it is initially 10.0 A.

3.00 resistor? (b) Find the current 5.00 ms after the switch

Strategy for (a)


The time constant for an RL circuit is defined by

= L/R.

Solution for (a)


Entering known values into the expression for

given in = L / R yields
= L = 7.50 mH = 2.50 ms.
R 3.00

Discussion for (a)


This is a small but definitely finite time. The coil will be very close to its full current in about ten time constants, or about 25 ms.

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Strategy for (b)


We can find the current by using

I = I 0e t / , or by considering the decline in steps. Since the time is twice the characteristic time, we consider

the process in steps.


Solution for (b)
In the first 2.50 ms, the current declines to 0.368 of its initial value, which is

I = 0.368I 0 = (0.368)(10.0 A)
= 3.68 A at t = 2.50 ms.

(6.49)

After another 2.50 ms, or a total of 5.00 ms, the current declines to 0.368 of the value just found. That is,

I = 0.368I = (0.368)(3.68 A)
= 1.35 A at t = 5.00 ms.

(6.50)

Discussion for (b)


After another 5.00 ms has passed, the current will be 0.183 A (see Exercise 6.69); so, although it does die out, the current certainly does not go
to zero instantaneously.

In summary, when the voltage applied to an inductor is changed, the current also changes, but the change in current lags the change in voltage in an
RL circuit. In Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive, we explore how an RL circuit behaves when a sinusoidal AC voltage is applied.

6.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive


Many circuits also contain capacitors and inductors, in addition to resistors and an AC voltage source. We have seen how capacitors and inductors
respond to DC voltage when it is switched on and off. We will now explore how inductors and capacitors react to sinusoidal AC voltage.

Inductors and Inductive Reactance


Suppose an inductor is connected directly to an AC voltage source, as shown in Figure 6.45. It is reasonable to assume negligible resistance, since
in practice we can make the resistance of an inductor so small that it has a negligible effect on the circuit. Also shown is a graph of voltage and
current as functions of time.

Figure 6.45 (a) An AC voltage source in series with an inductor having negligible resistance. (b) Graph of current and voltage across the inductor as functions of time.

The graph in Figure 6.45(b) starts with voltage at a maximum. Note that the current starts at zero and rises to its peak after the voltage that drives it,
just as was the case when DC voltage was switched on in the preceding section. When the voltage becomes negative at point a, the current begins
to decrease; it becomes zero at point b, where voltage is its most negative. The current then becomes negative, again following the voltage. The
voltage becomes positive at point c and begins to make the current less negative. At point d, the current goes through zero just as the voltage
reaches its positive peak to start another cycle. This behavior is summarized as follows:
AC Voltage in an Inductor
When a sinusoidal voltage is applied to an inductor, the voltage leads the current by one-fourth of a cycle, or by a

Current lags behind voltage, since inductors oppose change in current. Changing current induces a back emf
to be an effective resistance of the inductor to AC. The rms current

V = L(I / t) . This is considered

I through an inductor L is given by a version of Ohms law:


I= V,
XL

where

90 phase angle.

(6.51)

V is the rms voltage across the inductor and X L is defined to be


X L = 2 fL,

(6.52)

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f the frequency of the AC voltage source in hertz (An analysis of the circuit using Kirchhoffs loop rule and calculus actually produces this
expression). X L is called the inductive reactance, because the inductor reacts to impede the current. X L has units of ohms ( 1 H = 1 s , so
with

that frequency times inductance has units of


is proportional to

(cycles/s)( s) = ), consistent with its role as an effective resistance. It makes sense that X L

L , since the greater the induction the greater its resistance to change. It is also reasonable that X L is proportional to frequency f

, since greater frequency means greater change in current. That is,

I/t is large for large frequencies (large f , small t ). The greater the

change, the greater the opposition of an inductor.

Example 6.10 Calculating Inductive Reactance and then Current


(a) Calculate the inductive reactance of a 3.00 mH inductor when 60.0 Hz and 10.0 kHz AC voltages are applied. (b) What is the rms current at
each frequency if the applied rms voltage is 120 V?
Strategy
The inductive reactance is found directly from the expression
the Equation

X L = 2 fL . Once X L has been found at each frequency, Ohms law as stated in

I = V / X L can be used to find the current at each frequency.

Solution for (a)


Entering the frequency and inductance into Equation

X L = 2 fL gives

X L = 2 fL = 6.28(60.0 / s)(3.00 mH) = 1.13 at 60 Hz.

(6.53)

X L = 2 fL = 6.28(1.0010 4 /s)(3.00 mH) = 188 at 10 kHz.

(6.54)

Similarly, at 10 kHz,

Solution for (b)


The rms current is now found using the version of Ohms law in Equation

I = V / X L , given the applied rms voltage is 120 V. For the first

frequency, this yields

I = V = 120 V = 106 A at 60 Hz.


X L 1.13

(6.55)

I = V = 120 V = 0.637 A at 10 kHz.


X L 188

(6.56)

Similarly, at 10 kHz,

Discussion
The inductor reacts very differently at the two different frequencies. At the higher frequency, its reactance is large and the current is small,
consistent with how an inductor impedes rapid change. Thus high frequencies are impeded the most. Inductors can be used to filter out high
frequencies; for example, a large inductor can be put in series with a sound reproduction system or in series with your home computer to reduce
high-frequency sound output from your speakers or high-frequency power spikes into your computer.

Note that although the resistance in the circuit considered is negligible, the AC current is not extremely large because inductive reactance impedes its
flow. With AC, there is no time for the current to become extremely large.

Capacitors and Capacitive Reactance


Consider the capacitor connected directly to an AC voltage source as shown in Figure 6.46. The resistance of a circuit like this can be made so small
that it has a negligible effect compared with the capacitor, and so we can assume negligible resistance. Voltage across the capacitor and current are
graphed as functions of time in the figure.

Figure 6.46 (a) An AC voltage source in series with a capacitor C having negligible resistance. (b) Graph of current and voltage across the capacitor as functions of time.

The graph in Figure 6.46 starts with voltage across the capacitor at a maximum. The current is zero at this point, because the capacitor is fully
charged and halts the flow. Then voltage drops and the current becomes negative as the capacitor discharges. At point a, the capacitor has fully

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discharged ( Q

= 0 on it) and the voltage across it is zero. The current remains negative between points a and b, causing the voltage on the

capacitor to reverse. This is complete at point b, where the current is zero and the voltage has its most negative value. The current becomes positive
after point b, neutralizing the charge on the capacitor and bringing the voltage to zero at point c, which allows the current to reach its maximum.
Between points c and d, the current drops to zero as the voltage rises to its peak, and the process starts to repeat. Throughout the cycle, the voltage
follows what the current is doing by one-fourth of a cycle:
AC Voltage in a Capacitor
When a sinusoidal voltage is applied to a capacitor, the voltage follows the current by one-fourth of a cycle, or by a

90 phase angle.

The capacitor is affecting the current, having the ability to stop it altogether when fully charged. Since an AC voltage is applied, there is an rms
current, but it is limited by the capacitor. This is considered to be an effective resistance of the capacitor to AC, and so the rms current I in the circuit
containing only a capacitor

C is given by another version of Ohms law to be


I= V ,
XC

where

(6.57)

V is the rms voltage and X C is defined (As with X L , this expression for X C results from an analysis of the circuit using Kirchhoffs rules

and calculus) to be

XC =
where

1 ,
2 fC

(6.58)

X C is called the capacitive reactance, because the capacitor reacts to impede the current. X C has units of ohms (verification left as an

exercise for the reader).

X C is inversely proportional to the capacitance C ; the larger the capacitor, the greater the charge it can store and the

greater the current that can flow. It is also inversely proportional to the frequency

f ; the greater the frequency, the less time there is to fully charge

the capacitor, and so it impedes current less.

Example 6.11 Calculating Capacitive Reactance and then Current


(a) Calculate the capacitive reactance of a 5.00 mF capacitor when 60.0 Hz and 10.0 kHz AC voltages are applied. (b) What is the rms current if
the applied rms voltage is 120 V?
Strategy
The capacitive reactance is found directly from the expression in
as

XC =

I = V / X C can be used to find the current at each frequency.

1 . Once X has been found at each frequency, Ohms law stated


C
2 fC

Solution for (a)


Entering the frequency and capacitance into

1 gives
2 fC

XC =

XC =
=

1
2 fC

(6.59)

1
= 531 at 60 Hz.
6.28(60.0 / s)(5.00 F)

Similarly, at 10 kHz,

1 =
1
2 fC 6.28(1.0010 4 / s)(5.00 F) .
= 3.18 at 10 kHz

XC =

(6.60)

Solution for (b)


The rms current is now found using the version of Ohms law in

I = V / X C , given the applied rms voltage is 120 V. For the first frequency, this

yields

I = V = 120 V = 0.226 A at 60 Hz.


X C 531

(6.61)

I = V = 120 V = 37.7 A at 10 kHz.


X C 3.18

(6.62)

Similarly, at 10 kHz,

Discussion
The capacitor reacts very differently at the two different frequencies, and in exactly the opposite way an inductor reacts. At the higher frequency,
its reactance is small and the current is large. Capacitors favor change, whereas inductors oppose change. Capacitors impede low frequencies

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the most, since low frequency allows them time to become charged and stop the current. Capacitors can be used to filter out low frequencies.
For example, a capacitor in series with a sound reproduction system rids it of the 60 Hz hum.

Although a capacitor is basically an open circuit, there is an rms current in a circuit with an AC voltage applied to a capacitor. This is because the
voltage is continually reversing, charging and discharging the capacitor. If the frequency goes to zero (DC), X C tends to infinity, and the current is
zero once the capacitor is charged. At very high frequencies, the capacitors reactance tends to zeroit has a negligible reactance and does not
impede the current (it acts like a simple wire). Capacitors have the opposite effect on AC circuits that inductors have.

Resistors in an AC Circuit
Just as a reminder, consider Figure 6.47, which shows an AC voltage applied to a resistor and a graph of voltage and current versus time. The
voltage and current are exactly in phase in a resistor. There is no frequency dependence to the behavior of plain resistance in a circuit:

Figure 6.47 (a) An AC voltage source in series with a resistor. (b) Graph of current and voltage across the resistor as functions of time, showing them to be exactly in phase.

AC Voltage in a Resistor
When a sinusoidal voltage is applied to a resistor, the voltage is exactly in phase with the currentthey have a

0 phase angle.

6.12 RLC Series AC Circuits


Impedance
When alone in an AC circuit, inductors, capacitors, and resistors all impede current. How do they behave when all three occur together? Interestingly,
their individual resistances in ohms do not simply add. Because inductors and capacitors behave in opposite ways, they partially to totally cancel
each others effect. Figure 6.48 shows an RLC series circuit with an AC voltage source, the behavior of which is the subject of this section. The crux
of the analysis of an RLC circuit is the frequency dependence of X L and X C , and the effect they have on the phase of voltage versus current
(established in the preceding section). These give rise to the frequency dependence of the circuit, with important resonance features that are the
basis of many applications, such as radio tuners.

Figure 6.48 An RLC series circuit with an AC voltage source.

The combined effect of resistance

R , inductive reactance X L , and capacitive reactance X C is defined to be impedance, an AC analogue to

resistance in a DC circuit. Current, voltage, and impedance in an RLC circuit are related by an AC version of Ohms law:

I0 =

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V0
V
or I rms = rms .
Z
Z

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Here

I 0 is the peak current, V 0 the peak source voltage, and Z is the impedance of the circuit. The units of impedance are ohms, and its effect on

the circuit is as you might expect: the greater the impedance, the smaller the current. To get an expression for

Z in terms of R , X L , and X C , we

will now examine how the voltages across the various components are related to the source voltage. Those voltages are labeled

V R , V L , and V C

in Figure 6.48.
Conservation of charge requires current to be the same in each part of the circuit at all times, so that we can say the currents in
equal and in phase. But we know from the preceding section that the voltage across the inductor
voltage across the capacitor

R , L , and C are

V L leads the current by one-fourth of a cycle, the

V C follows the current by one-fourth of a cycle, and the voltage across the resistor V R is exactly in phase with the

current. Figure 6.49 shows these relationships in one graph, as well as showing the total voltage around the circuit
four voltages are the instantaneous values. According to Kirchhoffs loop rule, the total voltage around the circuit
You can see from Figure 6.49 that while

V = V R + V L + V C , where all

V is also the voltage of the source.

V R is in phase with the current, V L leads by 90 , and V C follows by 90 . Thus V L and V C are

180 out of phase (crest to trough) and tend to cancel, although not completely unless they have the same magnitude. Since the peak voltages are
not aligned (not in phase), the peak voltage V 0 of the source does not equal the sum of the peak voltages across R , L , and C . The actual
relationship is
(6.64)

V 0 = V 0R 2 +(V 0L V 0C) 2,
where

V 0R , V 0L , and V 0C are the peak voltages across R , L , and C , respectively. Now, using Ohms law and definitions from Reactance,

Inductive and Capacitive, we substitute

V 0 = I 0Z into the above, as well as V 0R = I 0R , V 0L = I 0X L , and V 0C = I 0X C , yielding

I 0 Z = I 0 2 R 2 + (I 0 X L I 0X C ) 2 = I 0 R 2 + (X L X C) 2.

(6.65)

I 0 cancels to yield an expression for Z :


Z = R 2 + (X L X C) 2,
which is the impedance of an RLC series AC circuit. For circuits without a resistor, take
those without a capacitor, take

XC = 0 .

(6.66)

R = 0 ; for those without an inductor, take X L = 0 ; and for

Figure 6.49 This graph shows the relationships of the voltages in an RLC circuit to the current. The voltages across the circuit elements add to equal the voltage of the source,
which is seen to be out of phase with the current.

Example 6.12 Calculating Impedance and Current


40.0 resistor, a 3.00 mH inductor, and a 5.00 F capacitor. (a) Find the circuits impedance at 60.0 Hz and 10.0
kHz, noting that these frequencies and the values for L and C are the same as in Example 6.10 and Example 6.11. (b) If the voltage source
has V rms = 120 V , what is I rms at each frequency?
An RLC series circuit has a

Strategy
For each frequency, we use

Z = R 2 + (X L X C) 2 to find the impedance and then Ohms law to find current. We can take advantage of the

results of the previous two examples rather than calculate the reactances again.
Solution for (a)

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At 60.0 Hz, the values of the reactances were found in Example 6.10 to be
Entering these and the given

X L = 1.13 and in Example 6.11 to be X C = 531 .

40.0 for resistance into Z = R 2 + (X L X C) 2 yields


Z =

(6.67)

R 2 + (X L X C) 2

= (40.0 ) 2 + (1.13 531 ) 2


= 531 at 60.0 Hz.
Similarly, at 10.0 kHz,

X L = 188 and X C = 3.18 , so that


(6.68)

Z = (40.0 ) 2 + (188 3.18 ) 2


= 190 at 10.0 kHz.
Discussion for (a)

In both cases, the result is nearly the same as the largest value, and the impedance is definitely not the sum of the individual values. It is clear
that X L dominates at high frequency and X C dominates at low frequency.
Solution for (b)
The current

I rms =

I rms can be found using the AC version of Ohms law in Equation I rms = V rms / Z :

V rms
= 120 V = 0.226 A at 60.0 Hz
Z
531

Finally, at 10.0 kHz, we find

I rms =

V rms
= 120 V = 0.633 A at 10.0 kHz
Z
190

Discussion for (a)


The current at 60.0 Hz is the same (to three digits) as found for the capacitor alone in Example 6.11. The capacitor dominates at low frequency.
The current at 10.0 kHz is only slightly different from that found for the inductor alone in Example 6.10. The inductor dominates at high
frequency.

Resonance in RLC Series AC Circuits


How does an RLC circuit behave as a function of the frequency of the driving voltage source? Combining Ohms law,
expression for impedance

Z from Z = R 2 + (X L X C) 2 gives
I rms =

The reactances vary with frequency, with

V rms

R + (X L X C)

f 0 , the reactances will be equal and cancel, giving Z = R this is a minimum value for impedance,

I rms results. We can get an expression for f 0 by taking


X L = X C.

Substituting the definitions of

1 .
2f 0 C

(6.71)

f 0 yields
f0 =

where

(6.70)

X L and X C ,
2f 0 L =

Solving this expression for

(6.69)

X L large at high frequencies and X C large at low frequencies, as we have seen in three previous

examples. At some intermediate frequency


and a maximum value for

I rms = V rms / Z , and the

1 ,
2 LC

(6.72)

f 0 is the resonant frequency of an RLC series circuit. This is also the natural frequency at which the circuit would oscillate if not driven by

the voltage source. At

f 0 , the effects of the inductor and capacitor cancel, so that Z = R , and I rms is a maximum.

Resonance in AC circuits is analogous to mechanical resonance, where resonance is defined to be a forced oscillationin this case, forced by the
voltage sourceat the natural frequency of the system. The receiver in a radio is an RLC circuit that oscillates best at its f 0 . A variable capacitor is
often used to adjust
resonant peak in

f 0 to receive a desired frequency and to reject others. Figure 6.50 is a graph of current as a function of frequency, illustrating a

I rms at f 0 . The two curves are for two different circuits, which differ only in the amount of resistance in them. The peak is lower

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and broader for the higher-resistance circuit. Thus the higher-resistance circuit does not resonate as strongly and would not be as selective in a radio
receiver, for example.

Figure 6.50 A graph of current versus frequency for two RLC series circuits differing only in the amount of resistance. Both have a resonance at
resistance is lower and broader. The driving AC voltage source has a fixed amplitude

V0 .

f 0 , but that for the higher

Example 6.13 Calculating Resonant Frequency and Current


For the same RLC series circuit having a
Calculate

40.0 resistor, a 3.00 mH inductor, and a 5.00 F capacitor: (a) Find the resonant frequency. (b)

I rms at resonance if V rms is 120 V.

Strategy
The resonant frequency is found by using the expression in

1 . The current at that frequency is the same as if the resistor alone


2 LC

f0 =

were in the circuit.


Solution for (a)
Entering the given values for

L and C into the expression given for f 0 in f 0 =


f0 =
=

1
2 LC

1
yields
2 LC
(6.73)

2 (3.0010

1
= 1.30 kHz.
H)(5.0010 6 F)

Discussion for (a)


We see that the resonant frequency is between 60.0 Hz and 10.0 kHz, the two frequencies chosen in earlier examples. This was to be expected,
since the capacitor dominated at the low frequency and the inductor dominated at the high frequency. Their effects are the same at this
intermediate frequency.
Solution for (b)
The current is given by Ohms law. At resonance, the two reactances are equal and cancel, so that the impedance equals the resistance alone.
Thus,

I rms =

V rms
= 120 V = 3.00 A.
Z
40.0

(6.74)

Discussion for (b)


At resonance, the current is greater than at the higher and lower frequencies considered for the same circuit in the preceding example.

Power in RLC Series AC Circuits


If current varies with frequency in an RLC circuit, then the power delivered to it also varies with frequency. But the average power is not simply
current times voltage, as it is in purely resistive circuits. As was seen in Figure 6.49, voltage and current are out of phase in an RLC circuit. There is
a phase angle between the source voltage V and the current I , which can be found from

cos = R .
Z
For example, at the resonant frequency or in a purely resistive circuit

(6.75)

Z = R , so that cos = 1 . This implies that = 0 and that voltage and

current are in phase, as expected for resistors. At other frequencies, average power is less than at resonance. This is both because voltage and
current are out of phase and because I rms is lower. The fact that source voltage and current are out of phase affects the power delivered to the
circuit. It can be shown that the average power is

P ave = I rmsV rms cos ,

(6.76)

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cos is called the power factor, which can range from 0 to 1. Power factors near 1 are desirable when designing an efficient motor, for
example. At the resonant frequency, cos = 1 .
Thus

Example 6.14 Calculating the Power Factor and Power


For the same RLC series circuit having a

40.0 resistor, a 3.00 mH inductor, a 5.00 F capacitor, and a voltage source with a V rms of 120

V: (a) Calculate the power factor and phase angle for

f = 60.0Hz . (b) What is the average power at 50.0 Hz? (c) Find the average power at

the circuits resonant frequency.


Strategy and Solution for (a)
The power factor at 60.0 Hz is found from

We know

cos = R .
Z

(6.77)

cos = 40.0 = 0.0753 at 60.0 Hz.


531

(6.78)

Z= 531 from Example 6.12, so that

This small value indicates the voltage and current are significantly out of phase. In fact, the phase angle is

= cos 1 0.0753 = 85.7 at 60.0 Hz.

(6.79)

Discussion for (a)

90 , consistent with the fact that the capacitor dominates the circuit at this low frequency (a pure RC circuit has its
90 out of phase).

The phase angle is close to


voltage and current

Strategy and Solution for (b)


The average power at 60.0 Hz is

P ave = I rmsV rms cos .

(6.80)

I rms was found to be 0.226 A in Example 6.12. Entering the known values gives
P ave = (0.226 A)(120 V)(0.0753) = 2.04 W at 60.0 Hz.

(6.81)

Strategy and Solution for (c)


At the resonant frequency, we know

cos = 1 , and I rms was found to be 6.00 A in Example 6.13. Thus,

P ave = (3.00 A)(120 V)(1) = 360 W at resonance (1.30 kHz)


Discussion
Both the current and the power factor are greater at resonance, producing significantly greater power than at higher and lower frequencies.

Power delivered to an RLC series AC circuit is dissipated by the resistance alone. The inductor and capacitor have energy input and output but do
not dissipate it out of the circuit. Rather they transfer energy back and forth to one another, with the resistor dissipating exactly what the voltage
source puts into the circuit. This assumes no significant electromagnetic radiation from the inductor and capacitor, such as radio waves. Such
radiation can happen and may even be desired, as we will see in the next chapter on electromagnetic radiation, but it can also be suppressed as is
the case in this chapter. The circuit is analogous to the wheel of a car driven over a corrugated road as shown in Figure 6.51. The regularly spaced
bumps in the road are analogous to the voltage source, driving the wheel up and down. The shock absorber is analogous to the resistance damping
and limiting the amplitude of the oscillation. Energy within the system goes back and forth between kinetic (analogous to maximum current, and
energy stored in an inductor) and potential energy stored in the car spring (analogous to no current, and energy stored in the electric field of a
capacitor). The amplitude of the wheels motion is a maximum if the bumps in the road are hit at the resonant frequency.

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Figure 6.51 The forced but damped motion of the wheel on the car spring is analogous to an RLC series AC circuit. The shock absorber damps the motion and dissipates
energy, analogous to the resistance in an RLC circuit. The mass and spring determine the resonant frequency.

A pure LC circuit with negligible resistance oscillates at

f 0 , the same resonant frequency as an RLC circuit. It can serve as a frequency standard or

clock circuitfor example, in a digital wristwatch. With a very small resistance, only a very small energy input is necessary to maintain the
oscillations. The circuit is analogous to a car with no shock absorbers. Once it starts oscillating, it continues at its natural frequency for some time.
Figure 6.52 shows the analogy between an LC circuit and a mass on a spring.

Figure 6.52 An LC circuit is analogous to a mass oscillating on a spring with no friction and no driving force. Energy moves back and forth between the inductor and capacitor,
just as it moves from kinetic to potential in the mass-spring system.

PhET Explorations: Circuit Construction Kit (AC+DC), Virtual Lab


Build circuits with capacitors, inductors, resistors and AC or DC voltage sources, and inspect them using lab instruments such as voltmeters and
ammeters.

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Figure 6.53 Circuit Construction Kit (AC+DC), Virtual Lab (http://cnx.org/content/m42431/1.4/circuit-construction-kit-ac-virtual-lab_en.jar)

Glossary
back emf: the emf generated by a running motor, because it consists of a coil turning in a magnetic field; it opposes the voltage powering the
motor
capacitive reactance:

the opposition of a capacitor to a change in current; calculated by

characteristic time constant:

denoted by

resistance

XC =

1
2 fC

, of a particular series RL circuit is calculated by = L , where L is the inductance and R is the


R

eddy current: a current loop in a conductor caused by motional emf


electric generator: a device for converting mechanical work into electric energy; it induces an emf by rotating a coil in a magnetic field
electromagnetic induction: the process of inducing an emf (voltage) with a change in magnetic flux

emf = NAB sin t , where A is the area of an N -turn coil rotated at a constant angular velocity in a
B , over a period of time t

emf induced in a generator coil:


uniform magnetic field

energy stored in an inductor:

Faradays law of induction:

henry: the unit of inductance;

self-explanatory; calculated by

E ind = 1 LI 2
2

the means of calculating the emf in a coil due to changing magnetic flux, given by

emf = N
t

1H=1 s

impedance: the AC analogue to resistance in a DC circuit; it is the combined effect of resistance, inductive reactance, and capacitive reactance in
the form Z = R 2 + (X L X C) 2
inductance: a property of a device describing how efficient it is at inducing emf in another device
induction: (magnetic induction) the creation of emfs and hence currents by magnetic fields
inductive reactance: the opposition of an inductor to a change in current; calculated by

X L = 2 fL

inductor: a device that exhibits significant self-inductance


Lenzs law: the minus sign in Faradays law, signifying that the emf induced in a coil opposes the change in magnetic flux
magnetic damping: the drag produced by eddy currents
magnetic flux: the amount of magnetic field going through a particular area, calculated with
strength over an area

A at an angle with the perpendicular to the area

= BA cos where B is the magnetic field

mutual inductance: how effective a pair of devices are at inducing emfs in each other
peak emf:

emf 0 = NAB

phase angle: denoted by

, the amount by which the voltage and current are out of phase with each other in a circuit

power factor: the amount by which the power delivered in the circuit is less than the theoretical maximum of the circuit due to voltage and current
being out of phase; calculated by cos
resonant frequency: the frequency at which the impedance in a circuit is at a minimum, and also the frequency at which the circuit would oscillate
if not driven by a voltage source; calculated by

f0 =

1
2 LC

self-inductance: how effective a device is at inducing emf in itself


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shock hazard: the term for electrical hazards due to current passing through a human
step-down transformer: a transformer that decreases voltage
step-up transformer: a transformer that increases voltage
thermal hazard: the term for electrical hazards due to overheating
three-wire system: the wiring system used at present for safety reasons, with live, neutral, and ground wires
transformer equation: the equation showing that the ratio of the secondary to primary voltages in a transformer equals the ratio of the number of
loops in their coils;

Vs Ns
=
Vp Np

transformer: a device that transforms voltages from one value to another using induction

Section Summary
6.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
The crucial quantity in induction is magnetic flux
an angle

with the perpendicular to the area.

, defined to be = BA cos , where B is the magnetic field strength over an area A at

are T m 2 .
Any change in magnetic flux induces an emfthe process is defined to be electromagnetic induction.
Units of magnetic flux

6.2 Faradays Law of Induction: Lenzs Law


Faradays law of induction states that the emfinduced by a change in magnetic flux is

when flux changes by

in a time t .
N is its number of turns.

emf = N
t

If emf is induced in a coil,

The minus sign means that the emf creates a current


as Lenzs law.

6.3 Motional Emf

I and magnetic field B that oppose the change in flux this opposition is known

B is called a motional emf and is given by


emf = Bv
(B, , and v perpendicular),

An emf induced by motion relative to a magnetic field


where

is the length of the object moving at speed v relative to the field.

6.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping


Current loops induced in moving conductors are called eddy currents.
They can create significant drag, called magnetic damping.

6.5 Electric Generators


An electric generator rotates a coil in a magnetic field, inducing an emfgiven as a function of time by

emf = NAB sin t,


A is the area of an N -turn coil rotated at a constant angular velocity in a uniform magnetic field B .
The peak emf emf 0 of a generator is
where

emf 0 = NAB.

6.6 Back Emf


Any rotating coil will have an induced emfin motors, this is called back emf, since it opposes the emf input to the motor.

6.7 Transformers
Transformers use induction to transform voltages from one value to another.
For a transformer, the voltages across the primary and secondary coils are related by

Vs Ns
=
,
Vp Np

where

V p and V s are the voltages across primary and secondary coils having N p and N s turns.

The currents

I p and I s in the primary and secondary coils are related by

Is Np
=
.
Ip Ns

A step-up transformer increases voltage and decreases current, whereas a step-down transformer decreases voltage and increases current.

6.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices


Electrical safety systems and devices are employed to prevent thermal and shock hazards.

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Circuit breakers and fuses interrupt excessive currents to prevent thermal hazards.
The three-wire system guards against thermal and shock hazards, utilizing live/hot, neutral, and earth/ground wires, and grounding the neutral
wire and case of the appliance.
A ground fault interrupter (GFI) prevents shock by detecting the loss of current to unintentional paths.
An isolation transformer insulates the device being powered from the original source, also to prevent shock.
Many of these devices use induction to perform their basic function.

6.9 Inductance
Inductance is the property of a device that tells how effectively it induces an emf in another device.
Mutual inductance is the effect of two devices in inducing emfs in each other.
A change in current I 1 / t in one induces an emf emf 2 in the second:

emf 2 = M
where

I 1
,
t

M is defined to be the mutual inductance between the two devices, and the minus sign is due to Lenzs law.
I 2 / t through the second device induces an emf emf 1 in the first:

Symmetrically, a change in current

emf 1 = M

I 2
,
t

where M is the same mutual inductance as in the reverse process.


Current changes in a device induce an emf in the device itself.
Self-inductance is the effect of the device inducing emf in itself.
The device is called an inductor, and the emf induced in it by a change in current through it is

emf = L I ,
t

where L is the self-inductance of the inductor, and I / t is the rate of change of current through it. The minus sign indicates that emf
opposes the change in current, as required by Lenzs law.
The unit of self- and mutual inductance is the henry (H), where 1 H = 1 s .
The self-inductance

L of an inductor is proportional to how much flux changes with current. For an N -turn inductor,
L = N .
I

The self-inductance of a solenoid is

L=
where

0 N 2 A
(solenoid),

N is its number of turns in the solenoid, A is its cross-sectional area, is its length, and 0 = 410 7 T m/A is the

permeability of free space.


The energy stored in an inductor

E ind is

E ind = 1 LI 2.
2

6.10 RL Circuits
When a series connection of a resistor and an inductoran RL circuitis connected to a voltage source, the time variation of the current is
I = I 0(1 e t / ) (turning on).
where

I 0 = V / R is the final current.

is = L , where L is the inductance and R is the resistance.


R
In the first time constant , the current rises from zero to 0.632I 0 , and 0.632 of the remainder in every subsequent time interval .
The characteristic time constant

When the inductor is shorted through a resistor, current decreases as


I = I 0e t /
Here

(turning off).

I 0 is the initial current.

Current falls to

0.368I 0 in the first time interval , and 0.368 of the remainder toward zero in each subsequent time .

6.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive


For inductors in AC circuits, we find that when a sinusoidal voltage is applied to an inductor, the voltage leads the current by one-fourth of a
cycle, or by a 90 phase angle.
The opposition of an inductor to a change in current is expressed as a type of AC resistance.
Ohms law for an inductor is

where

V is the rms voltage across the inductor.

X L is defined to be the inductive reactance, given by

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X L = 2 fL,

f the frequency of the AC voltage source in hertz.


Inductive reactance X L has units of ohms and is greatest at high frequencies.
with

For capacitors, we find that when a sinusoidal voltage is applied to a capacitor, the voltage follows the current by one-fourth of a cycle, or by a
90 phase angle.
Since a capacitor can stop current when fully charged, it limits current and offers another form of AC resistance; Ohms law for a capacitor is

I= V ,
XC

V is the rms voltage across the capacitor.


X C is defined to be the capacitive reactance, given by

where

XC =

X C has units of ohms and is greatest at low frequencies.

6.12 RLC Series AC Circuits


The AC analogy to resistance is impedance
law:

Z , the combined effect of resistors, inductors, and capacitors, defined by the AC version of Ohms
I0 =

where

V0
V
or I rms = rms ,
Z
Z

I 0 is the peak current and V 0 is the peak source voltage.

Impedance has units of ohms and is given by


The resonant frequency

Z = R 2 + (X L X C) 2 .

f 0 , at which X L = X C , is

f0 =
In an AC circuit, there is a phase angle

1 .
2 fC

1 .
2 LC

between source voltage V and the current I , which can be found from
cos = R ,
Z

= 0 for a purely resistive circuit or an RLC circuit at resonance.

The average power delivered to an RLC circuit is affected by the phase angle and is given by

P ave = I rmsV rms cos ,

cos is called the power factor, which ranges from 0 to 1.


Conceptual Questions
6.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux

1. How do the multiple-loop coils and iron ring in the version of Faradays apparatus shown in Figure 6.3 enhance the observation of induced emf?
2. When a magnet is thrust into a coil as in Figure 6.4(a), what is the direction of the force exerted by the coil on the magnet? Draw a diagram
showing the direction of the current induced in the coil and the magnetic field it produces, to justify your response. How does the magnitude of the
force depend on the resistance of the galvanometer?
3. Explain how magnetic flux can be zero when the magnetic field is not zero.
4. Is an emf induced in the coil in Figure 6.54 when it is stretched? If so, state why and give the direction of the induced current.

Figure 6.54 A circular coil of wire is stretched in a magnetic field.

6.2 Faradays Law of Induction: Lenzs Law


5. A person who works with large magnets sometimes places her head inside a strong field. She reports feeling dizzy as she quickly turns her head.
How might this be associated with induction?
6. A particle accelerator sends high-velocity charged particles down an evacuated pipe. Explain how a coil of wire wrapped around the pipe could
detect the passage of individual particles. Sketch a graph of the voltage output of the coil as a single particle passes through it.

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6.3 Motional Emf


7. Why must part of the circuit be moving relative to other parts, to have usable motional emf? Consider, for example, that the rails in Figure 6.11 are
stationary relative to the magnetic field, while the rod moves.
8. A powerful induction cannon can be made by placing a metal cylinder inside a solenoid coil. The cylinder is forcefully expelled when solenoid
current is turned on rapidly. Use Faradays and Lenzs laws to explain how this works. Why might the cylinder get live/hot when the cannon is fired?
9. An induction stove heats a pot with a coil carrying an alternating current located beneath the pot (and without a hot surface). Can the stove surface
be a conductor? Why wont a coil carrying a direct current work?
10. Explain how you could thaw out a frozen water pipe by wrapping a coil carrying an alternating current around it. Does it matter whether or not the
pipe is a conductor? Explain.

6.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping


11. Explain why magnetic damping might not be effective on an object made of several thin conducting layers separated by insulation.
12. Explain how electromagnetic induction can be used to detect metals? This technique is particularly important in detecting buried landmines for
disposal, geophysical prospecting and at airports.

6.5 Electric Generators


13. Using RHR-1, show that the emfs in the sides of the generator loop in Figure 6.23 are in the same sense and thus add.
14. The source of a generators electrical energy output is the work done to turn its coils. How is the work needed to turn the generator related to
Lenzs law?

6.6 Back Emf


15. Suppose you find that the belt drive connecting a powerful motor to an air conditioning unit is broken and the motor is running freely. Should you
be worried that the motor is consuming a great deal of energy for no useful purpose? Explain why or why not.

6.7 Transformers
16. Explain what causes physical vibrations in transformers at twice the frequency of the AC power involved.

6.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices


17. Does plastic insulation on live/hot wires prevent shock hazards, thermal hazards, or both?
18. Why are ordinary circuit breakers and fuses ineffective in preventing shocks?
19. A GFI may trip just because the live/hot and neutral wires connected to it are significantly different in length. Explain why.

6.9 Inductance
20. How would you place two identical flat coils in contact so that they had the greatest mutual inductance? The least?
21. How would you shape a given length of wire to give it the greatest self-inductance? The least?
22. Verify, as was concluded without proof in Example 6.7, that units of

T m2 / A = s = H .

6.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive


23. Presbycusis is a hearing loss due to age that progressively affects higher frequencies. A hearing aid amplifier is designed to amplify all
frequencies equally. To adjust its output for presbycusis, would you put a capacitor in series or parallel with the hearing aids speaker? Explain.
24. Would you use a large inductance or a large capacitance in series with a system to filter out low frequencies, such as the 100 Hz hum in a sound
system? Explain.
25. High-frequency noise in AC power can damage computers. Does the plug-in unit designed to prevent this damage use a large inductance or a
large capacitance (in series with the computer) to filter out such high frequencies? Explain.
26. Does inductance depend on current, frequency, or both? What about inductive reactance?
27. Explain why the capacitor in Figure 6.55(a) acts as a low-frequency filter between the two circuits, whereas that in Figure 6.55(b) acts as a highfrequency filter.

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Figure 6.55 Capacitors and inductors. Capacitor with high frequency and low frequency.

28. If the capacitors in Figure 6.55 are replaced by inductors, which acts as a low-frequency filter and which as a high-frequency filter?

6.12 RLC Series AC Circuits


29. Does the resonant frequency of an AC circuit depend on the peak voltage of the AC source? Explain why or why not.
30. Suppose you have a motor with a power factor significantly less than 1. Explain why it would be better to improve the power factor as a method of
improving the motors output, rather than to increase the voltage input.

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Problems & Exercises


6.1 Induced Emf and Magnetic Flux
1. What is the value of the magnetic flux at coil 2 in Figure 6.56 due to
coil 1?

8. Suppose a 50-turn coil lies in the plane of the page in a uniform


magnetic field that is directed into the page. The coil originally has an
area of 0.250 m 2 . It is stretched to have no area in 0.100 s. What is the
direction and magnitude of the induced emf if the uniform magnetic field
has a strength of 1.50 T?
9. (a) An MRI technician moves his hand from a region of very low
magnetic field strength into an MRI scanners 2.00 T field with his fingers
pointing in the direction of the field. Find the average emf induced in his
wedding ring, given its diameter is 2.20 cm and assuming it takes 0.250 s
to move it into the field. (b) Discuss whether this current would
significantly change the temperature of the ring.
10. Integrated Concepts

Figure 6.56 (a) The planes of the two coils are perpendicular. (b) The wire is
perpendicular to the plane of the coil.

2. What is the value of the magnetic flux through the coil in Figure
6.56(b) due to the wire?

6.2 Faradays Law of Induction: Lenzs Law


3. Referring to Figure 6.57(a), what is the direction of the current induced
in coil 2: (a) If the current in coil 1 increases? (b) If the current in coil 1
decreases? (c) If the current in coil 1 is constant? Explicitly show how
you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving Strategy for Lenz's Law.

Referring to the situation in the previous problem: (a) What current is


induced in the ring if its resistance is 0.0100 ? (b) What average
power is dissipated? (c) What magnetic field is induced at the center of
the ring? (d) What is the direction of the induced magnetic field relative to
the MRIs field?
11. An emf is induced by rotating a 1000-turn, 20.0 cm diameter coil in
5
the Earths 5.0010
T magnetic field. What average emf is induced,
given the plane of the coil is originally perpendicular to the Earths field
and is rotated to be parallel to the field in 10.0 ms?
12. A 0.250 m radius, 500-turn coil is rotated one-fourth of a revolution in
4.17 ms, originally having its plane perpendicular to a uniform magnetic
field. (This is 60 rev/s.) Find the magnetic field strength needed to induce
an average emf of 10,000 V.
13. Integrated Concepts
Approximately how does the emf induced in the loop in Figure 6.57(b)
depend on the distance of the center of the loop from the wire?
14. Integrated Concepts

Figure 6.57 (a) The coils lie in the same plane. (b) The wire is in the plane of the coil

4. Referring to Figure 6.57(b), what is the direction of the current induced


in the coil: (a) If the current in the wire increases? (b) If the current in the
wire decreases? (c) If the current in the wire suddenly changes direction?
Explicitly show how you follow the steps in the Problem-Solving
Strategy for Lenzs Law.
5. Referring to Figure 6.58, what are the directions of the currents in coils
1, 2, and 3 (assume that the coils are lying in the plane of the circuit): (a)
When the switch is first closed? (b) When the switch has been closed for
a long time? (c) Just after the switch is opened?

(a) A lightning bolt produces a rapidly varying magnetic field. If the bolt
strikes the earth vertically and acts like a current in a long straight wire, it
will induce a voltage in a loop aligned like that in Figure 6.57(b). What
voltage is induced in a 1.00 m diameter loop 50.0 m from a
2.0010 6 A lightning strike, if the current falls to zero in 25.0 s ? (b)
Discuss circumstances under which such a voltage would produce
noticeable consequences.

6.3 Motional Emf


15. Use Faradays law, Lenzs law, and RHR-1 to show that the magnetic
force on the current in the moving rod in Figure 6.11 is in the opposite
direction of its velocity.
16. If a current flows in the Satellite Tether shown in Figure 6.12, use
Faradays law, Lenzs law, and RHR-1 to show that there is a magnetic
force on the tether in the direction opposite to its velocity.
17. (a) A jet airplane with a 75.0 m wingspan is flying at 280 m/s. What
emf is induced between wing tips if the vertical component of the Earths
5
field is 3.0010
T ? (b) Is an emf of this magnitude likely to have any
consequences? Explain.
18. (a) A nonferrous screwdriver is being used in a 2.00 T magnetic field.
What maximum emf can be induced along its 12.0 cm length when it
moves at 6.00 m/s? (b) Is it likely that this emf will have any
consequences or even be noticed?
19. At what speed must the sliding rod in Figure 6.11 move to produce
an emf of 1.00 V in a 1.50 T field, given the rods length is 30.0 cm?
20. The 12.0 cm long rod in Figure 6.11 moves at 4.00 m/s. What is the
strength of the magnetic field if a 95.0 V emf is induced?

B , , and v are not mutually perpendicular,


emf = Bvsin . If v is perpendicular to B ,
then is the angle between and B . If is perpendicular to B ,
then is the angle between v and B .

Figure 6.58

21. Prove that when

6. Repeat the previous problem with the battery reversed.

motional emf is given by

7. Verify that the units of


1 T m2 / s = 1 V .

/ t are volts. That is, show that

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22. In the August 1992 space shuttle flight, only 250 m of the conducting
tether considered in Example 6.2 could be let out. A 40.0 V motional emf
5
was generated in the Earths 5.0010
T field, while moving at
3
7.8010 m/s . What was the angle between the shuttles velocity and
the Earths field, assuming the conductor was perpendicular to the field?
23. Integrated Concepts
Derive an expression for the current in a system like that in Figure 6.11,
under the following conditions. The resistance between the rails is R ,
the rails and the moving rod are identical in cross section A and have
the same resistivity . The distance between the rails is l, and the rod

This problem refers to the bicycle generator considered in the previous


problem. It is driven by a 1.60 cm diameter wheel that rolls on the outside
rim of the bicycle tire. (a) What is the velocity of the bicycle if the
generators angular velocity is 1875 rad/s? (b) What is the maximum emf
of the generator when the bicycle moves at 10.0 m/s, noting that it was
18.0 V under the original conditions? (c) If the sophisticated generator
can vary its own magnetic field, what field strength will it need at 5.00 m/s
to produce a 9.00 V maximum emf?
34. (a) A car generator turns at 400 rpm when the engine is idling. Its
300-turn, 5.00 by 8.00 cm rectangular coil rotates in an adjustable
magnetic field so that it can produce sufficient voltage even at low rpms.
What is the field strength needed to produce a 24.0 V peak emf? (b)
Discuss how this required field strength compares to those available in
permanent and electromagnets.

v perpendicular to the uniform field B . At time


R.
35. Show that if a coil rotates at an angular velocity , the period of its
24. Integrated Concepts
AC output is 2/ .
moves at constant speed

zero, the moving rod is next to the resistance

The Tethered Satellite in Figure 6.12 has a mass of 525 kg and is at the
end of a 20.0 km long, 2.50 mm diameter cable with the tensile strength
of steel. (a) How much does the cable stretch if a 100 N force is exerted
to pull the satellite in? (Assume the satellite and shuttle are at the same
altitude above the Earth.) (b) What is the effective force constant of the
cable? (c) How much energy is stored in it when stretched by the 100 N
force?
25. Integrated Concepts
The Tethered Satellite discussed in this module is producing 5.00 kV, and
a current of 10.0 A flows. (a) What magnetic drag force does this produce
if the system is moving at 7.80 km/s? (b) How much kinetic energy is
removed from the system in 1.00 h, neglecting any change in altitude or
velocity during that time? (c) What is the change in velocity if the mass of
the system is 100,000 kg? (d) Discuss the long term consequences (say,
a week-long mission) on the space shuttles orbit, noting what effect a
decrease in velocity has and assessing the magnitude of the effect.

6.4 Eddy Currents and Magnetic Damping


26. Make a drawing similar to Figure 6.14, but with the pendulum moving
in the opposite direction. Then use Faradays law, Lenzs law, and RHR-1
to show that magnetic force opposes motion.
27.

36. A 75-turn, 10.0 cm diameter coil rotates at an angular velocity of 8.00


rad/s in a 1.25 T field, starting with the plane of the coil parallel to the
field. (a) What is the peak emf? (b) At what time is the peak emf first
reached? (c) At what time is the emf first at its most negative? (d) What is
the period of the AC voltage output?
37. (a) If the emf of a coil rotating in a magnetic field is zero at

t = 0,

and increases to its first peak at t = 0.100 ms , what is the angular


velocity of the coil? (b) At what time will its next maximum occur? (c)
What is the period of the output? (d) When is the output first one-fourth of
its maximum? (e) When is it next one-fourth of its maximum?
38. Unreasonable Results
A 500-turn coil with a 0.250 m 2 area is spun in the Earths
5.0010 5 T field, producing a 12.0 kV maximum emf. (a) At what
angular velocity must the coil be spun? (b) What is unreasonable about
this result? (c) Which assumption or premise is responsible?

6.6 Back Emf


39. Suppose a motor connected to a 120 V source draws 10.0 A when it
first starts. (a) What is its resistance? (b) What current does it draw at its
normal operating speed when it develops a 100 V back emf?
40. A motor operating on 240 V electricity has a 180 V back emf at
operating speed and draws a 12.0 A current. (a) What is its resistance?
(b) What current does it draw when it is first started?

Figure 6.59 A coil is moved into and out of a region of uniform magnetic field. A coil

41. What is the back emf of a 120 V motor that draws 8.00 A at its normal
speed and 20.0 A when first starting?

is moved through a magnetic field as shown in Figure 6.59. The field is


uniform inside the rectangle and zero outside. What is the direction of the
induced current and what is the direction of the magnetic force on the coil
at each position shown?

42. The motor in a toy car operates on 6.00 V, developing a 4.50 V back
emf at normal speed. If it draws 3.00 A at normal speed, what current
does it draw when starting?

6.5 Electric Generators

The motor in a toy car is powered by four batteries in series, which


produce a total emf of 6.00 V. The motor draws 3.00 A and develops a
4.50 V back emf at normal speed. Each battery has a 0.100 internal
resistance. What is the resistance of the motor?

28. Calculate the peak voltage of a generator that rotates its 200-turn,
0.100 m diameter coil at 3600 rpm in a 0.800 T field.
29. At what angular velocity in rpm will the peak voltage of a generator be
480 V, if its 500-turn, 8.00 cm diameter coil rotates in a 0.250 T field?
30. What is the peak emf generated by rotating a 1000-turn, 20.0 cm
5
diameter coil in the Earths 5.0010
T magnetic field, given the
plane of the coil is originally perpendicular to the Earths field and is
rotated to be parallel to the field in 10.0 ms?
31. What is the peak emf generated by a 0.250 m radius, 500-turn coil is
rotated one-fourth of a revolution in 4.17 ms, originally having its plane
perpendicular to a uniform magnetic field. (This is 60 rev/s.)
32. (a) A bicycle generator rotates at 1875 rad/s, producing an 18.0 V
peak emf. It has a 1.00 by 3.00 cm rectangular coil in a 0.640 T field.
How many turns are in the coil? (b) Is this number of turns of wire
practical for a 1.00 by 3.00 cm coil?
33. Integrated Concepts

43. Integrated Concepts

6.7 Transformers
44. A plug-in transformer, like that in Figure 6.29, supplies 9.00 V to a
video game system. (a) How many turns are in its secondary coil, if its
input voltage is 120 V and the primary coil has 400 turns? (b) What is its
input current when its output is 1.30 A?
45. An American traveler in New Zealand carries a transformer to convert
New Zealands standard 240 V to 120 V so that she can use some small
appliances on her trip. (a) What is the ratio of turns in the primary and
secondary coils of her transformer? (b) What is the ratio of input to output
current? (c) How could a New Zealander traveling in the United States
use this same transformer to power her 240 V appliances from 120 V?
46. A cassette recorder uses a plug-in transformer to convert 120 V to
12.0 V, with a maximum current output of 200 mA. (a) What is the current

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input? (b) What is the power input? (c) Is this amount of power
reasonable for a small appliance?
47. (a) What is the voltage output of a transformer used for rechargeable
flashlight batteries, if its primary has 500 turns, its secondary 4 turns, and
the input voltage is 120 V? (b) What input current is required to produce a
4.00 A output? (c) What is the power input?
48. (a) The plug-in transformer for a laptop computer puts out 7.50 V and
can supply a maximum current of 2.00 A. What is the maximum input
current if the input voltage is 240 V? Assume 100% efficiency. (b) If the
actual efficiency is less than 100%, would the input current need to be
greater or smaller? Explain.
49. A multipurpose transformer has a secondary coil with several points
at which a voltage can be extracted, giving outputs of 5.60, 12.0, and 480
V. (a) The input voltage is 240 V to a primary coil of 280 turns. What are
the numbers of turns in the parts of the secondary used to produce the
output voltages? (b) If the maximum input current is 5.00 A, what are the
maximum output currents (each used alone)?
50. A large power plant generates electricity at 12.0 kV. Its old
transformer once converted the voltage to 335 kV. The secondary of this
transformer is being replaced so that its output can be 750 kV for more
efficient cross-country transmission on upgraded transmission lines. (a)
What is the ratio of turns in the new secondary compared with the old
secondary? (b) What is the ratio of new current output to old output (at
335 kV) for the same power? (c) If the upgraded transmission lines have
the same resistance, what is the ratio of new line power loss to old?
51. If the power output in the previous problem is 1000 MW and line
resistance is 2.00 , what were the old and new line losses?
52. Unreasonable Results

Figure 6.60 A person can be shocked even when the case of an appliance is
grounded. The large short circuit current produces a voltage on the case of the
appliance, since the resistance of the earth/ground wire is not zero.

6.9 Inductance
55. Two coils are placed close together in a physics lab to demonstrate
Faradays law of induction. A current of 5.00 A in one is switched off in
1.00 ms, inducing a 9.00 V emf in the other. What is their mutual
inductance?

The 335 kV AC electricity from a power transmission line is fed into the
primary coil of a transformer. The ratio of the number of turns in the
secondary to the number in the primary is N s / N p = 1000 . (a) What

56. If two coils placed next to one another have a mutual inductance of
5.00 mH, what voltage is induced in one when the 2.00 A current in the
other is switched off in 30.0 ms?

voltage is induced in the secondary? (b) What is unreasonable about this


result? (c) Which assumption or premise is responsible?

57. The 4.00 A current through a 7.50 mH inductor is switched off in 8.33
ms. What is the emf induced opposing this?

53. Construct Your Own Problem

58. A device is turned on and 3.00 A flows through it 0.100 ms later.


What is the self-inductance of the device if an induced 150 V emf
opposes this?

Consider a double transformer to be used to create very large voltages.


The device consists of two stages. The first is a transformer that
produces a much larger output voltage than its input. The output of the
first transformer is used as input to a second transformer that further
increases the voltage. Construct a problem in which you calculate the
output voltage of the final stage based on the input voltage of the first
stage and the number of turns or loops in both parts of both transformers
(four coils in all). Also calculate the maximum output current of the final
stage based on the input current. Discuss the possibility of power losses
in the devices and the effect on the output current and power.

6.8 Electrical Safety: Systems and Devices


54. Integrated Concepts
A short circuit to the grounded metal case of an appliance occurs as
shown in Figure 6.60. The person touching the case is wet and only has
a 3.00 k resistance to earth/ground. (a) What is the voltage on the
case if 5.00 mA flows through the person? (b) What is the current in the
short circuit if the resistance of the earth/ground wire is 0.200 ? (c)
Will this trigger the 20.0 A circuit breaker supplying the appliance?

59. Starting with


are

emf 2 = M

(V s)/A = s .

I 1
, show that the units of inductance
t

60. Camera flashes charge a capacitor to high voltage by switching the


current through an inductor on and off rapidly. In what time must the
0.100 A current through a 2.00 mH inductor be switched on or off to
induce a 500 V emf?
61. A large research solenoid has a self-inductance of 25.0 H. (a) What
induced emf opposes shutting it off when 100 A of current through it is
switched off in 80.0 ms? (b) How much energy is stored in the inductor at
full current? (c) At what rate in watts must energy be dissipated to switch
the current off in 80.0 ms? (d) In view of the answer to the last part, is it
surprising that shutting it down this quickly is difficult?
62. (a) Calculate the self-inductance of a 50.0 cm long, 10.0 cm diameter
solenoid having 1000 loops. (b) How much energy is stored in this
inductor when 20.0 A of current flows through it? (c) How fast can it be
turned off if the induced emf cannot exceed 3.00 V?
63. A precision laboratory resistor is made of a coil of wire 1.50 cm in
diameter and 4.00 cm long, and it has 500 turns. (a) What is its selfinductance? (b) What average emf is induced if the 12.0 A current
through it is turned on in 5.00 ms (one-fourth of a cycle for 50 Hz AC)?
(c) What is its inductance if it is shortened to half its length and counterwound (two layers of 250 turns in opposite directions)?
64. The heating coils in a hair dryer are 0.800 cm in diameter, have a
combined length of 1.00 m, and a total of 400 turns. (a) What is their total
self-inductance assuming they act like a single solenoid? (b) How much
energy is stored in them when 6.00 A flows? (c) What average emf
opposes shutting them off if this is done in 5.00 ms (one-fourth of a cycle
for 50 Hz AC)?

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CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

65. When the 20.0 A current through an inductor is turned off in 1.50 ms,
an 800 V emf is induced, opposing the change. What is the value of the
self-inductance?
66. How fast can the 150 A current through a 0.250 H inductor be shut off
if the induced emf cannot exceed 75.0 V?
67. Integrated Concepts
A very large, superconducting solenoid such as one used in MRI scans,
stores 1.00 MJ of energy in its magnetic field when 100 A flows. (a) Find
its self-inductance. (b) If the coils go normal, they gain resistance and
start to dissipate thermal energy. What temperature increase is produced
if all the stored energy goes into heating the 1000 kg magnet, given its
average specific heat is 200 J/kgC ?
68. Unreasonable Results
A 25.0 H inductor has 100 A of current turned off in 1.00 ms. (a) What
voltage is induced to oppose this? (b) What is unreasonable about this
result? (c) Which assumption or premise is responsible?

6.10 RL Circuits
69. If you want a characteristic RL time constant of 1.00 s, and you have
a 500 resistor, what value of self-inductance is needed?
70. Your RL circuit has a characteristic time constant of 20.0 ns, and a
resistance of 5.00 M . (a) What is the inductance of the circuit? (b)
What resistance would give you a 1.00 ns time constant, perhaps needed
for quick response in an oscilloscope?
71. A large superconducting magnet, used for magnetic resonance
imaging, has a 50.0 H inductance. If you want current through it to be
adjustable with a 1.00 s characteristic time constant, what is the minimum
resistance of system?
72. Verify that after a time of 10.0 ms, the current for the situation
considered in Example 6.9 will be 0.183 A as stated.
73. Suppose you have a supply of inductors ranging from 1.00 nH to 10.0
H, and resistors ranging from 0.100 to 1.00 M . What is the range
of characteristic RL time constants you can produce by connecting a
single resistor to a single inductor?
74. (a) What is the characteristic time constant of a 25.0 mH inductor that
has a resistance of 4.00 ? (b) If it is connected to a 12.0 V battery,
what is the current after 12.5 ms?
75. What percentage of the final current
in series with a resistor
completed?

I 0 flows through an inductor L

R , three time constants after the circuit is

76. The 5.00 A current through a 1.50 H inductor is dissipated by a


2.00 resistor in a circuit like that in Figure 6.44 with the switch in
position 2. (a) What is the initial energy in the inductor? (b) How long will
it take the current to decline to 5.00% of its initial value? (c) Calculate the
average power dissipated, and compare it with the initial power
dissipated by the resistor.
77. (a) Use the exact exponential treatment to find how much time is
required to bring the current through an 80.0 mH inductor in series with a
15.0 resistor to 99.0% of its final value, starting from zero. (b)
Compare your answer to the approximate treatment using integral
numbers of . (c) Discuss how significant the difference is.
78. (a) Using the exact exponential treatment, find the time required for
the current through a 2.00 H inductor in series with a 0.500 resistor
to be reduced to 0.100% of its original value. (b) Compare your answer to
the approximate treatment using integral numbers of . (c) Discuss how
significant the difference is.

6.11 Reactance, Inductive and Capacitive


79. At what frequency will a 30.0 mH inductor have a reactance of
100 ?

80. What value of inductance should be used if a


needed at a frequency of 500 Hz?

20.0 k reactance is

81. What capacitance should be used to produce a


at 60.0 Hz?

2.00 M reactance

82. At what frequency will an 80.0 mF capacitor have a reactance of


0.250 ?
83. (a) Find the current through a 0.500 H inductor connected to a 60.0
Hz, 480 V AC source. (b) What would the current be at 100 kHz?
84. (a) What current flows when a 60.0 Hz, 480 V AC source is
connected to a 0.250 F capacitor? (b) What would the current be at
25.0 kHz?
85. A 20.0 kHz, 16.0 V source connected to an inductor produces a 2.00
A current. What is the inductance?
86. A 20.0 Hz, 16.0 V source produces a 2.00 mA current when
connected to a capacitor. What is the capacitance?
87. (a) An inductor designed to filter high-frequency noise from power
supplied to a personal computer is placed in series with the computer.
What minimum inductance should it have to produce a 2.00 k
reactance for 15.0 kHz noise? (b) What is its reactance at 60.0 Hz?
88. The capacitor in Figure 6.55(a) is designed to filter low-frequency
signals, impeding their transmission between circuits. (a) What
capacitance is needed to produce a 100 k reactance at a frequency
of 120 Hz? (b) What would its reactance be at 1.00 MHz? (c) Discuss the
implications of your answers to (a) and (b).
89. The capacitor in Figure 6.55(b) will filter high-frequency signals by
shorting them to earth/ground. (a) What capacitance is needed to
produce a reactance of 10.0 m for a 5.00 kHz signal? (b) What would
its reactance be at 3.00 Hz? (c) Discuss the implications of your answers
to (a) and (b).
90. Unreasonable Results
In a recording of voltages due to brain activity (an EEG), a 10.0 mV
signal with a 0.500 Hz frequency is applied to a capacitor, producing a
current of 100 mA. Resistance is negligible. (a) What is the capacitance?
(b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c) Which assumption or
premise is responsible?
91. Construct Your Own Problem
Consider the use of an inductor in series with a computer operating on 60
Hz electricity. Construct a problem in which you calculate the relative
reduction in voltage of incoming high frequency noise compared to 60 Hz
voltage. Among the things to consider are the acceptable series
reactance of the inductor for 60 Hz power and the likely frequencies of
noise coming through the power lines.

6.12 RLC Series AC Circuits


40.0 resistor and a 3.00 mH inductor.
Z at 60.0 Hz and 10.0 kHz. (b) Compare these

92. An RL circuit consists of a


(a) Find its impedance

values of Z with those found in Example 6.12 in which there was also a
capacitor.
93. An RC circuit consists of a

40.0 resistor and a 5.00 F

capacitor. (a) Find its impedance at 60.0 Hz and 10.0 kHz. (b) Compare
these values of Z with those found in Example 6.12, in which there was
also an inductor.
94. An LC circuit consists of a

3.00 H inductor and a 5.00 F

capacitor. (a) Find its impedance at 60.0 Hz and 10.0 kHz. (b) Compare
these values of Z with those found in Example 6.12 in which there was
also a resistor.
95. What is the resonant frequency of a 0.500 mH inductor connected to
a 40.0 F capacitor?

235

236

CHAPTER 6 | ELECTROMAGNETIC INDUCTION, AC CIRCUITS, AND ELECTRICAL TECHNOLOGIES

96. To receive AM radio, you want an RLC circuit that can be made to
resonate at any frequency between 500 and 1650 kHz. This is
accomplished with a fixed 1.00 H inductor connected to a variable
capacitor. What range of capacitance is needed?
97. Suppose you have a supply of inductors ranging from 1.00 nH to 10.0
H, and capacitors ranging from 1.00 pF to 0.100 F. What is the range of
resonant frequencies that can be achieved from combinations of a single
inductor and a single capacitor?
98. What capacitance do you need to produce a resonant frequency of
1.00 GHz, when using an 8.00 nH inductor?
99. What inductance do you need to produce a resonant frequency of
60.0 Hz, when using a 2.00 F capacitor?
100. The lowest frequency in the FM radio band is 88.0 MHz. (a) What
inductance is needed to produce this resonant frequency if it is
connected to a 2.50 pF capacitor? (b) The capacitor is variable, to allow
the resonant frequency to be adjusted to as high as 108 MHz. What must
the capacitance be at this frequency?
101. An RLC series circuit has a
and an

2.50 resistor, a 100 H inductor,

80.0 F capacitor.(a) Find the circuits impedance at 120 Hz. (b)

Find the circuits impedance at 5.00 kHz. (c) If the voltage source has
V rms = 5.60 V , what is I rms at each frequency? (d) What is the
resonant frequency of the circuit? (e) What is
102. An RLC series circuit has a

I rms at resonance?

1.00 k resistor, a 150 H inductor,

and a 25.0 nF capacitor. (a) Find the circuits impedance at 500 Hz. (b)
Find the circuits impedance at 7.50 kHz. (c) If the voltage source has
V rms = 408 V , what is I rms at each frequency? (d) What is the
resonant frequency of the circuit? (e) What is
103. An RLC series circuit has a
and an

I rms at resonance?

2.50 resistor, a 100 H inductor,

80.0 F capacitor. (a) Find the power factor at f = 120 Hz .

(b) What is the phase angle at 120 Hz? (c) What is the average power at
120 Hz? (d) Find the average power at the circuits resonant frequency.
104. An RLC series circuit has a

1.00 k resistor, a 150 H inductor,

and a 25.0 nF capacitor. (a) Find the power factor at

f = 7.50 Hz . (b)

What is the phase angle at this frequency? (c) What is the average power
at this frequency? (d) Find the average power at the circuits resonant
frequency.

200 resistor and a 25.0 mH inductor.


45.0 . (a) What is the impedance? (b)
Find the circuits capacitance. (c) If V rms = 408 V is applied, what is
105. An RLC series circuit has a
At 8000 Hz, the phase angle is
the average power supplied?
106. Referring to Example 6.14, find the average power at 10.0 kHz.

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APPENDIX A | USEFUL INFORMATION*

USEFUL INFORMATION*

This appendix is broken into several tables.

Table A1, Important Constants


Table A2, Submicroscopic Masses
Table A3, Solar System Data
Table A4, Metric Prefixes for Powers of Ten and Their Symbols
Table A5, The Greek Alphabet
Table A6, SI units
Table A7, Selected British Units
Table A8, Other Units
Table A9, Useful Formulae

Table A1 Important Constants


Symbol

[1]

Meaning

Best Value

Approximate Value

Speed of light in
vacuum

2.99792458 10 8 m / s

3.00 10 8 m / s

Gravitational constant

6.67384(80) 10 11 N m 2 / kg 2

6.67 10 11 N m 2 / kg 2

NA

Avogadros number

6.02214129(27) 10 23

6.02 10 23

Boltzmanns constant

1.3806488(13) 10 23 J / K

1.38 10 23 J / K

Gas constant

8.3144621(75) J / mol K

8.31 J / mol K = 1.99 cal / mol K = 0.0821atm L / mol K

Stefan-Boltzmann
constant

5.670373(21) 10 8 W / m 2 K

5.67 10 8 W / m 2 K

Coulomb force
constant

8.987551788... 10 9 N m 2 / C 2

8.99 10 9 N m 2 / C 2

qe

Charge on electron

1.602176565(35) 10 19 C

1.60 10 19 C

Permittivity of free
space

8.854187817... 10 12 C 2 / N m 2 8.85 10 12 C 2 / N m 2

Permeability of free
space

4 10 7 T m / A

1.26 10 6 T m / A

Plancks constant

6.62606957(29) 10 34 J s

6.63 10 34 J s

Table A2 Submicroscopic Masses


Symbol

Meaning

[2]

Best Value

Approximate Value

me

Electron mass

9.10938291(40)10 31kg

9.1110 31kg

mp

Proton mass

1.672621777(74)10 27kg 1.672610 27kg

mn

Neutron mass

1.674927351(74)10 27kg 1.674910 27kg

Atomic mass unit

1.660538921(73)10 27kg 1.660510 27kg

1. Stated values are according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty, www.physics.nist.gov/cuu
(http://www.physics.nist.gov/cuu) (accessed May 18, 2012). Values in parentheses are the uncertainties in the last digits. Numbers without uncertainties are exact as defined.
2. Stated values are according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty, www.physics.nist.gov/cuu
(http://www.physics.nist.gov/cuu) (accessed May 18, 2012). Values in parentheses are the uncertainties in the last digits. Numbers without uncertainties are exact as defined.

237

238

APPENDIX A | USEFUL INFORMATION*

Table A3 Solar System Data


Sun

mass

1.9910 30kg

average radius

6.9610 8m

Earth-sun distance (average)

1.49610 11m
5.973610 24kg

Earth mass
average radius

6.37610 6m

orbital period

3.1610 7s
7.3510 22kg

Moon mass
average radius

1.7410 6m

orbital period (average)

2.3610 6s

Earth-moon distance (average)

3.8410 8m

Table A4 Metric Prefixes for Powers of Ten and Their Symbols


Prefix

Symbol

Value

Prefix

Symbol

Value

tera

10 12

deci

10 1

giga

10 9

centi

10 2

mega

10 6

milli

10 3

kilo

10 3

micro

10 6

hecto

10 2

nano

10 9

deka

da

10 1

pico

10 12

10 15

10 0( = 1) femto

Table A5 The Greek Alphabet


Alpha

Eta

Nu

Tau

Beta

Theta

Xi

Upsilon

Gamma

Omicron Phi

Delta

Kappa

Pi

Chi

Epsilon

Lambda

Rho

Psi

Zeta

Mu

Omega

Iota

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Sigma

APPENDIX A | USEFUL INFORMATION*

Table A6 SI Units
Entity
Fundamental units

Abbreviation
m

meter

Mass

kg

kilogram

Time

second

ampere

Current
Supplementary unit Angle
Derived units

Name

Length

rad

radian

Force

N = kg m / s 2 newton

Energy

J = kg m 2 / s 2 joule

Power

W = J/s

watt

Pressure

Pa = N / m 2

pascal

Frequency

Hz = 1 / s

hertz

Electronic potential

V = J/C

volt

Capacitance

F = C/V

farad

Charge

C=sA

coulomb

= V/A

Resistance

ohm

Magnetic field

T = N / (A m) tesla

Nuclear decay rate

Bq = 1 / s

becquerel

Table A7 Selected British Units


Length

1 inch (in.) = 2.54 cm (exactly)


1 foot (ft) = 0.3048 m
1 mile (mi) = 1.609 km

Force

1 pound (lb) = 4.448 N

Energy

1 British thermal unit (Btu) = 1.05510 3 J

Power

1 horsepower (hp) = 746 W

Pressure

1 lb / in 2 = 6.89510 3 Pa

239

240

APPENDIX A | USEFUL INFORMATION*

Table A8 Other Units


Length

1 light year (ly) = 9.4610 15 m


1 astronomical unit (au) = 1.5010 11 m
1 nautical mile = 1.852 km
1 angstrom() = 10 10 m

Area

1 acre (ac) = 4.0510 3 m 2


1 square foot (ft 2) = 9.2910 2 m 2
1 barn (b) = 10 28 m 2

Volume

1 liter (L) = 10 3 m 3
1 U.S. gallon (gal) = 3.78510 3 m 3

Mass

1 solar mass = 1.9910 30 kg


1 metric ton = 10 3 kg
1 atomic mass unit (u) = 1.660510 27 kg

Time

1 year (y) = 3.1610 7 s


1 day (d) = 86,400 s

Speed

1 mile per hour (mph) = 1.609 km / h


1 nautical mile per hour (naut) = 1.852 km / h

Angle

1 degree () = 1.74510 2 rad


1 minute of arc ( ') = 1 / 60 degree
1 second of arc ( '') = 1 / 60 minute of arc
1 grad = 1.57110 2 rad

Energy

1 kiloton TNT (kT) = 4.210 12 J


1 kilowatt hour (kW h) = 3.6010 6 J
1 food calorie (kcal) = 4186 J
1 calorie (cal) = 4.186 J
1 electron volt (eV) = 1.6010 19 J

Pressure

1 atmosphere (atm) = 1.01310 5 Pa


1 millimeter of mercury (mm Hg) = 133.3 Pa
1 torricelli (torr) = 1 mm Hg = 133.3 Pa

Nuclear decay rate

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1 curie (Ci) = 3.7010 10 Bq

APPENDIX A | USEFUL INFORMATION*

Table A9 Useful Formulae


Circumference of a circle with radius
Area of a circle with radius

r or diameter d C = 2r = d

r or diameter d

Area of a sphere with radius

A = 4r 2

Volume of a sphere with radius

A = r 2 = d 2 / 4

V = (4 / 3)r 3

[3][4]

3. Stated values are according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty,
www.physics.nist.gov/cuu (http://www.physics.nist.gov/cuu) (accessed May 18, 2012). Values in parentheses are the uncertainties in the last
digits. Numbers without uncertainties are exact as defined.
4. Stated values are according to the National Institute of Standards and Technology Reference on Constants, Units, and Uncertainty,
www.physics.nist.gov/cuu (http://www.physics.nist.gov/cuu) (accessed May 18, 2012). Values in parentheses are the uncertainties in the last
digits. Numbers without uncertainties are exact as defined.

241

242

INDEX

Index
Symbols
(peak) emf, 202
RC circuit, 137

A
AC current, 89, 100
AC voltage, 89, 100
Alternating current, 88
alternating current, 100
ammeter, 140
ammeters, 130
ampere, 74, 101
Amperes law, 172, 177
analog meter, 140
Analog meters, 132

B
B-field, 157, 177
back emf, 204, 226
bioelectricity, 95, 101
Biot-Savart law, 172, 177
bridge device, 140
bridge devices, 136

C
capacitance, 54, 64, 137, 141
capacitive reactance, 219, 226
capacitor, 53, 64, 137, 141
characteristic time constant, 216, 226
conductor, 11, 30
Conductors, 22
conservation laws, 127, 141
Coulomb force, 16, 30
Coulomb forces, 16
Coulomb interaction, 22, 30
Coulombs law, 15, 30
Curie temperature, 154, 177
current, 112, 141
Current sensitivity, 132
current sensitivity, 141

electromagnetic force, 6, 30
electromagnetic induction, 192, 226
Electromagnetism, 154
electromagnetism, 177
electromagnets, 154
electromotive force, 120
electromotive force (emf), 141
electron, 30
electron volt, 45, 64
electrons, 7
electrostatic equilibrium, 22, 30
electrostatic force, 15, 30
electrostatic precipitators, 28, 30
Electrostatic repulsion, 12
electrostatic repulsion, 30
electrostatics, 26, 30
emf, 127
emf induced in a generator coil, 202, 226
energy stored in an inductor , 215, 226
equipotential line, 64
equipotential lines, 51

F
Faraday cage, 25, 30
Faradays law of induction, 193, 226
ferromagnetic, 154, 177
field, 30
force field, 16
free charge, 30
free charges, 22
free electron, 30
free electrons, 11
full-scale deflection, 132, 141

G
galvanometer, 132, 141
gauss, 158, 177
grounded, 27, 30
grounding, 51, 64

M
magnetic damping, 198, 226
magnetic field, 157, 178
magnetic field lines, 157, 177
magnetic field strength (magnitude) produced
by a long straight current-carrying wire, 171,
178
magnetic field strength at the center of a circular
loop, 172, 178
magnetic field strength inside a solenoid, 173,
178
magnetic flux, 192, 226
magnetic force, 158, 178
magnetic monopoles, 156, 178
Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 176
magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), 178
magnetized, 154, 178
magnetocardiogram (MCG), 177, 178
magnetoencephalogram (MEG), 177, 178
Maxwells equations, 172, 177
Mechanical energy, 45
mechanical energy, 64
meter, 178
Meters, 170
microshock sensitive, 95, 101
motor, 178
Motors, 168
Mutual inductance, 212
mutual inductance, 226

N
Nerve conduction, 95
nerve conduction, 101
north magnetic pole, 152, 178
nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR), 176, 178
Null measurements, 134
null measurements, 141

Hall effect, 163, 177


Hall emf, 163, 177
henry, 212, 226

ohm, 79, 101


ohmic, 79, 101
ohmmeter, 141
ohmmeters, 135
Ohms law, 79, 101, 112, 141

defibrillator, 62, 64
dielectric, 56, 64
dielectric strength, 64
dielectric strengths, 57
digital meter, 141
digital meters, 132
dipole, 22, 30
Direct current, 88
direct current, 101
direction of magnetic field lines, 157, 177
domains, 154, 177
drift velocity , 77, 101

impedance, 220, 226


inductance, 212, 226
induction, 12, 31, 190, 226
inductive reactance, 218, 226
inductor, 213, 226
ink jet printer, 27
ink-jet printer, 31
insulator, 31
insulators, 12
internal resistance, 120, 141
ionosphere, 24, 31

parallel, 114, 141


parallel plate capacitor, 53, 65
peak emf, 226
permeability of free space, 171, 178
phase angle, 223, 226
photoconductor, 27, 31
point charge, 17, 31
polar molecule, 22, 31, 57, 65
polarization, 12, 31
polarized, 23, 31
potential difference, 43, 120, 141
potential difference (or voltage), 65
potentiometer, 134, 141
power factor, 224, 226
proton, 31
protons, 7

eddy current, 198, 226


electric charge, 7, 30
electric current, 74, 101
electric field, 23, 30
electric field lines, 30
electric field strength, 18
electric fields, 18
electric generator, 226
Electric generators, 201
electric potential, 42, 64
electric power, 85, 101
electrocardiogram (ECG), 99, 101
electromagnet, 177

Joules law, 113, 141


junction rule, 127, 141

K
Kirchhoffs rules, 126, 141

L
laser printer, 31
Laser printers, 27
law of conservation of charge, 10, 31
Lenzs law, 193, 226
loop rule, 127, 141
Lorentz force, 158, 177

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R
RC circuit, 141
resistance, 79, 101, 112, 141
resistivity, 81, 101
resistor, 112, 137, 141
resonant frequency, 222, 226
right hand rule 1, 158
right hand rule 1 (RHR-1), 178
right hand rule 2, 171

INDEX

right hand rule 2 (RHR-2), 178


rms current, 89, 101
rms voltage, 89, 101

S
scalar, 46, 65
screening, 22, 31
Self-inductance, 213
self-inductance, 226
semipermeable, 96, 101
series, 112, 141
shock hazard, 92, 101, 208, 227
short circuit, 92, 101
shunt resistance, 132, 141
simple circuit, 79, 101
solenoid, 172, 178
south magnetic pole, 152, 178
static electricity, 6, 31
step-down transformer, 206, 227
step-up transformer, 206, 227

T
temperature coefficient of resistivity, 83, 101
terminal voltage, 122, 141
tesla, 158, 178
test charge , 17, 31
thermal hazard, 92, 101, 208, 227
three-wire system, 208, 227
transformer, 227
transformer equation, 206, 227
Transformers, 204

V
Van de Graaff generator, 31
Van de Graaff generators, 26
vector, 31, 46, 65
vector addition, 19, 31
vectors, 18
voltage, 43, 112, 141
voltage drop, 112, 141
voltmeter, 141
Voltmeters, 130

W
Wheatstone bridge, 136, 141

X
xerography, 27, 31

243

244

INDEX

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INDEX

ATTRIBUTIONS
Collection: Electricity Physics
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Module: Conductors and Electric Fields in Static Equilibrium
By: OpenStax College
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m42317/1.3/
Copyright: Rice University
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Module: Applications of Electrostatics
By: OpenStax College
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m42329/1.6/

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INDEX

Copyright: Rice University


License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Module: Introduction to Electric Potential and Electric Energy
By: OpenStax College
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m42320/1.4/
Copyright: Rice University
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Module: Electric Potential Energy: Potential Difference
By: OpenStax College
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m42324/1.3/
Copyright: Rice University
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Module: Electric Potential in a Uniform Electric Field
By: OpenStax College
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m42326/1.3/
Copyright: Rice University
License: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/
Module: Electrical Potential Due to a Point Charge
By: OpenStax College
URL: http://cnx.org/content/m42328/1.4/
Copyright: Rice University
License: http://creativecommons.org/lice