Ch 14: Direct Current Circuits in Physics

About This Chapter

Watch video lessons on direct circuit currents and learn how electrical currents work and are measured. Each lesson is accompanied by a short multiple-choice quiz to help check your understanding of these direct current circuit topics.

Direct Current Circuits - Chapter Summary and Learning Objectives

Direct current circuits are electrical circuits in which current flows in one direction through resistors and other passive electrical components. In this chapter, you'll learn how subatomic particles, known as electrons, move along a wire in an electrical circuit to create current. The instructor will also explain the parts and different types of electrical circuits that can be used to power multiple loads like light bulbs.

Additional topics include the relationship between current and voltage and how to measure them. Electrical circuits will also be discussed, including the different types and how they can be combined. When you finish watching the videos and taking the self-assessment quizzes, you should be able to:

  • Identify the different parts found in an electrical circuit, and discuss their functions
  • Explain the movement of current through a circuit
  • Calculate current, resistance and voltage
  • Discuss the differences between parallel and series circuits
  • Understand how the size of a wire and the temperature of a conducting object affect resistance
  • See how Gustav Kirchoff's circuit laws or equalities can be used to determine the voltage of electrical circuits

What is Electric Current? Define current as the movement of electrons in a conductor. Explain direct and alternating currents and how current is measured in amperes.
Electrical Resistance: Definition, Unit and VariablesUnderstand resistance and how it is affected by the size and temperature of a conductor. Measure resistance in units of ohms.
Electric Circuit Fundamentals: Components and TypesDescribe the components of electrical circuits and how they can be arranged in series and parallel configurations. Discuss the voltage, current and resistance found in each type of circuit.
Circuit AnalysisDefine electric current, and explain under what conditions current is created in an electrical circuit.
Combining Resistors: Series and ParallelDiscuss series and parallel circuits, including their important characteristics. Calculate current, equivalent resistance and voltage for devices connected in series and parallel circuits.
Kirchhoff's RulesDemonstrate an understanding of Kirchhoff's Rules and how they can be used to find the currents and potential differences in electrical circuits.
Resistance-Capacitance (R-C) CircuitsExplain the characteristics of resistance-capacitance circuits and their applications.

7 Lessons in Chapter 14: Direct Current Circuits in Physics
Test your knowledge with a 30-question chapter practice test
What is Electric Current? - Definition, Unit & Types

1. What is Electric Current? - Definition, Unit & Types

Like a river current is the flow of water molecules, electrical current is the flow of charged particles. In this lesson, we're going to explore what electrical current is, what causes it, and that, unlike a water current, electrical current doesn't always flow in one direction.

Electrical Resistance: Definition, Unit & Variables

2. Electrical Resistance: Definition, Unit & Variables

We'll take a shopping trip to the mall to learn how electrical resistance works and how it is affected by resistivity, conductor dimensions, and temperature. We'll also take a look at several common appliances that take advantage of resistance to function.

Electric Circuit Fundamentals: Components & Types

3. Electric Circuit Fundamentals: Components & Types

Electric circuits can be configured to power several loads, such as light bulbs, in series or in parallel. In this lesson, we'll look at both types of circuits and see how the voltage, current, and resistance are affected by installing additional loads.

Series Circuits: Definition & Concepts

4. Series Circuits: Definition & Concepts

When you flip a switch to turn your lights on, you are completing a circuit and providing a pathway for electrons to flow. In this lesson, you'll learn how connecting devices in a series along that circuit affects the current and resistance throughout.

Parallel Circuits: Definition & Concepts

5. Parallel Circuits: Definition & Concepts

People moving through an airport are similar to electrons moving through a circuit. Parallel circuits are one type of simple circuit, and they get their name from the multiple, parallel paths they provide for electron flow.

Applying Kirchhoff's Rules: Examples & Problems

6. Applying Kirchhoff's Rules: Examples & Problems

Ohm's Law can be useful for analyzing simple circuits, but when circuits are more complex, as they often are, we can instead analyze the circuits using Kirchhoff's rules. Learn about Kirchhoff's rules in this lesson.

Resistor-Capacitor (RC) Circuits: Definition & Explanation

7. Resistor-Capacitor (RC) Circuits: Definition & Explanation

Resistor-capacitor (RC) circuits are everywhere because they are useful in our everyday lives. The current in these circuits varies with time, making them both practical and common in many types of electronic equipment.

Chapter Practice Exam
Test your knowledge of this chapter with a 30 question practice chapter exam.
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Practice Final Exam
Test your knowledge of the entire course with a 50 question practice final exam.
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