About This Chapter
Simple Electric Circuits - Chapter Summary
In this chapter on simple electric circuits, you'll look at the definition of Ohm's law and what it says about current, resistance and voltage. You will review the concept of the mechanical equivalent of heat and see how series circuits work. Parallel circuits, Kirchhoff's rules and what potentiometers are is also presented. The definition of a Wheatstone bridge and how electrical resistance works in common appliances is also discussed. Once you have completed these lessons, you should be able to:
- Describe the findings of James Prescott Joule
- Understand how series circuits work
- Identify electronic equipment that utilizes resistor-capacitor (RC) circuits
- Use Kirchhoff's rules to analyze complex circuits
- Define what a potentiometer is and explain what it does
- Detail the equation used for a Wheatstone bridge circuit
- Name several common appliances that utilize electrical resistance
Use the lesson quizzes and chapter test to measure how well you understand this material and see which areas you may need to focus on. If you would like to watch just one portion of a video lesson, use the video tabs feature in the Timeline to jump directly to that section. Our instructors are available to offer you assistance if you have any difficulty understanding the lessons.
1. Ohm's Law: Definition & Relationship Between Voltage, Current & Resistance
Did you know that electrical current is affected by the voltage and resistance in a circuit? In this lesson, we'll use Ohm's law, which tells us how current, voltage, and resistance are related, as we work through several electric circuit examples.
2. Mechanical Equivalent of Heat
We all know when we feel heat, but do you know how or when it was discovered? In this lesson, we learn about the revolutionary findings of James Prescott Joule who discovered how to get heat out of mechanical work.
3. 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.
4. 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.
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.
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.
7. What is a Potentiometer? - Definition & Types
This lesson defines a potentiometer and a method to calculate the voltage output of a potentiometer. Two main types of potentiometers are discussed, linear and rotary, with some details on their construction.
8. 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.
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