Energy exists in various forms such as mechanical energy, heat energy, chemical energy, electrical energy, light energy and nuclear energy. According to the law of conservation of energy, energy can be transformed from one form to another. In our daily life we use many devices where the electrical energy is converted into heat energy, light energy, chemical energy or mechanical energy. When an electric current is passed through a metallic wire like filament of an electric heater, oven or geyser, the filament gets heated up and here electrical energy is converted into heat energy. This is known as 'heating effect of current'. It is a matter of common experience that a wire gets heated up when electric current flows through it. Why does this happen? A metallic conductor has a large number of free electrons in it. When a potential difference is applied across the ends of a metallic wire, the free electrons begin to drift from the low potential to the high potential region. These electrons collide with the positive ions (the atoms which have lost their electrons). In these collisions, energy of the electrons is transferred to the positive ions and they begin to vibrate more violently. As a result, heat is produced. Greater the number of electrons flowing per second, greater will be the rate of collisions and hence more heat is produced. 1. Mathematical Expression for Heat Produced
2. Application of the Heating Effect of Current
Mathematical Expression for Heat Produced
Potential difference is a measure of work done in moving a unit charge across a circuit. Current in a circuit is equal to the amount of charge flowing in one second. Therefore, the work done in moving 'Q' charges through a potential difference 'V' in a time 't' is given by Work done = potential difference x current x time
W = VIt
The same can be expressed differently using ohm's law.
According to ohm's law V = IR
Therefore work can be expressed as
W = VIt
or W = (IR) It = I2Rt
Thus, heat produced is directly proportional to the resistance, to the time and to the square of the current. Application of the Heating Effect of Current
The heating effect of current is utilized in electrical heating appliances such as electric iron, room heaters, water heaters, etc. All these heating appliances contain coils of high resistance wire made of nichrome alloy. When these appliances are connected to power supply by insulated copper wires then a large amount of heat is produced in the heating coils because they have high resistance, but a negligible heat is produced in the connecting wires because the wires are made to have low resistance The heating effect of electric current is utilized in electric bulbs for producing light. When electric current passes through a thin high resistance tungsten filament of an electric bulb, the filament becomes white hot and emits light. An 'electric fuse' is an important application of the heating effect of current. When the current drawn in a domestic electric circuit increases beyond a certain value, the fuse wire gets over heated, melts and breaks the circuit. This prevents fire and damage to various electrical appliances. We use many devices in which electrical energy is converted into heat energy. When electric current is passed through a wire, it is heated up and the electrical energy is converted into heat energy. Devices like the filament of an electric heater, geyser, light bulb etc utlise this 'heating effect of current. Why is heat produced when current is passed through a conductor? A metallic conductor has a large number of free electrons available in it. When a potential difference is applied across the ends of a wire, the free electrons begin to drift from a region of low potential to a region of high potential. These electrons collide with the positive ions (the atoms which have lost their electrons). These collisions transfer the energy of the proton to the positive...