# Ohm's Law

**Topics:**Ohm's law, Electric current, Electrical resistance

**Pages:**5 (1968 words)

**Published:**October 29, 2010

INTRODUCTION

Ohm's law states that the current through a conductor between two points is directly proportional to the potential difference or voltage across the two points, and inversely proportional to the resistance between them provided the temperature remains constant. The mathematical equation that describes this relationship is: where V is the potential difference measured across the resistance in units of volts; I is the current through the resistance in units of amperes and R is the resistance of the conductor in units of ohms. More specifically, Ohm's law states that the R in this relation is constant, independent of the current. The law was named after the German physicist Georg Ohm, who, in a treatise published in 1827, described measurements of applied voltage and current through simple electrical circuits containing various lengths of wire. He presented a slightly more complex equation than the one above (see History section below) to explain his experimental results. The above equation is the modern form of Ohm's law. In physics, the term Ohm's law is also used to refer to various generalizations of the law originally formulated by Ohm. The simplest example of this is: where J is the current density at a given location in a resistive material, E is the electric field at that location, and σ is a material dependent parameter called the conductivity. This reformulation of Ohm's law is due to Gustav Kirchhoff. MICROSCOPIC ORIGINS OF OHM’S LAW

The dependence of the current density on the applied electric field is essentially quantum mechanical in nature;A qualitative description leading to Ohm's law can be based upon classical mechanics using the Drude model developed by Paul Drude in 1900. The Drude model treats electrons (or other charge carriers) like pinballs bouncing between the ions that make up the structure of the material. Electrons will be accelerated in the opposite direction to the electric field by the average electric field at their location. With each collision, though, the electron is deflected in a random direction with a velocity that is much larger than the velocity gained by the electric field. The net result is that electrons take a tortuous path due to the collisions, but generally drift in a direction opposing the electric field. The drift velocity then determines the electric current density and its relationship to E and is independent of the collisions. Drude calculated the average drift velocity from p = −eEτ where p is the average momentum, −e is the charge of the electron and τ is the average time between the collisions. Since both the momentum and the current density are proportional to the drift velocity, the current density becomes proportional to the applied electric field; this leads to Ohm's law. RESISTIVE CIRCUITS

Resistors are circuit elements that impede the passage of electric charge in agreement with Ohm's law, and are designed to have a specific resistance value R. In a schematic diagram the resistor is shown as a zig-zag symbol. An element (resistor or conductor) that behaves according to Ohm's law over some operating range is referred to as an ohmic device (or an ohmic resistor) because Ohm's law and a single value for the resistance suffice to describe the behavior of the device over that range. Ohm's law holds for circuits containing only resistive elements (no capacitances or inductances) for all forms of driving voltage or current, regardless of whether the driving voltage or current is constant (DC) or time-varying such as AC. At any instant of time Ohm's law is valid for such circuits. Resistors which are in series or in parallel may be grouped together into a single "equivalent resistance" in order to apply Ohm's law in analyzing the circuit. LINEAR APPROXIMATIONS

Ohm's law is one of the basic equations used in the analysis of electrical circuits. It applies to both metal conductors and circuit components (resistors) specifically made for this...

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