# Rc Circuits

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

**Pages:**5 (875 words)

**Published:**June 19, 2013

•In this presentation, circuits with multiple batteries, resistors and capacitors will be reduced to an equivalent system with a single battery, a single resistor, and a single capacitor. Kirchoff's laws will be stated, and used to find the currents in a circuit. In addition, the equation for the time-constant of an RC circuit will be derived.

Ohm's Law

When a battery is connected to a resistor, the battery will cause a current to flow through the resistor. The larger the voltage and smaller the resistance the greater the current.

V = IR

More Concepts

Current is the rate of flow of charge around a circuit.

dQ What actually flows in a circuit is electrons, but electrons are I= negatively charged and current is positive. The current always dt points the opposite direction as the electrons. The unit of Current is the Ampere and is defined to be one coulomb per second.

Resistivity

The resistance of a resistor depends on both the material the resistor is made of and the geometry of the resistor. The longer the resistor the greater the distance electrons must travel and the more times they can collide with other objects. The longer the material the greater the resistance. The wider the resistor the larger the path. A wider resistor is like a wider road or a larger pipe it allows more room and easier flow. The resistance is inversely proportional to the cross-sectional area of the resistor. The resistance is equal to the resistivity of the material, times the length of the resistor, divided by the cross-sectional area of the resistor. ρ∗ l R= A

Resistorsresistors placed end to end In Series Image two identical so that they become one resistor. These two resistors have the same cross-sectional area and same resistivity but double the length of a single resistor. Therefore this resistor has double the resistance of one of the original resistors. This motivates the way in which resistances in series add together. We can reduce multiple resistors in series to a single resistor with an equivalent resistance.

Re = R1+ R2+ R3+ ...

Resistors In Parallel

Imagine two identical resistors placed side by side and pushed together so they become one larger resistor. This new resistor has the same resistivity and length as the original resistors but double the cross sectional area. Looking at the resistivity equation, it must have half the resistance of one of the original resistors. This reasoning promotes the relationship for resistors in parallel.

1 1 1 1 = + + + ... Re R1 R 2 R 3

Kirchoff's Voltage Law

Kirchoff's Voltage Law: In a complete loop the total voltage change is zero. If we start from the tail of the arrow in the picture below and go around the full loop, the voltage across the battery is V and the voltage across the resistor is IR so we get an equation:

V − IR= 0

Kirchoff's Current Law

Kirchoff's Current Law: The current coming out of a point is equal to the current going into the point.

I 1= I 2+ I 3

Example Problem

Using V = 6 volts, R1 = 1 ohms, R2 = 6 ohms, and R3 = 3 ohms, solve for the current through R1 and R2. Using Kirchoff's laws we can get three equations. It is easier to find I1 by calculating the equivalent resistance, than by solving this system of equations Then R2 can be calculated using the first equation. V − I 1 R1 − I 2 R2 = 0 V − I 1 R1 − I 3 R3 = 0 I 1= I 2+ I 3 1 R e = 1+ = 3ohms 1 1 + 6 3 V I 1= = 2 amps Re

I 2=

6− 2∗ 1 = 2/3 amps 6

Charging A Capacitor

A capacitor has a voltage proportional to the charge on the Q capacitor. V= C Applying Kirchoff's voltage law to this loop we get the equation: But the current is the rate of change of charge so: Q V − IR− = 0 If we solve this differential equation we get: C In this express RC is called the time dQ Q constant of the circuit. R + =V dt C

Q= CV (1− e )

−t RC

Capacitors in Parallel

...

References:

Ohanian, Hans C., and John T. Markert. Physics for Engineers and Scientists. New York: W.W. Norton, 2007. Print.

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