<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >
Electric circuit

An electric circuit is a closed path (with no breaks or gaps) along which electrical charges (electrons) flow powered by an energy source.

Representing electric circuits

Components of electrical circuits

Some common elements (components) which can be found in electrical circuits include light bulbs, batteries, connecting leads, switches, resistors, voltmeters and ammeters. You will learn more about these items in later sections, but it is important to know what their symbols are and how to represent them in circuit diagrams. Below is a table with the items and their symbols:

Component Symbol Usage
light bulb
glows when charge moves through it
battery
The longer line shows the positive (+) side of the battery, the shorter line shows the (-) side of the battery.
provides energy for charge to move - conventional current flow from positive to negative through a circuit
switch
allows a circuit to be open or closed
resistor
resists the flow of charge
OR
voltmeter
measures potential difference
ammeter
measures current in a circuit
connecting lead
connects circuit elements together

Circuit diagrams

Representing circuits

A physical circuit is the electric circuit you create with real components.

A circuit diagram is a drawing which uses symbols to represent the different components in the physical circuit.

We use circuit diagrams to represent circuits because they are much simpler and more general than drawing the physical circuit because they only show the workings of the electrical components. You can see this in the two pictures below. The first picture shows the physical circuit for an electric torch. You can see the light bulb, the batteries, the switch and the outside plastic casing of the torch. The picture is actually a cross-section of the torch so that we can see inside it.

Physical components of an electric torch. The dotted line shows the path of the electrical circuit.

Below is the circuit diagram for the electric torch. Now the light bulb is represented by its symbol, as are the batteries, the switch and the connecting wires. It is not necessary to show the plastic casing of the torch since it has nothing to do with the electric workings of the torch. You can see that the circuit diagram is much simpler than the physical circuit drawing!

Circuit diagram of an electric torch.

Series and parallel circuits

There are two ways to connect electrical components in a circuit: in series or in parallel .

Series circuit

In a series circuit, the charge flowing from the battery can only flow along a single path to return to the battery.

Parallel circuit

In a parallel circuit, the charge flowing from the battery can flow along multiple paths to return to the battery.

The picture below shows a circuit with two resistors connected in series on the left and a circuit with two resistors connected in parallel on the right. In the series circiut, the charge path from the battery goes through every component before returning to the battery. In the parallel circuit, there is more than one path for the charge to flow from the battery through one of the components and back to the battery.

This simulation allows you to experiment with building circuits.

run demo

Draw the circuit diagram for a circuit which has the following components:

  1. 1 battery
  2. 1 lightbulb connected in series
  3. 2 resistors connected in parallel

Draw the circuit diagram for a circuit which has the following components:

  1. 3 batteries in series
  2. 1 lightbulb connected in parallel with 1 resistor
  3. a switch in series with the batteries

Circuits

  1. Using physical components, set up the physical circuit which is described by the circuit diagram below and then draw the physical circuit:
  2. Using physical components, set up a closed circuit which has one battery and a light bulb in series with a resistor.
    1. Draw the physical circuit.
    2. Draw the resulting circuit diagram.
    3. How do you know that you have built a closed circuit? (What happens to the light bulb?)
    4. If you add one more resistor to your circuit (also in series), what do you notice? (What happens to the light from the light bulb?)
    5. Draw the new circuit diagram which includes the second resistor.
  3. Draw the circuit diagram for the following circuit: 2 batteries and a switch in series, and 1 lightbulb which is in parallel with two resistors.
    1. Now use physical components to set up the circuit.
    2. What happens when you close the switch? What does does this mean about the circuit?
    3. Draw the physical circuit.

Discussion : alternative energy

At the moment, most electric power is produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil. In South Africa, our main source of electric power is coal-burning power stations.(We also have one nuclear power plant called Koeberg in the Western Cape). However, burning fossil fuels releases large amounts of pollution into the earth's atmosphere and contributes to global warming. Also, the earth's fossil fuel reserves (especially oil) are starting to run low. For these reasons, people all across the world are working to find alternative /other sources of energy and on ways to conserve /save energy. Other sources of energy include wind power, solar power (from the sun), and hydro-electric power (from water, e.g. dammed rivers) among others.

With a partner, take out the lists you made earlier of the item/appliances/machines which used electricity in the following environments. For each item, try to think of an alternative AND a way to conserve or save power.

For example, if you had a flourescent light as an item used in the home, then:

  • Alternative: use candles at suppertime to reduce electricity consumption
  • Conservation: turn off lights when not in a room, or during the day.

Topics:

  • At home
  • At school
  • At the hospital
  • In the city

Once you have finished making your lists, compare with the lists of other people in your class.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
The fundamental frequency of a sonometer wire streached by a load of relative density 's'are n¹ and n² when the load is in air and completly immersed in water respectively then the lation n²/na is
Mukesh Reply
Properties of longitudinal waves
Sharoon Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Sep 30, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11305/1.7
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Siyavula textbooks: grade 10 physical science [caps]' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask