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  • Calculate the power dissipated by a resistor and power supplied by a power supply.
  • Calculate the cost of electricity under various circumstances.

Power in electric circuits

Power is associated by many people with electricity. Knowing that power is the rate of energy use or energy conversion, what is the expression for electric power    ? Power transmission lines might come to mind. We also think of lightbulbs in terms of their power ratings in watts. Let us compare a 25-W bulb with a 60-W bulb. (See [link] (a).) Since both operate on the same voltage, the 60-W bulb must draw more current to have a greater power rating. Thus the 60-W bulb’s resistance must be lower than that of a 25-W bulb. If we increase voltage, we also increase power. For example, when a 25-W bulb that is designed to operate on 120 V is connected to 240 V, it briefly glows very brightly and then burns out. Precisely how are voltage, current, and resistance related to electric power?

Part a has two images. The image on the left is a photograph of a twenty five watt incandescent bulb emitting a dim, yellowish white color. The image on the right is a photograph of a sixty watt incandescent bulb emitting a brighter white light. Part b is a single photograph of a compact fluorescent lightbulb glowing in bright pure white color.
(a) Which of these lightbulbs, the 25-W bulb (upper left) or the 60-W bulb (upper right), has the higher resistance? Which draws more current? Which uses the most energy? Can you tell from the color that the 25-W filament is cooler? Is the brighter bulb a different color and if so why? (credits: Dickbauch, Wikimedia Commons; Greg Westfall, Flickr) (b) This compact fluorescent light (CFL) puts out the same intensity of light as the 60-W bulb, but at 1/4 to 1/10 the input power. (credit: dbgg1979, Flickr)

Electric energy depends on both the voltage involved and the charge moved. This is expressed most simply as PE = qV size 12{"PE"= ital "qV"} {} , where q size 12{q} {} is the charge moved and V size 12{V} {} is the voltage (or more precisely, the potential difference the charge moves through). Power is the rate at which energy is moved, and so electric power is

P = PE t = qV t . size 12{P = { { ital "PE"} over {t} } = { { ital "qV"} over {t} } "."} {}

Recognizing that current is I = q / t size 12{I = q/t} {} (note that Δ t = t size 12{Δt=t} {} here), the expression for power becomes

P = IV. size 12{P = ital "IV."} {}

Electric power ( P size 12{P} {} ) is simply the product of current times voltage. Power has familiar units of watts. Since the SI unit for potential energy (PE) is the joule, power has units of joules per second, or watts. Thus, 1 A V = 1 W size 12{"1 A " cdot V=" 1 W"} {} . For example, cars often have one or more auxiliary power outlets with which you can charge a cell phone or other electronic devices. These outlets may be rated at 20 A, so that the circuit can deliver a maximum power P = IV = ( 20 A ) ( 12 V ) = 240 W . In some applications, electric power may be expressed as volt-amperes or even kilovolt-amperes ( 1 kA V = 1 kW size 12{"1 kA " cdot V=" 1 kW"} {} ).

To see the relationship of power to resistance, we combine Ohm’s law with P = IV size 12{P = ital "IV"} {} . Substituting I = V/R size 12{I = ital "V/R"} {} gives P = ( V / R ) V = V 2 / R size 12{P = \( V/R \) V=V rSup { size 8{2} } R} {} . Similarly, substituting V = IR size 12{V= ital "IR"} {} gives P = I ( IR ) = I 2 R size 12{P =I \( ital "IR" \) = I rSup { size 8{2} } R} {} . Three expressions for electric power are listed together here for convenience:

P = IV size 12{P = ital "IV"} {}
P = V 2 R size 12{P = { {V rSup { size 8{2} } } over {R} } } {}
P = I 2 R . size 12{P = I rSup { size 8{2} } R"."} {}

Note that the first equation is always valid, whereas the other two can be used only for resistors. In a simple circuit, with one voltage source and a single resistor, the power supplied by the voltage source and that dissipated by the resistor are identical. (In more complicated circuits, P size 12{P} {} can be the power dissipated by a single device and not the total power in the circuit.)

Questions & Answers

Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
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
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
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.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
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.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
many many of nanotubes
what is the k.e before it land
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
I'm interested in nanotube
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
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Source:  OpenStax, Physics of the world around us. OpenStax CNX. May 21, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11797/1.1
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