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Learning objectives

By the end of this section, you will be able to:

  • Draw a circuit with resistors in parallel and in series.
  • Use Ohm’s law to calculate the voltage drop across a resistor when current passes through it.
  • Contrast the way total resistance is calculated for resistors in series and in parallel.
  • Explain why total resistance of a parallel circuit is less than the smallest resistance of any of the resistors in that circuit.
  • Calculate total resistance of a circuit that contains a mixture of resistors connected in series and in parallel.

The information presented in this section supports the following AP® learning objectives and science practices:

  • 4.E.5.1 The student is able to make and justify a quantitative prediction of the effect of a change in values or arrangements of one or two circuit elements on the currents and potential differences in a circuit containing a small number of sources of emf, resistors, capacitors, and switches in series and/or parallel. (S.P. 2.2, 6.4)
  • 4.E.5.2 The student is able to make and justify a qualitative prediction of the effect of a change in values or arrangements of one or two circuit elements on currents and potential differences in a circuit containing a small number of sources of emf, resistors, capacitors, and switches in series and/or parallel. (S.P. 6.1, 6.4)
  • 4.E.5.3 The student is able to plan data collection strategies and perform data analysis to examine the values of currents and potential differences in an electric circuit that is modified by changing or rearranging circuit elements, including sources of emf, resistors, and capacitors. (S.P. 2.2, 4.2, 5.1)
  • 5.B.9.3 The student is able to apply conservation of energy (Kirchhoff’s loop rule) in calculations involving the total electric potential difference for complete circuit loops with only a single battery and resistors in series and/or in, at most, one parallel branch. (S.P. 2.2, 6.4, 7.2)

Most circuits have more than one component, called a resistor    that limits the flow of charge in the circuit. A measure of this limit on charge flow is called resistance    . The simplest combinations of resistors are the series and parallel connections illustrated in [link] . The total resistance of a combination of resistors depends on both their individual values and how they are connected.

In part a of the figure, resistors labeled R sub 1, R sub 2, R sub 3, and R sub 4 are connected in series along one path of a circuit. In part b of the figure, the same resistors are connected along parallel paths of a circuit.
(a) A series connection of resistors. (b) A parallel connection of resistors.

Resistors in series

When are resistors in series    ? Resistors are in series whenever the flow of charge, called the current    , must flow through devices sequentially. For example, if current flows through a person holding a screwdriver and into the Earth, then R 1 size 12{R rSub { size 8{1} } } {} in [link] (a) could be the resistance of the screwdriver’s shaft, R 2 size 12{R rSub { size 8{2} } } {} the resistance of its handle, R 3 size 12{R rSub { size 8{3} } } {} the person’s body resistance, and R 4 size 12{R rSub { size 8{4} } } {} the resistance of her shoes.

[link] shows resistors in series connected to a voltage    source. It seems reasonable that the total resistance is the sum of the individual resistances, considering that the current has to pass through each resistor in sequence. (This fact would be an advantage to a person wishing to avoid an electrical shock, who could reduce the current by wearing high-resistance rubber-soled shoes. It could be a disadvantage if one of the resistances were a faulty high-resistance cord to an appliance that would reduce the operating current.)

Questions & Answers

Propose a force standard different from the example of a stretched spring discussed in the text. Your standard must be capable of producing the same force repeatedly.
Giovani Reply
What is meant by dielectric charge?
It's Reply
what happens to the size of charge if the dielectric is changed?
Brhanu Reply
omega= omega not +alpha t derivation
Provakar Reply
u have to derivate it respected to time ...and as w is the angular velocity uu will relace it with "thita × time""
do to be peaceful with any body
Brhanu Reply
the angle subtended at the center of sphere of radius r in steradian is equal to 4 pi how?
Saeed Reply
if for diatonic gas Cv =5R/2 then gamma is equal to 7/5 how?
define variable velocity
Ali Reply
displacement in easy way.
Mubashir Reply
binding energy per nucleon
Poonam Reply
why God created humanity
Manuel Reply
Because HE needs someone to dominate the earth (Gen. 1:26)
why god made humenity
Is the object in a conductor or an insulator? Justify your answer. whats the answer to this question? pls need help figure is given above
Jun Reply
ok we can say body is electrically neutral ...conductor this quality is given to most metalls who have free electron in orbital d ...but human doesn't have ...so we re made from insulator or dielectric material ... furthermore, the menirals in our body like k, Fe , cu , zn
when we face electric shock these elements work as a conductor that's why we got this shock
how do i calculate the pressure on the base of a deposit if the deposit is moving with a linear aceleration
ximena Reply
why electromagnetic induction is not used in room heater ?
Gopi Reply
What is position?
Amoah Reply
What is law of gravition
sushil Reply
Practice Key Terms 9

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