Voltage is the unit of measurement for electronic potential, from one point location to another.

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Why does public mains power use 50-60 Hz and 100-240 V?

Is there a physical reason behind the frequency and voltage in the mains electricity? I do not want to know why exactly a certain value was chosen; I am rather interested to know why that range/order ...
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14answers
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I don't understand what we really mean by voltage drop

This post is my best effort to seek assistance on a topic which is quite vague to me, so that I am struggling to formulate my questions. I hope that someone will be able to figure out what it is I'm ...
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6answers
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Could someone intuitively explain to me Ohm's law?

Could someone intuitively explain to me Ohm's law? I understand what voltage is and how it is the electric potential energy and that it is the integral of the electric field strength etc. I also ...
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8answers
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How can a battery charge up another battery to a higher percentage?

Say I have my phone on 5% and a large battery pack on 35% and I charge the phone. By the end the phone is on 100% and the pack is on 12%. How can the battery pack charge the phone up to a higher ...
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4answers
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Are voltages discrete when we zoom in enough?

Voltages are often thought of as continuous physical quantities. I was wondering whether by zooming in a lot, they are discrete. I feel like the answer to the above question is yes as voltages in the ...
16
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3answers
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Why do we use Root Mean Square (RMS) values when talking about AC voltage

What makes it a good idea to use RMS rather than peak values of current and voltage when we talk about or compute with AC signals.
16
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11answers
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What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)?

This is a confused part ever since I started learning electricity. What is the difference between electric potential, potential difference (PD), voltage and electromotive force (EMF)? All of them have ...
12
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8answers
3k views

How do electrons “know” to share their voltage between two resistors?

My physics teacher explained the difference between voltage and current using sandwiches. Each person gets a bag full of sandwiches when they pass through the battery. Current = the number of people ...
9
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2answers
560 views

Could anyone help explain this current voltage graph for an LED in liquid nitrogen?

I've been doing my coursework investigating LEDs at various temperatures and I've come across an interesting phenomenon which nobody I've asked has been able to explain thoroughly - wheras at room ...
9
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3answers
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Why do birds, sitting on electric wires, not get shocked?

If we would touch electric wires, we would get a shock, even if we are not touching ground (so that no connection is complete form wire to ground through us). I always see that birds sit on electric ...
8
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5answers
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How can one derive the Ohm's Law?

I am looking for the derivation of the Ohm's Law i.e., V is directly proportional to I. Can someone help me with it?
7
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5answers
811 views

Difference between ways of transmitting power

There are two ways to transmit the same amount of power, 1 amp at 1 million volts or 1 million amps at 1 volt. Conceptually what is the difference? How can I think about it conceptually? I would ...
7
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5answers
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Why is electric potential scalar?

I can't conceptually visualize why it would be so. Say you have two point charges of equal charge and a point right in the middle of them. The potential of that charge, mathematically, is proportional ...
7
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6answers
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Difference between current and voltage sources

I am confused about the current and voltage. My intuitive example would be that of a pipe of say water. The diameter of the pipe determines the amount of water flowing per second but the pressure is ...
7
votes
3answers
33k views

Current without Voltage and Voltage without Current?

At school I've always learned that you can view Current and Voltage like this: The current is the flow of charge per second and the Voltage is how badly the current 'wants' to flow. But I'm having ...
6
votes
3answers
670 views

Why does my measured I-V curve for a film of aluminum suggest high resistance?

I plotted the I-V curve between two points (few microns apart) on a thin aluminum film. I expected this metal to be a conductor and have a much lower resistance, but the slope suggests that it is ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Does the photoelectric effect obey Ohm's law?

I've been reading about the photoelectric effect for my modern physics class, and I was confused about how Ohm's law works in relation to it. Let's say we have a photoelectric apparatus that simply ...
6
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2answers
4k views

How electric currents can flow between 2 points at the same potential?

According to Ohm's law, if there is a potential difference, $V$, across a resistor then there is a current, $I$, flowing through it. Since we assume that points along the connecting wire are at the ...
6
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1answer
135 views

What force causes the induced EMF of a loop? And, the difference between a loop EMF to motional EMF?

If a loop of wire is placed perpendicular to a changing magnetic field, there is an induced EMF such that the induced current is flowing in a direction to create an opposing magnetic field like this ...
6
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2answers
2k views

Voltage and current of positive lightning

For a physics issues investigation I chose to investigate what effects lightning could have on an aeroplane while in flight if it was struck and then go on to discuss some possible implications of ...
5
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4answers
17k views

How can you have a negative voltage?

How can you have a negative voltage? I don't really understand the concept of negative voltage, how can it exist?
5
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5answers
2k views

Why doesn't an electron accelerate in a circuit?

Why don't electrons accelerate when a voltage is applied between two points in in a circuit? All the textbooks I've referred conveyed the meaning that when an electron traveled from negative potential ...
5
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2answers
3k views

Why does vaccum have a nonzero characteristic impedance towards electromagnetic radiation

The characteristic impedance is calculated "as square root of the ratio of the permeability of free space ($\mu_0$) in henrys per meter ($\mathrm{H/m}$) to the permittivity of free space ($\epsilon_0$)...
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1answer
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why sometimes touching old flickering tube lights starts them properly

In my old house there are two old tube lights. Some times they don't start properly, (specially at evening time, may be it is because of low voltage), they starts flickering i.e. on and off ...
5
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1answer
12k views

Sign conventions for voltage drop and gain in circuit

In Sears and Zemansky's University Physics book and in many other books in English they define the following sign conventions (used for Kirchhoff loop rule for example): While in many other books (...
5
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1answer
391 views

What is the mathematics behind artificially generated plasmas via electric fields?

The ionization degree of a plasma is given by the Saha equation, which depends on the temperature and the particle specific ionization energy. In thermal equilibrium, the relation between ionization ...
5
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2answers
474 views

Why isn't there a potential difference across a disconnected diode?

I know this question sounds silly, as if there was a potential difference a current would be created when the terminals are connected together and this would mean energy has come from somewhere. The ...
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3answers
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Measuring voltage drop from induced current

I'm having trouble connecting voltage drops and induced current. Imagine you have a triangular loop make up off three resistors. You place this loop in a constantly changing magnetic field. This ...
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4answers
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Are square wave really square or are they always relative approximations using harmonics

I'm studying the properties of waves through different mediums, and got hung up on this. Is a square wave always a sum of harmonics or can we produce a square wave by quickly changing voltage? Is ...
4
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3answers
829 views

Why do Capacitor Inductor circuits Oscillate instead of reaching equilibrium?

When the capacitor is fully charged there is a potential difference between its poles and that creates a current. This current would create a magnetic field that is changing in the Inductor (because ...
4
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2answers
2k views

Voltage drop due to a resistor

I'm afraid this question is going to sound rather dumb but here it is: Suppose I have a very simple circuit: one battery and one resistor. The sum of the voltages in this circuit has to equal zero. ...
4
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1answer
1k views

What creates voltage? What causes electrons to move in a wire?

I was trying to break down how a transistor works to a friend, and I took a moment to think about electric current and voltages. I realised I do not understand where these phenomena come from. I ...
4
votes
2answers
361 views

What is happening to the electrons, and E & H fields, in an antenna with a standing wave inside?

Diagrams like the one shown below are often shown to explain antenna theory, but I have always had problem with the concept of voltage being a wave, and because of this the diagrams never make any ...
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1answer
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What maintains constant voltage in a battery?

I know there's lots of questions that address similar situations, (Batteries connected in Parallel, Batteries and fields?, Naive Question About Batteries, and the oft-viewed I don't understand ...
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1answer
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When does voltage drop occur?

Why or when does it occur in a circuit? What does it imply when you speak of a voltage drop across a resistor? (Obviously, it probably means that the current's voltage before the resistor is higher ...
4
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2answers
103 views

Kirchoff's rules and inductance

Can Kirchoff's loop rule be applied in a scenario involving an inductor? Kirchoff's loop rule states that the closed loop integral of E dot dl is equal to zero. But, in a situation with an inductor, a ...
4
votes
1answer
74 views

Why is 2-terminal sensing less accurate than 4-terminal sensing if the internal resistance of leads is known?

I have a pretty good understanding of 2-terminal vs. 4-terminal (kelvin) sensing measurements. I understand that in the 4-terminal measurement, current is supplied by 2 terminals that are separate ...
4
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3answers
461 views

Voltage drop = more electrons on one side of resistor

I have been asking myself this question for a long time now. Suppose we have two resistors in series connected to a voltage source. Simply put, does the voltage drop on each resistor mean that there ...
4
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1answer
148 views

Loopless voltage measurement

I think we are all very well familiarized with the classical voltmeter. Classical voltmeter has two conducting wires that bring two potentials into the box. In the box we have well controlled ...
4
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3answers
1k views

If the current is increased, is there more charge flowing or is it moving quicker?

Problem Current is the amount of charge that is flowing through a component per unit of time. For a given voltage, Ohm's law tells us that if we increase the resistance, then the current must ...
4
votes
6answers
55k views

What causes an electric shock - Current or Voltage?

Though voltage and current are two interdependent physical quantity, I would like to know what gives more "shock" to a person - Voltage or Current? In simple words, will it cause more "electric - ...
4
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1answer
964 views

Neon lamp: minimal breakdown voltage

I am looking at this formula from wiki for breakdown voltage in gas discharge lamps, and I see its linear by length (d) (oops, I see it's divided by $ln$) $$\frac{Bpd}{\mathrm{ln}\ Apd-\mathrm{ln}\ (...
4
votes
1answer
224 views

Why does a non-contact voltage detector light up when you touch a plasma ball with the other hand?

I am doing a science experiment and we decided to try holding a non-contact voltage detector up to plasma ball. We were surprised that it would light up when it was 3 ft away from the plasma ball. I ...
4
votes
0answers
613 views

What is the voltage difference between the Moon and the Earth?

The Moon and Earth are approximately spherical conductive balls and the Earth has a self-capacitance of around 710uF. Is there ever a significant potential difference in the Earth-Moon system? Is ...
3
votes
3answers
2k views

What is the physical meaning of electric potential, potential difference, and voltage?

When resembling the electricity flow through a wire to people walking through a street: electrons are people, current is the number of people, resistance is the barriers on the way. But what is the ...
3
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3answers
9k views

Questions about voltage

For some reason, I feel like the concept of voltage is escaping my grasp. I've done much research on these forums and through texts, and come across answers that seem quite well thought out, but still ...
3
votes
2answers
4k views

Why does voltage change in series circuit but not in parallel circuit?

Voltage divides after every resistor in series but not when placed in parallel. Please explain this with using very less or no mathematical equations. I have tried searching for an answer online but ...
3
votes
1answer
133 views

What does a voltmeter actually measure?

For time varying fields (even quasistatic ones) the electric field is given by $${\bf E} = - \nabla \Phi - \frac{\partial {\bf A}}{\partial t}$$ So what does a voltmeter measure? Does it measure a ...
3
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1answer
71 views

Question about linacs

Why are the electrodes of a linac connected to an alternating voltage? Within an electrode the electron moves with a constant speed, and once it is outside of the electrode it accelerates uniformly, ...
3
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4answers
2k views

If induced voltage (back-emf) is equal and opposite to applied voltage, what drives the current?

Suppose we have a circuit with a voltage source, a switch open and an inductor all in series. If we close the switch, the potential difference of the voltage source is instantaneously applied to the ...