Stack Exchange Network

Stack Exchange network consists of 174 Q&A communities including Stack Overflow, the largest, most trusted online community for developers to learn, share their knowledge, and build their careers.

Visit Stack Exchange

Questions tagged [electric-circuits]

An electronic system, with closed loop current flow, and relative electrical potentials present across electrical components.

10
votes
5answers
18k views

Resistor circuit that isn't parallel or series

What's the equivalent resistance in this circuit (between points A and B)?
8
votes
2answers
6k views

Why is the voltage drop across an ideal wire zero?

I'm having trouble conceptualizing why the voltage drop between two points of an ideal wire (i.e. no resistance) is $0~V$. Using Ohm's Law, the equation is such: $$ V = IR \\ V = I(0~\Omega) \\ V = 0$...
27
votes
3answers
151k views

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
votes
3answers
39k views

What happens when we connect a metal wire between the 2 poles of a battery?

As I remembered, at the 2 poles of a battery, positive or negative electric charges are gathered. So there'll be electric field existing inside the battery. This filed is neutralized by the chemical ...
35
votes
6answers
9k views

Does alternating current (AC) require a complete circuit?

This popular question about "whether an AC circuit with one end grounded to Earth and the other end grounded to Mars would work (ignoring resistance/inductance of the wire)" was recently asked on the ...
14
votes
2answers
4k views

Why doesn't the electric field inside a wire in a circuit fall off with distance from the battery?

We studied electric fields due to point charges. The magnitude of these fields decreases with the square of the distance from the point charge. It seems to me that we could treat the positive ...
17
votes
6answers
72k views

In an alternating current, do electrons flow from the source to the device?

If electrons in an alternating current periodically reverse their direction, do they really flow? Won't they always come back to the same position?
5
votes
5answers
32k views

Current in series resistors and voltage drop in parallel resistors

When we have resistors in series, the current through all the resistors is same and the voltage drop (or simply voltage) at each resistor is different. Question 1: It is fine that voltage drop (...
23
votes
11answers
28k views

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 ...
13
votes
9answers
31k views

Does a current carrying wire produce electric field outside?

In the modern electromagnetism textbooks, electric fields in the presence of stationary currents are assumed to be conservative,$$ \nabla \times E~=~0 ~.$$ Using this we get$$ E_{||}^{\text{out}}~=~E_{...
10
votes
3answers
1k views

Current in a simple circuit

I was going over my notes for an introductory course to electricity and magnetism and was intrigued by something I don't have an answer to. I remember my professor mentioning, to the best I can ...
9
votes
1answer
5k views

Why does electrical current start to flow?

What happens microscopically when an electrical current starts to flow? I'd like to understand microscopically what happens in detail when electrons start moving (quasi-classically). Electrons can ...
8
votes
3answers
9k views

Pn junction voltage drop?

This image from wikipedia, explains that there occurs a potential drop across a pn semiconductor junction, and an electric field confined to the depletion region. I already know the reason for the ...
19
votes
6answers
7k 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 ...
25
votes
2answers
6k views

Resistance between any 2 nodes on an infinite square grid

This question is motivated by this xkcd comic strip . The problem is indeed interesting, and my first recollection upon reading this was a similar problem in the book Problems in General Physics by I....
27
votes
10answers
70k views

Electricity takes the path of least resistance?

Electricity takes the path of least resistance! Is this statement correct? If so, why is it the case? If there are two paths available, and one, for example, has a resistor, why would the current ...
10
votes
6answers
20k views

What would be the effective resistance of the ladder of resistors having n steps

I'm a tutor. This is a high school level problem. In high school, every one have might have solved a problem of effective resistance of a ladder of resistors having infinite steps. Now the problem is ...
11
votes
2answers
8k 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 ...
54
votes
7answers
12k views

Cyclist's electrical tingling under power lines

It's been happening to me for years. I finally decided to ask users who are better with "practical physics" when I was told that my experience – that I am going to describe momentarily – prove that I ...
9
votes
5answers
26k views

Detecting if resistances are parallel or series in complex circuits

I know how to detect when resistors are arranged in parallel or series arrangement and I can also find their equivalent resistance in simple circuits or when resistances are connected in form of ...
1
vote
1answer
8k views

Current against the inverse of resistance graph, $I = V/R +c$

If I have a plot of current ($y$ axis) against 1/Resistance ($x$ axis). The circuit it is measured from is a simply 2 resistors connected in parallel to battery, where the potential across the ...
2
votes
2answers
256 views

Ambiguity on the notion of potential in electrical circuits?

As everybody else I have been taught elementary electrical circuits from secondary school to engineering level in analog electronics at university. Invariably, the notion of potential used to ...
1
vote
4answers
1k views

Voltage drop along an idealized resistance-free wire in a circuit?

If you connected the positive terminal of a battery to the negative terminal to a battery with a wire with (hypothetically) no resistance, and are asked to give the voltage drop of a segment of wire ...
92
votes
2answers
61k views

On this infinite grid of resistors, what's the equivalent resistance?

I searched and couldn't find it on the site, so here it is (quoted to the letter): On this infinite grid of ideal one-ohm resistors, what's the equivalent resistance between the two marked nodes? ...
20
votes
8answers
81k views

Difference between live and neutral wires

In domestic electrical circuits, there are 3 wires - live, earth and neutral. What is the difference between the live and neutral wires? As there is AC supply, it means that there are no fixed ...
20
votes
6answers
16k views

How can Ohm's law be correct if superconductors have 0 resistivity?

Ohm's law states that the relationship between current ( I ) voltage ( V ) and resistance ( R ) is $$I = \frac{V}{R}$$ However superconductors cause the resistance of a material to go to zero, and ...
17
votes
3answers
107k views

Different batteries connected in parallel

If we have 2 batteries one of emf x and the other is of emf y and we connect them in series we get an effective emf of x+y. But what if we connect them in parallel, how to calculate the emf now?
8
votes
2answers
1k views

Why is the return current through a printed circuit board's ground plane concentrated below the circuit trace?

The Wikipedia article on ground plane says In addition, a ground plane under printed circuit traces [the paths that the circuit currents take] can reduce crosstalk between adjacent traces. When two ...
10
votes
1answer
4k views

How can I put a permanent current into a superconducting loop?

I know that you can use induction to create a current in a superconducting loop, but this only works as long as the coil that induces the field has a current flowing through it. And obviously, this ...
5
votes
4answers
6k views

Application of Kirchhoff's laws in circuits with inductors

As we know,the Kirchhoff circuit laws are applicable for conservative electric fields. Now it is applicable for circuits where inductors are present but the field there is not conservative. So how ...
3
votes
2answers
8k views

Path of least resistance vs. short circuit

Some sources on the web claim that "electricity follows the path of least resistance" is not true, e.g. this physics SE question. However, in every explanation of "short circuits", the author says ...
2
votes
4answers
1k views

Justification of root mean square [duplicate]

In the top answer to the question Why do we use Root Mean Square (RMS) values when talking about AC voltage, the following was stated: This RMS is a mathematical quantity (used in many math fields) ...
-1
votes
5answers
13k views

Determine which circuits are parallel and which are in series

I need to find the Equivalent Resistance across A and B. The problem is, I don't know which one's are in series and which ones are in parallel. How do I identify which ones are parallel or series?
65
votes
13answers
13k views

Why doesn't current pass through a resistance if there is another path without resistance?

Why doesn't current pass through a resistance if there is another path without resistance? How does it know there is resistance on that path ?
27
votes
6answers
5k views

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 ...
8
votes
3answers
33k views

Equivalent resistance in ladder circuit [closed]

I have stumbled upon a given question I really have a hard time to solve. Basically I need to find an equivalent resistance in some form of "ladder" configuration. Where the chain is an infinite ...
3
votes
3answers
4k views

Why electrons flow through a wire connected to a battery?

I would like to know why does electrons flow through a wire connected to a battery as said in AC/DC: What's the Difference?.It tells that "the electrons that are stripped from the carbon electrode is ...
6
votes
4answers
42k views

Is it possible to flow current in open circuit?

As I know a battery is an example of a closed circuit where it can then produce electricity , electrons will flow from negative pole to positive. A chemistry representation of this battery is for ...
1
vote
0answers
91 views

What is the capacity of this circuit? [duplicate]

I simply can't figure out what the capacity of this circuit is. I can do the math myself, I just need a hint how to create an equivalent circuit where it is obvious what is parallel and what is in ...
1
vote
6answers
3k views

What happens to half of the energy in a circuit with a capacitor?

For a simple circuit with a battery supplying a voltage V to a capacitor, let us assume that the charge on the capacitor is Q. Now, the work done by the battery or the energy supplied is given by the ...
22
votes
5answers
20k views

What's the physical meaning of the imaginary component of impedance?

As you know, impedance is defined as a complex number. Ideal capacitors: $$ \frac {1} {j \omega C} \hspace{0.5 pc} \mathrm{or} \hspace{0.5 pc} \frac {1} {sC} $$ Ideal inductors: $$ j \omega L \...
11
votes
6answers
7k views

Why does current density have a direction and not current?

Current is a scalar $I$ with units of $\mathrm{[J/s]}$. It is defined as $I=\frac{\mathrm{d}Q}{\mathrm{d}t}$. Current density is a vector $\vec{J}$ (with magnitude $J$) with units of $\mathrm{[J/s/m^2]...
6
votes
3answers
19k views

Proof of Thevenin and Norton theorem

How can I prove Thevenin's and Norton's theorem? Thévenin's theorem can be used to convert any circuit's sources and impedances to a Thévenin equivalent.
9
votes
4answers
2k views

Where does the extra energy come from in an LC circuit?

In an LC circuit, or an LC tank, the capacitor discharges in one direction through an inductor and then the inductor seems to carry energy in the form of a magnetic field , to charge the capacitor ...
7
votes
5answers
9k views

Is a capacitor in an open circuit charged?

Say I have a circuit consisting of a battery, a wire, an open switch, and a capacitor. The circuit is open since the switch is open. My book says that the capacitor will only be charged when the ...
6
votes
3answers
1k 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 ...
12
votes
5answers
10k views

Is current in superconductors infinite? If they have 0 resistance then I (V/R) should be infinite? [duplicate]

I learned many years ago that according to Ohm's law, current is equal to voltage divided by resistance. Now if superconductors have zero resistance then the current should be infinite. Moreover the ...
9
votes
5answers
21k views

If a superconductor has zero resistance, does it have infinite amperage?

If amps = volts / ohms, and ohms is 0, then what is x volts / 0 ohms?
5
votes
4answers
12k views

Does AC current produce EM waves?

Does AC current in simple wires produce electromagnetic waves? AC current entails very rapid changes in polarity and therefore the electrons in the metal will feel rapidly changing forces which should ...
4
votes
3answers
6k views

General integral to find resistance

My question is: is there a simple and truly general equation for the resistance between two electrical equipotential surfaces?. Obviously, if so, what is it, and if not, why? It would be very ...