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Flashcards in Electricity and Circuits Deck (113):

What is an atom?

+A positively charged nucleus surrounded by negatively charged electrons. +They are neutral


Where is all the mass of an atom located?

In the nucleus +The nucleus is tiny [about 10,000 times smaller than the whole atom]


Label the structure of the atom

Q image thumb

A image thumb

What do the negative electrons do? 

+They whizz around in fixed orbits called energy levels or shells. 


What does it mean when atoms are neutral

Number of protons = Number of electrons


What does it mean if an atom gains or loses an electron?

  • If an atom gains an electron, it becomes a negative ion
  • If an atom loses an electron, it becomes a positive ion. 


What do atoms form when they join together? 


+Eg, molecules of oxygen gas are made up of two oxygen atoms bonded together. Small molecules like this have a typical size of 10-10 m - the same sort of scale as the size of an atom. 


Complete the table:

Q image thumb

A image thumb

What is current? 

  • The rate of flow of electric charge around the circuit.
  • Current will only flow thrrough an electrical component if there is potential difference across that component, and if the circuit is complete [closed]. 
  • Unit: ampere, A


When will the current only flow through an electrical circuit? 

+If there is potential difference across that component, and if the circuit is complete [closed].

Unit: ampere A


What is potential difference? 

+The driving force that pushes the charge round

+The energy change per unit of charge between two points

+Unit, volt [V]


What is resistance? 

+Anything that slows the flow of electric charge [current] down

+Unit ohms [Ω]


What does the current flowing through a component depend on? 

+The potential difference across it and the resistance of the compoent. 


What normally happens the higher the potential difference across a given component?

The higher the current will be


What normally happens the greater the resistance of a component? 

+The smaller the current that flows [for a given potential difference across the component]


What does total charge depend on? 

Current and time


What is current caused by in metals? 

+By a flow of electrons


What is the formula for charge? 

A image thumb

Name these circuit symbols:

Q image thumb

A image thumb

What happens as current flows round a circuit?

+ The charges transfer energy as they struggle against resistance


What is potential difference? 

+The energy transferred per coulomb of charge that passes between two points in an electrical unit. 


What is the formula for energy transferred? 

A image thumb

What is one volt also known as? 

One joule per coulomb


What is potential difference also known as? 



What is the formula for potential difference? 

A image thumb

What does resistance increase with? 

Temperature [usually]


What happens when an electrical charge flows through a component

  • It has to do work against resistance
  • This causes an electrical transfer of energy [work done = energy transferred] 


What are I-V graphs 

+Current - potential difference graphs

+This shows how the current varies as you change the potential difference


What happens to the electrical transfer of energy? 

  • Some of this energy is transferred usefully but some of it is dissipated to the thermal energy stores of the componenent and the surroundings.
  • So when a current flows through a resistor, the ressistor heats up


Why does a resistor heat up when a current flows through it? 

+Electrons collide with the ions in the lattice that make up the resistor as they flow through it.

+This gives the ions energy, which causes them to vibrate and heat up.

+The more the ions vibrate, the harder it is for electrons to get through the resistor [because there are more collisions]. This means that for a given p.d the current decreases as the resistor heats up. 

+If the resistor gets too hot, no current will be able to flow. [Exception: The resistance of a thermistor decreases with an increase in temperature. 


What is the standard test circuit? 

How can this relationship be shown?

+This is an experiement to investigate the relationship between current [I], potential difference [V] and resistance for a range of components [such as a filament bulb or fixed resistor].

+This relationship can easily be shown with an IV graph


What does the standard test circuit contain?  

+Ammeter - this measures the current [in amps] flowing through the component. It can be put anywhere in the main circuit - but it must be placed in series with the component [never paralel] 

+Voltmeter - this measures the potential difference across the component. It must be placed in paralel with the component under test


What is the diagram of the standard test circuit? 

A image thumb

What is the process of the standard test circuit?

A image thumb

What can you create I-V graphs for? 

+Diodes, Thermistors and LDR's 

+However, resistance [and so potential difference] of these components can depend on other factors besides current. [like light intensity and temperature]


How does resistance vary within a thermistor? 

+As the temperature increases, the current through the thermistor increases as the resistance decreases

+Keep the potential difference supply constant, gradually heat the thermistor [by placing thermistor against a beaker of hot water]

+You will find...


How does resistance vary within LDR's? 

+As the light level gets brighter, the current through the LDR increases as the resistance decreases.

+Condict experiment in a dim room. Keep P.D constant and slowly adjust the light level near to the LDR [eg. by using a lamp connected to the dimmer switch]

+You should find...


How does resistance vary within a diode?  

+Current will only flow through a diode in one direction 

+The diode has a very high resistance in the opposite direction 


How does resistance vary within a filament lamp?

+An increasing current increases the temperature of the filament, which makes the resistance increase 

+So their I-V graphs are curved 


What is current directly proportional to [if the temperature stays the same]

Potential difference [if the temperature stays the same] 


Show how the I-V graph for resistors and wires look like:

A image thumb

Show how the I-V graph for a filament lamp looks like: 

A image thumb

Show how the graph for a diode looks like: 

A image thumb

What do linear components have? 

An I-V graph that is a straight line [eg. a fixed resistor] 


What do non-linear components have? 

+A curved I-V graph [eg. a filament lamp or a diode] 


What happens when there is an electric current in a resistor? 

+There is an energy transfer which heats the resistor


What happens when an electrical current does work against electrical resistance?  

+Electrical energy is dissipated as thermal energy in the surroundings 


For linear components, what happens if the line goes through [0,0]

+The resistance of the component equals the inverse of the gradient of the line [or 1/gradient]

+The steeper the graph, the lower the resistance


How can you find resistance on any point on any I-V graph?

 +You can find resistance for any point on any I-V graph by...

+Reading the P.D and current at that point and putting them into the equation: 


+So R = V/I


What is an LDR? 

Q image thumb

+An LDR [Light Dependant Resistor] is a resistor that is dependant on the intensity of light. 

+In bright light, the resistance falls

+In darkness, the resistance is the highest


What does the graph for an LDR look like? 

A image thumb

What are the applications of an LDR? 

+There are many applications including

+Automatic night lights, outdoor lighting and burglar detectors 


What happens to the resistance of a thermistor as the temperature increases? 

+The resistance of a thermistor decreases as the temperature increases


What is a thermistor? 

+A thermistor is a temperature dependant resistor

+In hot conditions, the resistance drops

+In cool conditions, the resistance go up


What are some of the applications of thermistors? 

+Thermistors make useful temperature detectors,

+Eg. car engine temperature sensors and electronic thermostats 


What does the graph for a thermistor look like? 

A image thumb

What is a series circuit?

+A circuit where electrical components are connected one after the other in a single loop.

+An electron will pass through every component on its way round the circuit

+If a bulb is broken, the current will not be able to flow round the circuit 

+If one of the bulbs go out, they all go out


What does an ammeter measure? 

Current [amps]


What does a voltmeter measure 

Potential difference [volts] 


What does a diagram of a series circuit look like? 

A image thumb

What happens in a series circuit? 

+The current is the same through each component

+The total potential difference of the power supply is shared between the components

+The total resistance of the circuit is the sum of individual resistors

[As you add resistors, the total resistance of the circuit increases]


What are parallel circuits?

+Circuits where electrical components are connected alongside one another forming extra loops

+If a bulb is broken, the current can still flow through other components in the circuit through the other loop. 

+When a bulb goes out, other components can still work



What happens in a parallel circuit? 

+The total current supplied is split between the components on different loops 

+Potential difference is the same accross each loop 

+[If second resistor is added in parallel], the total resistance of the circuit is reduced as the current can follow multiple paths

+The total current going in to a junction equals the total current leaving [the same current flows through each component] 


What does a diagram of a parallel circuit look like?

A image thumb

In series circuits, how do you find the total resistance? 

+The sum of the resistances


What happens when you add resistors in series? 

+This increases total resistance

+This is because by adding a resistor in series, the two resistors have to share their total potential difference

+The P.D across each resistor is lower, so the current through each resistor is lower 

+In a series circuit, the current is the same everywhere, so total current is reduced when a resistor is added [meaning total resistance increases]

+The bigger a components resistance, the bigger its share of the total potential difference


What happens when you add a resistor in parallel?

+This reduces the total resistance [their total resistance is less than the smallest of the resistors] 

+By adding another loop, the current has more than one direction to go in 

+This increases the total current that can flow around the circuit 

+An increase in current means a decrease in the total resistance of the circuit


For a series circuit, as the potential difference increases 

The current through the resistor increases [non-linear relationship for a filament bulb] 


For a parallel circuit, as the P.D increases...

So does the current through each bulb [non-linear relationship] 

+The P.D across each bulb is the same as the P.D of the power supply 


In parallel, the total current through the circuit...

Is the sum of the current through the two branches [which is larger than the total current in series with one filament bulb] 

+This is because the overall resistance of a parallel circuit is lower, so a lower value of R causes a higher value of I


How is energy transfered through a circuit? 

+Energy is transferred when an electrical charge goes through a change in potential difference [as work is done against resistance]


Where is energy supplied in a circuit? 

+Energy is supplied to the charge at the power source to 'raise' it through a potential 

+The charge gives up this energy when it 'falls' through any potential drop in components elsewhere in the circuit [eg. resistors]


What is the equation for the energy transferred to an electrical component? 

+The larger the current or P.D through a component, the more energy transferred to it 

A image thumb

What are electrical appliances designed to do? 

+Transfer energy to components in the circuit when a current flows


How do kettles transfer energy? 

+Kettles transfer energy from the mains a.c supply to the thermal energy store of the heating element inside the kettle. 


How is energy transferred in handheld fans?

+Energy is transferred electrically from the battery of a handheld fan to the kinetic energy store of the fan's motor. 


Does any appliance transfer energy completely usefully? 

+No appliance transfers all energy completely usefully

+The higher the current, the more energy is transferred to the thermal energy stores of the components [and then the surroundings]  


What does heating usually do? 

+This usually increases the resistance of the components

+This reduces its efficiency - less energy is transferred to useful energy stores [because more of it is being transferred to the thermal energy store of the component] 


What happens if the temperature gets too high? 

+This can cause components in the circuit to melt - which means the circuit will stop working, or not work properly


What is a fuse? 

a safety device consisting of a strip of wire that melts and breaks an electric circuit if the current gets too high [exceeds a safe level]


What are the advantages of the heating effect of an electric current? 

+It can be useful when you want to heat something

+Toasters contain a coil of wire with a really high resistance 

+When a current passes through the coil, its temperature increases so much that it glows and gives off infrared radiation. 

+The radiation transfers energy to the bread and cooks it

+Filament bulbs and electric heaters work in a similar way


What does the total energy transferred by an appliance depend on? 

+How long the appliance is on for and its power


What is the power of an appliance? 

+The power of an appliance is the energy is transfers per second 

+So the more energy it transfers in a given time, the higher its power


What is the formula for power? 

A image thumb

What are appliances often given? 

+A power rating - they're labelled with the maximum safe power they can be operated at [usually maximum operating power] 


What does the power rating tell you? 

+This tells you the maxium amount of energy transferred between stores per second when the appliance is in use


What do microwaves have a range of? 

+They have a range of power ratings

+Eg. A 500W microwave will take longer to cook food than one with a power rating of 750W

+This is because the 500W transfers less energy per second to the thermal energy store of the food, so it takes longer to cook


What can help customers choose between models of microwaves? 

+The lower the power rating, the less electricity an appliance uses in a given time so the cheaper it is to run.

+But a higher power doesn't neccesarily mean that it is more efficient. An appliance may be more powerful but might not transfer more energy usefully - meaning it might still only transfer the same amount of energy [or even less] to useful stores


What does the power transferred by an appliance depend on? 

+This depends on the potential difference [p.d] across it, and the current flowing through it


What does the p.d and current tell you? 

+The p.d tells you how much energy each unit of charge transfers 

+The current tells you how much charge passes per unit time

+So both will affect the rate energy is transferred to an appliance, and at the rate it transferess energy to other stores 


What is the eqation for electrical power? 

A image thumb

What is the equation for power if you don't know the potential difference? 

A image thumb

What is mains supply? 



What is the Battery supply?



What is a.c?

Alternating current 


What is d.c?

Direct current 



What does the a.c do? 

How are alternating currents produced? 

+In a.c supplies, the movement of the charges is constantly changing direction 

+Alternating currents are produced by alternating voltages [the positive and negative ends of the p.d keep alternating]


What is the UK mains supply? 

The UK mains supply [the electricity in your home] is an  a.c supply at at around 230 V


What is the frequency of the a.c mains supply

50 cycles per second or 50 Hz [hertz]


What supplies d.c [direct current]? 

Cells and batterries supply direct current


What happens in direct current? 

What is d.c created by? 

+The movement of the charges is only in one direction

+D.c is created by a direct voltage [a p.d that is only positive or negative, not both]


What are most electrical appliances connected to? 

+The mains supply by three core cables

+This means that they have three wires inside them, each with a core of copper and a coloured plastic coating

+The colour of the insulation on each cable shows its purpose


Are the colours for each of the three core cables the same? 

+Yes, the colours are always the same for every appliance

+This is so that it's easy to tell the different wires apart


What colour is the live wire? 



What does the live wire do?

Where is the live wire situated?  

+This carries the voltage [potential difference, p.d]. 

+It alternates between a high +ve and -ve voltage of about 230V

+It is situated on the right


What colour is the neutral wire? 



What does the neutral wire do? 

+Where is the earth wire situated? 

+This completes the circuit - electricity [normally] flows in through the live wire and out through the neutral wire

+The neutral wire is always at 0V 

+It is situated on the left


What colour is the earth wire 

Green and yellow


What does the earth wire do? 

+This wire is for safety and protecting the wiring. 

+It carries the current away if something goes wrong and stops the appliance casing becoming live

+It's also at 0V 


What is the p.d between the live wire and the neutral wire? 

+This equals the supply p.d [230V for the mains]


What is the p.d between the live wire and the earth wire? 

+This is 230V for a mains-connected appliance


What is the p.d between the neutral wire and the earth wire? 

+There is no p.d - they're both at 0V


What do plug sockets have? 

+Switches which are connected  in the live wire of the circuit. 

+This is so the circuit can be broken - the appliance becomes isolated and the risk of an electric shock is reduced