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Kirchoff's laws - RC Circuits Kirchoff's laws There are two laws necessary for solving circuit problems.

For simple circuits,we have been applying these equations almost instinctively. 0. The voltages around a closed path in a circuit must sum to zero. (Kirchoff's law #1) , the voltage drops being negative (following a current through a resistor), while the gains are positive (going through a battery from the negative to the positive terminal). 0. The sum of the currents entering a node must equal the sum of the currents exiting a node. (Kirchoff's Law #2) The first law is a simple statement of the meaning of potential. Since every point on a circuit has a unique value of the potential, travelling around the circuit, through any path must bring you back to the potential. Using the analogy to elevation: If one hikes from a starting point of a mountain, taking several paths, then finishes at the same point, the sum of the elevation changes of each path had better add to zero. The second law is the statement of current conservation mentioned before in the Ohm's law lecture. For the node on the right, i1=i2+i3. If all currents had been defined as entering the node, then the sum of the currents would be zero. When to use Kirchoff's laws Although Kirchoff's laws were used to derive the simple relations for adding resistors in series and parallel, not all problems can be broken down into such simple pieces. Below are three diagrams which may need to be solved (e.g. given the resistances and voltages of the batteries, find all the currents). The left-side figure can be treated by breaking up the circuit into pieces and applying the rules for adding resistances in parallel and series. The resistors R3, R4 and R5 can be treated as a single

resistor with resistance R345, which can then be added in parallel with R2, to give an effective resistance R2345. The battery sees a net resistance R = R1 + R2345. The middle and right-side figures can not be solved by such a strategy. Instead, one must write down Kirchoff's laws then solve the equations. For instance consider the right-side figure. The 3 currents through the 3 resistors i1, i2 and i3 are unknown. The three unknowns can be found by solving 3 equations: 1. 2. 3. 1. The first equation describes current conservation into the node. Note that i1 is defined as flowing into the node (to the right) while i2 and i3 are defined as flowing out of the node (down and to the right). 2. The second equation expresses the requirement that voltage losses cancel voltage gains for the loop on the left. 3. The third equation expresses the sum of voltages around the right loop. Note that if one makes a counter-clockwise loop, one goes against the current through R3 and the sign of that term is therefore opposite the normal one. Remember that one gains the voltage of the battery when travelling from the small hashes and leaving from the large hashes in the battery. One could also imagine writing equations for a third loop, that travels all the way around the circuit, through both batteries. However, such an equation is merely a linear combination of Eq. 2 and Eq. 3 above. RC Circuits An RC circuit is simply a circuit with both a resistor and a capacitor. This combination is useful to

study because capacitors can be used to store energy and a resistor placed along with the capacitor can control the rate at which energy is released from the capacitor. We will confine our studies to the following type of RC circuit. A switch can be moved from position a to position b. Before we go further, let us review some facts about capacitors: 1. The charge across a capacitor can not change instantaneously. Since the change in charge DQ = IDt, there must always be a non-zero time before the charge can change a nonzero amount, unless there were an infinite current. 2. There is no current across a capacitor in steady state. Since charge builds up on capacitor instead of flowing through it, current can build up until the point that the voltage V=Q/C will balance out the external voltage pushing charge onto the capacitor. When a capacitor of capacitance C is in series with a battery of voltage Vb and a resistor of resistance R, the voltage drops must be: , which is a statement that the voltage gained going across the battery must equal the voltage drop across the capacitor plus the voltage drop across the resistor. An equation where the rate of change of a quantity (DQ/Dt) is proportional to the quantity (DQ) will always have an exponential solution. We consider two instances: 1. Discharging the capacitor: The capacitor initially is connected (switch in position a) for a long time, and is then disconnected by moving the switch to b at time t = 0. The capacitor then discharges, leaving the capacitor without charge or voltage after a long time. 2. Charging the capacitor: The switch is in position b for a long time, allowing the capacitor to have no charge. At time t = 0, the switch is changed to a and the capacitor charges. Discharging Charging Charge

Current Voltage Here, Q0, V0 and I0 refer to the charge, voltage and current of the capacitor in the instant after the switch is thrown. The time t is the characteristic time of the decay, t = RC. When confronted with an RC problem, the best strategy is the following: 1. Decide what the charge across the capacitor was just before the switch was thrown. Since the charge can not change instantly, this is the charge just after the switch is thrown. 2. Decide what the charge is long after the switch is thrown. 3. Pick the exponential form for the charge Q(t) to satisfy the correct initial and final charges. 1. The voltage across the capacitor can be found through, V = Q/C. The voltages across the other elements can be found with the help of Kirchoff's first law . 2. The current through a capacitor must always decay and end up at zero, since charge can not continuously flow through a capacitor. The initial current can usually be ascertained with the help of Ohm's law, V=RI. The characteristic time t = RC tells one that the charging/discharging is slower with a larger resistor or capacitor. This makes sense, because a larger resistor impedes the flow of current; thus slowing the charging/discharging, and a larger capacitor holds more charge; thus requiring more time to charge. Everyone should have a good feeling for exponential functions. Below are sketches of the charge Q(t) for the charging and discharging capacitors. Kirchoff's laws / RC Circuits Examples Example #1 Problem: Find the currents through all the resistors in the circuit below:

DATA: Vb = 12 V, R1 = 10 W, R2 = 15 W, R3 = 20 W Solution: Summing the voltages around the left and right loops gives the following two equations: 1. 2. where i3 has been replaced by i1 - i2. Multiplying Eq. (1) by R3, multiplying Eq. (2) by R1, then adding the equations yields: which rearranged yields Once i2 is known, Eq. (1) can be used to get i1, and i3 can be found as the difference i1 - i2. i2 = 0.554 amps, i1= .369 amps, i3 = -.185 amps Example #2 Problem: Find the charges on all the capacitors in the circuit below: DATA: Vb = 12 V, C1 = 10 mF, C2 = 15 mF, C3 = 20 mF Solution: Summing the voltages around the left and right loops gives the following two equations 1. 2. where Q3 has been replaced by Q1 - Q2. Dividing Eq. (1) by C3, dividing Eq. (2) by C1, then adding the equations yields: which rearranged yields Once Q2 is known, Eq. (1) can be used to get Q1, and Q3 can be found as the difference Q1 - Q2. Q2 = 120.0 mC, Q1= 40.0 mC, Q3 = -80 mC Example #3

The circuit below has been in position a for a long time. At time t = 0 the switch is thrown to position b. DATA: Vb = 12 V, C= 10 mF, R = 20 W a.) What is the current through the resistor just BEFORE the switch is thrown? I=0 b.) What is the current through the resistor just AFTER the switch is thrown? Solution: I = V/R I = 0.6 amps c.) What is the charge across the capacitor just BEFORE the switch is thrown? Solution: Q = CV Q = 120 mC d.)What is the charge on the capacitor just AFTER the switch is thrown? Solution: Charge does not change instantaneously. Q = 120 mC e.) What is the charge on the capacitor at at time t = 0.3 msec after the switch is thrown? Solution: Q = Q0exp(-t/t) , where t = RC = 0.2 msec Q = 26.8 mC Example #4 Considering the same circuit, only with the switch thrown fromb to a at time t = 0 after having been in position b for a long time. DATA: Vb = 12 V, C= 10 mF, R = 20 W a.) What is the current through the resistor just BEFORE the switch is thrown? I=0 b.) What is the current through the resistor just AFTER the switch is thrown? Solution: I = V/R I = 0.6 amps c.) What is the charge across the capacitor just BEFORE the switch is thrown?

Solution: Q = CV Q=0 d.) What is the charge on the capacitor just AFTER the switch is thrown? Solution: Charge does not change instantaneously. Q=0 e.)What is the charge on the capacitor at at time t = 0.3 msec after the switch is thrown? Solution: Q = Q0(1.0 - exp(-t/t)) , where t = RC = 0.2 msec Q = 93.2 mC www.learnerstv.com