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# Diodes, LDRs and Thermistors - Pass My Exams: Easy examrevision notes for GSCE Physics

http://www.passmyexams.co.uk/GCSE/physics/diodes-LDR-thermistors.html[25/09/2014 20:05:29]
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Home > GCSE Physics > Electrical Circuits
This Topic Contains
The Diode
Current Potential Difference
graph for a Diode
The Light-Dependent Resistor
(LDR)
Current Potential graph for a
Light - Dependent Resistor
(LDR)
The Thermistor
Current Potential graph for a
Thermistor
Related Topics
What is Current?
Potential Difference
Resistance
Conventional Current, Series
and Parallel Circuits
Circuit Symbols
Ohms Law & Potential
Difference Graphs
Diodes, LDRs and Thermistors
GCSE Physics
All Topics

Diodes, LDRs and Thermistors
The Diode
A diode allows a current to flow through it in one direction only.
It has the symbol:
Remember circuit diagrams are drawn in conventional current. So the arrow on the diode symbol
indicates the direction in which the conventional current can flow.
When the arrow of the diode is in the same direction as the conventional current flow it is said
to be forward biased and current flows.
When the arrow of the diode is in the opposite direction to the conventional current flow it is
said to be reversed biased and no current flows.
DiodeBatteryLampBatteryLampCurrent flowsNo Current
Diodes are used in electric circuits to protect electrical equipment. In electrical equipment such as
radio or computers damage can be caused if the battery is connected the wrong way round. A diode
in the circuit only allows the current to pass through when the battery is connected correctly. If the
Diodes, LDRs and Thermistors - Pass My Exams: Easy examrevision notes for GSCE Physics
http://www.passmyexams.co.uk/GCSE/physics/diodes-LDR-thermistors.html[25/09/2014 20:05:29]
battery is connected the wrong way round no current passes through the diode and the electrical
circuit for the equipment is protected from damage.
Current Potential Difference graph for a Diode
The Light-Dependent Resistor (LDR)
In a light-dependent resistor the resistance decreases as the light intensity (brightness of light)
increases.
It has the symbol:
At low light levels or in the dark the resistance of an LDR is high and little current flows through
it.
In bright light the resistance of an LDR is low and more current flows through it.
The properties of an LDR are put to use in digital camera. The shutter speed of a camera can be
Diodes, LDRs and Thermistors - Pass My Exams: Easy examrevision notes for GSCE Physics
http://www.passmyexams.co.uk/GCSE/physics/diodes-LDR-thermistors.html[25/09/2014 20:05:29]
controlled by an LDR. If light levels are low changes in the resistance of the LDR can be measured
causing the shutter to stay open for longer. An LDR can also be used in a burglar alarm circuit for
e.g. inside a safe. When the safe is closed it is dark and so the resistance of the LDR is high. If it is
opened and the LDR exposed to light the resistance drops allowing current to flow which can then
trigger a relay circuit which rings an alarm.
Current Potential graph for a Light - Dependent Resistor (LDR)
The Thermistor
A thermistor is an electrical component in which the resistance decreases as the temperature
increases.
It has the following symbol:
At low temperature the thermistor has a high resistance and little current can flow through it.
But at high temperatures the resistance of the thermistor is low and more current flows through
it.
It is this property of the thermistor that allows it to be used as a temperature sensor. A Thermistor can
be used as an electronic thermometer in which the current flowing through it at different temperatures
can be calibrated in degrees Celsius to give a temperature reading. A thermistor is also used in a fire
alarm. A thermistor is placed into a fire alarm circuit such that above a set temperature the current
through the thermistor is at an amount to trigger a relay circuit which rings an alarm.
Current Potential graph for a Thermistor
Diodes, LDRs and Thermistors - Pass My Exams: Easy examrevision notes for GSCE Physics
http://www.passmyexams.co.uk/GCSE/physics/diodes-LDR-thermistors.html[25/09/2014 20:05:29]
Next Topic: Direct Current (dc) and Alternating Current (ac)