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Electric Current
Electric battery
 Galvani found that “when a brass hook was pressed into
the frog’s spinal cord and then hung from an iron railing that
also touched the frog, the leg muscles again would
contract.” This phenomenon also occurred for other pairs of
metals → “animal electricity”
 Volta said that the contracting frog was a sensitive
instrument for detecting electric “tension” or “electromotive
“pile” Voltaic battery
Z Z paper
Z Z soaked
A A in acid
Z Z “crown of cups” Voltaic battery


Z = zinc; A = Argentum
Electric battery
A battery produces electricity by transforming chemical energy into electrical
energy. The simplest batteries contain two plates or rods made of dissimilar
metals (one can be carbon) called electrodes. The electrodes are
immersed in a solution, such as a dilute acid, called electrolyte. (in a dry
cell, the electrolyte is absorbed in a powdery paste).

electric circuit

+ -
Terminal Terminal
How does a battery works???
Carbon + - Zinc
electrode (+) electrode (-)

Electric current

When a circuit is formed, charge can
flow through the wires of the circuit,

from 1 terminal of the battery to the
other. A flow of the charge is called:
+ -
electric current.
Electric current is defined as the amount of charge that passes through
the wire per unit time.
Δq Current, I
i 1 Ampere = 1 C/s
Δt Electron flow
+ -

In a circuit, electrons actually flow through the metal wires. However, it is

customary to use a conventional current “I” to describe the flow of charges.
What is the different of direct current (dc) and alternating current (ac)?
Ohm’s law
Device The current that a battery can push Water

thru a wire is analogous to the pump

battery water flow that a pump can push
+ - thru a pipe.

IV  R Ohm’s law

R = resistance of the piece of the material = the ratio of voltage V

applied across a piece of material to the current I thru the material.
SI unit of Resistance: volt/ampere = ohm 1Ω  1

Ohm’s law is not a fundamental law of nature like Newton’s laws of motion.
It is only a statement of the way certain materials behave in electric
circuits. Materials that obey Ohm’s law demonstrate linear behavior
between V and I are called ohmic.
For a wide range of materials, the resistance of a piece of
material of length L and cross-sectional area A is: Rρ
 = resistivity of the material [.m] A

Resistivity of various materials at 20oC [sumber: Giancoli]

Material Resisitivity  (.m) Material Resisitivity  (.m)
Conductors: Semiconductors:
Aluminium 2.65 x 10-8 Carbon (graphite) (3–60) x 10-5
Copper 1.68 x 10-8 Germanium (1-500) x 10-3
Gold 2.44 x 10-8 Silicon 0.1 – 60
Iron 9.71 x 10-8 Insulators:
Mercury 98 x 10-8 Glass 109 – 1012
Nichrome (alloy) 100 x 10-8 Rubber (hard) 1013 – 1015
Silver 1.59 x 10-8
Tungsten 5.6 x 10-8

 and o of a material depends on temperatures T and To. In metals, 

increases with T, whereas in semiconductors the reverse is true. For
many materials in limited temperature ranges, it is:
 = o [1 + (T – To)]
 = o [1 + (T – To)]  = temperature coefficient of resistivity.
In METAL: In semiconductor (C, germanium, & Si):
when T >> To →  >> o :  = (+) when T >> To →  << o :  = (-)

Material Temperature coeff @ Example 1:

20oC, , (CO)-1
Conductors: Suppose you want to connect your
Silver 0.0061 stereo to remote speakers.
Copper 0.0068
Aluminum 0.00429 (a) If each wire must be 20 m long, what
Tungsten 0.0045 diameter copper wire should you use
Iron 0.00651
Platinum 0.003927 to keep the resistance less than 0.10
Mercury 0.0009  per wire? [2.1 mm]
Nichrome 0.0004
Semiconductors: (b) If the current to each speaker is 12
Carbon (graphite) - 0.0005 A, what is the voltage drop across
Germanium - 0.05 each wire? [1.2 V]
Silicon - 0.07
Example 2: Resistance Thermometer
(or RTD = Resistance Thermometer
The variation in electrical resistance
with temperature can be used to
make precise temperature
measurements. Platinum is usually
used since it is relatively free from
corrosive effects and has a high
melting point.
To be specific, suppose at 0oC the
resistance of a platinum resistance
thermometer is 164.2 . When
placed in a particular solution, the
resistance is 187.4 . What is the
temperature of this solution? [35.9oC]
The value of  depends on T, so it is important to check its temperature
range. The resistivity actually proportional to the square and cube of T:
 = 0 [1 + (T – To) + (T – To)2 +  (T – To)3 ]
Coefficients  And  are generally very small, but when (T – To) is large, their
terms become significant.
Electric power
Electric energy can be easily transformed into other forms of energy.

electric energy Motor mechanical work

Electric heater,
electric energy Thermal energy
stove, hair dryer

electric energy light bulb light

The power transformed by an electric device = energy to move a

charge q through a potential difference V divided by time needed.
energy transforme d qV
P  power   Since I = Q/t, then: P = IV
time t

The rate of energy transformed in a resistance R is: P = I2R

Electric bill in kWh! 1 W = 1 J/s. So 1 kWh = (1000 W)(3500s) = 3.6 x 106 Joule.
Electric power
Example 3:
An electric heater draws 15 A on a 120-Volt line. How much power does
it use and how much does it cost per month (30 days) if it operates 3 h
per day and the electric company charges 10.5 cents per kWh? (for
simplicity, assume the current flows steadily in one direction). [$17]

When the electric wires carry large current, the wires

will heat up and produce thermal energy I2R. When
the current is more than is safe → it is said
“overloaded”. To prevent overloading, fuses or circuit
breakers are installed in the circuit. They are basically
switches that open the circuit when the current
exceeds some particular value. Example: 20-A fuse
or circuit breaker opens when the current passing thru
it exceeds 20 A.

Household circuits are designed with the various

devices connected so that each receives the standard
voltage (120 V or 220 V).
Alternating Current
The current produced by a battery in a circuit is

direct current, dc. But electric generators at electric

power plants produce alternating current, ac.
The voltage produced by an ac electric generator is
time sinusoidal, i.e: V = Vo sin 2ft
The frequency “f” is the number of complete
Io ac
oscillations made per second. In US & Canada, f =
60 Hz. In Indonesia, f = 50 Hz.

From Ohm’ law, the current across resistance R is:
- Io
V Vo
I  sin 2ft = Io sin 2 ft
Io = Vo/R = is the peak current.

What about the power delivered?

P = I2R = Io2 R sin2 2ft
I2 is always (+) → the power is always (+). The value of Sin2 2 ft varies between 0
and 1. Thus the average power developed is:
V The average value of the square of the current & voltage
P  21 Io2R  21 o
R I 2  21 Io2 V 2  21 Vo2
The square root of these is the “rms” (root-mean-square) value of the current
or voltage. VO IO
Vrms  V  2
Irms  I 2

2 2
The rms value of V and I are sometimes called the “effective values”.
They are used to get average power:
Pave = Irms2R or Pave = Vrms2 / R
A direct current whose values of I and V equal to the rms value of I and
V for an ac will produce the same power. The “rms” value of voltage that
is measured/specified. Ex: in US, standard line voltage is 120 V ac. This
120 V is Vrms, then the peak voltage is 2xVrms.
Example 4:
Calculate the resistance and the peak current in a 1000-W hair dryer
connected to a 120-V line. What happens if it is connected to a 240-V line
in Indonesia? [14.4 ohm] [4000 W]
Resistors in series and parallel
Resistors in series Resistors in parallel

1 1 1 1
  
Req R1 R2 R3

Veq = V1 = V2 = V3

Ieq = I1 + I2 + I3

Req = R1 + R2 + R3
Example 5:
Veq = V1 + V2 + V3
Two 100-ohm resistors are connected (a)
Ieq = I1 = I2 = I3 in series, and (b) in parallel, to a 24-V
battery. What is the current through each
resistor and what is the equivalent
resistance of each circuit?
Example 6: Example 7:

500  R R R
400 
700 
12 V

How much current flows Estimate the equivalent resistance of the

from the battery shows in ‘ladder’ of equal resistors shown in the
figure above? [17 mA] figure above. In other words, what would
How much current flows an ohmmeter read if connected between
through every resistance? points ‘a’ and ‘b’? [(41/15) R]
EMF and Terminal Voltage
A device that produces electric energy is called a source of
electromotive force (EMF). Example: battery or electric generator.
 An emf itself has internal resistance. In a battery, the
a b internal resistance is due to the chemicals within it. In a
r = internal generator, internal resistance is the resistance of wires
resistance & other components within generator.

Internal resistance, r, is inside the battery, thus never separate from the
battery. What we measure is Vab, the terminal voltage (the actual
voltage delivered).

When no current is drawn from battery, the terminal voltage Vab = 

When a current I flows from the battery, Vab =  - I.r

An ordinary flashlight battery when fresh has r  0.05 .

Kirchhoff’s rules and DC circuits
30  h
To deal with more complicated circuits,
= use Kirchhoff’s rules.
45 V
40  1 •Kirchhoff’s 1st or Junction rule is based
b c d on conservation of charge:
At any junction point,  currents entering

20 
=  currents leaving the junction.
g f e •Kirchhoff’s 2nd or Loop rule is based on
conservation of energy:
How much current flows thru
20, 30, and 40 resistance?
Algebraic sum of the changes in potential
around any closed path of a circuit = 0.
[2.584A, -0.858A, 1.726A]
(V)loop = 0
Rules for determining V across a resistance & battery.
Junction Rule I

I1 a b a b
V = Vb – VA = -IR V = Vb – VA = -
I 
I1 = I2 + I3
a b
a b
V = Vb – VA = +IR V = Vb – VA = +
Are the bulbs connected Seri or
Using Kirchhoff’s rules, (a) find the
current in each resistor in Figure. (b)
Find the potential difference between
points c and f. Which point is at the
higher potential? [serway # 28.24]

Pada rangkaian di atas, tentukan

arus yang mengalir pada tiap
resistor dan tegangan di antara
ujung-ujung resistor 200 ohm.
[serway # 28.26]

1,00 A ke atas di 200 ,
4,00 A ke atas pada 70 , Jw:
3,00 A ke atas pada 80 , I1 = 0.385 A, I2 = 3.08 A, I3 = 2.69 A,
8,00 A ke bawah pada 20 , beda tegangan = 69.2 V, dimana Vc > Vf
beda tegangan = 200 V
RC circuits
Charging a capacitors
t<0 C R t>0 C R If the switch is closed, charges begin
+q -q
to flow and the capacitor begins to
I charge. Charge is transferred from 1
plate to the other through R, S, and
 S  S
battery until the capacitor is fully
charged. Once the max charge is
reached, the current in the circuit is
zero. The charge of capacitor at time
t is:
q = C [1 – e -t/RC]

And the current is: I  Rε e  t/RC

The voltage across capacitor at time t is: V =  [1 – e-t/RC]

Time constant,  = RC, is a measure of how quickly the capacitor becomes

charged, i.e. 63.2% fully charged. When the R is smaller, then the capacitor
becomes charged more rapidly.
RC circuits
Discharging a capacitors
charge, q
t<0 t>0 C R
C R qo
+q -q +q -q

S 0.368 qo

 = RC time

The capacitor has a charge qo at time t = o when the switch is closed. The
charge on the capacitor at time t is: q = q e-t/RC

Time constant, RC, is time required to lose 63.2% of the capacitor’s initial
Applications of charging/discharging capacitor:
Heart pacemakers, windshield wipers.
 A galvanometer is the main component
in analog meters for measuring current
and voltage
 A galvanometer consists of a coil of wire
mounted so that it is free to rotate on a
pivot in a magnetic field
 The field is provided by permanent
 A torque acts on a current in the
presence of a magnetic field
 The torque is proportional to the current
 The larger the current, the greater the
 The greater the torque, the larger the
rotation of the coil before the spring
resists enough to stop the rotation
The deflection of a needle attached to the coil is proportional to the current
Once calibrated, it can be used to measure currents or voltages
An ammeter is a device that measures current.
The ammeter must be connected in series with the
elements being measured.
The current must pass directly through the ammeter
Ideally, an ammeter should have zero resistance so
that the current being measured is not altered.

The galvanometer typically has a resistance of 60 .

To minimize the resistance, a shunt resistance, Rp, is
placed in parallel with the galvanometer
The value of the shunt resistor must be much less
than the resistance of the galvanometer.
Remember, the equivalent resistance of resistors in
parallel will be less than the smallest resistance.

Most of the current will go through the shunt resistance, this is necessary
since the full scale deflection of the galvanometer is on the order of 1 mA.
A voltmeter is a device that measures potential difference.
 The voltmeter is connected in parallel with the element
in which the potential difference is to be measured
 Polarity must be observed
 Ideally, the voltmeter should have infinite resistance so
that no current would pass through it

 The galvanometer typically has a resistance of 60 

 To maximize the resistance, another resistor, Rs, is
placed in series with the galvanometer

 The value of the added resistor must be much greater than the resistance
of the galvanometer
 Remember, the equivalent resistance of resistors in series will be
greater than the largest resistance
 Most of the current will go through the element being measured, and the
galvanometer will not alter the voltage being measured
Household Wiring
 The utility company distributes electric power to individual homes by a
pair of wires
 Each house is connected in parallel with these wires
 One wire is the “live wire” and the other wire is the neutral wire
connected to ground
 The potential of the neutral wire is taken = zero
 The current and voltage are alternating
 The potential difference between the live and
neutral wires is about 120 or 220 V.
 A meter is connected in series with the live wire
entering the house. This records the household’s
consumption of electricity
 After the meter, the wire splits so that multiple
parallel circuits can be distributed throughout the
 Each circuit has its own circuit breaker
 For those applications requiring 240 V, there is a
third wire maintained at 120 V below the neutral
Short Circuit
 A short circuit occurs when almost zero resistance exists between two
points at different potentials → This results in a very large current
 In a household circuit, a circuit breaker will open the circuit in the case
of an accidental short circuit → This prevents any damage

Electrical Safety
 Electric shock can result in fatal burns
 Electric shock can cause the muscles of vital organs (such as the heart)
to malfunction
 The degree of damage depends on:
 the magnitude of the current
 the length of time it acts
 the part of the body touching the live wire
 the part of the body in which the current exists
Effects of Various Currents
 5 mA or less
 can cause a sensation of shock
 generally little or no damage
 10 mA
 muscles contract
 may be unable to let go of a live wire
 100 mA
 if passing through the body for 1 second or less, can be fatal
 paralyzes the respiratory muscles

 In some cases, currents of 1 A can produce serious burns

 Sometimes these can be fatal burns

 No contact with live wires is considered safe whenever the voltage

is greater than 24 V
Ground Wire
 Electrical equipment manufacturers
use electrical cords that have a third
wire, called a ground
 This safety ground normally carries
no current and is both grounded and
connected to the appliance
 If the live wire is accidentally shorted
to the casing, most of the current
takes the low-resistance path
through the appliance to the ground
 If it was not properly grounded,
anyone in contact with the appliance
could be shocked because the body
produces a low-resistance path to