Concepts:

(A detailed list of terms & objectives is available.)

- Electric Circuits
- Concept Summary (download the PowerPoint file)
- Series Circuits
- Single pathway
- Disadvantages
- When one device fails, all fail
- Voltage (and energy) must be shared by all devices in the circuit

- Equivalent (total) resistance is the sum of the individual resistances
- Total voltage equals the sum of individual voltages
- Current = Voltage/Total resistance (Ohm's Law)
- Ohm's Law applies to each separate device

- Quiz on series circuits

- Parallel Circuits
- Voltage is the same across each device
- Ohm's Law applies separately to each branch
- Total current is the sum of the branch currents
- Equivalent (total) resistance decreases as the number of
branches increases
- Equivalent (total) resistance of 2 equal resistances is half the individual resistance
- Equivalent (total) resistance of 2 parallel branches is less than the smallest resistance

- Overloading
- Home circuits connected in parallel
- Total current increases as each device is added
- Total energy supplied increases as each device is added
- short circuits
- fuses & circuit breakers

- Quiz on parallel circuits

- Comparing Series and Parallel Circuits
- Compound Circuits
- Equivalent resistance
- Applying Ohm's Law
- total current
- separate components

- Analyzing Simple Circuits - a Summary

- Series Circuits

Labs & Demos:

- Activity - Series & Parallel Circuits: You construct series and parallel circuits using light bulbs and observe characteristics of the circuits.
- Experiment - Series & Parallel Resistances: What is the equivalent (total) resistance of two resistors in series and parallel?
- Experiment - Series & Parallel Resistances: Same as above, but uses a Genecon
^{tm}generator as a voltage source.

Supplements:

- The Best From Conceptual Physics Alive (Videodisc)
- Chapter 7 - Demo: Electric Circuits - demonstrates series and parallel circuits (5:28)

Links:

- CPSurf - Electric Circuits: An excellent annotated set of links keyed to your textbook.
- How Power Grids Work - part of the amazing "How Stuff Works" web site
- The Basics of Series and Parallel Circuits - part of the "Understandings of Consequence Project from Harvard U.
- Circuit Construction Kit - This is EXCELLENT! Build your own virtual circuits. You HAVE to try this!!

last update April 8, 2008 by JL Stanbrough