# Ohm s Law and Simple DC Circuits

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1 Ohm s Law and Simple DC Circuits 2EM Object: Apparatus: To confirm Ohm s Law, to determine the resistance of a resistor, and to study currents, potential differences, and resistances in simple direct current (DC) parallel and series circuits. Two multimeters, various resistors, connecting wires, solderless breadboarding system, and potentiometer. FOREWORD Ohm s Law states a simple relation among the potential difference V across a conductor, the current I through it, and the resistance R the conductor presents to the current. A mathematical statement of Ohm s Law is: (1) R = V/I If V and I are measured in volts and amperes, respectively, the resistance R will be given in Ohms. This relation is so well established that it hardly needs verification by students in beginning Physics courses. However, the experience gained in setting up the necessary circuitry to verify Ohm s Law and its application to simple DC circuits justifies an experiment in which laboratory skills are stressed. Particularly in this experiment, the student will learn how to determine the resistance of a resistor, the proper use of a voltmeter and ammeter, how a potentiometer works, and will develop some basic wiring skills. The validity of Ohm s law can be easily demonstrated if a circuit is set up whereby V and I can be varied for a conductor of resistance R. Figure 1 shows the schematic of such a circuit. A + + B R S + V Figure 1. Schematic of a circuit that can be used to verify Ohm s Law. In this schematic, B represents the battery or source of electrical potential difference, R represents the resistor, V represents the voltmeter used to measure the potential difference across the resistor, A represents the ammeter used to measure the current through the resistor, and S represents a SPST switch. Note the polarity of the battery and the meters. The potential difference V can be varied by changing the size of the battery and/or by using a potential divider, and the resulting current I can be measured. 2EM 1

2 Measurements will be made on individual resistors and also on resistors connected in series and in parallel. Figure 2 shows two resistors R 1 and R 2 with series and parallel connections. R 1 R 2 (a) (b) R 1 R 2 Resistors in series Resistors in parallel Figure 2. Two resistors connected in (a) series and (b) parallel. The equivalent resistance R T of two resistors in series is given by: (2) R T = R 1 + R 2 When two resistors are connected in parallel the equivalent resistance is given by: (3) 1 = R t R 1 R 2 PROCEDURE Figure 3 shows the solderless breadboarding system we will be using in this experiment and Figure 4 shows just the breadboard and connections beneath the cover plate. Figure 3. Solderless breadboarding system used in this experiment. 2EM 2 Figure 4. Breadboard and internal connections.

3 Figure 5 shows the resistance color code. 1st Band 2nd Band COLOR BANDS 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Black Brown Red Orange Yellow Green ,000 Blue 6 6 1,000,000 Purple 7 7 Grey 8 8 White 9 9 Gold 10 5% Silver % 20% rd Band 4th Band Figure 5. Resistance color code. Part I. Determining the Resistance of a Resistor In your component box, you will find some resistors painted blue and some resistors painted orange. In this part of the experiment, we will determine the resistance of the blue resistors, the orange resistors, the blue and orange resistors in series, and the blue and orange resistors in parallel. Using a blue resistor, wire the circuit shown in Figure 6. The small device with the knob is the potential divider. Note the polarity of the meters. For this part of the experiment, you will need to measure electrical potential differences in the range of volts and electric currents in the range of ma. Be sure to have your lab instructor check your wiring before you connect the final wire (see. Figure 6.) I final wire + V R slider potential divider Figure 6. Circuit used to determine the resistance of a resistor. The potential divider is placed across a 5 volt DC source and then used to tap off 0 to 5 volts potential difference. A schematic representation of a potential divider is shown in Figure 7. 2EM 3

4 b slider + V a Figure 7. Schematic representation of a potential divider. As you move the slider from point a to point b, you tap off 0 to 5 volts. The voltmeter will read 0 volts at a, vary from 0 to 5 volts as you move the slider from a to b, and read 5 volts at point b. The potential divider you are using today varies slightly from the above and is shown in Figure 8. b slider + V a Figure 8. Schematic representation of the potential divider used in this experiment. An assembly diagram of the circuit to be wired (schematic shown in Figure 6) is shown in Figure 9. + V R I b b Potential Divider a Slider + 5 volts a 0 volts Figure 9. Assembly diagram for the schematic shown in Figure 6. 2EM 4

5 Vary the potential difference applied to the circuit by turning the knob of the potential divider. Record the current I for at least eight different values of the potential difference V between 0 and 4 volts. Repeat this process for the orange resistor, the blue and orange resistors in series, and finally, the blue and orange resistors in parallel. On one sheet of graph paper, plot V vs. I for each of these four cases. Write the equation of the plot for each of these four cases. From the equation of these plots, determine the resistance of the blue resistor, orange resistor, blue and orange resistors in series, and the blue and orange resistors in parallel. Using the determined value of your resistors, verify that for resistors in series equivalent resistance is given by: (2) R T = R 1 + R 2 Using the determined value of your resistors, verify that for resistors in parallel, the equivalent resistance is given by: (3) 1 = R t R 1 R 2 Part II. Investigating Resistors in Series Wire the circuit shown in Figure 10 on your solderless breadboard. R 1 =100Ω R 2 =200Ω Figure 10. Two resistors in series. We are interested in the electrical potential difference (V) across each element of the circuit and the electric current (I) through each element of the circuit. Since you have only one voltmeter and ammeter, you will need to move them around. Figure 11 shows where we would like to take measurements and what we will call them. Note the polarity of the meters. V 1 V 2 I 1 I 2 I T R 1 =100Ω R 2 =200Ω V Total V Power Supply Figure 11. Measurements to be made with two resistors in series. To keep this simple, wire the circuit as shown in Figure 10, then use the voltmeter to determine the potential difference at all the sites indicated in Figure 11. Next, move the ammeter around to the sites shown and measure the current. Record your measurements on the Data and Calculation Sheet and then perform the calculations indicated. 2EM 5

6 Part III. Investigating resistors in parallel. Wire the circuit shown in Figure 12 on your solderless breadboard. R 1 =100Ω R 2 =200Ω Figure 12. Two resistors in parallel. We are interested in the electrical potential difference (V) across each element of the circuit and the electric current (I) through each element of the circuit. Since you have only one voltmeter and ammeter, you will need to move them around. Figure 13 shows where we would like to take measurements and what we will call them. Note the polarity of the meters. V 1 R 1 =100Ω R 2 =200Ω V 2 V Total I 1 I 2 I Total VPower Supply Figure 13. Measurements to be made with two resistors in parallel. To keep this simple, wire the circuit as shown in Figure 12, then use the voltmeter to determine the potential difference at all the sites indicated in Figure 13. Next, move the ammeter around to the sites shown and measure the current. Record your measurements on the Data and Calculation Sheet and then perform the calculations indicated. 2EM 6

7 NAME SECTION DATE DATA AND CALCULATION SUMMARY R blue R orange R blue and R orange R blue and R orange in series in parallel V (Volts) I (ma) I (ma) I (ma) I (ma) Equation for the plot of V vs. I for R blue : Equation for the plot of V vs. I for R orange : Equation for the plot of V vs. I for R blue and R orange in series : Equation for the plot of V vs. I for R blue and R orange in parallel : Experimental values for the resistors R blue = R blue and R orange in series = R orange = R blue and R orange in parallel = Verify that resistors in series add as R 1 + R 2 = R T Verify that resistors in series add as 1/R 1 + 1/R 2 = 1/R T 2EM 7

8 Part II. Data Calculations V 1 = I 1 = R 1 = 100Ω R 1 = V 1 /I 1 = P = I 1 V 1 = V 2 = I 2 = R 2 = 200Ω R 2 = V 2 /I 2 = P 2 = I 2 V 2 = V T = I T = R T = V T /I T = P T = I T V T = V PS = Summary Statements: Describe how potential differences behave in a series circuit: Describe how the current behaves in a series circuit: Describe how the resistance behaves in a series circuit: Describe how the power behaves in a series circuit: Describe how Ohm s Law applies to each resistive element: Describe how Ohm s Law applies to the entire circuit: 2EM 8

9 Part III. Data Calculations V 1 = I 1 = R 1 = 100Ω R 1 = V 1 /I 1 = P = I 1 V 1 = V 2 = I 2 = R 2 = 200Ω R 2 = V 2 /I 2 = P 2 = I 2 V 2 = V T = I T = R T = V T /I T = P T = I T V T = V PS = Summary Statements: Describe how the potential differences behave in a parallel circuit: Describe how the current behaves in a parallel circuit: Describe how the resistance behaves in a parallel circuit: Describe how the power behaves in a parallel circuit: Describe how Ohm s Law applies to each resistive element: Describe how Ohm s Law applies to the entire circuit: 2EM 9

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