# Chapter 2. Voltage and Current. Copyright 2011 by Pearson Education, Inc. publishing as Pearson [imprint]

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1 Chapter 2 Voltage and Current

2 OBJECTIVES Become aware of the basic atomic structure of conductors such as copper and aluminum and understand why they are used so extensively in the field. Understand how the terminal voltage of a battery or any dc supply is established and how it creates a flow of charge in the system. Understand how current is established in a circuit and how its magnitude is affected by the charge flowing in the system and the time involved.

3 OBJECTIVES Become familiar with the factors that affect the terminal voltage of a battery and how long a battery will remain effective. Be able to apply a voltmeter and ammeter correctly to measure the voltage and current of a network.

4 INTRODUCTION Now that the foundation for the study of electricity/electronics has been established, the concepts of voltage and current can be investigated. The term voltage is encountered practically every day. We are aware that most outlets in our homes are 120 volts. Although current may be a less familiar term, we know what happens when we place too many appliances on the same outlet the circuit breaker opens due to the excessive current that results.

5 ATOMS AND THEIR STRUCTURE A basic understanding of the fundamental concepts of current and voltage requires a degree of familiarity with the atom and its structure. The simplest of all atoms is the hydrogen atom, made up of two basic particles, the proton and the electron. The nucleus of the hydrogen atom is the proton, a positively charged particle. The orbiting electron carries a negative charge equal in magnitude to the positive charge of the proton.

6 ATOMS AND THEIR STRUCTURE FIG. 2.1 Hydrogen and helium atoms.

7 ATOMS AND THEIR STRUCTURE Copper is the most commonly used metal in the electrical/electronics industry. An examination of its atomic structure will reveal why it has such widespread application. It has 29 electrons in orbits around the nucleus, with the 29th electron appearing all by itself in the 4 th shell.

8 ATOMS AND THEIR STRUCTURE FIG. 2.2 The atomic structure of copper.

9 VOLTAGE If we separate the 29th electron in Fig. 2.2 from the rest of the atomic structure of copper by a dashed line as shown in Fig. 2.4(a), we create regions that have a net positive and negative charge as shown in Fig. 2.4(b) and (c). FIG. 2.4 Defining the positive ion.

10 VOLTAGE This positive region created by separating the free electron from the basic atomic structure is called a positive ion. In general, every source of voltage is established by simply creating a separation of positive and negative charges.

11 VOLTAGE FIG. 2.5 Defining the voltage between two points.

12 VOLTAGE Since it would be inconsequential to talk about the voltage established by the separation of a single electron, a package of electrons called a coulomb (C) of charge was defined as follows: One coulomb of charge is the total charge associated with x electrons. If a total of 1 joule (J) of energy is used to move the negative charge of 1 coulomb (C), there is a difference of 1 volt (V) between the two points.

13 VOLTAGE Since the potential energy associated with a body is defined by its position, the term potential is often applied to define voltage levels. For example, the difference in potential is 4 V between the two points, or the potential difference between a point and ground is 12 V, and so on.

14 CURRENT The applied voltage is the starting mechanism the current is a reaction to the applied voltage. FIG. 2.7 There is motion of free carriers in an isolated piece of copper wire, but the flow of charge fails to have a particular direction.

15 CURRENT FIG. 2.8 Motion of negatively charged electrons in a copper wire when placed across battery terminals with a difference in potential of volts (V).

16 CURRENT FIG. 2.9 Basic electric circuit.

17 CURRENT The unit of current measurement, ampere, was chosen to honor the efforts of André Ampère in the study of electricity in motion.

18 CURRENT In summary, therefore, the applied voltage (or potential difference) in an electrical/electronics system is the pressure to set the system in motion, and the current is the reaction to that pressure.

19 CURRENT Safety Considerations It is important to realize that even small levels of current through the human body can cause serious, dangerous side effects. Experimental results reveal that the human body begins to react to currents of only a few milliamperes. Although most individuals can withstand currents up to perhaps 10 ma for very short periods of time without serious side effects, any current over 10 ma should be considered dangerous.

20 VOLTAGE SOURCES The term dc, used throughout this text, is an abbreviation for direct current, which encompasses all systems where there is a unidirectional (one direction) flow of charge. FIG Standard symbol for a dc voltage source.

21 VOLTAGE SOURCES In general, dc voltage sources can be divided into three basic types: Batteries (chemical action or solar energy) Generators (electromechanical), and Power supplies (rectification a conversion process to be described in your electronics courses).

22 VOLTAGE SOURCES Batteries General Information Primary Cells (Non-rechargeable) Secondary Cells (Rechargeable) Lead-Acid Nickel Metal Hydride (NiMH) Lithium-ion (Li-ion)

23 VOLTAGE SOURCES Batteries FIG Alkaline primary cell: (a) Cutaway of cylindrical Energizer cell; (b) various types of Eveready Energizer primary cells.

24 VOLTAGE SOURCES Batteries FIG Lithium primary batteries.

25 VOLTAGE SOURCES Batteries FIG Maintenance-free 12 V (actually 12.6 V) lead-acid battery.

26 VOLTAGE SOURCES Batteries FIG Nickel metal hydride (NiMH) rechargeable batteries.

27 VOLTAGE SOURCES Batteries FIG Dell laptop lithium-ion battery: 11.1 V, 4400 mah.

28 VOLTAGE SOURCES Solar Cell FIG Solar System: (a) panels on roof of garage; (b) system operation.

29 VOLTAGE SOURCES Generators The dc generator is quite different from the battery, both in construction and in mode of operation. When the shaft of the generator is rotating at the nameplate speed due to the applied torque of some external source of mechanical power, a voltage of rated value appears across the external terminals. The terminal voltage and power-handling capabilities of the dc generator are typically higher than those of most batteries, and its lifetime is determined only by its construction.

30 VOLTAGE SOURCES Generators FIG dc generator.

31 VOLTAGE SOURCES Power Supplies The dc supply encountered most frequently in the laboratory uses the rectification and filtering processes as its means toward obtaining a steady dc voltage. FIG A 0 V to 60 V, 0 to 1.5 A digital display dc power supply

32 VOLTAGE SOURCES Power Supplies FIG dc laboratory supply: (a) available terminals; (b) positive voltage with respect to (w.r.t.) ground; (c) negative voltage w.r.t. ground; (d) floating supply.

33 VOLTAGE SOURCES Fuel Cells One of the most exciting developments in recent years has been the steadily rising interest in fuel cells as an alternative energy source. Fuel cells are now being used in small stationary power plants, transportation (buses), and a wide variety of applications where portability is a major factor, such as the space shuttle. Millions are now being spent by major automobile manufacturers to build affordable fuel-cell vehicles.

34 VOLTAGE SOURCES Fuel Cells FIG Fuel cell (a) components; (b) basic construction.

35 VOLTAGE SOURCES Fuel Cells FIG Hydrogen fuel-cell automobile.

36 AMPERE-HOUR RATING The most important piece of data for any battery (other than its voltage rating) is its ampere-hour (Ah) rating. You have probably noted in the photographs of batteries in this chapter that both the voltage and the ampere-hour rating have been provided for each battery. The ampere-hour (Ah) rating provides an indication of how long a battery of fixed voltage will be able to supply a particular current.

37 BATTERY LIFE FACTORS The previous section made it clear that the life of a battery is directly related to the magnitude of the current drawn from the supply. However, there are factors that affect the given ampere-hour rating of a battery, so we may find that a battery with an ampere-hour rating of 100 can supply a current of 10 A for 10 hours but can supply a current of 100 A for only 20 minutes rather than the full 1 hour calculated using Eq. (2.8). In other words, the capacity of a battery (in amperehours) will change with change in current demand.

38 BATTERY LIFE FACTORS FIG Ampere-hour rating (capacity) versus drain current for an Energizer D cell.

39 BATTERY LIFE FACTORS FIG Ampere-hour rating (capacity) versus temperature for an Energizer D cell.

40 BATTERY LIFE FACTORS FIG Terminal voltage versus discharge time for specific drain currents for an Energizer D cell.

41 CONDUCTORS AND INSULATORS Different wires placed across the same two battery terminals allow different amounts of charge to flow between the terminals. Many factors, such as the density, mobility, and stability characteristics of a material, account for these variations in charge flow. In general, however, conductors are those materials that permit a generous flow of electrons with very little external force (voltage) applied. In addition, good conductors typically have only one electron in the valence (most distant from the nucleus) ring.

42 CONDUCTORS AND INSULATORS TABLE 2.1 Relative conductivity of various materials

43 CONDUCTORS AND INSULATORS FIG Various types of insulators and their applications. (a) Fi-Shock extender insulator; (b) Fi-Shock corner insulator; (c) Fi-Shock screw-in post insulator.

44 CONDUCTORS AND INSULATORS TABLE 2.2 Breakdown strength of some common insulators.

45 SEMICONDUCTORS Semiconductors are a specific group of elements that exhibit characteristics between those of insulators and those of conductors. Semiconductor materials typically have four electrons in the outermost valence ring.

46 AMMETERS AND VOLTMETERS It is important to be able to measure the current and voltage levels of an operating electrical system to check its operation, isolate malfunctions, and investigate effects impossible to predict on paper. As the names imply, ammeters are used to measure current levels; voltmeters, the potential difference between two points. If the current levels are usually of the order of milliamperes, the instrument will typically be referred to as a milliammeter, and if the current levels are in the microampere range, as a microammeter.

47 AMMETERS AND VOLTMETERS FIG Voltmeter connection for an up-scale (+) reading.

48 AMMETERS AND VOLTMETERS FIG Ammeter connection for an up-scale (+) reading.

49 AMMETERS AND VOLTMETERS FIG Volt-ohmmilliammeter (VOM) analog meter.

50 AMMETERS AND VOLTMETERS FIG Digital multimeter (DMM).

51 APPLICATIONS Flashlight 12 V Car Battery Charger Answering Machines/Phones dc Supply

52 APPLICATIONS FIG (a) Eveready D cell flashlight; (b) electrical schematic of flashlight of part (a); (c) Duracell Powercheck D cell battery.

53 APPLICATIONS FIG Battery charger: (a) external appearance; (b) internal construction.

54 APPLICATIONS FIG Electrical schematic for the battery charger of Fig

55 APPLICATIONS FIG Answering machine/phone 9 V dc supply.

56 APPLICATIONS FIG Internal construction of the 9 V dc supply in Fig

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