# Electricity and Magnetism

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1 Electricity and Magnetism Electric Current and Electric Circuits What do you think? Read the statement below and decide whether you agree or disagree with it. Place an A in the Before column if you agree with the statement or a D if you disagree. After you ve read this lesson, reread the statement to see if you have changed your mind. Before Statement After 3. A battery in an electric circuit produces an electric current. Key Concepts How are electric current and electric charge related? What are the parts of a simple electric circuit? How do the two types of electric circuits differ? Electric Current Moving Electrons Negatively charged electrons are the tiny particles that move around the nuclei of atoms. Recall that many of the electrons of an electric conductor, such as copper, are free to move from atom to atom. When free electrons move in the same direction, an electric current is produced. An electric current is the movement of electrically charged particles. Like all moving objects, moving electrons have kinetic energy. As electrons move from atom to atom, their kinetic energy transforms to other useful energy forms, such as light and thermal energy. Moving electrons, or an electric current, is one of the most common forms of energy. Two Types of Electric Current Recall that an electric current is the movement of electrons. An electric current carries energy at about the speed of light. However, the negatively charged electrons themselves move more slowly. Imagine a tube filled with marbles. When a marble is pushed into one end of the tube, it causes another marble to pop out the other end of the tube. Each marble does not instantly move the length of the tube. Similarly, as electrons move into one end of a wire, other electrons leave the other end of the wire almost instantly. Each electron does not suddenly move the length of the wire. Make Flash Cards For each head in this lesson, write a question on one side of a flash card and the answer on the other side. Quiz yourself until you know all of the answers. Key Concept Check 1. Compare How are electric current and electric charge related? Reading Essentials Electricity and Magnetism 247

2 Create a horizontal three-tab book and use it to explain the components of a circuit. Source Path Light 2. Compare direct current and alternating current. Visual Check 3. Locate Circle the part in the circuit that provides electric energy. Electric conductor Direct Current In the previous example, marbles added continually to one end of the tube produce a steady stream of marbles flowing out the other end of the tube. In a similar way, electrons continually added to one end of a wire create a constant one-way flow of electrons. This is known as direct current. Some energy sources, including batteries, produce only direct current. Many portable devices, such as flashlights and radios, operate using direct current. Alternating Current If marbles are repeatedly added to one end of the tube and then to the other end, the marbles in the tube would move back and forth, never moving far from their original positions. An electric current that continually reverses direction is known as an alternating current. Large generators in power plants supply homes and businesses with alternating current. The Circuit A Path for Electric Current Electric circuits transform the energy of an electric current to useful forms of energy. An electric circuit is a closed, or complete, path in which an electric current flows. Electric circuits are all around you. A Useful Circuit Electric circuits are designed to transform electric energy to specific forms. Electric circuits in a microwave oven transform electric energy to radiant energy that cooks food. The figure below illustrates an electric circuit designed to transform the electric energy of a battery into the light energy emitted by a lightbulb. As shown, the circuit is complete, or closed, and the lightbulb is lit. When the circuit is broken, or open, at any point, the electric current stops and the lightbulb does not light. Simple Circuit Source of electric energy Switch Electric device 248 Electricity and Magnetism Reading Essentials

3 A Simple Circuit Some electric circuits, such as those in computers, are complicated and have hundreds of parts. However, many common and useful circuits have only a few components. Simple circuits are used in flashlights, doorbells, and many kitchen appliances. All simple circuits contain: 1) a source of electric energy, such as a battery; 2) an electric device, such as a lightbulb; and 3) an electric conductor, such as a wire. In addition to these basic components, many circuits often include a switch. How do these basic components interact to make a useful electric current? Sources of Electric Energy There are many uses of electric energy. Most uses require specific types of sources of electric energy. For example, a flashlight requires a small, portable source. Cities need sources that produce large amounts of electric energy that are nonpolluting. Some of the technologies now being developed and improved to help meet the world s growing demand for electric energy are discussed below and on the next page. Batteries When an electric energy source needs to be small and portable, batteries often are the energy source used. A battery is simply a can of chemicals. Chemical reactions within a battery move electrons from one end of the battery (the positive terminal) to the other end (the negative terminal). Outside the battery, the electrons flow through a closed circuit from the negative terminal back to the positive terminal. As the chemical reactions continue, electrons keep moving through the battery and circuit. Generators Machines that transform mechanical energy to electric energy are generators. Many power plants use fossil fuels or nuclear energy to power large generators. These fuels provide thermal energy to boil water into steam. The steam flows through and rotates a turbine that, in turn, rotates a generator. These types of turbine-powered generators provide most of the electric energy used in the United States. Wind or moving water is the power source for other generators. You will read more about generators in the next lesson. Key Concept Check 4. Identify What are the parts of a simple electric circuit? 5. State What is a battery? 6. Explain How do most U.S. generators work? Reading Essentials Electricity and Magnetism 249

4 7. Consider What is an advantage of using fuel cells? 8. Point Out What causes energy transformations in electric devices? 9. Explain Why are wires in an electric circuit often made of copper? Solar Cells These cells change sunlight into electric energy. Solar panels are made of a large number of connected solar cells. Simple solar cells power calculators and many other small devices. More complicated systems have enabled humans to learn about the solar system and beyond. Fuel Cells Like batteries, fuel cells produce electric energy by a chemical reaction. But, unlike batteries, fuel cells need a constant flow of fuel, such as hydrogen gas. An advantage of using fuel cells as a source of electric energy is that they produce no pollution. Fuel cells have generated electric energy on space flights. Now, scientists and engineers are developing fuel cells that people could use everyday. Electric devices transform energy. An electric device is a part of a circuit. An electric device is designed to transform electric energy to another useful form of energy. For example, a lightbulb is designed to transform electric energy to light. Transformation of electric energy occurs wherever there is electric resistance in a circuit. Electric resistance is a measure of how difficult it is for an electric current to flow in a material. Electric devices with greater electric resistance transform greater amounts of electric energy. What causes a transformation of electric energy? Think about an electric lightbulb. As electrons move in the high-resistance wire filament of the lightbulb, they collide with atoms of the filament. The atoms absorb some of the electrons kinetic energy, then release the energy as light. Electric Conductors and Electric Circuits An electric conductor, such as a metal wire, is used to complete the circuit by connecting the energy source to the electric device. Copper and aluminum are good materials for wires in electric circuits because they are excellent conductors. A good conductor has little electric resistance. Recall that an electric current easily flows through an electric conductor. However, even the best conductors, such as copper wire, have some resistance to an electric current. All conductors, including a device s power cord, have some electric resistance. Small amounts of electric energy in a circuit s conductors always transform to wasted thermal energy. 250 Electricity and Magnetism Reading Essentials

5 Series and Parallel Circuits An electric circuit can have more than one device. For example, a string of holiday lights is a circuit that has many lightbulbs, or devices. Some holiday lights are circuits in which all of the lightbulbs go out when one of the bulbs is removed from its socket. Now, think of the electric lights in the rooms of your home. These lights are devices connected in an electric circuit, too. What happens to the light in the kitchen when you remove the lightbulb from the lamp in your room? Nothing. The kitchen light remains lit. How can you explain this difference in the two circuits? The answer is that there are two types of electric circuits. Series Circuit In the previous examples, the string of holiday lights is a series circuit. A series circuit is an electric circuit that has only one path through which an electric current can flow. In other words, all of the devices in a series circuit are connected end-to-end. As shown in the figure below, the same electric current flows through all the lightbulbs in the string. Breaking, or opening, a series circuit causes the electric current to stop flowing through the entire circuit. 10. Select An electric circuit. (Circle the correct answer.) a. has no devices b. has only one device c. can have more than one device 11. Describe a series circuit. Series Circuit Closed circuit Open circuit Visual Check 12. Point Out Circle the circuit in which no current can flow. Reading Essentials Electricity and Magnetism 251

6 Both branches closed Parallel Circuit Visual Check 13. Identify Circle the open branch. One branch opened Key Concept Check 14. Differentiate How do the two types of electric circuits differ? 15. Name How are electrons counted? Parallel Circuit A different type of circuit connects the devices in your home. Houses are not wired with series circuits. Instead, they are wired with parallel circuits. A parallel circuit is an electric circuit in which each device connects to the electric source with a separate path, or branch. The top part of the figure above shows two lightbulbs connected to a battery as a parallel circuit. If one of the branches is opened, as shown in the bottom part of the figure, the other lightbulb still has a complete path in which current flows. Voltage and Electric Energy You may be familiar with the term voltage. Your home has 120-V outlets. To understand what this means, you must first know how to count electrons. But, there are many electrons in a circuit. It is impossible to count them individually. Therefore, just as you can quickly count eggs by the dozen, you can count electrons by the coulomb (KEW lahm). One coulomb of electrons is a huge quantity approximately 6,000,000,000,000,000,000 electrons! 252 Electricity and Magnetism Reading Essentials

7 Voltage of an Entire Circuit Recall that all parts of an electric circuit have electric resistance. Because a circuit has electric resistance, energy is required to move electrons through a circuit. The voltage of an electric circuit is the amount of energy used to move one coulomb of electrons through the circuit. Think of two identical lightbulbs. One lightbulb is powered by a 3-V battery. The other is powered by a 6-V battery. As you might expect, the lightbulb in the 6-V circuit is lit brighter than the lightbulb in the 3-V circuit. But why? The definition of voltage tells you that the 6-V battery uses twice as much energy as the 3-V battery as it produces a current. Thus, the 6-V circuit transforms twice the electric energy to light. Voltage of Part of a Circuit You also can measure the voltage of part of a circuit. The voltage measured across a part of a circuit tells you how much energy is used by moving electrons through that part of the circuit. The figure below shows the voltages across a wire and a lightbulb in the same circuit. The higher voltage across the lightbulb tells you that the lightbulb transforms more electric energy than the wire. The sum of the voltages across all parts of an electric circuit equals the voltage of the energy source. This means that an electric circuit transforms all of the energy of an electric current Volts Higher voltage across lightbulb Battery s Energy in a Circuit Define What is voltage? Visual Check 17. Examine Which part of the circuit is transforming most of the battery s energy into some other form? 0 2 Volts Lower voltage across wire Reading Essentials Electricity and Magnetism 253

8 Math Skills Imagine a 9-V battery and two lightbulbs in a series circuit. The voltage across one lightbulb is 6 V. The second lightbulb reads 3 V. What part of the circuit s total energy is used by each lightbulb? Divide the voltage reading across one of the lightbulbs by the voltage across the entire circuit (across the battery). First bulb: 6 V 9 V = 2 3 Second bulb: 3 V 9 V = 1 3 If you add the fractions together, they equal one. For example: = 1 This is because the sum of the energies used by each device in a circuit equals the total energy in the circuit. 18. Using Fractions A 12-V battery powers a series circuit that contains two lightbulbs. The voltage across one of the lightbulbs is 8 V. What fractional part of the circuit s total energy used is in the second lightbulb? A Practical Electric Circuit Recall that a simple circuit can function with only a few basic parts a lightbulb can be lit with just a battery and a couple of wires. However, most useful circuits include additional components to make them more useful and safer. A hair dryer, for example, uses these components: a temperature-sensitive safety cutoff switch that automatically turns off the hair dryer if it becomes too hot an electric motor that transforms electric energy to the mechanical energy of the fan that blows air over your hair a heating element that transforms electric energy to the thermal energy that dries your hair a switch that allows you to conveniently start and stop the hair dryer a wall outlet that provides a source of energy for the hair dryer as well as many other electric devices in your home 254 Electricity and Magnetism Reading Essentials

9 Mini Glossary electric circuit: a closed, or complete, path in which an electric current flows electric current: the movement of electrically charged particles generator: a machine that transforms mechanical energy to electric energy voltage: the amount of energy used to move one coulomb of electrons through a circuit electric resistance: a measure of how difficult it is for an electric current to flow in a material 1. Review the terms and their definitions in the Mini Glossary. Write a sentence in your own words to explain what a generator is. 2. Use the graphic organizer to identify and describe the two types of electric circuits. Types of Electric Circuits type: type: description: 3. Select and define a word from one of the flash cards you created as you read the lesson. What do you think Reread the statements at the beginning of the lesson. Fill in the After column with an A if you agree with the statement or a D if you disagree. Did you change your mind? description: ConnectED Log on to ConnectED.mcgraw-hill.com and access your textbook to find this lesson s resources. END OF LESSON Reading Essentials Electricity and Magnetism 255

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