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Module 3
Electrical Fundamentals
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Volume 1

Licence Category
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Module 3 Chapters
. Electron Theory
2. Static Electricity and Conduction
3. Electrical Terminoloov
4. Generation of Elect#ity
5. DC Sources of Electricity
6. DC Circuits
7. Resistance/Besistor
8. Power
9, Capacitance/capacitor
1

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1. lnductance/inductor

12

Magnetism
DC Motor/Generator Theory

13. ACTheory
14. Flesrstive (R). Capacitive (C) and lnductive
(L) Circuits
15. Transformers

16, Filters
17. AC Generators
18. AC Motors

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Module 3 Preface

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Module 3
Licence Category 81 and 82

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Electrical Fundamentals

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3.1 Electron Theory

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Module A.1 Electron Theory

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Copyright Notice
copyright. All worldwide rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e.
photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
Total Training Support Ltd.

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A,

Bl, 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, B1 and 82 are indicated by the allocation o{ knowledge levels indicators (1, 2 or
3) against each applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category Bt or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are defined as lollows:

LEVEL

A familiarisalion with the principal elements of the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able lo use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Objectives:
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals ol the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a general description of the subject using, as appropriate, typical
examples.
The applicant should be able to use mathematical lormulae in conjunclion with physical laws describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects ol the subjecl.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicant should be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoreticil fundamentals
and specific examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical formulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schematrcs
describing the subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturers
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results from various sources and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

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Module 3.1 Electron Theory

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Table of Contents

Module 3.1 Electron Theory


Matter
Elements and Compounds
Molecu les
Atoms
Energy Levels
Shells and Sub-shells
Valence
Compounds
lonisation
Conductors, Semiconductors, and lnsulators

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Module 3.1 Enabling Objectives and Certification Statement


Certif ication Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 2O42|2OO3 Annex lll (Part-66)
ix l. and the associated
Levels as
ed below:

Structure and distribution of eleckical charges


within: atoms. molecules. ions. comoounds

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Module 3.1 Electron Theory

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Module 3.1 Electron Theory


Matter
',latler is defined as anything that occupies space and has weight; that is, the weight and
:'nensions of matter can be measured. Examples of matter are air, water, automobiles,
: cthing. and even our own bodies" Thus, we can say that matter may be found in any one of
:^ree states: solid, liquid, and gaseous.

Elements and Compounds

:-

ELEMENT is a substance which cannot be reduced to a simpler substance by chemical


-eans. Examples of elements with which you are in everyday contact are iron, gold, silver,
::lper. and oxygen. There are now over 100 known elements. All the different substances we
.1":','; about are composed of one or more of these elements.
,',

'en hvo or more elements are chemically combined, the resulting substance is called a

compound. A compound is a chemical combination of elements which can be separated by


:-:nical but not by physical means. Examples of common compounds are water which
.:^s sts of hydrogen and oxygen, and table salt, which consists of sodium and chlorine. A
mixture, on the other hand, is a combination of elements and compounds, not chemically
::-c,ned. that can be separated by physical means. Examples of mixtures are air, which is
--:a up of nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, and small amounts of several rare qases, and sea
yrhich consists chiefly of salt and water.
'r a:e'.

Molecules

molecule is a chemical combination of two or more atoms, (atoms are described in the next

::'a3raph). In a compound the molecule is the smallest particle that has all the characteristics

:' :-:

compound.

: - s cer water, f or example"

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Water is matter, since it occupies space and has weight.


on the temperature, it may exist as a liquid (water), a solid (ice), or a gas (steam).
=::ai-d ess ol the temperature, it will still have the same composition. lf we start with a quantity
:' ,,, a:er. divide this and pour out one half , and continue this process a sufficient number of
: -:s. ,1'e will eventually end up with a quantity of water which cannot be further divided without
::ls r'J io be water. This quantity is called a molecule of water. lf this molecule of water
: , r:r. instead of two pafts of water, there will be one parl of oxygen and two parts of

l::erding

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Atoms
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up of smaller parlicles called atoms. An atom is the smallest particle o{ an

::-er: ihal retains the characteristics of that element. The atoms oi one element, however,
: -:' '-3''n the atoms of all other elements. Since there are over '100 known elements, there
- - s: :e o,rer 100 different atoms, or a different atom for each element.

Module 3.1 Electron Theory

Just as thousands of

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words can be made by combining the proper letters of the alphabet, so thousands of different
materials can be made by chemically combining the proper atoms.

Any particle that is a chemical combination of two or more atoms is called a molecule. The
oxygen molecule consists of two atoms of oxygen, and the hydrogen molecule consists of two

hydrogen, and oxygen. These atoms are combined into sugar molecules. Since the sugar
molecules can be broken down by chemical means into smaller and simpler units, we cannot
have sugar atoms.

The atoms of each element are made up of electrons, protons, and, in most cases, neutrons,
which are collectively called subatomic particles. Furthermore, the electrons, protons, and
neutrons of one element are identical to those of any other element. The reason that there are
different kinds of elements is that the number and the arrangement of electrons and protons

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atomsofhydrogen.Sugar,ontheotherhand,isacompoundcomposedofatomSofcarbon,

withintheatomaredifferentforthedifferentelements
The electron is considered to be a small negative charge of electricity. The proton has a positive
charge of electricity equal and opposite to the charge of the electron. Scientists have measured
the mass and size of the electron and proton, and they know how much charge each
possesses. The electron and proton each have the same quantity of charge, although the mass
of the proton is approximately 1837 times that of the electron. ln some atoms there exists a
neutral padicle called a neutron. The neutron has a mass slightly greater than that of a proton,
but it has no electrical charge. According to a popular theory, the electrons, protons, and
neutrons of the atoms are thought to be arranged in a manner similar to a miniature solar
system. The protons and neutrons form a heavy nucleus with a positive charge, around which
the very light electrons revolve.
Figure 1.'1 shows one hydrogen and one helium atom. Each has a relatively simple structure.
The hydrogen atom has only one proton in the nucleus with one electron rotating about it. The
helium atom is a little more complex. lt has a nucleus made up of two protons and two neutrons,
with two electrons rotating about the nucleus. Elements are classified numerically according to
the complexity of their atoms. The atomic number of an atom is determined by the number of
protons in its nucleus.

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PFIOTONS

ELFCTRONS

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NEUTRON

HYEMGEN
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Figure 1.1

FROTOTS

HELIUM
NRJTRON$

Structule of Hydrogen and Helium

ln a neutral state, an atom contains an equal number of protons and electrons. Therefore, an
atom of hydrogen - which contains one proton and one electron - has an atomic number of 1;
and helium, with two protons and two electrons, has an atomic number of 2. The complexity of
atomic structure increases with the number of protons and electrons.

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Module 3.1 Electron Theory

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Energy Levels

of energy' By
since an electron in an atom has both mass and motion, it contains two types
position it also contains
virtue of its motion the electron contains kinetic energy. Due to its
the factor
pot"nti"iln"tgy. The totai energy contained by an electron (kinetic plus potential) is this
orbit'
to remain in
which determines the radius of th"e electron orbii' ln order for an electron
it must neither GAIN nor LOSE energy.
in which this energy exists
It is well known that light is a form of energy, but the physical form
not

known.

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photons'
one accepted theory proposes the existence of light as tiny packets of energy.called
colour of the

photons can contain uuriou" quuniitles of energy.-The amount depends upon the
the electron
iigr'1-r"otu;0. Should a ptroioii ot sufficient en6igy collide with an orbital electron,
a greater
has
now
which
*]ft aOsorU the photon's energy, as shown in figure t.Z. The electron,
new
The
first
nucleus'
than normal amount ot energ-y, witt lump to a nlw orbit farther from the
r-1ui a radius four times as large as the radius of the original
orbit to which the electron
to which it
"Ji'iutnri
orbit. Had the electron ,"""V"i
ft"utut amount of energy, the next possible orbit
"
orbit may be considered to
could jump would have u ruJir. niie times the original. Thus, each
lt must be
iepresent'one of a large nrrb"r of energy levels that the electron may attain'
will remain in its lowest
emphasized that the e]ectron cannot jum-[ to iusl any orbit' The electron
will accept the
orbit until a sufficient amou;t of energy is auuil"bl", at which time the electron
exist in the space
unO jump to one of a series oipermissible orbits. An electron cannot
photon
of energy unless
"n"igy
netwL'en enLrgy levels. This indicates that the electron will not accept a
Heat energy and
it contains enough energy to elevate itself to one of the higher energy levels.
jump
orbits.
collisions with oi-her partictes can also cause the electron to

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Figure 1.2

Energy levels in an atom

lowest possible energy


Once the electron has been elevated to an energy level higher than the
th" atom is said to be in an excited state. ihe electron will not remain in this excited
excess energy and return
aonOition for more than a fraction of a second before it will radiate the
electron has just
to a lower energy orbit. To illustrate this principle, assume that a normal
energy level' ln a short
received a phoion ot energy iufficient to'raise it from the first to the third

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period of time the electron may jump back to the first level emitting a new photon identical to the
one it received.
A second alternative would be for the electron to return to the lower level in two jumps; from the
third to the second, and then from the second to the first. ln this case the electron would emit
two photons, one for each jump. Each of these photons would have less energy than the
original photon which excited the electron.

This principle is used in the fluorescent light where ultraviolet light photons, which are not visible
to the human eye, bombard a phosphor coating on the inside of a glass tube. The phosphor
electrons, in returning to their normal orbits, emit photons of light that are visible. By using the
proper chemicals for the phosphor coating, any colour of light may be obtained, including white.
This same principle is also used in lighting up the screen of a television picture tube.
The basic principles just developed apply equally well to the atoms of more complex elements.
ln aioms containing two or more electrons, the electrons interact with each other and the exact
path of any one electron is very difficult to predict. However, each electron lies in a specilic
energy band and the orbits will be considered as an average of the electron's position.

Shells and Sub-shells


The ditference between the atoms, insofar as their chemical activity and stability are concerned,
is dependent upon the number and position of the electrons included within the atom. How are
these electrons positioned within the atom? ln general, the electrons reside in groups of orbits
called shells. These shells are elliptically shaped and are assumed to be located at fixed
intervals. Thus, the shells are arranged in steps that correspond to fixed energy levels. The
shells, and the number of electrons required to fill them, may be predicted by the employment of
Pauli's exclusiol principle. Simply stated, this principle specifies that each shell will contain a
maximum of 2n'electrons, where n corresponds to the shell number starling with the one
closest to the nucleus. By this principle, the second shell, for example, would contain 2(2\2 or I
electrons when f ull.
ln addition to being numbered, the shells are also given letter designations, as pictured in figure
'1-3. Starting with the shell closest to the nucleus and progressing outward, the shells are
labelled K, L, M, N, O, P, and Q, respectively. The shells are considered to be full, or complete,
when they contain the following quantities ol electrons: two in the K shell, eight in the L shell, 18
in the M shell, and so on, in accordance with the exclusion principle.
Each of these shells is a major shell and can be divided into sub-shells, of which there are four,
labelled s, p, d, and f. Like the major shells, the sub-shells are also limited as to the number of
electrons which they can contain. Thus, the "s" sub-shell is complete when it contains two
electrons, the "p" sub-shell when it contains 6, the "d" sub-shell when it contains 10, and the "f"
sub-shell when it contains 14 electrons.

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Figure 1 .3 - Shells in an atom


ln as much as the K shell can contain no more than two electrons, it must have only one subshell, the s sub-shell. The M shell is composed of three sub-shells: s, p, and d. lf the electrons
in the s, p, and d sub-shells are added, their total is found to be 18, the exact number required
to fill the M shell. Notice the electron configuration for copper illustrated in figure 1.4. The
copper atom contains 29 electrons, which completely fill the first three shells and sub-shells,
leaving one electron in the "s" sub-shell of the N shell.

NS

COPP=R

Figure 1.4 - The copper atom

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Module 3.1 Electron Theory

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Valence
The number of electrons in the outermost shell determines the valence of an atom. For this
reason, the outer shell of an atom is called the valence shell; and the electrons contained in
this shell are called valence electrons. The valence of an atom determines its ability to gain or
Iose an electron, which in turn determines the chemical and electrical properties of the atom. An
atom that is lacking only one or two electrons from its outer shell will easily gain electrons to
complete its shell, but a large amount of energy is required to free any of its electrons. An atom
having a relatively small number of electrons in its outer shell in comparison to the number of
electrons required to fill the shell will easily lose these valence electrons. The valence shell
always refers to the outermost shell.

Compounds
Pure substances made up more than 1 element which have been joined together by a chemical
reaction therefore the atoms are difficult to separate. The propedies of a compound are different
from the atoms that make it up. Splitiing of a compound is called chemical analysis.
Note that a compound:
consists of atoms of two or more different elements bound together,
can be broken down into a simpler type of matter (elements) by chemical means (but not
by physical means),
has properties that are different from its component elements, and
always contains the same ratio of its component atoms.

lonisation
When the atom loses electrons or gains electrons in this process of electron exchange, it is said
to be ionized. For ionisation to take place, there must be a transfer of energy which iesults in a
change in the internal energy of the atom. An atom having more than its noimal amount of
electrons acquires a negative charge, and is called a negative ion. The atom that gives up
some of its normal electrons is left with less negative charges than positive chargei and is
called a positive ion. Thus, ionisation is the process by which an atom loses or gains electrons.

Conductors, Semiconductors, and lnsulators


ln this study of electricity and electronics, the association of matter and electricity is important.
Since every electronic device is constructed of parts made from ordinary matter, the e{fects o{
electricity on matter must be well understood. As a means of accomplishing this, all elements of
which matter is made may be placed into one ol three categories: conductors,
semiconductors, and insulators, depending on their ability to conduct an electric current.
conductors are elements which conduct electricity very readily, insulators have an extremely
high resistance to the flow of electricity. All matter between these two extremes may be called
sem iconductors.

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The electron theory states that all matter is composed of atoms and the atoms are composed of
smaller particles cilled protons, electrons, and neutrons. The electrons orbit the nucleus which
contains the protons and neutrons. lt is the valence electrons (the electrons in the outer shell)
that we are most concerned with in electricity. These are the electrons which are easiest to
break loose from their parent atom. Normally, conductors have three or less valence electrons;
insulators have five or more valence electrohs; and semiconductors usually have four valence
electrons. The fewer the valence electrons, the better conductor of electricity it will be' Copper,
for example, has just one valence electron.
from
The electrical conductivity of matter is dependent upon the atomic structure of the material
make up
which the conductor is made. ln any solid material, such as copper, the atoms which
a
contain
will
the molecular structure are bound firmly together. At room temperature, copper
considerable amount of heat energy. Since heat energy is one method of removing electrons
from their orbits, copper will contain many free electrons that can move from atom to atom.
When not under the influence of an external force, these electrons move in a haphazard
are not
manner within the conductor. This movement is equal in all directions so that electrons
lost or gained by any part of the conductor. When controlled by an external force, the electrons
from
move ginerallyin the same direction. The effect of this movement is felt almost instantly
one end of the conductor to the other. This electron movement is called an electric current.

some metals are better conductors of electricity than others. silver, copper, gold, and
aluminium are materials with many free electrons and make good conductors. Silver is the best
conductor, followed by copper, goid, and aluminium. Copper is used more often than silver
because of cost. Aluminium is uieO where weight is a maior consideration, such as in hightension power lines, with long spans between supports Gold is used where oxidation or
corrosion is a consideration ind a good conductivity is required. The ability of a conductor to
handle current also depends upon its physical dimensions. Conductors are usually found in the
form of wire, but may be in the form of bars, tubes, or sheets.
Non-conductors have few free electrons. These materials are called insulators. Some
examples of these materials are rubber, plastic, enamel, glass, dry wood, and mica. Just as
there is no perfect conductor, neither is there a perfect insulator.
Some materials are neither good conductors nor good insulators, since their electrical
characteristics fall between those of conductors and insulators. These in-between materials are
classified as semiconductors. Germanium and silicon are two common semiconductors used
in solid-state devices.

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Element
K

5
6

HVdrooen
Helium
Lithium
Bervllium
Boron
Carbon

Nilroqen

8
s

12

Oxyoen
Fluorine
Neon
Sodium
Maqnesium

'13

Aluminium

14
15

Silicon
Phosphorus

1/

Sulphur
Chlorine

2
3

10
11

'18

Arqon
Potassium
Calcium

20

Scandium
Titanium

21

2?
23
24

Vanadium
Chromium

61

60

3
4

I
I
B

8
8
a
B

71

72
73

10

2
2

11

13
13

't4
15
16

2
2

29
30

Copper
Zinc

'18

31

Gallilrm
Germanium

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2

45
46
47
48
49
50

Silver
Cadmium
lndium
Tin
AntimonV
Tellurium

51

52

Table

1.1

2
2
2

2
2
2
2
2
2
2

81

Thallium

a2
83

Lead
Bismuth
Polonium

8
8

1B

10
12
13
14
15

3
4
5

18

18

1B

18

18
18

'18

8
8

'18

'18

18
18

C)smium

7
a
8

Rhenium

Mercurv

18
18
18
18
18

Tantalum
Tunqsten

80

8
8

18
18
18

Dvsprosium
Holmium
Erbium
Thulhrm
Ytterbium
Lutetium
Halnium

Gold

1B

Gadolinium
Terbium

79

Xenon
Cesium
Barium
Lanthanum
Cerium
Praseodvmium
Neodvmium
Promethium
Samarium
Europium

7A

75
76
77

lodine

lridium
Platinum

18
18
18
18

/4

'1

2
2

42
43
44

69
70

Nickel

41

68

2A

3S

67

40

63
64
65

5
6
7

38

62

3/

L M

59

Iron

Selenium
Bromine
Krypton
Rubidium
Strontium
Yttrium
Zirconium
Niobium
Molybdenum
Technetilrm
Ruthenium
Rhodium
Palladium

5
6

Coball

Arsenic

53
54
55
56
57
58

26
27

32
33
34
35

Ue

lvlanOanese

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
?
2
2
2

18
1A
18
18
18

B4

85
86

2
2
2

Asatine

a7
88

Radon
Francium
Radium

89
90

Actinium
Thorium

91

Proactinium

92

uranium

s3

Neptunium
Plutonium

94
95

96
97
98

Amerium

100

101

Curium
Berkelit]m
Californium
Einsteinium
Fermium
Mendelevium

102

Nobelium

103

9C

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2

I
I

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't8

18

18
18

18

1B
18

20

't8

18

19
21

22
23
24
25
26

18

18

'18

I
I
I

18
18
18

29
30

8
8

18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
8
8
8

32

B
B

I
I
8

8
B

I B
I I

2A

31

32
32
32

32

8
a
8

32

32

I
I

'18

32
32
32
32
32
32
32
32
32
32
32

8
8
8

1B
1B

18
18

8
8
a

I
I

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1A
18
18

I
I

I
I
I

2
2
2

2
2
2
2
2
2

2
2

I
I

I
9
10
11

12
13
14
15
16

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2

't8

18
18

I
I

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32
32
32

32
32

'tB

18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
18
19

4
5
6
7

8
B

I
I

20

21

9
9

22
23
24
25

26

27

2A

29
30

32

32

2
2
2
2

2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2
2

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Module 3.1 Electron Theory

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Electrical Fundamentals
3.2 Static Electricity and Conduction

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Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81, 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

('l' 2 or
by the allocation o{ knowledge levels indicators
Basic knowledge {or categories A, B1 and 82-are indicated
or the category 82
c"i"gorv c applicants must meet either the category 81
3) againsl each applicable
"ror""i.
basic knowledge levels.
are defined as follows:
indicators
level
The knowledge

LEVEL

A familiarisation wilh the principal elements of the subject'


Objectives:
o{ the subiect'
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements
of the whole subject, using common words and
description
gi""
simple
a
The applicant shoutd be Ji" t"
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms'

LEVEL 2
the subiect'
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of
An ability to apply that knowledge'
Objectives:
ol the subject'
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals
i" giue a generat description ol the subject using, as appropriate, typical
The applicant shorro o"
"[i"
examples.

Theapplicantshouldbeabletousemathematicalformulaeinconjunctionwithphysicallawsdescribingthe
subject.

TheapplicantShouldbeabletoreadandunderstandSketches,drawingsandschematicsdescribingthe
subject.

Theapplicantshouldbeabletoapplyhisknowledgeinapracticalmannerusingdetai|edprocedures.

LEVEL 3
subject'
A detailed knowledge oi the theoretical and practical aspects o{ the
elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
A capacity to combine and apply th"
""p"rui"
manner.
Objectives:

TheapplicantshoUldknowthetheoryofthesubjectandinterrelationshipSWithothersUbjects.lundamenlals
the subject using theoretical
The applicant sho"ro n" uorL io giue a d"taiteo description of
and sPecific examPles.

Theapplicantshouldunderstandandbeabletousemathematicalformulaerelatedtothesubject'
TheapplicantShourooeaotetoread,understandandpreparesketches,simpledrawingsandschematics
describing the

subiect.

practical manner usrng manu lacturer,s


The applilant sho;ld be able to apply his knowledge in a
instructions.

TheapplicantShouldbeabletointerpretresultsfromVarioussourcesandmeasurementsandapply
corrective action where appropriate'

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Table of Contents

Module 3.2 Static Electricity and Conduction


lntroduction
Static Electricity
Nature of Charges
Charged Bodies
Coulomb's Law of Charges
Unit of Charge
Electric Fields
Conduction of Electricity in Solids, Liquids and a Vacuum

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Module 3.2 Enabling Obiectives and Certification Statement


Certif ication Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 2O42|2OO3 Annex lll (Part-66)
dix l. and the associated Knowledqe Levels as

Static Electricitv and Conduction


Static electricity and distribution of electrostatic
Electrostatic laws of attraction and
Units of charqe, Coulomb's Law
Conduction of electricity in solids, liquids, gases
and a vacuum

2-4
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Module 3.2 Static Electricity and Conduction

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lntroduction
Electrostatics (electricity at rest) is a subject with which most persons entering the field of
electricity and electronics are somewhat familiar. For example, the way a person's hair stands
on end after a vigorous rubbing is an effect of electrostatics. While pursuing the study of
electrostatics, you will gain a better understanding of this common occurrence. Of even greater
significance, the study of electrostatics will provide you with the opportunity to gain important
background knowledge and to develop concepts which are essential to the understanding of
electricity and electronics.

lnterest in the subiect of static electricity can be traced back to the Greeks. Thales of Miletus, a
Greek philosopher and mathematician, discovered that when an amber rod is rubbed with fur,
the rod has the amazing characteristic of attracting some very light objects such as bits of paper
and shavings of wood.
About 1600, William Gilbert, an English scientist, made a study ol other substances which had
been found to possess qualities of attraction similar to amber. Among these were glass, when
rubbed with silk, and ebonite, when rubbed with fur. Gilbert classified all the substances which
possessed properties similar to those of amber as electrics, a word of Greek origin meaning
ambe

r.

Because of Gilbert's work with electrics, a substance such as amber or glass when given a
vigorous rubbing was recognized as being electrified, or charged with electricity.
ln the year 1733, Charles Dufay, a French scientist, made an impodant discovery about
electrif ication. He found that when a glass was rubbed with fur, both the glass rod and the fur
became electri{ied. This realization came when he systematically placed the glass rod and the
fur near other electrified substances and found that certain subslances which were attracted to
the glass rod were repelled by the fur, and vice versa. From experiments such as this, he
concluded that there must be two exactly opposite kinds of electricity.
Benjamin Franklin, American statesman, inventor, and philosopher, is credited with first using
the terms positive and negative to describe the two opposite kinds of electricity. The charge
produced on a glass rod when it is rubbed with silk, Franklin labelled positive. He attached ihe
term negative to the charge produced on the silk. Those bodies which were not electrified or
charged, he called neutral.

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Static Electricity
ln a natural or neutral state, each atom in a body of matter will have the proper number of
electrons in orbit around it. Consequently, the whole body of matter composed of the neutral
atoms will also be electrically neutral. ln this state, it is said to have a "zero charge." Electrons
will neither leave nor enter the neutrally charged body should it come in contact with other
neutral bodies. lf, however, any number of electrons is removed from the atoms of a body of
matter, there will remain more protons than electrons and the whole body of matter will become
electrically positive. Should the positively charged body come in contact with another body
having a normal charge, or having a negative (too many electrons) charge, an electric current
will flow between them. Electrons will leave the more negative body and enter the positive boo\
This electron flow will continue until both bodies have equal charges. When two bodies of
matter have unequal charges and are near one another, an electric force is exerted between
them because of their unequal charges. However, since they are not in contact, their charges
cannot equalize. The existence of such an electric force, where current cannot flow, is referred
to as static electricity. ("Static" in this instance means "not moving.") lt is also referred to as an
electrostatic force.
One of the easiest ways to create a static charge is by friction. When two pieces of matter are
rubbed together, electrons can be "wiped off" one material onto the other. lf the materials used
are good conductors, it is quite difficult to obtain a detectable charge on either, since equalizing
currents can flow easily between the conducting materials. These currents equalize the charges
almost as fast as they are created. A static charge is more easily created between nonconducting materials. When a hard rubber rod is rubbed with fur, the rod will accumulate
electrons given up by the fur, as shown in figure 2.1. Since both materials are poor conductors.
very little equalizing current can flow, and an electrostatic charge builds up. When the charge
becomes great enough, current will flow regardless of the poor conductivity of the materials.
These currents will cause visible sparks and produce a crackling sound.

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2-6
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Nature of Charges
When in a natural or neutral state, an atom has an equal number of electrons and protons.
Because of this balance, the net negative charge of the electrons in orbit is exactly balanced by
the net positive charge ol the protons in the nucleus, making the atom electrically neutral.
An atom becomes a positive ion whenever it loses an electron, and has an overall positive
charge. Conversely, whenever an atom acquires an extra electron, it becomes a negative ion
and has a negative charge.
Due to normal molecular activity, there are always ions present in any material. lf the number of
positive ions and negative ions is equal, the material is electrically neutral. When the number of
positive ions exceeds the number of negative ions, the material is positively charged. The
material is negatively charged whenever the negative ions outnumber the positive ions.
Since ions are actually atoms without their normal number of electrons, it is the excess or the
lack of electrons in a substance that determines its charge. ln most solids, the transfer of
charges is by movement of electrons rather than ions. The transfer of charges by ions will
become more significant when we consider electrical activity in liquids and gases. At this time,
we will discuss electrical behaviour in terms ol electron movement.

Charged Bodies
One of the fundamental laws of electricity is that like charges repel each other and unlike
charges attract each other. A positive charge and negative charge, being unlike, tend to move
toward each other. ln the atom, the negative electrons are drawn toward the positive protons in
the nucleus. This attractive force is balanced by the electron's centrifugal force caused by its
rotation about the nucleus. As a result, the electrons remain in orbit and are not drawn into the
nucleus. Electrons repel each other because of their like negative charges, and protons repel
each other because of their like positive charges.

The law ol charged bodies may be demonstrated by a simple experiment. Two pith (paper pulp)
balls are suspended near one another by threads, as shown in figure 2.2.

Figure 2.2 - Repulsion and attraction of charged bodies

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Module 3.2 Static Electricity and Conduction

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lf a hard rubber rod is rubbed with fur to give it a negative charge
right-hand ball
,ighi-h""Jbiri in parl (A), y'" i"J *iir givE off u n"gi1u" charge to the.ball. The
*itt'i""pe-ct to the leftlhand ball. When released, the two balls will
will have a negative
until the
"6urg"
.nounn in tig ui,re 2.2 (A\. They will touch and remain in contact
be drawn together, u"
ball, at.which time they will
left-hand ball gains a portion'oi tn"e ;d"ti"; charge of the right-hand
charge is placed on both balls
swing aparl as shown in tigure 2.2 Q\: ll a positive or a negitive
$igule 2-2 (B)), the balls will repel each other'

Coulomb's Law of Charges

was first discovered and written


The relationship between attracting or repelling-charged bodies
Law states that
uUouin' u French scientisi nur"iCnurt"s A.boulomb. Coulomb's

directly proportional to the


charged bodies attract or repel each other.with a force that is
pr"Ji"iot ttt"ir individual c-harges, and is inversely proportional to the square of the
distance between them.
electrically charged bodies
The amount of attracting or repelling force which acts between two
(2) the distance between them'
in free space depends on i*oif'tgi - (.1) their charges and

Unit of Gharge

when certain combinations


The process of electrons arriving or leaving_is exactly what happens
material are forced by the
of materials are rubbed togeth"i electrons"from the atoms of one
and transfer over to the atoms of the other material' ln
rubbing to leave their resp"ective atoms
if'" ;tfriO' hypothesized by Beniamin Franklin. The operational
other words, etectrons
generated between
definition of a coulomb as ihe unit of electrical charge (in terms of force
about.
of
was found to be equal to an excess or deficiency
point
electron has a charge of
"hutg"")
6,280,000,000,000,000,000 etectrons. or, stated in reverse terms, one
is the smallest known
a6out 0.00000000000000000016 coulombs" Being that one electron
as lhe elementary
carrier of electric charge, this last figure of chargelor the electron is defined
charge.

";;;i;;

1 coulomb = 6,280,000,000,000,000,000 electrons

Electric Fields

felt is called an
The space between and around charged bodies in which their influence is
fields and
electrostatic
electric field of force. lt can exist inlir, glass, paper, or a vacuum.
dielectric fields are other names used to refer to this region of force.
and, in general'
Fields of force spread out in the space surrounding their point o{ origin
diminish in proportion to the square of the distance from their source'
are.referred to as
The field about a charged body is generally represented by lines which
to represent lhe
electrostatic lines of t"i"". irt"si lines ire imaginary and are used merely by a positive
force exerted
direction and strength ot irr" ti"ro. To avoid confuJion, ihe lines of
tnlV are shown
a
negative
ur" always lhown leaving the charge, and for
9!a1Oe
about charged bodies'
"frurg"
entering. Figure 2.3 illustrates th6 use of lines to represenfthe lield

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Module 3.2 Static Electricity and Conduction

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(B) represents the attraction of unlike-charged bodies and their associated fields.

Conduction of Electricity in Solids, Liquids and a Vacuum


Solids
Electric current is the movement of valence electrons. Gonduction is the name of this process.
It is more fully described in Chapter 1 of this Module. Generally, only metals conduct electricity.
Some conduct better than others.

The exception to this is graphite (one ol the forms of the element Carbon). Carbon is a nonmetal which exhibits some electrical conductivity.

Liquids
The only liquid elements which conduct are the liquid metals. At room temperature liquid
mercury is a conductor. Other metals continue to conduct electricity when they are melted.
Non-metals such as water, alcohol, ethanoic acid, propanone, hexane and so on, are all non
conductors of electricity.
However, it is possible to make some non-conducting liquids conduct electricity, by a process
called ionization. lonized substances are called ionic substances.

lonic substances are made of charged particles - positive and negative ions. ln the solid state
they are held very firmly in place in a lattice structure. ln the solid state the ions cannot move
about at all. When the ionic solid is melted, the bonds holding the ions in place in the lattice are
broken. The ions can then move around f reely.
When an electric current is applied to an ionic melt the electricity is carried by the ions that are
now able to move. ln an ionic melt the electric current is a flow of ions.

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Taking water as an example. Remember firstly, that water is considered to be a non-conductor


of electricity. lt can allow some electricity through it if a high voltage is applied to it. This is due
to the presence of a minute concentration of H* and OH- ions in the water. However, electrons
cannot f low through water.

Covalent substances do not conduct at all in solution.

lonic substances are able to conduct electricity when they are dissolved in water.
The reason lies again in the fact that ionic substances are made of charged particles - ions.
When the ionic solid is dissolved in water the ionic lattice breaks up and the ions become free to
move around in the water. When you pass electricity through the ionic solution, the ions are
able to carry the electric current because of their ability to move freely. A solution conducts by
means of lreely moving ions.
An electrolyte is a liquid which can carry an electric current through it. lonic solutions and ionic
melts are all electrolytes.
tb

Electrolysis describes the process which takes place when an ionic solution or melt has
electricity passed through it.
Gases
A gas in its normal state is one of the best insulators known. However, in a similar way as
liquid, it can be forced to conduct electricity by ionisation of the gas molecules. lonisation of the
gas molecules can be effected by extremely high voltages. For example, lightning, is electric
current flowing through an ionised path through air due to the huge electrical potential difference
between the storm cloud and the ground.
ln air, and other ordinary gases, the dominant source
of electrical conduction is via a relatively small number
of mobile ions produced by radioactive gases,
ultraviolet light, or cosmic rays. Since the electrical
conductivity is extremely low, gases are dielectrics or
insulators. However, once the applied electric field
approaches the breakdown value, f ree electrons
become sufficiently accelerated by the electric field to
create additional free electrons by colliding, and
ionizing, neutral gas atoms or molecules in a process
called avalanche breakdown. The breakdown process
forms a plasma that contains a significant number of
mobile electrons and positive ions, causing it to
behave as an electrical conductor. ln the process, it
forms a light emitting conductive path, such as a spark,
arc or lightning.

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Figure 2.4 - Lightning is electric


current flowing through an ionized
plasma of its own making

2-10

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Plasma is the state of matter where some of the electrons in a gas are stripped or "ionized"
'rcm their molecules or atoms. A plasma can be formed by high temperature, or by application
:f a high electric or alternating magnetic field as noted above. Due to their lower mass, the
? ectrons in a plasma accelerate more quickly in response to an electric field than the heavier
:csitive ions, and hence carry the bulk of the current.

7
1 Vacu u m
: s a common belief that electricity cannot flow through a vacuum. This is however incorrect.
t lemember
that a conductor is "something through which electricity can flow," rather than
'scmething which contains movable electricity." A vacuum offers no blockage to moving
t :r'arges. Should electrons be injected into a vacuum, the electrons will flow uninhibited and
t -rretarded. As such, a vacuum is an ideal conductor.
t -";s fact is taken advantage of in many situations, from televisions to vacuum valves. A
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vacuum arc can arise when the sudaces of metal electrodes in contact with a good vacuum
3egin to emit electrons either through heating (thermionic emission) or via an electric field that
s sufficient to cause {ield emission. Once initiated, a vacuum arc can persist since the freed
3a(icles gain kinetic energy from the electric field, heating the metal surfaces through high
sceed particle collisions. This process can create an incandescent cathode spot which frees
-cre particles, thereby sustaining the arc. At sufficiently high currents an incandescent anode
soot may also be formed.
= ectrical discharge in vacuum is important for certain types of vacuum tubes and for high
. o lage vacuum switches.

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Electrical Fundamentals

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3.3 Electrical Terminology

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reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.ephotocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
Total Training Support Ltd.

o copyright. All worldwide rights

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81 , 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, Bl and 82 are indicated by the allocation o{ knowledge levels indicators (1, 2 or
3) against eacti applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either lhe category 81 or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are defined as lollows:

LEVEL

A familiarisation with the principal elements of the subjecl.


Objectives:
The applicant should be lamiliar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge o{ the theoretical and practical aspects of the subiect.
An ability to apply thal knowledge.
Objectives:
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a generat description ol the subject using, as appropriate, typical
examples.
The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction with physical laws describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subjecl.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicanl should be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoretical {undamentals
and specif ic examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical formulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schemat :s
describing the sublect.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturers
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results Jrom various sources and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

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Module 3.3 Electrical Terminology

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Modure 3.3 Elecrricar rerminorogy

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Module 3.3 Enabling Obiectives and Certification Statement

The following terms, their units and factors


aflecting them: potential difference,
electromotive force, voltage, current,
resistance, conductance, charge, conventional

3-4

Module 3.3 Electrical Terminology

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Electrical Energy
ln the field of physical science, work must be defined as the product of force and
displacement. That is, the lorce applied to move an object and the distance the object is
moved are the factors of work performed.
It is imporlant to notice that no work is accomplished unless the force applied causes a change
in the position of a stationary object, or a change in the velocity of a moving object. A worker
may tire by pushing against a heavy wooden crate, but unless the crate moves, no work will be
accomplished.

Energy
ln our study of energy and work, we must define energy as the ability to do work. ln order to
perform any kind of work, energy must be expended (converted from one form to anotheO.
Energy supplies the required force, or power, whenever any work is accomplished.
One form of energy is that which is contained by an object in motion. When a hammer is set in
motion in the direction of a nail, it possesses energy of motion. As the hammer strikes the nail,
the energy of motion is conveded into work as the nail is driven into the wood. The distance the
nail is driven into the wood depends on the velocity of the hammer at the time it strikes the nail.
Energy contained by an object due to its motion is called kinetic energy. Assume that the
hammer is suspended by a string in a position one meter above a nail. As a result of
gravitational attraction, the hammer will experience a force pulling it downward. lf the string is
suddenly cut, the force of gravity will pull the hammer downward against the nail, driving it into
the wood. While the hammer is suspended above the nail it has abitity to do work because of its
elevated position in the earth's gravitational field. Since energy is the ability to do work, the
hammer contains energy.
Energy contained by an object due to its position is called potential energy. The amount of
potential energy available is equal to the product of the force required to elevate the hammer
and the height to which it is elevated.

Another example of potential energy is that contained in a tightly coiled spring. The amount of
energy released when the spring unwinds depends on the amount of force required to wind the
spring initially.

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Electrical Charges

that a field of force exists in the space


From the previous study of electrostatics, you learned
of the field is directly dependent on the force of
ih"
surrounding any electrical
"length
"fr"tg".
the charge.

Thechargeofoneelectronmightbeusedasa'unitofelectricalcharge,sincechargesare
is so small that it is
ol"pracement of ele"ctrons; but the charge of one electron
impractical to use.

!l

Thepracticalunitadoptedformeasuringchargesisthecoulomb,namedafterthescientist
(six
to th6 charge of 6,280,000,000,000,000,000
ii
Charles Coulomb. On"
"qui
"outo*O quadrillion)
or 6'28 x 1018 electrons'
q"i"tifri"" tto hundred uni
"ighty
of electrical potential
when a charge of one coulomb exists between two bodies, one unit
beiween the two bodies' This is referred
energy exists, which is caffeJ tfie Jitf"r"n"" of potential
is the volt'
to aJelectromotive force, or voltage, and the unit of measure

.i""[Jn"v

so that there exists an excess


Electrical charges are created by the displacement of electrons,
must
point .Consequentlyl,
of electrons at one point, anJa leticiendy at another
-?llSe
is
electrons
of
always have either a n"guiiu" ;i positive'polarlty A. b.-ogy *ith 1,9L"-::t^
of electrons is positive.
con"iO"r"O to be negative, *f,"r"L. a body witlL a.deficiency
u*i.t between two points, or bodies, only if they have different
A difference of potential
both have a
there is no difference in potential between two bodies if
t'rr"ig;". i;"itrerwords, ""n
o"gree. lf, however, one body is deficient of 6 coulombs
deficiency of electrons to tr"
(representing 12 volts), there is
"ut"
(representing 6 volts), unO tf'" otft"t is-def icient by 1 2 coulombs
iitt"r""""i,t poteniiat oi o uorti. 11" body with ihe greater deficiency is positive with respect

to the other.

points is of importance
ln most electrical circuits only the difference of potential between two
often it is-convenient to use
unJ tn" absolute potentials of the points are of iittle concern. Very
piece.of equipment' For this
one standard reference to|. uff of the various potentials throughout a
with respect to the
reason, the potentials ut uuiiors points in a circuit are generally measured
is considered to be at
metal chassis on which all parts of the circuit are mounled. The chassis
to the chassis'
zeio potential and alt oher'pot"nii"it ut" either positive or negative with respe,ct
potential'
ground
When used as the reference point, the chassis is said to be at

occasionally,ratherlargevaluesofVoltagemaybeencountered,inwhichcasetheVolt
becomestoosmallaunitforconvenience-.lna-situationofthisnature,thekilovolt(kV)'meaning
20 kV' ln other
be written as
1,000 volts, is frequently used. As an example, 20,000 volts would
small voltages. For this
cases, the volt may Oe ioolurg" a unit, as when dealing with very.
(pV), meaning
p"ip"." tn" rnittivdn lmvf r""unrg o;"-tho.us1ngil of volt, and the microvolt
and
1
mV'
as
be written
one-millionth of a volt, url, ,""0. F6r example, 0'001 volt would
0.000025 volt would be written as 25 UV'

are connected by
when a difference in potential exists between two charged bodies that
is from the negatively cha.rged body
conductor, electrons *irr flow arong the conductor. This-flow
and the potential difference
to the positively cfrargeO btdy, ,niit tn" two charges are equalized
no longer exists.

3-6
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An analogy of this action is shown in the two water tanks connected by a pipe and valve in
figure 3.1. At first the valve is closed and all the water is in tank A. Thus, the water pressure
across the valve is at maximum. When the valve is opened, the water flows through the pipe
f rom A to B until the water level becomes the same in both tanks. The water then stops flowing
in the pipe, because there is no longer a difference in water pressure between the two tanks.

TA''*X A

TAlrlK 3

?*

Figure 3.1 - An analogy of potential difference

Electron movement through an electric circuit is directly proportional to the difference in


potential or electromotive force (EMF), across the circuit, just as the flow of water through the
pipe in figure 3.1 is directly proportional to the difference in water level in the two tanks.
A fundamental law of electricity is that the electron flow is directly proportional to the
applied voltage. lf the voltage is increased, the flow is increased. lf the voltage is decreased,
the flow is decreased.

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Module 3.3 Electrical Terminology

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Electric Current
Electron f low

It has been proven that electrons (negative charges) move through a conductor in response to
an electric field. Electron current flow will be used throughout this explanation. Electron
a
current is defined as the directed flow of electrons. The direction of electron movement is from
potential to a region of positive potential. Therefore electron flow can be said
region of negative
-negative
to positive. Tie direction of current flow in a material is determined by the
toilow from
polarity of the apPlied voltage.

Conventional Current Flow


potential
ln the UK and Europe, conventional current flow is said to be from positive to negative
- the opposite way to the actual flow of electrons.
Conventional current was defined early in the
history of electrical science as a flow of positive
charge. ln solid metals, like wires, the positive
charge carriers are immobile, and only the
negatively charged electrons f low. Because the
electron carries negative charge, the electron
current is in the direction opposite to that of
conventional (or electric) current.

l!*w af $*litirllr ,rhe'!;?

Electric charge moves from the positive side of


the power source to the negative.

current
ln other conductive materials, the electric current Figure 3'2 - Conventional
flow direction
is due to the flow of charged parlicles in
directions at the same time. Electric currents in
electrolytes are flows of electrically charged atoms (ions), which exist in both positive and
negative varieties. For example, an elecirochemical cell may be constructed. with salt water (a
solution of sodium chloride) on one side of a membrane and pure water on the other. The
membrane lets the positive sodium ions pass, but not the negative chloride ions, so a net
current results. Electric currents in plasma are flows of electrons as well as positive and
negative ions. ln ice and in certain solid electrolytes, flowing protons constitute the electric
cuirent. To simplify this situation, the original definition oi conventional current still stands.

both

There are also materials where the electric current is due to the flow of electrons and yet it is
conceptually easier to think of the current as due to the llow of positive "holes" (the spots that
should have an electron to make the conductor neutral). This is the case in a p-type
semiconductor.
These EASA Part-66 Module 3 notes will use conventional current noiation throughout, unless
oiherwise stated, and then only for specif ic reasons'

3-B
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Random Drift
All materials are composed of atoms, each of which is capable of being ionised. lf some form of
energy, such as heat, is applied to a material, some electrons acquire sufficient energy to move
to a higher energy level. As a result, some electrons are freed from their parent atom's which
then becomes ions. Other forms of energy, particularly light or an electric field, will cause
ionisation to occur.
The number of free electrons resulting from ionisation is dependent upon the quantity of energy
applied to a material, as well as the atomic structure of the material. At room temperature some
materials, classified as conductors, have an abundance of free electrons. Under a similar
condition, materials classif ied as insulators have relatively few f ree electrons.
ln a study of electric current, conductors are of major concern. Conductors are made up of
atoms that contain loosely bound electrons in their outer orbits. Due to the effects of increased
energy, these outermost electrons frequently break away from their atoms and freely drift
throughout the material. The free electrons, also called mobile electrons, take a path that is not
predictable and drift about the material in a haphazard manner. Consequently such a movement
is termed random drift.
It is imporlant to emphasize that the random drift of electrons occurs in all materials. The degree
of random drift is greater in a conductor than in an insulator.

Directed Drift
Associated with every charged body there is an electrostatic field. Bodies that are charged alike
repel one another and bodies with unlike charges attract each other. An electron will be affected
by an electrostatic field in exactly the same manner as any negatively charged body. lt is
repelled by a negative charge and attracted by a positive charge. lf a conductor has a difference
in potential impressed across it, as shown in figure 3.3, a direction is imparled to the random
drift. This causes the mobile electrons to be repelled away from the negative terminal and
attracted toward the positive terminal. This constitutes a general migration of electrons from one
end of the conductor to the other. The directed migration of mobile electrons due to the potential
difference is called directed drift.

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Figure 3.3 - Directed drift


motion in a
The directed movement of the electrons occurs at a relatively low velocity (rate of
particular direction). The effect of this directed movement, however, is felt almost,
potential is impressed
instantaneously, as explained by the use of figure 3.3. As a difference in
point A. Point A
across the con'ductor, ihe positive terminal of the battery attracts electrons from
point B to point A'
now has a deficiency of electrons. As a result, electrons are attracted from
point B has now developed an electron deficiency, therefore, it will attract electrons. This same
instani
effect occurs throughoui the conductor and repeats itself from points D to C At the same
tfte positive battery"terminal attracted electrons f rom point A, the negative terminal repelled
to
electrons toward foint D. These electrons are attracted to point D as it gives up electrons
point C. This process is continuous for as long as a difference of potential exists across the
o"
conductor. Though an individual electron mov:es quite slowly through-the conductor, the effect
point
a directed drift oJcurs almost instantaneously. As an electron moves into the conductor at
a
light
D, an eleciron is leaving at point A. This action takes place at approximately the speed
(186,000 Miles Per Second).

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Figure 3.4 - Effect of directed drift.

Magnitude of Current Flow


Electric current has been defined as the directed movement of electrons. Directed drift,
therefore, is current and the terms can be used interchangeably. The expression directed drift is
particularly helpful in differentiating between the random and directed motion of electrons.
However, current flow is the terminology most commonly used in indicating a directed
movement of electrons.

The magnitude of current flow is directly related to the amount of energy that passes through a
conductor as a result of the drift action. An increase in the number of energy carriers (the mobile
electrons) or an increase in the energy of the existing mobile electrons would provide an
increase in current flow. When an electric potential is impressed across a conductor, there is an
increase in the velocity of the mobile electrons causing an increase in the energy of the carriers.
There is also the generation of an increased number of electrons providing added carriers of
energy. The additional number of free electrons is relatively small, hence the magnitude of
current flow is primarily dependent on the velocity of the existing mobile electrons.
The magnitude of current flow is affected by the difference of potential in the following manner.
lnitially, mobile electrons are given additional energy because of the repelling and attracting
electrostatic field. lf the potential difference is increased, the electric field will be stronger, the
amount of energy imparted to a mobile electron will be greater, and the current will be
increased. lf the potential difference is decreased, the strength of the field is reduced, the
energy supplied to the electron is diminished, and the current is decreased.

Measurement of Current
The magnitude of current is measured in amperes. A current of one ampere is said to flow
when one coulomb of charge passes a point in one second. Remember, one coulomb is equal
to the charge of 6.28 x 101b electrons.

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Module 3.3 Electrical Terminology

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Frequently, the ampere is much too large a unit for measuring current. Therefore, the
milliampere (mA), one-thousandth of an ampere, or the microampere (pA), one-millionth of an
ampere, is used. The device used to measure current is called an ammeter and will be
discussed in detail in a later module.

'l
A current of 1 Amp is flowing when a quantity of 1 Goulomb of charge flows for second'
The current I in amperes can be calculated with the following equation:

t= 9t
Where:

a
t

is the electric charge in coulombs (ampere seconds)


is the time in seconds

It follows that:

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Electrical Resistance
It is known that the directed movement of electrons constitutes a current flow. lt is also known
that the electrons do not move freely through a conductor's crystalline structure. Some materials
offer little opposition to current flow, while others greatly oppose current flow. This opposition to
current flow is known as resistance (R), and the unit of measure is the ohm. The standard of
measure for one ohm is the resistance provided at zero degrees Celsius by a column of
mercury having a cross-sectional area of one square millimetre and a length ol 106.3
centimetres.

A conductor has one ohm of resistance when an applied potential of one volt produces a
current of one ampere. The symbol used to represent the ohm is the Greek letter omega

().
Resistance, although an electrical property, is determined by the physical structure of a
material. The resistance of a material is governed by many of the same factors that control
current flow. Therefore, in a subsequent discussion, the factors that affect current flow will be
used to assist in the explanation of the factors affecting resistance.

Conductance
Electricity is a study that is frequently explained in terms of opposites. The term that is the
opposite of resistance is conductance. Conductance is the ability of a material to pass
electrons. The lactors that affect the magnitude of resistance are exactly the same for
conductance, but they affect conductance in the opposite manner. Therefore, conductance is
directly proportional to area, and inversely proportional to the length of the material. The
temperature of the material is definitely a factor, but assuming a constant temperature, the
conductance of a material can be calculated.

The unit of conductance is the mho (G), which is ohm spelled backwards. Recently the term
mho has been redesignated siemens (S). Whereas the symbol used to represent resistance
(R) is the Greek letter omega
), the symbol used to represent conductance (G) is (S). The
relationship that exists between resistance (R) and conductance (G) or (S) is a reciprocal one. A
reciprocal of a number is 'one' divided by that number. ln terms of resistance and conductance:

ft=

, G=
G

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Electrical Laws
Faraday's Law

loop of wire is
Faraday's law of induction states that the induced electromotive torce in a closed

directlyproportionaltothetimerateofchangeofmagneticfluxthroughtheloop.
Ohm's Law

points is directly
An electrical circuit, the current passing through a conductor between two
points, and
pioportional to the potential differenceli.e. uoltage drop or voltage) across the two
inversely proportional to the resistance between them'

Kirchhoff 's Laws


in
current Law -At any point in an electrical circuit where charge density is- not changing

currents
time, the sum of currents flowing towards that point is equal to the sum of
flowing awaY f rom that Point.

Voltage Law -The directed sum of the electrical potential differences around any closed
circuit must be zero.

Lens's Law

The induced current in a loop is in the direction that creates a magnetic field that opposes the
change in magnetic flux through the area enclosed by the loop. That is, the induced current
tendJto keeplhe original magnetic flux through the field f rom changing'

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Copyright Notice
O Copyright. All worldwide rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e.
photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
Total Training Support Ltd.

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81, 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, 81 and 82 are indicated by the allocation ol knowledge levels indicators (1, 2 or
3) against each applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category B1 or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are defined as follows:

LEVEL

A familiarisation with the principal elements ol the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge ol the theoretical and praclical aspects of the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Objectives:
The applicanl should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a general description of the subject using, as appropriate, typical
examples.
The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction with physical laws describing the
su bject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand skelches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject_

The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge of ihe theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicant should be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoretical lundamentals
and specific examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical lormulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schematics
describing the subiect.
The applicant should be able lo apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturer's
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results lrom various sources and measurements and apply
correclive action where appropriale.

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Module 3.4 Generation ol Electricity

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Module 3.4 Generation of Electricity


How Voltage is Produced
Voltage Produced by Friction
Voltage Produced by Pressure
Voltage Produced by Heat
Voltage Produced by Light
Voltage Produced by Chemical Action
Voltage Produced by Magnetism

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Module 3.4 Enabling Objectives and Certification Statement


Certification Statement
i6"iu stuov Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulat'lon 2o42l2oo3 Annex lll (Part-66)
l. and the associated

Generation of E
Production of electricity by the {ollowing
methods: light, heat, friction, pressure'
chemical action, maqnetism and motion

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Module 3.4 Generation ol Electricity

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Module 3.4 Generation of Electricity


How Voltage is Produced
It has been demonstrated that a charge can be produced by rubbing a rubber rod with fur.
Because of the friction involved, the rod acquires electrons lrom the fur, making it negative; the
fur becomes positive due to the loss of electrons. These quantities of charge c6nstitute a
difference of potential between the rod and the fur. The electrons which mike up this difference
of potential are capable of doing work if a discharge is allowed to occur.

To be a practical source of voltage, the potential difference must not be allowed to dissipate, but
must be maintained continuously. As one electron leaves the concentration of negative charge,
another must be immediately provided to take its place or the charge will eventually diminish-to
the point where no further work can be accomplished. A voltage source, therefore, is a device
which is capable of supplying and maintaining voltage while some type of electrical apparatus is
connected to its terminals. The internal action of the source is such that electrons are
continuously removed from one terminal, keeping it positive, and simultaneously supplied to the
second terminal which maintains a negative charge.
Presently, there are six known methods for producing a voltage or electromotive force (EMF).
some of these methods are more widely used than olhers, and some are used mosfly ior
specific applications. Following is a list of the six known methods of producing a voltage.

Friction - Voltage produced by rubbing certain materials together.


Pressure (piezoelectricity) - Voltage produced by squeezing crystals of cerlain

substances
Heat (thermoelectricity) - voltage produced by heating the joint (iunction) where two
unlike metals are joined.
Light (photoelectricity) - Voltage produced by light striking photosensitive (light sensitive)
substances.
chemical Action - voltage produced by chemicar reaction in a battery cell.
Magnetism - voltage produced in a conductor when the conductor moves through a
magnetic field, or a magnetic field moves through the conductor in such a manner as to
cut the magnetic lines of force of the field.

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Voltage Produced bY Friction

by friction The
The first method discovered for creating a voltage was that of generation
tl." *3y in which a
oeueropment of charges oy ruoning u r5d *ith fJr is a prime example.of
voltage is
g"""rated"by friction. Beiause of the nature of the materials with which this
""fi"gli"
used or maintained. For this reason, very little practical use
generated, it cannot o"
"onuuni"ntrv
generated by this method'
tas been iound for voltages
of a more practical
ln the search for methods to produce a voltage of a larger amplitude.and
from one terminal to
nature, machines were OevltlpeO in which c-hatges wele transferred
of these machines
,""if'dt Uy r"un. of rotating das" 0i""" ot movlng belts. The most notable
potentials in lhe..order of millions of
is the Van de Graaff gen"r"ioi. lt is used today to produce
outside the field of research' their
volts for nuclear research. n" tn""" machines have little vaiue
theory of operation will not be described here'

Voltage Produced bY Pressure

certain ionic
one specialized method of generating an EMF utilizes the characteristics of
crystals have the remarkable
;r;t"s quartz, noJfrette salti, and tourmaline. These
surface: T1'"' if a crystal o{
"'G;ir
ability to generate a voltage whenever stresses are.applied to their
of the
quu,i, i" iqr"ezeO, charg'es'oi opposite polarity will appear on two opposite surfaces
again appear, but will be
crystal. lf the force is reversed und thu crystal ii stretihed, charges will
is given a
oi'tf'" ofpo"it" polarity from those produced by squeezing. lf a crystal of thislypesides' Quartz
of its
vibratory motion, it wiff produce i ublt"g" of reversing pol-rity between two
energy'
electrical
into
or similir crystals can thus be used to convert mechanical energy
of the common
This phenomenon, called the piezoelectric elfect, is shown in figure 4.1 ' some
phonograph.cartridges, and
devices that make use of fiezoelectric crystals are microphones,
This method of
oscillators used in radio transmitters, radio receivers, and sonar equipment.
power
requirements,
generating an EMF is not suitable foi applications having large voltage or
voltages can be
6ut is wid6ly used in sound and communications systemi where small signal
effectively used.
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QUAR,TZ CRYSTAL
D

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IUIOLECULES 0F

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CRYSTALLIZED IIiATTER

(B)

Figure 4.1 - (A) Non-crystallized structure;


(B) crystallized structure;
(C) compression of a crystal;
(D) decompression of a crystal.

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Module 3.4 Generation of Electricity

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crystals of this type also possess another interesting property, the "converse piezoelectric
effect." That is, they have the ability to convert electrical energy into mechanical energy. A
voltage impressed across the proper surfaces of the crystal will cause it to expand or contract
its surfaces in response to the voltage applied.

Voltage Produced by Heat


When a length of metal, such as copper, is heated at one end, electrons tend to move away
from the hot end toward the cooler end. This is true of most metals. However, in some metals,
such as iron, the opposite takes place and electrons tend to move toward the hot end. These
characteristics are illustrated in figure 4.2.The negative charges (electrons) are moving through
the copper away from the heat and through the iron toward the heat. They cross from the iron to
the copper through the current meter to the iron at the cold junction. This device is generally
re{erred to as a thermocouple

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Figure 4.2 - Voltage produced by heat.

Thermocouples have somewhat greater power capacities than crystals, but their capacity is still
very small if compared to some other sources. The thermoelectric voltage in a thermocouple
depends mainly on the difference in temperature between the hot and c-old junctions.
consequently, they are widely used to measure temperature, and as heat-sensing devices in
automatic temperature control equipment. Thermocouples generally can be subjected to much
greater temperatures than ordinary thermometers, such as the mercury or alcohol types.

Voltage Produced by Light


When light strikes the surface ol a substance, it may dislodge electrons from their orbits around
the surface atoms of the substance. This occurs because light has energy, the same as any
moving force.
Some substances, mostly metallic ones, are far more sensitive to light than others. That is,
more electrons will be dislodged and emitted from the surface of a highly sensitive metal, with a
given amount of light, than will be emitted f rom a less sensitive substance. Upon losing
electrons, the photosensitive (light-sensitive) metal becomes positively charged, and an electric
force is created. Voltage produced in this manner is referred to as a photoelectric voltage.

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The photosensitive materials most commonly used to produce a photoelectric voltage are
various compounds of silver oxide or copper oxide. A complete device which operates on the
photoelectric principle is referred to as a "photoelectric cell." There are many different sizes and
iypes of photoelectric cells in use, and each serves the special purpose for which it is designed.
Nearly all, however, have some of the basic features oi the photoelectric cells shown in figure
4.3.
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Figure 4.3 - Voltage produced by light.

The cell (figure 4.3 view A) has a curved lighlsensitive surface focused on the central anode.
When light from the direction shown strikes the sensitive suface, it emits electrons toward the
anode. The more intense the light, the greater the number of electrons emitted. When a wire is
connected between the filament and the back, or dark side of the cell, the accumulated
electrons will flow to the dark side. These electrons will eventually pass through the metal of the
reflector and replace the electrons leaving the lighlsensitive surface. Thus, light energy is
converted to a flow of electrons, and a usable current is developed.
The cell (figure 4.3 view B) is constructed in layers. A base plate of pure copper is coated with
light-sensitive copper oxide. An extremely thin semitransparent layer of metal is placed over the
copper oxide. This additional layer serves two purposes:
It permits the penetration of light to the copper oxide.
It collects the electrons emitied by the copper oxide.
An externally connected wire completes the electron path, the same as in the reflectortype cell.
The photocell's voliage is used as needed by connecting the external wires to some other
device, which amplifies (enlarges) it to a usable level.

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Module 3.4 Ceneration ol Electricity

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The power capacity of a photocell is very small. However, it reacts to light-intensity variations in
an extremely shorl time. This characteristic makes the photocell very useful in detecting or
accurately controlling a great number of operations. For instance, the photoelectric cell, or some
form of the photoelectric principle, is used in television cameras, automatic manufacturing
process controls, door openers, burglar alarms, and so forth.

Voltage Produced by Chemical Action


Voltage may be produced chemically when certain substances are exposed to chemical action.
lf two dissimilar substances (usually metals or metallic materials) are immersed in a solution
that produces a greater chemical action on one substance than on the other, a difference of
potential will exist between the two. lf a conductor is then connected between them, electrons
will flow through the conductor to equalize the charge. This arrangement is called a primary cell.
The two metallic pieces are called electrodes and the solution is called the electrolyte. The
voltaic cell illustrated in figure 4.4is a simple example of a primary cell. The difference of
potential results from the fact that material from one or both of the electrodes goes into solution
in the electrolyte, and in the process, ions form in the vicinity of the electrodes. Due to the
electric field associated with the charged ions, the electrodes acquire charges.

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Figure 4.4 - Voltaic cell.

The amount of difference in potential between the electrodes depends principally on the metals
used. The type of electrolyte and the size of the cell have little or no effect on the potential
difference produced.
There are two types of primary cells, the wet cell and the dry cell. In a wet cell the electrolyte is
a liquid. A cell with a liquid electrolyte must remain in an upright position and is not readily
transportable. An automotive battery is an example of this type of cell. The dry cell, much more
commonly used than the wet cell, is not actually dry, but contains an electrolyte mixed with
other materials to form a paste. Torches and portable radios are commonly powered by dry
cells.

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Module 3.4 Generation of Electricily

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Batteries are formed when several cells are connected together to increase electrical output.

Voltage Produced by Magnetism


Magnets or magnetic devices are used for thousands of different jobs. One of the most useful
and"widely empioyed applications of magnets is in the production of vast quantities of electric
power from mecninicai sources. The mechanical power may be provided by.a number of
different sources, such as gasoline or diesel engines, and water or steam turbines' However,
the final conversion of thes-e source energies to electricity is done by generators employing the
principle of electromagnetic induction. These generators, of many types and sizes, are
discussed in other modules in this series. Theimportant subiect to be discussed here is the
fundamental operating principle of all such electromagnetic-induction generators.

To begin with, there are three fundamental conditions which must exist before a voltage can be
produced by magnetism.
There must be a conductor in which the voltage will be produced'
There must be a magnetic field in the conductor's vicinity'
There must be relative motion between the field and conductor. The conductor must be
moved so as to cut across the magnetic lines of force, or the field must be moved so that
the lines of force are cut by the conductor.
ln accordance with these conditions, when a conductor or conductors move across a magnetic
lield so as to cut the lines of force, electrons within the conductor are propelled in one
direction or another. Thus, an electric force, or voltage, is created.
ln figure 4.5, note the presence of the three conditions needed for creating an induced voliage.

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Module 3-4 Generation of Electricity

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Figure 4.5 - Voltage produced by magnetism.

A magnetic field exists between the poles of the C-shaped magnet.


There is a conductor (copper wire).
There is a relative motion. The wire is moved back and forth across the magnetic field.
ln figure 4.5 view A, the conductor is moving toward the front ol the page and the
electrons move f rom left to right.
The movement of the electrons occurs because of the magnetically induced EMF acting on the
electrons in the copper. The right-hand end becomes negative, and the left-hand end positive.
The conductor is stopped at view B, motion is eliminated (one of the three required conditions),
and there is no longer an induced EMF. Consequently, there is no longer any difference in
potential between the two ends of the wire. The conductor at view C is moving away from the
f ront of the page. An induced EMF is again created. However, note carefully that the reversal
of motion has caused a reversal of direction in the induced EMF.
lf a path for electron flow is provided between the ends of the conductor, electrons will leave the
negative end and flow to the positive end. This condition is shown in part view D. Electron flow
will continue as long as the EMF exists. ln studying figure 4.5,it should be noted that the
induced EMF could also have been created by holding the conductor stationary and moving the
magnetic field back and forth.
The more complex aspects of power generation by use of mechanical motion and magnetism
are discussed later in Chapter 14 - DC Motor/Generator Theory.

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Module 3.4 Generation of Electricity

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*p::|T:t

may b"
worldwide rights rese,rved' No part of this publication
whatsoever: l.e'
means
other
any
by
stored in a retrieval system oitransmitted in any form
the prior written permission o{
photocopy, electronic, mecfranlcat recording or otherwiie without
Total Training SuPPort Ltd.

@ Copyright. All

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81 , 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

BasicknowledgeforcategoriesA,Bland82-areindicatedbytheallocationofknowledgelevelsindicators(1,2or
82
c applicants must meet eitrer the category 81 or the category
3) against each applicable
"u01""i.-c"i"go.y
basic knowledge levels

iire

knowtedgJ level indicators are deiined as follows:

LEVEL

A lamiliarisation with the principal elements of the subiect'


Objectives:
o{ the subject'
The applicant should be lamiliar with the basic elements
ol the whole subiect, using common words and
description
i" gi"" a simple
The applicant sho"ro o"
"oi"
examPles.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms'

LEVEL 2

of the subiect'
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects
An ability to apply that knowledge'
Objectives:
lundamentals ol the subject
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical
i" gi"" a general description of the subject using, as appropriate, typical
The applicant sho"ro o"
examPles.

"[i"

Theapplicantshouldbeabletousemathematicallormulaeinconjunctionwithphysicallawsdescribingthe
subject

TheapplicantshouldbeabletoreadandunderstandSketches,drawingsandschematicsdescribingthe
subiect.

Theapplicantshouldbeabletoapplyhisknow|edgeinapracticalmannerusingdetailedprocedures'

LEVEL 3
of the
A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects

subjecl

,,

Acapacitytocombineandapplytheseparaieelementso{knowledgeinalogicalandcomprehensive
manner.
Objectives:

TheapplicantShouldknowthetheoryofthesUbjectandinterrelationshipSWithothersubjects.fundamentals
of the subject using theoretical
The appllcant shouro o"llr" i"giu" u o"t"it"d iescription
and sPecific examPles.

Theapplicantshouldunderstandandbeabletousemathematicalformulaerelatedtothesubject.
schematics
t" read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and
The applicant sho"ro o"

"uil
describing the subject
a practical manner using manufacturer's
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in
instructions.

TheapplicantshouldbeabletointerpretresultsfromVarioussourcesandmeasurementsandapply
corrective action where appropriate'

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Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Electricity

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Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity


lntroduction
The Cell
Primary and Secondary Cells

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5
7
7

Electrochemical Action
Primary Cell Chemistry
Secondary Cell Chemistry
Polarization of the Cell
Local Action
Types of Cells
Other Types of Cells
Secondary Wet Cells
Cell Capacity
Cells in Series and Parallel
Battery Construction
Battery lnternal Resistance
Battery Maintenance
Capacity and Rating of Batteries
Battery Charging
Thermocouples
Photocells

10
11
11

15
18
19
20
22
30
31

32
33
35
44

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Module 3.5 Enabling Objectives and Certification Statement


Certif ication Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 204212003 Annex lll (Part-66)
L and the associated Knowl
Levels as
below:

Construction and basic chemical action of:


primary cells, secondary cells, lead acid cells,
nickel cadmium cells. other alkaline cells
Cells connected in series and parallel
lnternal resistance and its affect on a
Construction, materials and operation of

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Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Electricity

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lntroduction
The purpose of this chapter is to introduce and explain the basic theory and characteristics of
batteries. The batteries which are discussed and illustrated have been selected as
representative of many models and types which are used in aircraft today. No attempt has been
made to cover every type of battery in use, however, after completing this chapter you will have
a good working knowledge of the batteries which are in general use.
First. you will learn about the building block of all batteries, the cell. The explanation will explore
the physical makeup of the cell and the methods used to combine cells to provide useful
voltage, current, and power. The chemistry of the cell and how chemical action is used to
convert chemical energy to electrical energy are also discussed"
ln addition, the care, maintenance, and operation of batteries, as well as some of the safety
precautions that should be followed while working with and around batteries are discussed.
Batteries are widely used as sources of direct-current electrical energy in automobiles, boats,
aircraft, ships, portable electric/electronic equipment, and lighting equipment. ln some
instances, they are used as the only source of power; while in others, they are used as a
secondary or standby power source.

A battery consists of a number of cells assembled in a common container and connected


together to f unction as a source of electrical power.

The Cell
A cell is a device that transforms chemical energy into electrical energy. The simplest cell,
known as eiiher a galvanic or voltaic cell, is shown in Figure 5.1. lt consists of a piece of carbon
(C) and a piece ol zinc (Zn) suspended in a jar that contains a solution of water (Hz0) and
sulphuric acid (HzS0+) called the electrolyte.

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Figure 5.1 - Simple voltaic or galvanic cell.

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The cell is the fundamental unit of the battery. A simple cell consists of two electrodes placed in
a container that holds the electrolyte.
ln some cells the container acts as one of the electrodes and, in this case, is acted upon by the
electrolyte. This will be covered in more detail later.

Electrodes
The electrodes are the conductors by which the current leaves or returns to the electrolyte. ln
the simple cell, they are carbon and zinc strips that are placed in the electrolyte; while in the dry
cell (Figure 5.2), they are the carbon rod in the centre and zinc container in which the cell is
assembled.

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Figure 5.2 - Dry cell, cross-sectional view.
ln a discharging battery or galvanic cell (drawing) the cathode is the positive terminal, where
conventional current flows out. This outward current is carried internally by positive ions moving
from the electrolyte to the positive cathode (chemical energy is responsibie for this "uphill"
motion). lt is continued externally by electrons moving inwards, negative charge moving one
way amounting to positive current flowing the other way.

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The anode is the negative terminal, where conventional current flows in, and electrons out.

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Electrolyte
The electrolyte is the solution that acts upon the electrodes. The electrolyte, which provides a
path for electron flow, may be a salt, an acid, or an alkaline solution" ln the simple galvanic cell,
the electrolyte is in a liquid form. ln the dry cell, the electrolyte is a paste.

Container
The container which may be constructed of one of many different materials provides a means of
holding (containing) the electrolyte. The container is also used to mount the electrodes. ln the
voltaic cell the container must be constructed of a material that will not be acted upon by the
electrolyte.

Primary and Secondary Cells


Primary Cell
A primary cell is one in which the chemical action eats away one of the electrodes, usually the
negative electrode. when this happens, the electrode must be replaced or the cell must be
discarded. ln the galvanictype cell, the zinc electrode and the liquid electrolyte are usually
replaced when this happens. ln the case of the dry cell, it is usually cheaper to buy a new cell.
Secondary Cell
A secondary cell is one in which the electrodes and the electrolyte are altered by the chemical
action that takes place when the cell delivers current. These ceils may be restored to their
original condition by forcing an electric current through them in the direction opposite to that of
discharge. The automobile storage battery is a common example of the secondary cell.

Electrochemical Action
lf a load (a device that consumes electrical power) is connected externally to the eleclrodes of a
cell, electrons will flow under the influence of a difference in potential across the electrodes from
the anode (negative electrode), through the external conducior to the cathode (positive
electrode).
A cell is a device in which chemical energy is converted to electrical energy. This process is
called electrochemical action.

The voltage across the electrodes depends upon the materials f rom which the electrodes are
made and the composition of the electrolyte. The current that a cell delivers depends upon the
resistance of the entire circuit, including that of the cell itself. The internal resisiance of the cell
depends upon the size of the electrodes, the distance between them in the electrolyte, and the
resistance of the electrolyte. The larger the electrodes and the closer together they are in the
electrolyte (without touching), the lower the internal resistance of the cell and the more current
the cell is capable of supplying to the load.

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Primary Cell Chemistry


When a current flows through a primary cell having carbon and zinc electrodes and a diluted
solution of sulphuric acid and water (combined to form the electrolyte), the following chemical
reaction takes place.
The electron flow through the load is the movement of electrons from the negative electrode of
the cell (zinc) and to the positive electrode (carbon). This causes fewer electrons in the zinc and
an excess of electrons in the carbon. The hydrogen ions (Hz) from the sulphuric acid are
attracted to the carbon electrode. Since the hydrogen ions are positively charged, they are
attracted to the negative charge on the carbon electrode. This negative charge is caused by the
excess of electroni. The zinc electrode has a positive charge because it has lost electrons to
the carbon electrode. This positive charge attracts the negative ions (SOa) from the sulphuric
acid. The negative ions combine with the zinc to form zinc sulphate. This action causes the zinc
electrode to be eaten away. Zinc sulphate is a greyish-white substance that is sometimes seen
on the battery post o{ an automobile battery.
The process of the zinc being eaten away and the sulphuric acid changing to hydrogen and zinc
sulphate is the cause of the Jell discharging. When the zinc is used up, the voltage of the cell is
reduced to zero.
ln Figure 5.2 you will notice that the zinc electrode (the case) is labelled negative and the
carbon electrode is labelled positive. This represents the current flow outside the cell from
positive to negative.

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The zinc combines with the sulphuric acid to form zinc sulphate and hydrogen. The zinc
sulphate dissolves in the electrolyte (sulphuric acid and water) and the hydrogen appears as
gas bubbles around the carbon electrode. As current continues to flow, the zinc gradually
dissolves and the solution changes to zinc sulphate and water. The carbon electrode does not
enter into the chemical changes taking place, but simply provides a return path for the current.

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Secondary Cell Chemistry


As stated before, the differences between primary and secondary cells are, the secondary cell
-shown
can be recharged and the electrodes are made of different mateiials. The secondary cell
in Figure 5.3 uses sponge lead as the anode and lead peroxide as the cathode. Thii is the leadacid type cell and will be used to explain the general chemistry of the secondary cell. Later in
the chapter when other types of secondary cells are discussed, you will see that the materials
which make up the parts of a cell are different, but that the chemical action is essentially the
same.

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Figure 5.3 view A shows a lead-acid secondary cell that is fully charged. The anode is pure
lead, the cathode is pure lead peroxide, and the electrolyte is a mixture of sulphuric acid
"p"ong"
and water.
Figure 5.3 view B shows the secondary cell discharging. A load is connected between the
and anode; electrons flow negative to positive as shown. This electron flow creates the
"ulhod"
same process as was explained for the primary cell with the following exceptions:
ln the primary cell the zinc anode was eaten away by the sulphuric acid. ln the secondary
cell the sponge-like construction of the anode retains the lead sulphate formed by the
chemical action of the sulphuric acid and the lead.
ln the primary cell the carbon cathode was not chemically acted upon by the sulphuric
acid. ln the s-econdary cell the lead peroxide cathode is chemically changed to lead
sulphate by the sulPhuric acid.
When the cell is fully discharged it will be as shown in Figure 5.3 view C. The cathode and
anode retain some lead peroiide and sponge lead but the amounts of lead sulphate in each is
maximum. The electrolyte has a minimum amount of sulphuric acid. With this condition no
further chemical action can take place within the cell.
As you know, the secondary cell can be recharged. Recharging is the process of reversing the
chemical action that occurs as the cell discharges. To recharge the cell, a voltage source, such
as a generator, is connected as shown in Figure 5.3 view D. The negative terminal of the
voltale source is connected to the cathode ol the cell and the positive terminal.of the voltage
sourCe is connected to the anode of the cell. With this arrangement the lead sulphate is
chemically changed back to sponge lead in the cathode, lead peroxide in the anode, and
sulphuric acid inlhe electrolyte. After all the lead sulphate is chemically changed, the cell is fully
charged as shown in Figure 5.3 view A. Once the cell has been charged, the discharge-charge
cycle may be repeated.
Notice in the above paragraph that the Anode and Cathode appear to have changed polarity.
This is because a cell being recharged is an electrolytic cell (rather than a voltaic or galvanic
cell, as it was when discharging). ln an electrolytic cell, the anode is positive, and the

cathode is negative.

Polarization of the Gell


The chemical action that occurs in the cell while the current is flowing causes hydrogen
bubbles to form on the surface of the cathode. This action is called polarization. Some
hydrogen bubbles rise to the surface of the electrolyte and escape into the air, some remain on
the surface of the cathode. lf enough bubbles remain around the cathode, the bubbles form a
barrier that increases internal resisiance. When the internal resistance of the cell increases, the
output current is decreased and the voltage of the cell also decreases.
A cell that is heavily polarized has no useful output. There are several methods to prevent
polarization or to depolarise the cell.

one method uses a vent on the cell to permit the hydrogen to escape into the air" A

disadvantage of this method is that hydrogen is not available to reform into the electrolyte

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during recharging. This problem is solved by adding water to the electrolyte, such as in an
automobile battery. A second method is to use material that is rich in oxygen, such as
manganese dioxide, which supplies free oxygen to combine with the hydrogen and form water.
A third method is to use a materiat that will absorb the hydrogen, such as calcium. The calcium
releases hydrogen during the charging process. All three methods remove enough hydrogen so
that the cell is practically free from polarization.

Local Action
When the external circuit is removed, the current ceases to flow, and, theoretically, all chemical
action within the cell stops. However, commercial zinc contains many impurities, such as iron,
carbon, lead, and arsenic. These impurities form many small electrical cells within the zinc
electrode in which current flows between the zinc and its impurities. Thus, the chemical action
continues even though the cell itself is not connected to a load.
Local action may be prevented by using pure zinc (which is not practical), by coating the zinc
with mercury, or by adding a small percentage of mercury to the zinc during the manufacturing
process. The treatment of the zinc with mercury is called amalgamating (mixing) the zinc. Since
mercury is many times heavier than an equal volume of water, small particles of impurities
weighing less than mercury will float to the surface of the mercury. The removal of these
impurities from the zinc prevents local action. The mercury is not readily acted upon by the acid.
When the cell is delivering current to a load, the mercury continues to act on the impurities in
the zinc. This causes the impurities to leave the surlace of the zinc electrode and float to the
surface of the mercury. This process greatly increases the storage life of the cell.

Types of Cells
The development of new and different types of cells in the past decade has been so rapid that it
is virtually impossible to have a complete knowledge of all the various types. A few recent
developments are the silver-zinc, nickel-zinc, nickel-cadmium, silver-cadmium, organic and
inorganic lithium, and mercury cells.

Primary Dry Cell


The dry cell is the most popular type of primary cell. lt is ideal for simple applications where an
inexpensive and non-critical source of electricity is all that is needed.
The dry cell is not actually dry. The electrolyte is not in a liquid state, but is a moist paste. lf it
should become totally dry, it would no longer be able to transform chemical energy to electrical
energy.
The construction of a common type of dry cell is shown in Figure 5.4. These dry cells are also
referred to as Leclanche' cells. The internal parts of the cell are located in a cylindrical zinc
container. This zinc container serves as the negative electrode (anode) of the cell. The
container is lined with a non-conducting material, such as blotting paper, to separate the zinc
f rom the paste. A carbon electrode is located in the centre, and it serves as the positive terminal
(cathode) of the cell. The paste is a mixture of several substances such as ammonium chloride,
powdered coke, ground carbon, manganese dioxide, zinc chloride, graphite, and water.

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end zinc chloride)

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Carlron rod

l''legative terrninel

Figure 5.4 - Cutaway view of the general-purpose dry cell.

This electrolyte paste also serves to hold the cathode rigid in the centre of the cell. When the
paste is packed in the cell, a small space is left at the top for expansion of the electrolytic paste
caused by the depolarisation action. The cell is then sealed with a cardboard or plastic seal.
Since the zinc container is the anode, it must be protected with some insulating material to be
electrically isolated. Theretore, it is common practice for the manufacturer to enclose the cells in
cardboard and metal containers.

The dry cell (Figure 5.4) is basically the same as the simple voltaic cell (wet cell) described
earlier, as far as its internal chemical action is concerned. The action of the water and the
ammonium chloride in the paste, together with the zinc and carbon electrodes, produces the
voltage of the cell. Manganese dioxide is added to reduce polarization when current flows and
zinc chloride reduces local action when the cell is not being used.
A cell that is not being used (sitting on the shelf) will gradually deteriorate because of slow
internal chemical changes (local action). This deterioration is usually very slow if cells are
properly stored. ll unused cells are stored in a cool place, their shelf life will be greatly
preserved. Therefore, to minimize deterioration, they should be stored in refrigerated spaces.
The cell is sealed at the top to keep air from entering and drying the electrolyte. Care should be
taken to prevent breaking this seal.

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The Leclanch6 Cell


Georges Leclanch6 invented and patented in 1 866
his battery, the Leclanch6 cell. lt contained a
conducting solution (electrolyte) of ammonium
chloride, a cathode (positive terminal) of carbon, a
depolarizer of manganese dioxide, and an anode
(negative terminal) of zinc. The Leclanche battery
was essentially a self-contained version of an earth
battery, and fairly copied its design.

The Leclanch6 battery (or wet cell as it was referred


to) was the forerunner of the modern dry cell zinccarbon battery.

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The Daniell Cell


The Daniell cell, also called the gravity cell or
crowfoot cell was invented in 1836 by John
Frederic Daniell, who was a British chemist and
meteorologist. The Daniell cell was a great
improvement over and is somewhat safer than the
voltaic cell used in the early days of battery
development. The Daniel cell's theoretical voltage

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The Daniel proper consists of a central zinc anode


dipping into a porous eadhenware pot containing
zinc sulphate solution. The porous pot is, in turn,
immersed in a solution of copper sulphate
contained in a copper can, which acts as the cell's
cathode. The use of a porous barrier prevents the
copper ions in the copper sulphate solution from
reaching the zinc anode and undergoing reduction.
This would render the cell ineffective by bringing
the battery to equilibrium without driving a current.

TRoo
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Figure 5.6 - The Daniell Cell

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during world
The mercuric-oxide zinc cell (mercury cell) is a primary cell that was developed
war ll. Two imporlant assets of the mercury ceLl are its ability to produce.cwrent for a long
5.4.The
plrrJot time and a long shelf life when compared to the dry cell shown in Figure be
made in a
can
that
mercury cell also has a very stable output uoitag" and is a power source
small physical size.
and miniaturized
With the birth of the space program and the development of small transceivers
a small cell
equipment, a power source of imall size was needed. Such equipment requires
The
of delivering maximum electrical energy at a consiant discharge voltage
*i'l"ft i"
*hi"h is one oithe smallest cells, meets these requirements'
mercury "upuble
""11,

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Present mercury cells are manufactured in three basic types as shown
of a conugated zinc
wound-anode type, shown in Figure 5.7 view A, has an anode composed
*i1, u pup", absorbent. Th"e zinc is mixed with mercury, and.the paper is soaked in the
positive contact This
"tiip
Li"Ltrorvt" which causes it to swell and press against the zihc and make
pro""." ensures that the electrolyte makes contact with the cathode'

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circuit
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heat'
excessive
condition exists. Short circuits (shorts) can be very dangerous. They cause

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pressure, and current flow which may cause serious damage to the cell or be a safety hazard to
personnel.

Warning: Do not short the mercury cell. Shorted mercury cells have exploded with considerable
force.

Other Types of Cells


There are many different types of primary cells. Because of such factors as cost, size, ease of
replacement, and voltage or current needs, many types of primary cells have been developed.
The following is a brief description of some of the primary cells in use today.
The Manganese Dioxide-Alkaline-Zinc Cell is similar to the zinc-carbon cell except for the
electrolyte used. This type ol cell offers better voltage stability and longer life than the zinccarbon type. lt also has a longer shelf life and can operate over a wide temperature range. The
manganese dioxide-alkaline-zinc cell has a voltage of 1.5 volts and is available in a wide range
of sizes. This cell is commonly referred to as the alkaline cell.
The Magnesium-Manganese Dioxide Cell uses magnesium as the anode material. This allows a
higher output capacity over an extended period of time compared to the zinc-carbon cell. This
cell produces a voltage of approximately 2 volts. The disadvantage of this type of cell is the
production of hydrogen during its operation.
The Lithium-Organic Cell and the Lithium-lnorganic Cell are recent developments of a new line
of high-energy cells. The main advantages of these types of cells are very high power,
operation over a wide temperature range, they are lighter than most cells, and have a
remarkably long shelf life of up to 20 years.

warning: Lithium cells contain toxic materials under pressure. Do not puncture, recharge,
short-circuit, expose to excessively high temperatures, or incinerate. Use these batteriei/cells
only in approved equipment. Do not throw in bin.

-- dordisclos!re is
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Disposable Cells
cells' "Disposaql"' T-"y also imply
These are not designed to be rechargeable - i'e' -primary
proplr disposal according to regulation'
that special disposat pro""ilr"" *u""t1uX" ptu"" for
depending on battery tYPe.

Zinc-carbon: mid cost, used in light drain applications'


life.
Zinc_chtoride: similar io zinc-carbon but slightly longer
used in both light-drain and
Alkaline: alkaline/mlnga-n""":long riL; batieries wi"dely
heavY-drain aPPlications'
and calculators'
Silver-oxide: commonly used in hearing aids' watches'
Sometimes used in
cameras'
in oioitut
Lithium tron
"l"orlt" t'dto ten years.in.wristwatches) and
V;'yi*g
watches uno

oisurpiii";;;;;;t

"o*p,it"'r""'ro]f;'
capableofdeliveringhighcunentsbut.expensive.Willoperateinsub-zerotemperatures'
including,computers. electric
Lithium-Thionyt cf;torioe, used in indusirial applications,
as a "carryover

memory circuits and act


meters and otner oevices wrricn contain volatile
a main fower failure. Other applications
vottage to n,.'uintuini.J;;;t in tfre event.ot
*irLl""" gu. and water meiers. The cells are rated at 3.6
include providi"g
They are relatively expensive'
Volts and come in ifZnn, nn, 2BA, A, C, D & DD sizes.
of their capacity in ten years'
but have a long shelf life, losing less than 10%
Jgitil*atches,. raiio communications, and portable electronrc
Mercury: formerly
"."Ji" oily for. specialist applications due to toxicity'
instruments. H,tunrtu"t,teO
Zinc-air: commonly used in hearing aids'

p";ij".

li{:
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F1s

!r!ii*

s*alh{ :tng

>-

&rorj*
lri*e i:*wrted

lar
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ts

Figure 5.8

- Zinc-air

rEa: n

Xl!

cell

of high current' such as


Nickel Oxyhydroxide: ldeal for applications that use bursts
in digital cameras
They wiil ru"t i*o'tinl"" tonger than atkaline batteries
;ui;t

";ila;Paper:lnAugust2007,ur"."u'"ftt"umat-Rpt(ledbvDrs'RobertLinhardtPulickelM'
*illt-"19::9::i?:l
paper'battery
Aiayan. and Omkaram Natamasu) developed a
;;;"i;b;", designed to trn"tion as both a lithium-ion battery and a super-capacitor'

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using ionic liquid, essentially a liquid salt, as electrolyte. The sheets can be rolled,
twisted, folded, or cut into numerous shapes with no loss of integrity or efficiency, or
stacked, like printer paper (or a voltaic pile), to boost total output. As well, they can be
made in a variety of sizes, f rom postage stamp to broadsheet. Their light weight and low
cost make them attractive for portable electronics, aircraft, and automobiles, while their
ability to use electrolytes in blood make them potentially useful for medical devices such
as pacemakers. ln addition, they are biodegradable, unlike most other disposable cells.

Rechargeable Cells
Also known as secondary batteries or accumulators. The National Electrical Manufacturers
Association has estimated that u.s" demand for rechargeables is growing twice as fast as
demand for non-rechargeables. There are a few main types:
Nickel-cadmium (NiCd): Best used for motorized equipment and other high-discharge,
shortterm devices. NiCd batteries can withstand even more drain than N|MH; however,
the mAh rating is not high enough to keep a device running for very long, and the
memory effect is far more severe.
Nickel-metal hydride (NiMH): Best used for hightech devices. NiMH batteries can last
up to four times longer than alkaline batteries because NiMH can withstand high current
for a long while.
Rechargeable alkaline: Uses similar chemistry as non-rechargeable alkaline batteries
and are best suited for similar applications. Additionally, they hold their charge for years,
unlike NiCd and NiMH batteries.
Lithium lon (Li-lon): continuing in the tradition of modern battery chemistries, the
lithium ion battery has an increased energy density and can provide a respectable
amount of current. High discharge rates don't significantly reduce its capacity, nor does it
lose very much capacity after each cycle, still retaining B0% of its energy capacity after
500 recharge cycles. This is a volatile technology, early versions were prone to exploding
in the labs. lt is the volatile nature o{ liihium that gives this battery its punch, though.
These benefit come with a price, of course (perhaps to pay for equipment damaged in
the research?).
Fuel Cells: The fuel cell isn't so
much a battery as it is a catalytic
chemical engine that creates
electricity from hydrogen and
oxygen. The fuel is typically a
variation of hydrogen, such as
the hydrocarbon f uels methanol,
natural gas, or even gasoline.
The output of the fuel cell is
electricity and water.

Figure 5.9

'%.
Hydrogen

The Fuel Cell

Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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:r assial:licn i,t:lh iila
.luaaap.o.c..r qNi::ticn t.1.tic. ai.i
Des:Creo

Secondary Wet Cells

type of wet cells, the


Secondary cells are sometimes known as wet cells. There are four basic
lead-acid, nickel-cadmium, silver-zinc, and silver-cadmium'

Lead-Acid Cell
previous explanation of
The lead-acid cell is the most widely used secondary cell. The
cell provides
the secondary cell describes exactly the manner in which the lead-acid
in electrochemical
electrical porl"r. rh" oi"cr,arging and charging action presented
action describes the lead-acid cell'

you should recall that the lead-acid cell has an anode of lead peroxide, a cathode of
sponge lead, and the electrolyte is sulphuric acid and waier'

Nickel'Cadmium Cell
Thenickel-cadmiumcell(NiCadorNiCd)isfarsuperiortothelead.acidcell.ln

throughout
comparison to lead-acid cells, these cells generally require less maintenance
difference
major
The
their service life in rejard to the adding of electrolyte orwa.ter.
used in the
between the nict<el-ciJmium cell and i'he lead-acid cell is the material
is cadmium
cathode
ln the nickel-cadmium cell the
unc
cathode,
and
"i"ctrolyte.
nickdl hydroxide, and the electrolyte is potassium hydroxide
tne anooels
hydroxide,"noo",
water.
at normal
The nickel-cadmium and lead-acid cells have capacities that are comparable
deliver a larger
discharge rates, but at high discharge rates the nickel-cadmium cell can
amount of power. ln addition the nickel-cadmium cell can:
Be charged in a shorter time

Stayidlelongerinanystateofchargeandkeepafullchargewhenstoredfora
longer Period of time
ee LfraigeO and discharged any number of times without any appreciable
damage.

Duetotheirsuperiorcapabilities,nickel-cadmiumcellsarebeingused
extensivelyinmanyaircraftapplicationsthatrequireacellwithahighdischarge
rate.

Silver-Zinc Cells

of cell
The silver-zinc cell is used extensively to power emergency equipment. This type
other types
is retativety expensive and can be chirged and discharged fewer times than
disadvantages
of cells. Wien'compared to the lead-acid or nickel-cadmium cells, these
of the silverare overweighed by the light weight, small size, and good electrical capacity
zinc cell.
(potassium
The silver-zinc cell uses the same electrolyte as the nickel-cadmium cell
cell'
hyJroxide and water), but the anode and cathode differ from the nickel-cadmium
iile anoOe is composed of silver oxide and the cathode is made ol zinc'

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clube6p.c.ccct qL.rasllon praciite a:ii

Silver-Cadmium Cell
The silver-cadmium cell is a fairly recent development for use in storage batteries. The
silver-cadmium cell combines some of the better features of the nickel-cadmium and
silver-zinc cells. lt has more than twice the shelf life of the silver-zinc cell and can be
recharged many more times. The disadvantages of the silver-cadmium cell are high cost
and low voltage production.
The electrolyte of the silver-cadmium cell is potassium hydroxide and water as in the
nickel-cadmium and silver-zinc cells. The anode is silver oxide as in the silver-zinc cell
and the cathode is cadmium hydroxide as in the nicad cell. You may notice that different
combinations of materials are used to form the electrolyte, cathode, and anode of
different cells. These combinations provide the cells with different qualities for many
varied applications.

CellCapacity
The capacity of a cell relates to the amount of current that the cell is capable of supplying. The
capacity will depend upon the area of the plates: the larger the area, the greater the capacity.
The voltage produced is independent of plate size and is purely related to the materials of the
cell.

ln Figure 5.10 the two example use identical materials but are of different sizes. The voltages
produced by each cell, therefore, are identical but the capacities are different.
LARgE CURiEI''
CAPAd?Y

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SIIALL AREA

IAiOE AiEA

GELL SCBEit TrC

PLATES

FLAIES

$rlltEoL

Figure 5.10 - Cell Plate Area - Current Capacity Relationship

,= ac:. tsrosure is
l:i-- a: :.! - slalerenl
:r 2r. : :':r: chaplr.

Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Electricity

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fesi:.red :l a3sctlatkrn !'r:ih ifre


cl:.,bdij:rrc.corr ql;stlon prrcilts

a:d

Cells in Series and Parallel


Cells in Series

lfcellsareconnectedinseries,asshowninFigure5..ll,thetotalVoltagewillincrease"
gAITERY

TERMIML
VOLTAGE

Figure 5.11 - Cells in Series


added together to obtain the battery terminal
The terminal voltages of the individual cells are
voltage.

The overall capacity, however, does not increase'

fi::iJ:,Tii:il"

the totar capacitv w'r


u," connected in pararer, as shown in Fisure 5.12,

increase'

'Hrfti#

Figure 5.12 - Cells in Parallel

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Cells in Series-Parallel
Figure 5.13 depicts a battery network supplying power to a load requiring both a voltage and a
current greater than one cell can provide. To provide the required 4.5 volts, groups of three 1.5volt cells are connected in series. To provide the required 1/2 ampere of current, four series
groups are connected in parallel, each supplying 1/8 ampere of current.

rI volrs

III.
'.

d.l

VOLTS uoLT!i

i+

'{+

VOLTS

VOLT$

LOAD

Figure 5.1 3 - Schematic of series-parallel connected cells.

The connections shown have been used to illustrate the various methods of combining cells to
form a battery, Series, parallel, and series-parallel circuits will be covered in detail in the next
chapter, "Direct Current."
Some batteries are made from primary cells. When a primary-cell battery is completely
discharged, the entire battery must be replaced. Because there is nothing else that can be done
to primary cell batteries, the rest of the discussion on batteries will be concerned with batteries
made ol secondary cells.

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Battery Gonstruction
The Lead-Acid Cell
The basic lead-acid cell consists of two sets of plates, one of which is negative and the other
positive. They are interleaved and prevented from coming into contact with each other by
porous separators. The separators have high insulation qualities but permit the unobstructed
circulation of the electrolyte at the plate surfaces.
The basic lead-acid cell components are shown in Figure 5.14.

VENT
CAP

POSITIVE
PLATE

SEPERATOR

Figure 5.14 - Lead-Acid Cell Components


YE I.I T
PL UG
F IL LE

II.]

R OPEt'] II']G

CE

LL COVER

ERMIIIAL

ERMII'IAL

GOUH ECTOR
PLATE
ST

'LfitH

RAP

cc

GOUTAtH ER
I'I

EGAT IVE .,.

EcTOR

POS ITIVE

PLATE

PLATE

SEFARATOR

S E

DIM EI'] T

SPAC E

Figure 5.15 - Lead-acid battery construction

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CELL ELEMENT
PARTLY ASSEMBLED
Figure 5.16 - Lead-acid battery plate arrangement.

The positive plates are made up of grids of lead and antimony filled with lead peroxide.
The
negative plates are made up of similar grids, but filled with spongy lead.
The electrolyte is a solution of sulphuric acid and water in contact with both sets of plates.
The type of cell construction permits the electrolyte to circulate freely and
also provides a path
for sediment to settle at the bottom of the cell.

When an external circuit is.connected to a fully charged cell, electrons flow from
the negative
lead plates, via the circuit, to the positive lead peroxide plates.
As the electrons leave the negative plates, positive ions form. These attract
negative sulphate
ions from the sulphuric acid of the electrolyte. This causes lead sulphate
to forri on the negative
plates.

The electrons arriving at the positive plates, from the external circuit, drive negative
oxygen ions
from the lead peroxide into the electrolyte. These combine with hydiogen, wh]ch
has lost
sulphate ions, to form water.
The positive lead ions that are IeJt on the positive plates also attract and combine with sulphate
rons from the electrolyte to form lead sulphate on ihe positive plates.

once lead sulphate collects on both the positive and negative plates and the electrolyte
becomes diluted by the water, which has formed in it, the cell is considered discharged.

-- :_::.:r*:osure is
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:-

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Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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A discharged cell is recharged using a direct current of the correct voltage. When the positive
plates of the cell are connected to the positive of the charging source and the negative plates to
the negative of the source, electrons are drawn f rom the positive plates and forced onto the
negative plates.
Electrons arriving at the negative plates drive negative sulphate ions out of the lead sulphate
back into the electrolyte. The sulphate ions join with hydrogen to form sulphuric acid.

When electrons flow from the positive plates they leave positively charged lead ions. These
attract oxygen from the water in the electrolyte to form lead peroxide on the plates.
When the cell is fully charged the positive plates again become lead peroxide and the negative
plates lead. The electrolyte becomes a high concentration of sulphuric acid.
The specific gravity of the electrolyte of a fully charged cell is approximately 1.260. This falls to
about 1.150 when the cell is completely discharged. These values will depend upon the
manufacturer's instructions.
The specific, gravity, therefore, is a good indication of the state of charge of the cell and is
measured using a hydrometer. Using the rubber bulb, enough electrolyte is drawn up into the
hydrometer, to float the float. The specific gravity is then indicated by the calibration mark on the
float at the surface of the electrolyte. This is shown in Figure 5-17.

SYRINGE
1 .'1
1

00-------------->

.150---------------

1.100---------->

1.250-_->
1.300-----------r1

350------------->

1.40O---->

LEAD ACID
SCALE

Figure 5.17 - The Hydrometer


During the charging of the cell hydrogen gas is released from the electrolyte and bubbles to the
surJace. As the cell nears full charge more hydrogen is released and the bubbling increases. A
vent is, therefore, incorporated in the cell cap.

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a fullv

charged ceil is approxim


gl
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discharged state 1.8 volts.

atery z.2vorts (2 vorts nominar) and in the

The electrolyte level should be just above the top of the plates and
the level will generally drop
over a period of use due to evaporation and gassing. The rever
can be adjusteJ 6y topping up
with distilled water after removal of the vent Jap.
Generally lead-acid batteries are made up of cells in a common case so that
cells cannot be
removed individually as shown in Figure 5.18.

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Figure 5.18 - A Typical Lead-Acid Battery

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Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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The NickeFcadmium Cell


Aircraft engines, particularly turbines, require extremely high current for starting. High rate
discharges of lead-acid batteries causes their output voltage to fall, due to the increased internal
resistance caused by the build-up of sulphate deposits. This drawback led to the development
of the alkaline cell for aircraft use.
The nickel-cadmium, or ni-cad, battery has a very distinct advantage in that its internal
resistance is very low. lts output voltage, therefore, remains almost constant until it is nearly
totally discharged. The low resistance also allows high charging rates without damage.
The ni-cad cell has positive plates made from powdered nickel which is fused, or sintered, to a
porous nickel mesh. The mesh is then impregnated with nickel hydroxide"
The negative plates are of the same construction but are impregnated with cadmium hydroxide.
Separators of nylon and cellophane, in the form of a continuous strip wound between the plates,
keeps the plates f rom touching each other. Cellophane is used because it has low electrical
resistivity and also acts as a gas barrier preventing oxygen, given off at the positive plates
during overcharge, from passing to the negative plates. lf the oxygen were allowed to reach the
negative plates it would combine with active cadmium, reduce cell voltage and produce heat as
a result of chemical reaction.

The cell construction is shown in Figure 5.19, where the complete plate group is mounted in a
sealed plastic container.
CELLOPHANE

NYLON

NYLON

Figure 5.19 - Nickel-Cadmium Cell Construction

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Figure 5.20 - Nickel-cadmium cell.

The electrolyte is an alkaline solution of potassium hydroxide and distilled or de-ionized water
with a specific gravity of 1.24 to 1.30.
The specific gravity of the electrolyte does not change during charge or discharge so it cannot
be used to indicate the state oi charge.
The electrolyte does not play an active part in the chemical reaction and is used only to provide
a path for current flow.

a:

During charging of the cell an exchange of ions takes place. oxygen is removed from the
negative plates and added to the positive plates, the electrolyte acting as an ionized conductor.
The positive plates are, therefore, brought to a higher state of oxidation.

.:

When the cell is fully charged all the oxygen is driven out of the negative plates, leaving only
metallic cadmium, and the positive plates are highly oxidized nickel hydroxide.

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The electrolyte is forced out of both seis of plates during charging so that the electrolyte level in
the cell rrses. The electrolyte level is, therefore, only checked and any water added when the
cell is f ully charged.
Towards the end of the charging process and during overcharging, gassing occurs as a result of
electrolysis. This only reduces the water content of the electrolyte.
During discharge the chemical action is reversed. The positive plates gradually lose oxygen io
become less oxidized and the negative plates regain lost oxygen and change to cadmium
hydroxide.

-- :.C or d e osure s
:_,:.:-:,1 by the slalemeni
:. --:: 2 .f lnis Chapter

Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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iJ,.signec

ii aasatlallc|r.riil

:ira

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The plates absorb electrolyte so that the level in the cell falls but it should always cover the top
of the plates. The charge and discharge levels are shown in Figure 5.21.

harqed

lBti e

DiBrfrarqe d level

Figure 5.21 - Nickel-Cadmium cell electrolyte levels

The discharge and charging cycle of a ni-cad cell produces high temperatures which, if not
correctly monitored, can break down the cellophane gas barrier. This creates a short circuit
allowing current flow to increase. More heat is produced, causing further break down. The
condition is aggravated by the internal resistance of the cell falling as the temperature rises.
These factors all contribute to a process known as "thermal runaway", which ultimately resulis in
the destruction of the cell.
The ni-cad electrolyte would be contaminated and its specific gravity reduced if it were to be
exposed to the carbon dioxide in the air. The atmosphere must, therefore, be kept out of a nicad cell. Three basic types of ni-cad cell are, therefore, produced:

a)

The sealed type where the cell is completely sealed, as used in small capacity batteries.

b)

The semi-sealed type where the cell is almost fully sealed but has a safety pressure
valve.

c)

The semi-open type which has a non-return valve, allowing the cell to gas yet preventrng
the electrolyte from being contaminated by the air. This type is used in the main aircraft
battery.

The individual ni-cad cell produces an open circuit voltage of between 1.55 and 1.80 volts,
depending on the manufacturer.

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Although the nickel-cadmium battery has become the preferred type in today's aircraft, there are
also the nickel-iron and silver-zinc types of alkaline cell. Silver-zinc rechargeable batteries have
been used in the space programme, where size and weight factors greatly outweigh initial cost.
The capacity of each cell is added together to obtain the total capacity. ln effect the area of the
plates has been increased. The voltage, on the other hand, does not increase.

|:

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Figure 5.22

,- :_o :/ :sclosu.e s
t:.-s,::.ine galerent
:r :a- 2 :'r s Chaprer.

Examples of NiCad Batteries

lvlodule 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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'.li-.$rqiecia.ca'] ajLra3i:1i l,na:;c!,} alJ
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Battery Internal Resistance


Each cell in a battery has a certain internal resistance. The terminal voltage of the battery when
it is off load is not affected by this internal resistance.

ln Figure 5.23 the battery has been drawn with its cells in series with the total internal resistance
of the battery.

SATTERI tEiITII'AL VOL'AO E

Figure 5.23 - Battery Showing Cells and lnternal Resistance

lf an external circuit is connected across the battery terminals of Figure 5.23, electrons will flow
from the negative plate of the cells, through the external circuit and through the internal
resistance to the positive plate of the cells.
A voltage drop, or potential difference, will appear across the internal resistance due to the
current flow.
The voltage available to the external circuit at the battery terminals will now be the original off
Ioad terminal voltage minus the volts drop across the internal resistance.

The terminal voltage will, therefore, decrease with an increase in circuit current or an increase in
internal resistance.

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Battery Maintenance
The following information concerns the maintenance of secondary-cell batteries and is of a
general nature. You must check the appropriate technical manuals for the specific type of
battery prior to performing maintenance on any battery.

Specific Gravity
For a battery to work properly, its electrolyte (water plus active ingredient) must contain a
certain amount of active ingredient. Since the active ingredient is dissolved in ihe water, the
amount of active ingredient cannot be measured directly. An indirect way to determine whether
or not the electrolyte contains the proper amount of active ingredient is to measure the
electrolyte's specific gravity. Specific gravity is the ratio of the weight of a certain amount of a
given substance compared to the weight of the same amount of pure water. The specific gravity
of pure water is 1 .0. Any substance that floats has a specific gravity less than 1.0. Any
substance that sinks has a specific gravity greater than 1.0.

The active ingredient in electrolyte (sulphuric acid, potassium hydroxide, etc.) is heavier than
water. Therefore, the electrolyte has a specific graviiy greater than 1.0. The acceptable range of
specific gravity for a given batiery is provided by the battery's manufacturer. To measure a
battery's specific gravity, use an instrument called a hydrometer.
The Hydrometer
A hydrometer, shown in Figure 5.24, is a
glass syringe with a float inside it. The float is
a hollow glass tube sealed at both ends and
weighted at the bottom end, with a scale
calibrated in specific gravity marked on its
side- To test an electrolyte, draw it into the
hydrometer using the suction bulb. Draw
enough electrolyte into the hydrometer to
make the float rise. Do not draw in so much
electrolyte that the f loat rises into the suction
bulb. The float will rise to a point determined
by the specif ic gravity of the electrolyte. lf the
electrolyte contains a large amount of active
ingredient, its specific gravity will be relatively
high. The float will rise higher than it would if
the electrolyte contained only a small amount
of active ingredient.
To read the hydrometer, hold it in a vertical
position and read the scale at the point that
sudace of the electrolyte touches the float.
Refer to the manufacturer's technical
manual to determine whether or noi the
battery's specific gravily is within
specif ications.

,-

a.C or disclos!re is
by th statemenl
::qe 2 ol this Chapler.

_::,:-ec

:-

Figure 5.24

Hydrometer in use

Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Electricity

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,
I

ntegrated Training System

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Note: Hydrometers should be flushed with fresh water after each use to prevent inaccurate
readings. Storage battery hydrometers must not be used for any other purpose.

Other Maintenance
The routine maintenance of a battery is very simple. Terminals should be checked periodically
for cleanliness and good electrical connection. The battery case should be inspected for
cleanliness and evidence of damage. The level of electrolyte should be checked and if the
electrolyte is low, distilled water should be added to bring the electrolyte to the proper level.
Maintenance procedures for batteries are normally determined by higher authoriiy and each
command will have detailed procedures lor battery care and maintenance.
Safety Precautions with Batteries
All types of batteries should be handled with care:
never short the terminals of a battery
carrying straps should be used when transporting batteries.
protective clothing, such as rubber apron, rubber gloves, and a lace shield should be
worn when working with batteries.
no smoking, electric sparks, or open llames should be permitted near charging batteries.
care should be taken lo prevent spilling of the electrolyte.
ln the event electrolyie is splashed or spilled on a surface, such as the floor or table, it should
be diluted with large quaniities of water and cleaned up immediately.
lf the electrolyte is spilled or splashed on the skin or eyes, IMMEDIATELY flush the skin or eyes
with large quantities of fresh water for a minimum of 15 minutes. lf the electrolyte is in the eyes,
be sure the upper and lower eyelids are pulled out sufficiently to allow the iresh water to flush
under the eyelids. The medical department should be notified as soon as possible and informed
of the type of electrolyte and the location of the accident.

Capacity and Rating of Batteries


The capacity of a battery is measured in ampere-hours. The ampere-hour capacity is equal to
the product of the current in amperes and the time in hours during which the battery will supply
this current. The ampere-hour capacity varies inversely with the discharge current. For example
a 400 ampere-hour battery will deliver 400 amperes for t hour or 100 amperes for 4 hours.
Storage batteries are rated according to their rate of discharge and ampere-hour capacity. Mosi
batteries are rated according to a 20-hour rate of discharge. That is, if a fully charged battery ]s
completely discharged during a 20-hour period, it is discharged at the 20-hour rate. Thus, if a
battery can deliver 20 amperes continuously for 20 hours, the battery has a rating of 20
amperes x 20 hours, or 400 ampere-hours. Therefore, the 20-hour rating is equal to the average
current that a battery is capable of supplying without interruption for an interval of 20 hours.
(Note: Aircraft batteries are rated according to a 1-hour rate of discharge).
All standard batteries deliver 100 percent o{ their available capacity if discharged in 20 hours or
more, but they will deliver less than their available capacity if discharged at a faster rate. The
faster they discharge, the less ampere-hour capacity they have.

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The low-voltage limit, as specified by the manufacturer, is the limit beyond which very little
useful energy can be obtained from a battery. This low-voltage limit is normally a test used in
battery shops to determine the condition of a battery.

Battery Charging
It should be remembered that adding the active ingredient to the electrolyte of a discharged

battery does not recharge the battery. Adding the active ingredient only increases the specific
gravity of the electrolyte and does not conven the plates back to active material, and so does
not bring the battery back to a charged condition. A charging current must be passed through
the battery to recharge it.
Batteries are usually charged in battery shops. Each shop will have specific charging
procedures for the types of batteries to be charged. The following discussion will introduce you
to the types of battery charges.
The following types of charges may be given to a storage battery, depending upon the condition
of the battery:
lnitial charge
Normal charge
Equalizing charge
Floating charge
Fast charge

lnitial Charge
when a new battery is shipped dry, the plates are in an uncharged condition. After the
electrolyte has been added, it is necessary to charge the battery. This is accomplished
by giving the battery a long low-rate initial charge. The charge is given in accordance
with the manufacturer's instructions, which are shipped with each battery.

Normal Charge
A normal charge is a routine charge that is given in accordance with the nameplate data
during the ordinary cycle of operation to restore the battery to its charged condition.
Equalizing Charge
An equalizing charge is a special extended normal charge that is given periodically to
batteries as part of a maintenance routine. lt ensures that all the sulphate is driven from
the plates and that all the cells are restored to a maximum specific gravity. The
equalizing charge is continued until the specific gravity of all cells, corrected for
temperature, shows no change for a 4-hour period.
Floating Charge
ln a floating charge, the charging rate is determined by the battery voltage rather than by
a definite current value. The floating charge is used to keep a baftery at full charge while

Use and/or dlsclosure is


govemed by lh slalement
on page 2 oi this Chaprer.

Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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lntegrated Training System


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the battery is idle or in light duty. lt is sometimes referred to as a trickle charge and is
accomplished with low current.
Fast Charge
A fast charge is used when a battery must be recharged in the shortest possible time.
The charge stads at a much higher rate than is normally used for charging. lt should be
used only in an emergency, as this type charge may be harmful to the battery.

Charging Rate
Normally, the charging rate of aircraft storage baiteries is given on the battery nameplate.
lf the available charging equipment does not have the desired charging rates, the neares:
available rates should be used. However, the rate should never be so high that violent
gassing (explained later in this text) occurs.
Charging Time
The charge must be continued until the battery is fully charged. Frequent readings of
specific gravity should be taken during the charge and compared with the reading taken
before the battery was placed on charge.
Gassing
When a battery is being charged, a portion of the energy breaks down the water in the
electrolyte. Hydrogen is released at the negative plates and oxygen at the positive plates.
These gases bubble up through the electrolyte and collect in the air space at the top of the cell.
lf violent gassing occurs when the battery is first placed on charge, the charging rate is too high.
lf the rate is not too high, steady gassing develops as the charging proceeds, indicating that the
battery is nearing a fully charged condition.
Warning: A mixture of hydrogen and air can be dangerously explosive. No smoking, electric
sparks, or open flames should be permitted near charging batteries.

5-34
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Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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Thermocouples
ln 1821 , the German-Estonian physicist Thomas Johann Seebeck discovered that when any
conductor (such as a metal) is subjected to a thermal gradient, it will generate a voltage. This is
now known as the thermoelectric effect or Seebeck effect. Any attempt to measure this voltage
necessarily involves connecting another conductor to the "hot" end. This additional conductor
will then also experience the temperature gradient, and develop a voltage of its own which will
oppose the original. Fortunately, the magnitude of the effect depends on the metal in use. Using
a dissimilar metal to complete the circuit creates a circuit in which the two legs generate
different voltages, leaving a small difference in voltage available for measurement. That
dif{erence increases with temperature, and can typically be between one and seventy microvolts
per degree Celsius (pV/C) for the modern range of available metal combinations. Certain
combinations have become popular as industry standards, driven by cost, availability,
convenience, melting point, chemical properlies, stability, and output. This coupling of two
metals gives the thermocouple its name.
It is important to note that thermocouples measure the temperature difference between two
points, not absolute temperature. ln kaditional applications, one of the junctions-the cold
junction-was maintained at a known (reference) temperature, while the other end was
attached to a probe.
Having available a known temperature cold junction, while useful for laboratory calibrations, is
simply not convenient for most directly connected indicating and control instruments. They
incorporate into their circuits an artificial cold junction using some other thermally sensitive
device, such as a thermistor or diode, to measure the temperature of the input connections at
the instrument, with special care being taken to minimize any temperature gradient between
terminals. Hence, the voltage from a known cold junction can be simulated, and the appropriate
correction applied. This is known as cold junction compensation.

Additionally, a device can perform cold junction compensation by computation. lt can translate
device voltages to temperatures by either of two methods. lt can use values from look-up tables
or approximate using polynomial interpolation.
A thermocouple can produce current, which means it can be used to drive some processes
directly, without the need for extra circuitry and power sources. For example, the power from a
thermocouple can activate a valve when a temperature difference arises. The electric power
generated by a thermocouple is a conversion of the heat energy that one must continuously
supply to the hot side of the thermocouple to maintain the electric potential. The flow of heat is
necessary because the current flowing through the thermocouple tends to cause the hot side to
cool down and the cold side to heat up (the Peltier effect).

Operation
lf two dissimilar metals are joined together a contact potential, which is independent of any
external electrical supply, will appear at the junction.
ln a thermocouple two dissimilar metals are joined at both ends to form a hot junction and a cold
junction.

Use and/ordisclosure is

governed by ihe statemenl


on paoe 2 olthis chapler.

Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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ln ihe simplest arrangement the thermocouple would be connected directly to a meter, the
meter terminals being the cold junction.
ln an aircraft, however, the hot junction is in the engine and the meter indicator on the flight
deck.
lf the thermocouple cold junction were to be connected to the meter by copper wires, as shown
in Figure 5.25, the poteniial at the cold junction would be as if points "A" and "B" were joined
together (provided that "A" and "8" were at the same temperature). This would still allow the
meter to read the difference between V1 and V2.

COPPER

Figure 5.25 - Alternative thermocouple connections

lf however, the hot and cold junctions were relatively close together, the temperature difference
between them would not be so great as if they were far apad. The thermocouple EMF would.
therefore, be reduced and, in Figure 5.25, there would also be a problem of fluctuations in the
readings.
lf the cold junction was in the meter itself there would be a greater temperature difference and
hence a greater EMF and also less fluctuationsTo achieve this, the connecting leads from the thermocouple to the meter must be of the same
material as the thermocouple or at least have the same thermoelectric characteristics.

They are called extension leads if they are of the same material and compensating leads if thel
are of the same characteristics.
The small EMF generated by the thermocouple is not only dependent upon the temperature bu:
also upon the metals employed. Figure 5.26 shows a graph of voltage against temperature for
several common thermocouples.

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500

7s0

1000

125o

Figure 5.26 - Thermocouple Material Graph


Nickel/chromium and nickel/aluminium are normally chosen for aircraft thermocouples due to
their near linear characteristics and their long operating life at temperature of up to 1100C. The
nickel/chromium is the positive connection and the nickel/aluminium the negative connection.

The thermocouple and its connections are housed in a protective metal sheath or probe which
allows the hot junction to be exposed to the engine gases.
Thermocouples can be connected in series with each other to form a thermopile, where all the
hot junctions are exposed to the higher temperature and all the cold junctions to a lower
temperature. Thus, the voltages of the individual thermocouple add up, which allows for a larger
voltage and increased power.

Materials
Thermocouple materials are available in several different metallurgical formulations per type,
such as: (listed in decreasing levels of accuracy and cost) Special limits of error, Standard, and
Extension grades. Extension grade wire is less costly than dedicated thermocouple junction
wire and is usually specified for accuracy over a more restricted temperature range. Extension
grade wire is used when the point of measurement is farther from the measuring instrument
than would be financially viable for standard or special limits materials, and has a very similar
thermal coefficient of EMF for a narrow range (usually encompassing ambient). ln this case, a
standard or special limits wire iunction is tied to the extension grade wire outside of the area of

Use and/or disclosoE is


governed by lhe srarement
on paqe 2 of ihis chaptsr

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temperature measurement for transit to the instrument. Since most modern temperature
measuring instruments that utilize thermocouples are electronically buffered to prevent any
significant current draw from the thermocouple, the length of the thermocouple or extension wire
is irrelevant.

3
rr.

Changes in metallurgy along the length of the thermocouple (such as termination strips or
changes in thermocouple type wire) will introduce another thermocouple junction which aflects
measurement accuracy. Also, industry standards are that the thermocouple colour code is used
for the insulation of the positive lead, and red is the negative lead.

:
lr.

tr.

Types
A variety of thermocouples are available, suitable for different measuring applications. They are
usually selected based on the temperature range and sensitivity needed. Thermocouples with
low sensitivities (8, R, and S types) have correspondingly lower resolutions. Other selection
criteria include the inertness of the thermocouple material, and whether or not ii is magnetic.
The thermocouple types are listed below with the positive electrode first, followed by the
negative electrode.

tr,

Type K (chromel-alumel) is the most commonly used general purpose thermocouple. lt is


inexpensive and, owing to its popularity, available in a wide variety of probes. They are
available in the 200 C to +1350 C range. The typ e K was specified at a time when metallurgy
was less advanced than it is today and, consequently, characteristics vary considerably
between examples. Another potential problem arises in some situations since one of the
constituent metals, nickel, is magnetic. The characteristic of the thermocouple undergoes a step
change when a magnetic material reaches its Curie point. This occurs for this thermocouple at
354C. Sensitivity is approximately 41 pV/C.

I,

Type E (chromel-constantan) has a high output (68 pV/C) which makes it well s uited to
cryogenic use. Additionally, it is non-magnetic.

Type J (iron-constantan) is less popular than type K due to its limited range (40 to +750 C).
The main application is with old equipment that cannot accept modern thermocouples. J types
cannot be used above 760 C as an abrupt magnetic t ransformation causes permanent
decalibration. The magnetic properties also prevent use in some applications. Type J
thermocouples have a sensitivity of about 50 prV/C.

!a

Type N (nicrosil-nisil) thermocouples are suitable for use at high temperatures, exceeding
1200 C, due to their stability and ability to resi st high temperature oxidation. Sensitivity is about
39 pV/C at 900C, slightly lower than type K. Desi gned to be an improved type K, it is
becoming more popular.

Types B, R, and S thermocouples use platinum or a platinum-rhodium alloy for each


conductor. These are among the most stable thermocouples, but have lower sensitivity,
approximately 10 pV/C, than other types. The high cost of these thermocouple types makes
them unsuitable for general use. Generally, type B, R, and S thermocouples are used only for
high temperature measurements.

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Type B thermocouples use a platinum-rhodium alloy for each conductor. One conductor
contains 30% rhodium while the other conductor contains 6% rhodium. These thermocouples
are suited for use at up to 1800 C. Type B thermocouples produce the same output at 0 C and
42 C, limiting their use below about 50 C.
Type R thermocouples use a platinum-rhodium alloy containing 137" rhodium for one
conductor and pure platinum for the other conductor. Type R thermocouples are used up to
1600

c.

Type S thermocouples use a platinum-rhodium alloy containing 107" rhodium for one
conductor and pure platinum for the other conductor. Like type R, type S thermocouples are
used up to 1600 C. ln particular, type S is used a s the standard of calibration for the melting
point of gold (1064.a3 C).
Type T (copper-constantan) thermocouples are suited for measurements in the -200 to
350 C range. Often used as a differential measurem ent since only copper wire touches the
probes. As both conductors are non-magnetic, type T thermocouples are a popular choice for
applications such as electrical generators which contain strong magnetic fields. Type T
thermocouples have a sensitivity of about 43 pV/C.

Type C (tungsten 5olo rhenium - tungsten 26% rhenium) thermocouples are suited for
measurements in the 0 C to 2320 C range. This the rmocouple is well-suited for vacuum
iurnaces at extremely high temperatures and must never be used in the presence of oxygen at
temperatures above 260 C.
Type M thermocouples use a nickel alloy for each wire. The positive wire contains 187o
molybdenum while the negative wire contains 0.8% cobalt. These thermocouples are used in
the vacuum furnaces for the same reasons as with type C. Upper temperature is limited to
1400 C. Though it is a less common type of thermocouple, look-up tables to correlate
temperature to EMF (milli-volt output) are available.

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Thermocouple Comparison and ldentification


The table below describes properties of several diflerent thermocouple types. Within the
tolerance columns, T represents the temperature of the hot junction, in degrees Celsius' For
example, a thermocouple with a tolerance of +0.0025xT would have a tolerance of +2.5 C at
1000 c.

Temperature range C
(continuous)

BS Colour code

ANSI Colour
code

0to+1100

B[y"

%x:'j"-

0 to +700

f
Eg,F

white

T;JS-

0 to +1 100

,tftl-'
. iil.,,

orange
whire

R:Tn"

0 to +1600

f-

Y'llj"

0 to 1600

whire

+200 to +1700

No standard use
copper wire

Not defined.

485 to +300

Ih. sli"

&.
{AF

0 to +800

wR5;

Type

Table 5.1

5-40
Copyright 2011

BfiJ"

Not def ined.

Not defined.

Blue
Red

- Thermocouple comparison and wire identification

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HOT
JUNCTION

Figure 5.27 - A practical thermocouple

Two basic types of probe are employed for measuring exhaust gas temperatures in turbine
engines. These are shown in Figure 5.28.
COUPTE

COUPLE

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Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Electricity

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Figure 5.29

Examples of thermocouple hot junction assemblies

The stagnation probe has a large entry port and a small exit por.t so that the gas is brought
almost to rest, preventing errors caused by the kinetic energy of the gas flow. This type is
designed for high velocity gas flow.
The rapid response probe is designed for slow exhaust gas velocity. The gas flows from the
inlet porl, over the junction, to the diametrically opposite ouilet port.
Exhaust gas thermocouples are mounted radially around the engine tail pipe. There are usually
a minimum of four. The RB 211 engine, however, has seventeen connected in a parallel
arrangement which has the advantage that the failure of one or more thermocouples does not
cause complete failure of the output signal.
A typical thermocouple installation is shown in Figure 5.30.

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Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Electricity

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lntegrated Training System


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Photocells
Photocells undergo a change in their electrical parameters when exposed to light energy and
are known as phdtoelectric-devices. They are affected by light in three different ways as follows.

Photo-emission:- Where the application of light causes the emission of electrons from a
prepared sudace as discussed in Chapter 4, the construction of which is shown in Figure 5.31

ARTIGHT EVACUATED

----

GLAss ENVELoPE

CATHODE

TUNGSTEN ANOOE

EXTERNAL
CONNECTIONS

Figure 5.31 - The Photocell


With the positive potential of a supply connected to the anode of the cell and the negative to the
cathode, the cunent in the circuit wili depend upon the amount of light falling on the device: no
light, no current; high intensity light, high current.
When the cell is used in an aircraft smoke detector, a projector lamp shines abeam of light past
the detector cell. lf no light reaches the cell, no current flows in the cell's external circuit and no
warning is given.

When smoke appears in the detection chamber the projector lamp beam is ref racted onto the
detector cell bythe smoke particles. The cell conducts activating the smoke warning circuit' This
is shown in Figure 5.32.

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Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

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<..-..,....-.-.-..t.-.-...-i-.-.---,.;_._._.....-._.<-...-..--.---.-..i.-.-.-..i-.-.-...-i..-.-.-...-.-.-

! G--.-.-i..-.......-.-..
A.
\J -.-.--- -.-.... r-.-.-.---. ./i
\J -'.'-.- -

SMOKE CONDITION

Figure 5.32 - Smoke Detector Operation

Solid state devices have now largely replaced this type of cell.

Photo-voltaic:- Where the application of light causes the production of a voltage.


The photo-voltaic (or solar cell), can be used to
produce electrical energy lor a variety of
purposes. lf a large number of cells are connected
together to form a solar panel the power
generated is limited only by the number of cells
employed

"

The silicon solar cell consists of a wafer of silicon


which has been doped to make it a
semiconductor. A thin layer ol boron is then
diffused into it.
The wafer is reinforced with metal and
provided with electrical contacts to enable it
io be connected to other cells.

Figure 5.33

- A photovoltaic

cell panel

Phoions of light penekating an atom of the cell forces electrons in the atom into the conduction
band. This produces a voltage across the cell which can be used to drive a current around an
externally connected circuit.
There are many uses of the solar cell, from the operation of light meters in cameras to powering
calculators and satellites in space.

Lle

and/or disclosure is

lDvemed by lhe stalement


r page 2 of lhis Chapter

Module 3.5 DC Sources of Electricity

5-45
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Photo-conduction:- Where a device undergoes a change of resisiance with a variation in light


intensity.

lr
!r

The photo-conductive cell or light dependent resistor is a solid state device as shown in Figure
5.34.

!r
I

PROTECTIVE
GLASS CAP

I
!
!
!
I

lr

I
t

CONNECTING
PINS

Figure 5.34 - The Photo-Conductive Cell

I
t

The effective area of the light collecting photo-conductive material is increased by etching it
onto the substrate in a serpentine manner.

When there is an increase in light intensity the additional photon


bombardment releases more electrons from the atomic bond which
increases the current through the device. The resistance has,
therefore, decreased. The reverse occurs with a reduction in light
intensity.

I
I
I
t
I

t
Figure 5.35

5-46

J3dfi!'nl'!fi1;'n'nn"'"'"*

Module 3.5 DC Sources ol Eleclricity

- A photoconductor

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Module 3
Licence Category 81 and 82
Electrical

Fu

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3.6 DC Circuits

Us and/or disclosure is

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Copyright Notice
Copyrighi. All worldwide rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e.
photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
Total Training Support Ltd.

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81, 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge lor categories A, B1 and 82 are indicated by the allocation of knowledge levels indicators (1, 2 or
3) against each applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category 81 or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are def ined as follows:

LEVEL

A familiarisation with the principal elements of the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be lamiliar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able 1o give a simple description ol the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Objectives:
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical lundamentals ol the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a general description ol the sublect using, as appropriate, typical
examples.
The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction with physical laws describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A deiailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects ol the subject.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicant should be able to give a detailed description ot the subject using theoretical fundamentals
and specific examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical lormulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schemaiics
describing the subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturer's
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results lrom various sources and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

6-2

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Table of Contents

Module 3.6 DC Circuits


The Basic Electric Circuit
Ohm's Law
Series DC Circuits
Kirchhoff's Voltage Law
Kirchhoff's Current Law
Circuit Terms and Characteristics
lnternal Resistance of the Supply

t6
27
34
41

46
48
66

Parallel DC Circuits
Series-Parallel DC Circuits
Practice Circuit Problem
Redrawing Circuits for Clarity
Effects ol Open and Shorl Circuits
Voltage Dividers

71

75
80
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-3
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Module 3.6 Enabling Obiectives and Certification Statement


Certif ication Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 2042/2003 Annex lll (Part-66)
l. and the associated Knowledqe Levels as

82
Ohms Law, Kirchhoff's Voltage and Current
Laws
Calculations using the above laws to find
resistance. voltaqe and current
Significance of the internal resistance of a

6-4
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Module 3-6 DC Circuits

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Module 3.6 DC Gircuits


lntroduction
The material covered in this chapter contains many new terms that are explained as you
progress through the material. The basic DC circuit is the easiest to understand, so the chapter
begins with the basic circuit and f rom there works into the basic schematic diagram of that
circuit. The schematic diagram is used in all your future work in electricity and electronics. lt is
very impodant that you become familiar with the symbols that are used.
This chapter also explains how to determine the total resistance, current, voltage, and power in
a series, parallel, or combination circuit through the use of Ohm's and Kirchhoff's laws. The
voltage divider network, series, parallel, and series-parallel practice problem circuits will be
used for practical examples of what you have learned.

The Basic Electric Circuit


The torch is an example of a basic electric circuit. lt contains a source of electrical energy (the
dry cells in the torch), a load (the bulb) which changes the electrical energy into a more useful
form of energy (light), and a switch to control the energy delivered to the load.
Before you study a schematic representation of the torch, it is necessary to define certain terms.
The load is any device through which an electrical current flows and which changes this
electrical energy into a more useful form. Some common examples of loads are a lightbulb,
which changes electrical energy to light energy; an electric motor, which changes electrical
energy into mechanical energy; and the speaker in a radio, which changes electrical energy into
sound. The source is the device which furnishes the electrical energy used by the load. lt may
consist of a simple dry cell (as in a torch), a storage battery (as in an automobile), or a power
supply (such as a battery charger). The switch, which permits control of the electrical device,
interrupts the current delivered to the load.

Schematic Representation
The technician's main aid in troubleshooting a circuit in a piece of equipment is the schematic
diagram. The schematic diagram is a "picture" of the circuit that uses symbols to represent the
various circuit components; physically large or complex circuits can be shown on a relatively
small diagram. Before studying the basic schematic, look at Figure 6.1.
This figure shows the symbols that are used in this chapter. These, and others like them, are
referred to and used throughout the study of electricity and electronics.

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Figure 6.1 - Symbols commonly used in electricity.

The schematic in Figure 6.2 represents a torch. View A of the figure shows the torch in the ofl or
de-energized state. The switch (Sl) is open. There is no complete path for current (l) through
the circuit, and the bulb (DS1) does not light. ln Figure 6.2 view B, switch 51 is closed.
Conventional current flows in the direction of the arrows from the positive terminal o{ the battery
(BAT), through the lamp (DSl), through the switch, (S1) and back to the negative terminal of the
battery. With the switch closed the path for current is complete. Current will continue to flow until
the switch (Sl) is moved to the open position or the battery is completely discharged.

6-6
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Figure 6.2 - Basic torch schematic.

Ohm's Law
ln the early part of the 19th century, George simon ohm proved by experiment that a precise
relationship exists between current, voltage, and resistance. This ielationship is called Ohm's
law and is stated as follows:

The current in a circuit is direcily proportional to the applied voltage and inversely
proportional to the circuit resistance. ohm's law may tie expressed as an equation:

I=-VR
Where:

I = current in amperes (or'amps')


V = voltage in volts (some textbooks use 'E,, for,EMF,)
R = resistance in ohms

As stated in ohm's law, current is inversely proporlional to resistance. This means, as the
resistance in a circuit increases, the current decreases proportionately.

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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ln the equation
Il--

V
R

if any two quantities are known, the third one can be determined. Refer to Figure 6.2 (B), the
schematic of the torch. lf the battery (BAT) supplies a voltage of 1.5 volts and the lamp (DSl)
has a resistance of 5 ohms, then the current in the circuit can be determined. Using this
equation and substituting values:
1.5 volts
r_y=
= 0.3 ampere
R
5 ohms

lf the torch were a two-cell torch, we would have twice the voltage, or 3.0 volts, applied to the
circuit. Using this voltage in the equation:

V 3.0 volts
I=:=-=-=0.6ampere
R 5 ohms
You can see that the current has doubled as the voltage has doubled.

This demonstrates that the current is directly proportional to the applied voltage.
lf the value of resistance of the lamp is doubled, the equation will be:

_-=
R

3.0

volts

10 ohms

= 0.3 ampere

The current has been reduced to one half of the value of the previous equation, or 0"3 ampere.
This demonstrates that the current is inversely proportional to the resistance. Doubling the value
of the resistance of the load reduces circuit current value to one half of its former value.

Application of Ohm's Law


By using Ohm's law, you are able to find the resistance of a circuit, knowing only the voltage
and the current in the circuit.
ln any equation, if all the variables (parameters) are known except one, that unknown can be
found. For example, using Ohm's law, if current (l) and voltage (V) are known, resistance (R) the
only parameter not known, can be determined:

6-8

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Basic formula:

r=yR
Remove the divisor by multiplying both sides by R:

VR

Rxt= E x J
Resultofstep2:

To get R alone (on one side of the equation) divide both sides by I:

RI

|:

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R_Y
I

Refer to Figure 6.3 where V equals 10 volts and I equals 1 ampere. Solve for R, using the
equation just explained.
Given:

- 10 volts
- 1 ampere

V
I

Solution:

t:

ft= vI

a:
a,:
t:

rr
rr
rr.

The basic formula, transposed for R, is:

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6-9
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Figure 6.3 - Determining resistance in a basic circuit.

lnsert the values of the known quantities:


10

volts

ft= 1 ampere
R:

L0 ohms

This basic formula can also be used to solve for V:

Take the basic

formula: I -

Multiply both sides by

Y
R

R:

VR
IxR-;x1

V-lxR

Results:

This equation can be used to find the voltage for the circuit shown in Figure 6.4.

I = 0.5 ampere
R = 45 ohms

Given:

6-10
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Module 3.6 DC Circuils


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V-lxR
V
V

= 0.5 ampere x 45 ohms

22.5 volts

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Figure 6.4 - Determining voltage in a basic circuit.

The Ohm's law equation and its various forms may be obtained readily with the aid of Figure
6.5. The circle containing v, I, and R is divided into two parts, with v above the line and with I
and R below the line. To determine the unknown quantity, first cover that quantity with a finger.
The position of the uncovered letters in the circle wltt indicate the mathematicai dperation
to ne
performed. For example, to find I, cover I with a finger. The uncovered letters indicate
that V is
to be divided by R, or

r=yR
To find the formula for V, cover V with your finger. The result indicates that I is to be
multiplied
by R, or V IR. To find the formula for R, cover R. The result indicates that V is to be divided by
I, or

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Figure 6.5 - Ohm's law in diagram form.


You are cautioned not to rely wholly on the use of this diagram when you transpose the Ohm's
law formulas. The diagram should be used to supplement your knowledge of the algebraic
method. Algebra is a basic tool in the solution of electrical problems.

6-12
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Graphical Analysis of the Basic Circuit


One of the most valuable methods of analysing a circuit is by constructing a graph. No other
method provides a more convenient or more rapid way to observe the charaCteiistics of an
electrical device.

The first step in constructing a graph is to obtain a table of data. The information in the table can
be obtained by taking measurements on the circuit under examination, or can be obtained
theoretically through a series of ohm's law computations. The latter method is used here.
Since there are three variables (V, I, and R) to be analysed, there are three distinct graphs that
may be constructed.
To construct any graph of electrical quantities, it is standard practice to vary one quantity in a
specified way and note the changes which occur in a second quantity. The quantity wfricfr is
intentionally varied is called the independent variable and is plotted on the horizontal axis. The
horizontal axis is known as the x-axis. The second quantity, which varies as a result of changes
in.the first quantity, is called the dependent variable and is plotted on the vedical, or y-axis. Any
other quantities involved are held constant.
For example, in the circuit shown in Figure 6.6, if the resistance was held at 10 ohms and the
voltage was varied, the resulting changes in current could then be graphed. The resistance is
the constant, the voltage is the independent variable, and the current is the dependent variable.

Figure 6.6 - Three variables in a basic circuit.


Figure 6.7 shows the graph and a table of values. This table shows R held constant at 10 ohms
as V is varied from O to 20 volts in S-volt steps. Through the use of Ohm's law, you can

Us and/or d sclosure s
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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calculate the value of current for each value of voltage shown in the table. When the table is
complete, the information it contains can be used to construct the graph shown in Figure 6.7.
For example, when the voltage applied to the 10-ohm resistor is 10 volts, the current is
1 ampere. These values of current and voltage determine a point on the graph. When all five
points have been plotted, a smooth curve is drawn through the points.

{Y -A)ils l

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15

15

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V IH VOLTS
1X-AXl$)

20

{l

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,t.5

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Figure 6.7 - Volt-ampere characteristic.

Through the use of this curve, the value of current through the resistor can be quickly
determined for any value of voltage between 0 and 20 volts.
Since the curve is a straight line, it shows that equal changes of voltage across the resistor
produce equal changes in current through the resistor. This fact illustrates an imporlant
characteristic of the basic law - the current varies directly with the applied voltage when the
resistance is held constant.
When the voltage across a load is held constant, the current depends solely upon the
resistance of the load. For example, Figure 6.8 shows a graph with the voltage held constant at
12 volts. The independent variable is the resistance which is varied from 2 ohms to l-Z ohms.
The current is the dependent variable. Values for current can be calculated as:

i
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6-14
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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oHftIs{Hj

Figure 6"8 - Relationship between current and resistance.

r/= 12 volts

Given:

R= 2 ohms to 12 ohms

r=YR

Solution:

12 volts

I = ---------:- = L amnere
12 ohms

l:

a:
a:
tt:
t:
t:
t:
rt:
a:
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,:

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I=

12

volts

12 ohms

12 volts
-I = -::B

ohms

12 volts

l=-.

6 ohms

1 ampere

1.5 ampere

= 2amnere

This process can be continued for any value of resistance. You can see that as the resistance is
halved, the current is doubled; when the resistance is doubled, the current is halved.
This illustrates another important characteristic of Ohm's law - current varies inversely with
resistance when the applied voltage is held constant.

Us and/or disclosure is
govemed by lhe sratemenl
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Module 3.6 DC Circuils

6-15
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Series DC Circuits

when two unequal charges are connected by a conductor, a complete pathway for current
exists. An electric circuit is a complete conducting pathway. lt consists iroi on(ot
the conductor.
but also- includes the path through the voltage soiice. Inside the voltage
conventional
current flows flom the negative terminal, through the source, emerginjat"orrJ",
the positive terminal.

{
I

Series Circuit Characteristics


A series circuit is defined as a circuit that contains only one path for current flow. To
compare
the basic circuit that has been discussed and a more complex series circuit, Figure 6.9 shows
two circuits. The basic circuit has only one lamp and the series circuit has thre6 lamps
connected in series.

I
t
t

t
I

!r.
I
!

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sfistc

ctRfut:

SER|ES CmCUr
L

Figure 6.9 - Comparison of basic and series circuits.

Resistance in a Series Circuit


Referring to Figure 6.9, the current in a series circuit must flow
through each lamp to complete
the electrical path in the circuit. Each additional lamp offers added reiistance.
ln a series circuit.
the total circuit resistance (R1) is equar to the sum of the individuar resistanlJl: -- ' -" '
As an equation:

Rr=Rr+R2+R:+...R,

t-

Note:The subscript 'n' denotes any number of additional resistances that might
be in the

equation.

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Example: ln Figure 6.10 a series circuit consisting of three resistors: one of 10 ohms, one of
L5 ohms, and one of 30 ohms, is shown. A voltage source provides 110 volts. What is the total
resistance?

rl:
l:

t;
a;
t;
t;

Figure 6.10 - Solving for total resistance in a series circuit.

Given:

Rr = 10 ohms
Rz = 15 ohms
R: = 30 ohms

t;
t;
t;
t;
a;
t;

ln some circuit applications, the total resistance is known and the value of one of the circuit
resistors has to be determined. The equation Rr = Rr
Rz
Rs can be transposed to solve
for the value of the unknown resistance.

t;

Example: ln Figure 6. 11 the total resistance of a circuit containing lhree resistors is 40 ohms.
Two of the circuit resistors are 10 ohms each. Calculate the value of the third resistor (R:).

l;

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ra:
a:

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Solution:

Rr=Rr*Rz*R:
Rr
Rr

= 10 ohms + 15 ohms + 30 ohms


= 55 ohms

Use and/or disclosLre is


goveded by the statemenl
on page 2 ol lhis Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-17
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)ssioned in assodation lril the
dub66pro.com quGsaion prara:ce aid

Figure 6.1 1 - Calculating the value of one resistance in a series circuit.


Given:

Rr= 1 0 ohms
Rz= 10 ohms

R:=

Solution:

Rr

(Subtract Rr

0 ohms

= Rr*

Rz

R:

Rz from both sides of the equation)

Rr-Rr-Rz=Rs
Rz=Rr-Rr-Rz
=
Rs =
Rg

Rs :

40 ohms
40 ohms
20 ohms

6-18
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O Copyright 2011

10 ohms

10 ohms

20 ohms

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use

andor,r..hca
tlp d_
d lt6 '+:

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on paqs 2

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Current in a Series Circuil


Since there is only one path for current in a series circuit, the same current must flow through
each component of the circuit. To determine the current in a series circuit, only the current
through one of the components need be known.
The fact that the same current flows through each component of a series circuit can be verified
by inserting meters into the circuit at various points, as shown in Figure 6.12. lf this were done,
each meter would be found to indicate the same value of current.

l:

t:
t:
t:
t:
t:
t:
t:
l:
t:
r
,:

Figure 6.12 - Current in a series circuit.

Voltage in a Series Circuit


The voltage dropped across the resistor in a circuit consisting of a single resistor and a voltage
source is the total voltage across the circuit and is equal to the applied voltage. The total
voltage across a series circuit that consists of more than one resistor is also equal to the applied
voltage, but consists of the sum of the individual resistor voltage drops. ln any series circuit, the
sum of the resistor voltage drops must equal the source voltage. This statement can be proven
by an examination of the circuit shown in Figure 6.'13. ln this circuit a source potential (Vr) of
20 volts is dropped across a series circuit consisting of two S-ohm resistors. The total resistance
of the circuit (Rr) is equal to the sum of the two individual resistances, or 10 ohms. Using Ohm's
law the circuit current may be calculated as follows:

rr
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I'

l:

Use andor disclosue is


governd by the siatement
on paoe 2 otrhis chaple..

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-19
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le.igned

in association with lhe

rh:166tro"can queslion practice aid

Given:

Vr = 20 volts
Rr= 10 ohms

b
Solution: lt'R1
=
t_ _ 20 volts
' 10 ohms
11

= 2- amps

Figure 6.13 - Calculating individual voltage drops in a series circuit.


Since the value of the resistors is known to be 5 ohms each, and the current through the
resistors is known to be 2 amperes, the voltage drops across the resistors can be calculated.
The voltage (E1) across R1 is therefore:
Given:

11

Solution:

Vr=lrxRr

= 2 amperes
Rr = 5 ohms

Vr:2amperesx5ohms
Vr

10

volts

By inspecting the circuit, you can see that Rz is the same ohmic value as R1 and carries the
same current. The voltage drop across Rz is therefore also equal to 10 volts. Adding these trc
10-volts drops together gives a total drop of 20 volts, exactly equal to the applied voltage. For a

6-20
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@

Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

.rErdb--,1

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series circuit then:

Vr=Vr+Vz+V:+....Vn
Example: A series circuit consists of three resistors having values of 20 ohms,30 ohms, and
50 ohms, respectively. Find the applied voltage if the current through the 30 ohm resistor is 2
amps. (The abbreviation 'amp' is commonly used for'ampere'.)
To solve the problem, a circuit diagram is first drawn and labelled (figure 6.14).

l;
a;
J;

t;
t:
t:
t;
t:
t:

*u
Figure 6.14 - Solving for applied voltage in a series circuit.
Given:

Rz
Rs

Solution:

l'.'

50 ohms

Vr:Vr*Vz*V:
Vr:

Rr x Ir

Vz=Rzxlz
V: = R: xl:

|;

r-:
l1

= 20 ohms
= 30 ohms

I-2amps

.;

t:
t:
t:

Rr

(lr

= The current through resister Rr)

Substituting:

Use an.tordisclosure is
govemed by lhe srate.,renl
on page 2 ot rhis chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-21
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.jlraalat.,a.aarar 1r:..r!: at p:i:tal;caj .iitj

yt-

Vr

* (Rz x Iz) * (R: x I:)


(20 ohmsx2 amps) * (30 ohmsx 2 amps) * (50 ohmsx2 amps)
(Rr x

h)

Vr = 40 volts + +60 volts


Vr

* 100 volts

200 volts

Note: When you use Ohm's law, the quantities for the equation must be taken from the same
part of the circuit. ln the above example the voltage across Rz was computed using the current
through Rz and the resistance of Rz.
The value of the voltage dropped by a resistor is determined by the applied voltage and is in
proportion to the circuit resistances. The voltage drops that occur in a series circuit are in direct
proportion to the resistances. This is the result of having the same current flow through each
resistor - the larger the ohmic value of the resistor, the larger the voltage drop across it.

Summary of Series DC Circuit Characteristics


The impodant factors governing the operation of a series circuit are listed below. These factors
have been set up as a group of rules so that they may be easily studied. These rules must be
completely understood before the study of more advanced circuit theory is undertaken.
Rules for Series DC Circuits
The same current flows through each part of a series circuit.
The total resistance of a series circuit is equal to the sum of the individual
resistances.
The total voltage across a series circuit is equal to the sum of the individual
voltage drops.
The voltage drop across a resistor in a series circuit is proportional to the ohmic
value of the resistor,

Series Circuit Analysis


To establish a procedure for solving series circuits, the following sample problems will be
solved.
Example: Three resistors of 5 ohms, 1,0 ohms, and L5 ohms are connected in series with a power
source of 90 volts as shown in Figure 6.1 5. Find the total resistance, circuit current, voltage drop
of each resistor.

6-22

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@ Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

s::: =:
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--:-

Use and,cr.
governed by th:
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ln solving the circuit the total resistance will be found first. Next, the circuit current will be
calculated. Once the current is known, the voltage drops and power dissipations can be
calculated.
Given:

- 5 ohms
Rz
- 10 ohms
Ra
- 15 ohms
V - 90 volts

Solution:

Rr=Rr*Rz*Ra

Rr

Rr
Rr

a:

rt:

. pricad

Figure 6.15 - Solving for various values in a series circuit.

.:
|:

in assoclalicn with lhe

0 ,.

5 ohms * 10 ohms
30 ohms

* 15 ohms

I=VT

R1

,:

I:

90

volts

ohms

I=3amps

a:
t:
a:
a:
,:
,:

tr

rl
IJ

Use andor disclosure is


govemed by the statenent
on Page 2 of this Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-23
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trasigred ln a6!ai:ai:qr ,!ilh lha
club66pro.con qres::cn p.aaiice ai.l

Vr:

IRr

Vr-3amperesx5ohms
Vr

Vz:

15 volts
IRz

Vz-3amperesxl0ohms
Vz

Vs:

30 volts
IRs

Vs-3amperesx15ohms
V:

45 volts

Example: Four resistors, Rr = 10 ohms, Rz: L0 ohms, Ra = 50 ohms, and R+ = 30 ohms, are
connected in series with a power source as shown in Figure 6.16. The current through the
circuit is lz ampere.

What is the battery voltage?


What is the voltage across each resistor?

Figure 6.16 - Computing series circuit values.


G

iven:

Rr= 10 ohms
Rz= 10 ohms
Rs= 50 ohms
R+= 30 ohms
I

0.5 amps

6-24
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

uss and/or dischsu-e s


govemed by the slaltrist
on Page 2 ot this Cl--!.3

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Solution (a):

Vr = IRr

Rr=Rr*Rz*R:*R+
Rr
Rr

= 10 ohms

100 ohms
Vr = 0.5 amps x 100 ohms
Vr 50 volts

Solution (b):

Vr = IRr
Vr = 0.5 amperes x 10 ohms
Vr 5 volts

Vz:
Vz
Vz

,:

l:
l:

IRz

= 0.5 amperes x 10 ohms

volts

V: = IRg
V: = 0.5 amperes x 50 ohms
Vs
- 25 volts

t:
t:
t;
t;
t:

= IR+
V+ = 0.5 amperes x 30 ohms
V+

Vq

l:

t:
t:
t:
t:
ra:
t:
l:

15 volts

An impodant fact to keep in mind when applying Ohm's law to a series circuit is to consider
whether the values used are component values or total values. When the information available
enables the use of Ohm's law to find total resistance, total voltage, and total current, total values
must be inserted into the formula. To find total resistance:

Rr'11
= ---:

a,;
I

* 10 ohms * 50 ohms * 30 ohms

-.,

a-

Use and/or disciosur is

govemed by rhe slalemenr


on page 2 oi lhis Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-25
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l}r.i.]1d

1*

issoclel:art wlia :he

cllbd6pro.coa qries:il. pra.i;ce aid

To f ind total voltage:

Vr=lr=Rr
To lind total current:

t_

Vr

'R1
- ---:

in the formula
Note: Ir is equal to I in a series circuit. However, the distinction between Ir and I
and it will
should be noted. The reason for this is that future circuits may have several currents'
be necessary to differentiate between lr and other currents'

values used in
To compute any quantity (v, I, R, or P) associated with a single given resistor, the
value of an
the
the formula must be obtained from that particular resistor. For example' to find
must be
unknown resistance, the voltage across and the current through that particular resistor
used.
To find the value of a resistor:

R_b
Ip
To f ind the voltage drop across a resistor:

Vn=lnxR
To find current through a resistor:

.Vp
''R

6-26
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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rchhoff 's Voltage Law

'n 1847, G.R.Kirchhoff extended the use of ohm's raw by deveroping a simpre
concept
concerning the voltages contained in a series
circuit loo[. xircrrrrbt J vottaje raw states:
'The algebraic sum of the vortage drops in
any crosed path in a circuit and the
electromotive forces in that pailh is eiual to rL-.)
To state Kirchhoff's law another way, the voltage
drops and vortage sources in a circuit are
:qual at any given moment.in time. lf the voltu["
are assumed to have one sign
positive or negative) at that instant and
"orr"""
the uoitug"
drops are assumed to have the opposite
s:gn the result of adding the vortage sources and"voltage
drops wi be zero.

Note: The terms erectromotive force and EMF are used


when expraining Kirchhoff,s law
3ecause Kirchhoff's raw is used in arternating current
circuits. rn
xirJr,lt," t"* to
clrect current circuits, the terms electromotiv-e force
"pprvini
and EvrF appiy
to
such as
5alteries or power supplies.
"6ri"G "ources

rhrough the use of Kirchhoff's.law,


circuit problems can be solved which would be difficult, and
:ften impossible, with knowredge of ohm i taw atone. wrren
xircr,noris ia* plop"rry appried,
an equation can be set up for a closed loop and
" be
the unknown circuit values can
calculated.

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tr,:-:,r t! the dalemert
1_:e:;2.i

this Chapter

6-27

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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:*5it.,4.i :* e3fnoialion

.ir;:atl...3m

with the
qrestion pra.{ce

aii

Polarity of Voltage
To apply Kirchhoff's voltage law, the meaning of voltage polarity must be understood.
ln the circuit shown in Figure 6.17, the conventional current is shown flowing in a clockwise
direction. Notice that the end of resistor Rz, into which the current flows, is marked positive (+).
The end of Rz at which the current leaves is marked negative (-). These polarity markings are
used to show that the end of Rr into which the current flows is at a higher positive potential than
the end of the resistor at which the current leaves. Point D is more positive than point C.

Figure 6.17 - Voltage polarities.

Point B, which is at the same potential as point C, is labelled positive. This is to indicate that
point B is more positive than point A. To say a point is positive (or negative) without stating what
the polarity is based upon has no meaning. ln working with Kirchhoff's law, positive and
negative polarities are assigned in the direction of current flow.

Application of Kirchhoff's Voltage Law


Kirchhoff's voltage law can be written as an equation, as shown below:

V"*Vu*V.*...V"=0
where Eu, Er, etc., are the voltage drops or EMFs around any closed circuit loop. To set up the
equation for an actual circuit, the following procedure is used.

Assume a direction of current through the circuit. (The correct direction is desirable but
not necessary.)
Using the assumed direction of current, assign polarities to all resistors through which the
current f lows.
Place the correct polarities on any sources included in the circuit.

6-28
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Us

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on

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Starting at any point in the circuit, trace around the circuit, writing down the amount and
polarity of the voltage across each component in succession. The polarity used is the
sign after the assumed current has passed through the component. Stop when the point
at which the trace was staned is reached.
Place these voltages, with their polarities, into the equation and solve for the desired
quantity.
Example: Three resistors are connected across a So-volt source. What is the voltage across the
third resistor if the voltage drops across the first two resistors are 25 volts and 15 volts?

Solution: First, a diagram, such as the one shown in Figure 6.18, is drawn. Next, a direction of
current is assumed (as shown). Using this current, the polarity markings are placed at each end
of each resistor and also on the terminals of the source. Starting at point A, trace around the
circuit in the direction of current flow, recording the voltage and polarity of each component.
Starting at point A and using the components from the circuit:

(+V") + (+Vz) + (+Vr) + (-Ve)-

Substituting values from the circuit:

25 volts
V,.

V,.

15 volts

10 volts
10 volts

V'.

50 volts

The unknown voltage (V-) is found to be 10 volts.

Figure 6.18 - Determining unknown voltage in a series circuit.


Using the same idea as above, you can solve a problem in which the current is the unknown
quantity.

use and/or disclosure is


governed by the statement
on Page 2 otlhis Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-29
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Example: A circuit having a source voltage of 60 volts contains three resistors of 5 ohms, 10
ohms, and l-5 ohms. Find the circuit current.

Solution: Draw and label the circuit (Figure 6.19). Establish a direction of current flow and
assign polarities. Next, stading at any point - point A will be used in this example - write out the
loop equation.

t0

Figure 6.19 - Correct direction of assumed current.

Basic Equation, starting at A

V:-Va*Vr*Vz=0

Since V

(lx

IR, by substitution:

R:)

-Va * (lxRr) + (lxR2) -

Substituting values:

(lx

15 ohms)

- 60volts + (lx5 ohms) + (lx

10 ohms)

Combining like terms:

(l x 30 ohms) - 60 volts (l x 30 ohms) - 60 volts

I-2amps
Since the current obtained in the above calculations is a positive 2 amps, the assumed direction
of current was correct. To show what happens if the incorrect direction of current is assumed.
the problem will be solved as before, but with the opposite direction of current. The circuit is
redrawn showing the new direction of current and new polarities in Figure 6.20. Stading at point
A the loop equation is:

6-30
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use

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Basic Equation, stading at A

V:*Ve*Vr*Vz=0

Since V = IR, by substitution:


(lx Rs) Va (lxRr)

* (lx Rz) -

Substituting values:

(lx

15 ohms)

60volts + (tx5 ohms) + (tx 10 ohms)

Combining like terms:

(l x 30 ohms)
(l x 30 ohms)
I

* 60 volts = 0
- -60 volts

-2 amps

ra:
t:.
la:
l:

t:
a:

rt:

1;
t:

t:
l:
l:
t;
r

rr
I

v3

1sf,)

Figure 6.20 - lncorrect direction of assumed current.


Notice that the amount of current is the same as before. The polarity, however, is negative.
The negative polarity simply indicates the wrong direction of current was assumed. Should it be
necessary to use this current in further calculations on the circuit using Kirchhoff's law, the
negative polarity should be retained in the calculations.

Use and/or disclosue is


govemed by the slatemenl
on page 2 of rhls chapter.

6-31

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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al+si('li.:a
a

1..

a3a.)arl.:i:,a. ,.ti:a ihe

l|ra1;6 F; a. acr:r a:

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Series Aiding and Opposing Sources


of EMF' Sources of
in runy pru"ii"ul appiiiations-a circuit may contain more than one source
to be series aiding and tne
EMF that cause current to flow in the same direction are considered
directtons are
uottug"" are added. sources of EMF that would tend to force current in opposite
the difference between the
said to be series opposing, ano the effective source voltage is
into a circuit current flow would be
opposing voltages. when two opposing sources are inserted
aiding and opposing sources
in I oiruition d6termined ny 1'e'targer-source. Examples of series
are shown in Figure 6.21
.

r------r1r1r

IVz

SER:E5 AI}IH3

sERrS OFp05*u6
Figure 6.21 - Aiding and opposing sources'
use of Kirchhotf's
A simple solution may be obtained for a multiple-source circuit through the
circuii
uoftusj" law. ln applying this method, the same procedure is used for the multiple-source
example
following
the
by
as was used above for the single-source circuit. This is demonstrated

6-32
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

rr:::
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Example: Using Kirchhoff's voltage equation, find the amount of current in the circuit shown in
tigure 6.22.

E.

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t:
t:

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rt:
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I-

Vz
20v
+

I.'

--.1-

T-

Vr

32

18t1V

zlt

Vg

40v

I'l'lj
Figure 6.22 - Solving for circuit current using Kirchhoff's voltage equation.

Solution: As before, a direction of current flow is assumed and polarity signs are placed on the
drawing. The loop equation will be staded at point A.

Vnz*Vs*Vr*Vnr*Vz:0
(1x 20 ohms)

20volts

-120 volts

40

40 volts

volts- lB0volts + (1x20 ohms) * (lx

* (l x 80 ohms) -

I x 80 ohms

120 volts

1.5 amps

120 /80

Use and/or dlsclosure is


govemed by lhe statemenl
on page 2 of lhls chapter

+ (-1B0 volts) + (l x 60 ohms)

20 volts

60 ohms)

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-33
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l.lrs:!.eC ln associal;'.

!ri::-:

tl.!6apro.ofir

trat:ice aid

q!re,9alo:r

thg

Kirchhoff 's Current Law


Ohm's law states that the current in a circuit is inversely proportional to the circuit resistance.
This fact is true in both series and parallel circuits.
There is a single path for current in a series circuit. The amount of current is determined by the
total resistance of the circuit and the applied voltage. ln a parallel circuit the source current
divides among the available paths.
The behaviour of current in parallel circuits will be shown by a series of illustrations using
example circuits with different values of resistance for a given value of applied voltage.
Part (A) of Figure 6.23 shows a basic series circuit. Here, the total current must pass through
the single resistor. The amount ol current can be determined.

tt*sA

q-s{f
l'' * t0A

(8J

Figure 6.23 - Analysis of current in parallel circuit.

1=IR
lt'Rl:5
Ir=

50

volts

10 ohms

6-34
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use and/or dsc.-,-governed by the


on paoe 2 oi d: s

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Part (B) of Figure 6.23 shows the same resistor (R1) with a second resistor (R2) of equal value
connected in parallel across the voltage source. when ohm,s law is applied, the current flow
through each resistor is found to be the same as the current through the single resistor in pad
(A).
Given:

V'

50 volts
= 10 ohms
Rz = 10 ohms

Rr

Solution:

1=L
R

V5

Vq1

= I/p,

,tRr= Vnt
R;
_
t^,

t:
t:
l:

50

volts

'"'-

1o ohms

Inr =

5 amps

,lat--

Vnz
R2

l:

ra:
,;

5 amps

-'"'t

50 volts
10 ohms

Inz = 5

"-ps

t:

It is apparent that if there is 5 amperes of current through each of the two resistors,
there must
be a total current of 10 amperes drawn from the source"

,;

The.

rr
rE
rr

L'

total cunent of 10 amperes, as illustrated in Figure 6.23 (B) leaves the positive terminal of
the_ batte.ry and flows to point a. Since point a is a connecting point for the two
resistors, it is
called a iunction. At junction a, the total current divides into two currents of 5 amperes each.
These two currents flow through their respective resistors and rejoin at junction b. The total
current then flows from junction b back to the positive terminal of the source. The source
supplies a total current of 10 amperes and each of the two equal resistors carries one-half the

and/or discloslre is
govemed by lhe statemenl
on page 2 ofihis Chapter
{Jse

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-35
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r:lsi:.r.j

l* a;;l'aal:on ',lith ihe

a:.rli5prc....n queslion

practice aicl

total current.
From the previous explanation, the characteristics of current in a parallel circuit can be
expressed in terms of the following general equation:

Ir=L*lz*...In
Compare part (A) of Figure 6.24 with part (B) of the circuit in Figure 6.24. Notice that doubling
the value of the second branch resistor (Rr) has no effect on the current in the first branch (l nr).
but does reduce the second branch current (l nz) to one-half its original value. The total circuit
current drops io a value equal to the sum of the branch currents. These facts are verified by the
following equations.
Given:

- 50 volts
- 10 ohms
Rz
- 20 ohms

V,
Rr

Solution:

I=-VR
Vr:Rnr-Vnz
.

Vnr
R1

50 volts
t=-10
ohms

Inr = 5 amps

,lRz Vnz
= -rR2

t^^ _ 50 volts
'^' - zo oh-=
Inz = -2.5 amps

Ir=lnr*lnz
Ir-5amps*2.5amps

6-36
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use ano

:. ilff

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Ir

i!.
d,

7.5 amps

l?

Vs

f;t

j; * x's&

* T'5!
I

X1

{{

11-5A

t
(Al

lro*
on

l',

I',"

u^

R3

rofi

{s}
Figure 6.24 - Current behaviour in parallel circuits.

The amount of current flow in the branch circuits and the total current in the circuit shown in
Figure 6.24 (B) are determined by the following computations.
Given:

V'

Rr Rz
Rs -

50 volts
10 ohms
10 ohms
10 ohms

Solution:

l= vR
Vs=Vnr-Vnz-Vn:
50

volts

Inr: 10 ohms
Inr

5 amps

Use and/or disclosure is


govemed by the sraremenl
on paae 2 of lhis Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-37
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Desiq.ed ;n associa:irn with l:te
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Vnz
,rRz=E

.rnz

Vnt

[,

50 volts
lp7 =
10 ohms

Inz

= 5- amps

Ing

Ing

= 10 ohms

Ins

VRs
R3
50 volts

5 amps

Ir=lnr+lnz+lns

Ir-5amps*5amps*5amps
Ir

15 amps

Notice that the sum of the ohmic values in each circuit shown in Figure 6.24 is equal (30 ohms),
and that the applied voltage is the same (50 volts). However, the total current in 6.24 (B)
(15 amps) is twice the amount in 6.24 (A) (7.5 amps). lt is apparent, therefore, that the manner in
which resistors are connected in a circuit, as well as their actual ohmic values, affect the total
current.

6-38
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use andor

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fE >#

govemed by d
on page 2 oi

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aid

The division of current in a parallel network follows a definite pattern. This pattern is described
by kirchhoff's current law which states:
"The algebraic sum of the currents entering and leaving any junction of conductors is
equal to zero."
This law can be stated mathematically as:
Iu

* lr *...In

where: Iu, Iu, etc., are the currents entering and leaving the junction. Currents entering the
junction are considered to be positive and currents leaving the junction are considered to be
negative. When solving a problem using Kirchhoff's current law, the currents must be placed
into the equation with the proper polarity signs attached.
Example. Solve for the value of

I:

in Figure 6.25.

Given:

Ir

Iz Ia
I"

10 amps
3 amps
5 amps
Iu *...1n = 0

Solution:

l:
l:
l:

t:

l:
l:
a:
l:
t:
l:
l:
l:

rl-

Figure 6.25 - Circuit for example problem.

The currents are placed into the equation with the proper signs.

h*Izll:*l+=0
10 amps * (-3amps) * I: *
Ia*2amps-0
I:

(-5 amps)

-2 amps

Ig has a value of 2 amperes, and the negative sign shows it to be a current leaving the
junction.

f-...
Use and/or disciosure is
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on paqe 2 oilhis Chapler

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Example: Using Figure 6.26, solve for the magnitude and direction of Is.

Figure 6.26 - Circuit for example problem


Given:

Ir

Iz I+ -

6 amps
3 amps
5 amps

Solution:

Ir*lr,*... In:0

L*lz*l:*l+:0
6 amps * (-3amps) *
I:*(-2amps)-0
Is

I:

-F

(-5 amps)

-2 amps

Ia is 2 amperes and its positive sign shows it to be a current entering the junction.

6-40
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Module 3-6 DC Circuits

Use andor

disdoeG

govemed by rhe saierlE<


on page 2 of this

Cl48

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Gircuit Terms and Characteristics


Before you learn about the types of circuits other than the series circuit, you should become
familiar with some of the terms and characteristics used in electrical circuits. These terms and
characteristics will be used throughout your study of electricity and electronics.

Reference Point
A reference point is an arbikarily chosen point to which all other points in the circuit are
compared. ln series circuits, any point can be chosen as a reference and the electrical potential
at all other points can be determined in reference to that point. ln Figure 6.27 point A shall be
considered the reference point. Each series resistor in the illustrated circuit is of equal value.
The applied voltage is equally distributed across each resistor. The potential at point D is
75 volts more positive than at point A. Points C and B are 50 volts and 25 volts more positive
than point A respectively.

tr

Vs= 25V

t:
l:
t:
t:
l:

l;
l:
l:
a;
l:
l;
3:
l:
l;

a:
t;
t:
t;
f--

rf-

+:'1J

g +58y

\l2= 25Y
B +291'

Vr= 25V

A0v
Figure 6.27 - Reference points in a series circuit.

When point B is used as the reference, as in Figure 6.28, point D would be positive 50 volts in
respect to the new reference point. The former reference point, A, is 25 volts negative in
respect to point B.

Use and/or disclosure is


qoverned by lhe statsmenl
on page 2 ofthis chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-41
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'1

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lle!i:a*a

lr':

es:at:r:!r1 r,liih the


qr.r3sa::n rr'aiii.e

.11,55p.aln

aicl

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F3

Vs= 25V

+i61t

Y2=25Y

B'V
sRl

Vr= 25V

A -t5V
Figure 6.28 - Determining potentials with respect to a reference point.

As in the previous circuit illustration, the reference point of a circuit is always considered to be at
zero potential. Since the earth (ground) is said to be at a zero potential, the term ground is
used to denote a common electrical point of zero potential. ln Figure 6.29, point A is the zero
reference, or ground, and the symbol for ground is shown connected to point A. Point C is
75 volts positive in respect to ground.

c +tsll
Vz= 50V

B *IsU

V1= 25V

A ttv
Figure 6.29 - Use of ground symbols.

ln most electrical equipment, the metal chassis is the common ground for the many electrical
circuits. When each electrical circuit is completed, common points of a circuit at zero potential
are connected directly to the metal chassis, thereby eliminating a large amount of connecting
wire. The current passes through the metal chassis (a conductor) to reach other points of the

6-42
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

i:tr.sr- s
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on Page 2

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circuit. This is particularly useful on aircraft where the aidrame can be used as the return circuit
for all the aircraft's electrical systems. An example of a chassis grounded circuit is illustrated in
Figure 6.30.

uaNoucT:N9 ch*$*ts
Figure 6.30 - Ground used as a conductor.
Most voltage measurements used to check proper circuit operation in electrical equipment are
taken in respect to ground. One meter lead is altached to a grounded point and the other meter
lead is moved to various test points.

Open Circuit
A circuit is said to be open when a break exists in a complete conducting pathway. Although an
open occurs when a switch is used to de-energize a circuit, an open may also develop
accidentally. To restore a circuit to proper operation, the open must be located, its cause
determined, and repairs made.
Sometimes an open can be located visually by a close inspection of the circuit components.
Defective components, such as burned oui resistors, can usually be discovered by ihis method.
Others, such as a break in wire covered by insulation or the melted element of an enclosed
fuse, are not visible to the eye. Under such conditions, the understanding of the effect an open
has on circuit conditions enables a technician to make use of test equiprient to locate the open
component.
ln Figure 6.3-l , the series circuit consists of two resistors and a fuse. Notice the effects on circuit
conditions when the f use opens.

a;
t:

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Use and/o. d sclosure is


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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-43
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lla.;i:.ed

in as3c"i:i:.r wiil'r ihe


a:aaSaprc.co.u qaras:lo.r tractica 2ial

{*} *$nr{AL crFcurT {}to*!r*et *UFRE}|T}

{8i ffP3l:

fmeill: {nuf Ts ExeEsstlrf


cunnrnTl

Figure 6.31 - Normal and open circuit conditions.


(A) Normal current;
(B) Excessive current.

Current ceases to flow; therefore, there is no longer a voltage drop across the resistors. Each
end of the open conducting path becomes an extension of the battery terminals and the voltage
felt across the open is equal to the applied voltage (Vr).

An open circuit has infinite resistance. lnfinity represents a quantity so large it cannot be
measured. The symbol for infinity is oo. ln an open circuit, R1
m.

Short Circuit
A short circuit is an accidental path of low resistance which passes an abnormally high amouni
of current. A short circuit exists whenever the resistance of a circuit or the resistance of a part c'
a circuit drops in value to almost zero ohms. A short often occurs as a result of improper wiring
or broken insulation.

ln Figure 6.32, a short is caused by improper wiring. Note the effect on current flow. Since the
resistor has in effect been replaced with a piece of wire, practically all the current flows througthe short and very little current flows through the resistor. Current flows through the short (a
path of almost zero resistance) and the remainder of the circuit by passing through the l-0-ohr:
resistor and the battery. The amount of current flow increases greatly because its resistive p.a:-

6-44
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Module 3-6 DC Circuits

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has decreased from 10,010 ohms to 10 ohms. Due to the excessive current flow, the 10ohm resistor becomes heated. As it attempts to dissipate this heat, the resistor will probably be
destroyed. Figure 6.33 shows a pictorial wiring diagram, rather than a schematic diagram, to
indicate how broken insulation might cause a short circuit.

t0,0[0n

HORftIAL CURFfHT

R1 = 10,000ft

t:
l:
t;
t;
l;

!Rr

EXCE5$*VI

CURfflT

Figure 6.32 - Normal and short circuit conditions.

t;
l;
t;

SHORT DUE TO
WORN INSULATION

l;
l;
l;
l;
l;

a;

rr
r-"
|;

I[:

Figure 6.33 - Short due to broken insulation

Use and/or disclosure is


governed by the stalemort
on page 2 ofthis chapter

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-45
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Internal Resistance of the Supply


A meter connected across the terminals of a good 1.5-volt battery reads about 1.5 volts. When
the same battery is inserted into a complete circuit, the meter reading decreases to something
less than 1.5 volts. This difference in terminal voltage is caused by the internal resistance of
the battery (the opposition to current offered by the electrolyte in the battery). All sources of
electromotive force have some form of internal resistance which causes a drop in terminal
voltage as current flows through the source.
This principle is illustrated in Figure 6.34, where the internal resistance of a battery is shown as
Ri. ln the schematic, the internal resistance is indicated by an additional resistor in series with
the battery. The battery, with its internal resistance, is enclosed within the dotted lines of the
schematii diagram. With the switch open, the voltage across the battery terminals reads
l-5 volts. When the switch is closed, current flow causes voltage drops around the circuit. The
circuit current of 2 amperes causes a voltage drop of 2 volts across Ri. The l.-ohm internal
battery resistance thereby drops the battery terminal voltage to 13 volts. lnternal resistance
cannot be measured directly with a meter. An attempt to do this would damage the meter.

Rr

'

te:

Figure 6.34 - Effect of internal resistance.

The effect of the source resistance on the power output of a DC source may be shown by an
analysis of the circuit in Figure 6.35. When the variable load resistor (Rr) is set at the zero-ohm
position (equivalent to a short circuit), current (l) is calculated using the following formula:

y:Vt Ri
Ins

100 volts
5

ohms

5 amps

6-46
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@ Copyright 2011

= 20 amperes

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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This is the maximum current that may be drawn from the source. The terminal voltage across
the shot't circuit is zero volts and all the voltage is across the resistance within the source.

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0

E E 4 6 8 r0

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,t0

58

Ri {OHfi*,}

tel

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Figure 6.35 - Effect of source resistance on power output.


lf the load resistance (Rr) were increased (the internal resistance remaining the same), the
current drawn from the source would decrease. Consequently, the voltage drop across the
internal resistance would decrease. At the same time, the terminal voltage applied across the
load would increase and approach a maximum as the current approaches zero amps.

Use and/ordisclosure is
governed by the stalemeni
on Page 2 ol this Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-47
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j'
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the
"rith

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Parallel DC Circuits
The discussion of electrical circuits presented up to this point has been concerned with series
circuits in which there is only one path for current. There is another basic type of circuit known
as the parallel circuit with which you must become familiar. Where the series circuit has only
one path for current, the parallel circuit has more than one path for current.
Ohm's law and Kirchhoff's law apply to all electrical circuits, but the characteristics of a parallel
DC circuit are different than those of a series DC circuil.

Parallel Circuit Characteristics


A parallel circuit is defined as one having more than one current path connected to a common
voltage source. Parallel circuits, therefore, must contain two or more resistances which are not
connected in series. An example of a basic parallel circuit is shown in Figure 6.36.

*1

R1

Vs

PftTH

PATH

Figure 6.36 - Example of a basic parallel circuit.

Start at the voltage source (V.) and trace anticlockwise around the circuit. Two complete and
separate paths can be identified in which current can flow. One path is traced from the source,
through resistance Rr, and back to the source. The other path is from the source, through
resistance Rz, and back to the source.

6-48
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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:. :'; j==._
pac 2 :r 1: -_.E-

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Voltage in a Parallel Circuit


You have seen that the source voltage in a series circuit divides propodionately across each
resistor in the circuit. ln a parallel circuit, the same voltage is present in each branch. (A
branch is a section of a circuit that has a complete path for current.) ln Figure 6.36 this voltage
is equal to the applied voltage (Vr). This can be expressed in equation form as:

V5:[P1 = [p,
Voltage measurements taken across the resistors oi a parallel circuit, as illustrated by Figure
6.37 verify this equation. Each meter indicates the same amount of voltage. Notice that the
voltage across each resistor is the same as the applied voltage.

t:
l:

t:
t:
t:
t:
l:
a:
t:
r

rt:
rr
rr
rr
aal-

Figure 6.37 - Voltage comparison in a parallel circuit.


Example: Assume that the current through a resistor of a parallel circuit is known to be 4.5
milliamperes (4.5 mA) and the value of the resistor is 30,000 ohms (30 ko). Determine the
source voltage. The circuit is shown in Figure 6.38.
G

iven:
Rz = 30,000 ohms (30k0)
Inz = 4.5 milliamps (4.5mA

or 0.0045 amps)

Solution:

V=lR
Vnz: 0.0045 amp x 30,000 ohms
Vnz

Use and/or disclosure is


govemed by lhe slatemenl
of paqe 2 oi lhis Chapler.

135 volts

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Desiqnei lr as$ociation lria:i lhe
club66rlr9.a!.r q eslior l}rar:ice aid

3p
*Sk

Rg

Figure 6.38 - Example problem parallel circuit.


Since the source voltage is equal to the voltage of a branch:
Vs

VRz

V.

135 volts

To simplify the math operation, the values can be expressed in powers of ten as follows:

30,000 ohms

30 x 103 ohms

4.5mA = 4.5 x 10-s amps


Yo,

(4.5 x10-:) amps x (30x10:) ohms

Y*,

(4.5 x 30 x 10-3 x 103) volts

Yo,

= (4.5 x 30 x 1) volts

Vnz

Vs

note: 10-3 x 103

10-3+3

100

135 volts
Vnz

135 volts

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use and/or

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Resistance in a Parallel Circuit


ln the example diagram, Figure 6.39, there are two resistors connected in parallel across a 5volt battery. Each has a resistance value of 10 ohms. A complete circuit consisting of two
parallel paths is formed and current flows as shown.

IA
----->

3vl

0.5A I

i;

Figure 6.39 - Two equal resistors connected in parallel.


Computing the individual currents shows that there is one-half of an ampere of current through
each resistance. The total current flowing from the battery to the junction of the resistors, and
returning from the resistors to the battery, is equal to l ampere.

The total resistance of the circuit can be calculated by using the values of total voltage (Vr) and
total current (lr).
NOTE: From this point on the abbreviations and symbology for electrical quantities will be used
in example problems.

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on page 2 ollhis cha er

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Given:

t:
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Vr:
Ir=

5V

14

R_Y
I

=b

R''11

R, =
ra{

Rr=5O

Use an.Yor disclcure is

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-51
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!;ill lle

alabl;a;lrc.com q!3s:rii: tr'at;;c..r airl

This computation shows the total resistance to be 5 ohms; one-half the value of either of the
two resistors.
Since the total resistance of a parallel circuit is smaller than any of the individual resistors, total
resistance of a parallel circuit is not the sum of the individual resistor values as was the case in
a series circuit. The total resistance of resistors in parallel is also referred to as equivalent
resistance (R"o). The terms total resistance and equivalent resistance are used
interchangeably.
There are several methods used to determine the equivalent resistance of parallel circuits. The
best method for a given circuit depends on the number and value of the resistors. For the circuit
described above, where all resistors have the same value, the following simple equation is
used:
R"q --

fr

Quivalent parallel resistance


ohmic value of one resistor
N = number of resistors

R"q
R=

This equation is valid for any number of parallel resistors of equal value.
I

Example. Four 40-ohm resistors are connected in parallel. What is their equivalent resistance?
G

iven:

Rr*Rz*R:*Ra
Rr = 40O

Solution:

f)_

I\eq

40f)

D
r\eo

'4--

R"q

1691

Figure 6.40 shows two resistors of unequal value in parallel. Since the total current is shown.
the equivalent resistance can be calculated.

6-52
TTS lnlegrated Training System
O Copvright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits


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r- :;!

-i
==-_
:_g?
: r ::

E
r

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Dsiil.a !. .l::rcl:r::o. '.rlta ilre
cLb0at:c.aa:.r q.-:itllan t.aallce ait

E
rr
E
E

rr
rt
rr
rr

t:
l:

t:
t:
t:
t:

rr
rr
rr
rr
rr

ra_'

a-

R:

6*
t3A
**---*---4.
Figure 6.40 - Example circuit with unequal parallel resistors.
Given:

= 30V
Ir = 15A

Rs

Solution:

E.

R"q:-lT

30v

R"q

Req

= 2f)

Gn

The equivalent resistance of the circuit shown in Figure 6.40 is smaller than either of the two
resistors (Rr, Rz). An important point to remember is that the equivalent resistance of a parallel
circuit is always less than the resistance of any branch.
Equivalent resistance can be found if you know the individual resistance values and the source
voltage. By calculating each branch current, adding the branch currents to calculate total
current, and dividing the source voltage by the total current, the total can be found. This
method, while effective, is somewhat lengthy. A quicker method of finding equivalent resistance
is to use the general formula for resistors in parallel:

'

1+ t + t +...t
R2 R3
Rn

ReQ= R1

lf you apply the general formula to the circuit shown in Figure 6.40 you will get the same value
for equivalent resistance (2O) as was obtained in the previous calculation that used source

Use and/or disclosure is


govemed by the statement
on paae 2 ofthis ChaDter

6-53

Module 3.6 DC Circuiis

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@

Copyriqht 2011

lntegrated Training System


rsscrlallor !!:ll :ire
club66pro.ccn quE :ior praa:ic aiC
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voltage and total current.


Given:

= 3f)
Rz = 6fl
Rr

Solution:

117
Req R1
|'1
Rea 30

R2
1

60

Convert the fractions to a common denominator.

t2l
Req 60
-:-+13
Rea

6f)

17
Rea

2Q

60

Since both sides are reciprocals (divided into one), disregard the reciprocal function.

R"q

2o

The formula you were given for equal resistors in parallel

(R"q:

n)

is a simplification of the general formula for resistors in parallel

1_r_l_t_.
R.q R, ' Rr ' R, ' "'Rn
1

There are other simplifications of the general formula for resistors in parallel which can be used
to calculate the total or equivalent resistance in a parallel circuit.

6-54
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O Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

ri=6-r=
t s:
itE ;:4

Use andor
qoverned by
on page 2 ot

rE
rE
E
E
E
E
E
E
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al!ba;alro.com queslion pracllce dd

Reciprocal Method - This method is based upon taking the reciprocal of each side of ihe
equation, This presents the general formula for resistors in parallel as:
1

,.eq -T------i--T

*r**r*'*"

This formula is used to solve for the equivalent resistance of a number of unequal parallel
resistors. You must find the lowest common denominator in solving these problems.
Example: Three resistors are connected in parallel as shown in Figure 6.41 . The resistor values
dr: R1 = 20 ohms, Rz 30 ohms, R: = 40 ohms. What is the equivalent resistance? (Use the
reciprocal method.)

r
,:
,:

l:

t:
t:
l:

t:
a:
l:
t:
,:

l:
l:
l:
l:

rE
r,
al-

l-

Figure 6.41 - Example parallel circuit with unequal branch resistors.


G

iven:

R1:20O
R2
R3

= 30O

40f)

Solution:
1,

R.o=_-L_J-_
R1

'R2'R3
1

Req = --i-----r------i20() 300 40o

-+-+-

Rea =

643
120tr 12f)l}

12ot1

-+-+1

Req=.r
120

-1/

Use and/or disclosurc is


govened by lhe slaiemenl
on paqe 2 oi lhjs Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Clrcuits

6-55
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O Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System


D..igned ;* .s3ociai:r*
cl!Na6pro.ro.a

thc
'."/ith
e:lticn praclce ei.l
1

R.q =l:9n13

Req

!.2392

Product over the sum Method - A convenient method for finding the equivalent, or total,
resistance of two parallel resistors is by using the following formuli.

R""=Rrx
Rr+

Rz
R2

This equation, called the product over the sum formula, is used so frequently it should be
committed to memory.
Example. What is the equivalent resistance of a 20-ohm and a 30-ohm resistor connected in
parallel, as in Figure 6.42?

Figure 6.42 - Parallel circuit with two unequal resistors.

Given:

R1
R2

- 20fi
- 30cl

Solution:

-Kpn

ftea

R1x R2
=-

Rl+

20O x 30r)

= 20f) + 300
too

R"o =
'50
Req

R2

- l2g

6-56
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O Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use and/ordislG,=
governed by the gal?-r
on page 2 ofihis C-a-

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Equivalent Parallel Circuits


ln the study of electricity, it is often necessary to reduce a complex circuit into a simpler form.
Any complex circuit consisting of resistances can be redrawn (reduced) to a basic equivalent
circuit containing the voltage source and a single resistor representing total resistance. This
process is called reduction to an equivalent circuit.
Figure 6.43 shows a parallel circuit with three resistors of equal value and the redrawn
equivalent circuit. The parallel circuit shown in part A shows the original circuit. To create the
equivalent circuit, you must first calculate the equivalent resistance.

l:
l:
l:

t:
rt:

tBl
Figure 6.43 - Parallel circuit with equivalent circuit.

l:

l:

rr
rr
rr

rll_-

l--

Use a.d/or disclosure is


govened by lhe sratemenl
on paqe 2

oilhs

Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-57
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O Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System

]]"iitlgd

in as:at:a::ol wl1h laa


tlxa:6t.o.cofir qr3sllon pracllai: 3d

Solution:

t
t\eq

_
-R

D
_ 15O
I\eq __;R"q

1591

Once ihe equivalent resistance is known, a new circuit is drawn consisting of a single resistor
(to represent the equivalent resistance) and the voltage source, as shown in part B.

Rules for Parallel DC Circuits


The same voltage exists across each branch of a parallel circuit and is equal to the
source voltage.
The current through a branch of a parallel network is inversely proportional to the
amount of resistance of the branch.
The total current of a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of the individual branch
currents of the circuit.
The total resistance of a parallel circuit is found by the general formula:
't-

Re9

-=

11t
Rl R2
-I-I

Rn

or one of the formulas derived from this general formula.

Solving Parallel Circuit Problems

Problems involving the determination of resistance, voltage, current, and power in a parallel
circuit are solved as simply as in a series circuit. The procedure is the same - (1) draw the
circuit diagram, (2) state the values given and the values to be found, (3) select the equations to
be used in solving for the unknown quantities based upon the known quantities, and (4)
substitute the known values in the equation you have selected and solve for the unknown value.
Example: A parallel circuit consists of five resistors. The value of each resistor is known and the
current through Rr is known. You are asked to calculate the value for total resistance, total
power, total current, source voltage, the power used by each resistor, and the current through
resistors Rz, Rs, R+, and Rs.

6-58
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O Copyriqht 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

r:. ]-ts-- :
:! .-. :ry
onoa2--.E::Ee
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goveme.

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r

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alralapro.com .tret:i!1 p.aatite aid

= 20O
Rz = 30O
Rr

R::

R+:
Rs =

1Bo
1Bf)
1-8O

lnr = 94
Find:

Rr, V., Ir, Pr, Inz, In3, Ina, Ins

This may appear to be a large amount of mathematical manipulation. However, if you use the
step-by-step approach, the circuit will fall apart quite easily.
The first step in solving this problem is for you to draw the circuit and indicate the known values
as shown in Figure 6.44.

l:
l:

!0n
Int

l:
l:
f:

t:
t:
t:
l:
):

t:
l:

a,:
l:

rr
r^
l'

l-

5A

Rt
su dl

Re

[ft

Rg

tfff}

Figure 6.44 - Parallel circuit problem.

There are several ways to approach this problem. With the values you have been given, you
could first solve for Rr, the power used by Rr, or the voltage across R1, which you know is equal
to the source voltage and the voltage across each of the other resistors. Solving for Rr or the
power used by Rr will not help in solving for the other unknown values.
Once the voltage dcross

Rr

is known, this value will help you calculate other unknowns.

Therefore the logical unknown to solve for is the source voltage (the voltage across

Use and/ordisclosure s
govemed by the slalemenl
on Paoe 2 otlhis Chapler.

Module 3,6 DC Circuits

R1).

6-59
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lntegrated Training System


)esjgn.a

;n assotl:'tr{:rn wilh

alub66l:rc.a.:n

qr.::iin

tll.

prac:icn aia

Given:

Rr = 20O
Inr = 9.A
\t

I/

vs

VR1 -

Solution:

Vr=Rrxlnr

V':

94 x 20O
V' = 180V

Now that source voltage is known, you can solve for current in each branch'
Given:

V' = 108V

= 30O
R: = 1BO
R+ = 18O
Rs = 18O

Rz

Solution:

.vs
lR2=-

R2

lBOV

tnz =

licr

Inz = 6A

tns=;=
l\3

In:

180V
=

Ine =

Since

Rg

In+

18f)

toe

R+

Rs

and the voltage across each branch is the same:

10A

Ins: toe
6-60
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

5
Use anc :. i$sgovemed c_, :+ :l-
on Paq 2 :: -s -a:F

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r

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alubaatrc com o!.rarlllcn praciiae

Given:

Rr

= 20O

Rz:30O
Rs
R+

18,C)

= 1Bf)
Rs = 1BO
Solution:

Rr =

Req

-L
ReQ=-l--l-lr
Rr Rz

tR4

t
Rs

lBO

9+6+10+10+10r)

180

Ra

(LCD)

Rr=fl
180
tuo
Rr =
45cl

Rr-

4O

An alternate method for solving for Rr can be used. By observation, you can see that R3, R4,
and R5 are of equal ohmic value. Therefore an equivaient resistor cah be substituted for these
three resistors in solving for total resistance.
G

iven:

Rs=R+=Rs=18O

U
IJ

R3

771177
Rr 20O 30O', 1BO', r8O',

l:
t:
l;
l:

rr
u
u
u
r

a:C

Solving for total resistance.

rr
t:
t;
t:
rt:
rt:

lle

Jse andor disctosure ts


!:,/emed by the slalement
:. page 2 ol this Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

b-b

TTS lntegrated Training System


O Copyright 201 1

lnteqrated Training SYstem

.lc\Ldn;

innn w:h

n . -nc

tl-

clubi6pro.rcn qreslion traclicn

aici

Solution:

o --R
r\eqr
-

R"qr

199

R"qr

6Cl

R"qr in place of R:, R+, and Rs as shown


The circuit can now be redrawn using a resistor labelled
in Figure 6.45.

Figure 6.45 - First equivalent parallel circuit'

and R2 by use of the product


An equivalent resistor can be calculated and substituted for R r
over the sum formula.
Given:

Rr = 20O
Rz 30fi

Solution:
R"q

Req2

R1x Rz
R1+ R2

20f) x 30f)

200 + 30f)

6-62
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O Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

L
r

rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
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rr

rr
l-

lntegrated Training System


DesiJ.ed :n a.s.clallon with the
.ll.rb{jat:c a.n cr.stlcr traclice aid

n"qz=ffo
R"qz: 12O
The circuit is now redrawn again using a resistor labelled
Figure 6.46.

R"o2

in place of Rr and R2 as shown in

Figure 6.46 - Second equivalent parallel circuit.

You are now left with two resistors in parallel. The product over the sum method can now be
used to solve for total resistance.
Given:
R"qr
Req

Rr

6O
l2g2

:- R"q

Solution:

ft"9

Reql+Req2

R1xR2
Rr: R1+R2

I)

I\T -

6r) x 1200

6A+12Q

n,=ftcr

Use ancfordisclosu is
governed by rhe srarement
on page 2 ofthis Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-63
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lntegrated Training SYstem


liss:o.ed ;r assctiatior "liili iile
:1ubi5prc.c:n oli:stio;i !iac:i.. aid

Rr= 4O
for solving for resistors in
This agrees with the solution found by using the general formula
parallel"

can be calculated
The circuit can now be redrawn as shown in Figure 6.47 andtotal current

Figure 6.47 - Parallel circuit redrawn to final equivalent circuit'


Given:
Vs

= 180V

Rr=4O
Solution:

r-

V.

- ---:
'R1

Ir=

180v
4Q

Ir =

45A

currents'
This solution can be checked by using the values already calculated for the branch
Given:

- 94
Inz - 64.
Ins - 10A

Inr

In+:

10A

Ins = 10A

6-64
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use

rr:' iea:s- :
:r :_+ s:.g
i:i: --;:-

goveme.

on pea 2

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club66pro.co$ qr.ri3llrn araclice aid

In * Inz *...hn
Ir=94*64+l0A+l0A+

Ir

10A

Ir = 45A

rl:

t:
t:
l:
l:
l:

rt:
t:
t:
|:

l:

a:

rr
rr

vau
I-

Use and/ordisclosLre is

govemed by the stateme.t


on PaOe 2 otihis Chapter

6-65

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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@

Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System

altrlEarl li :::a'ri1l:orr

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Series-Parallel DC Circuits
ln the preceding discussions, series and parallel DC circuits have been considered separately.
The technician will encounter circuits consisting of both series and parallel elements. A circuit of
this type is referred to as a combination circuit. Solving for the quantities and elements in a
combination circuit is simply a matter of applying the laws and rules discussed up to this point.

Solving Com bination-C ircu it Problems


The basic technique used for solving DC combination-circuit problems is the use of equivalent
circuits. To simplify a complex circuit to a simple circuit containing only one load, equivalent
circuits are substituted (on paper) for the complex circuit they represent. To demonstrate the
method used to solve combination circuit problems, the network shown in Figure 6.48 (A) will be
used to calculate various circuit quantities, such as resistance, current and voltage.

!
!

(Al
Figure 6.48 - Example combination circuit"

Examination of the circuit shows that the only quantity that can be computed with the given
information is the equivalent resistance of Rz and Rg.
G

iven:

= 20O
Rz = 30f)
Rz

:
I

:
:
;
6-66

TTS lntegrated Training System


O Copvriqht 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

a
Usea.r:_:r::; goved?... r: -. :-:
onpaas2:':::=

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De3:{i3d ir] assc.lr:i.. nllir

(:-:zF-j

:are

clJaittrc.con: ajr.rr;iiax iraaiice eld

Solution:

*"or

=ffi

Reql:

(Product overthe Sum)

20f) x 30O
20+30c)

n.qr:ffo
Reql = 12f)
Now that the equivalent resistance for R2 and R: has been calculated, the circuit can be redrawn
as a series circuit as shown in Figure 6.48 (B).

The equivalent resistance of this circuit (total resistance) can now be calculated.
G

iven:

Rr= BO ( Resistors in series)


R"qr = 12O
Solution:

Req=Rr*Reqr

t:
l:
l:
l:
l:
l:

::\

R"q=8O+12Q
Req

- lQgl
or

Rr

= 20O

The original circuit can be redrawn with a single resistor that represents the equivalent
resistance of the entire circuit as shown in Figure 6.48 (C).
To f ind total current in the circuit:
Given:

Vs= 60V
Rr = 20O

Use and/or disclosur is


govemed by the stalernent
on page 2 olthis chapre.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-67
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dE

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)esigned in assocaation wilh ltte
club66par.ccfi queslion prarllc a:d

Solution:

Ir: Vs
R1
_ 60v
lr=' 20a

Ir:

34

To find the voltage dropped dcross Rr, Rz, and R3, refer to Figure 6.48 (B). R"qr represents the
parallel network of R2and Rs. Since the voltage across each branch of a parallel circuit is equal,
the voltage across Rgql (V.q1) will be equal to the voltage dcross Rz (Vnz ) and also equal to the
voltage across R3 (Vp3).
Given:

Ir =

3,A

R"qr

Rr:8O

(Current through each part of a series circuit is equal to total current)

1-2fl

Solution:

= Irx Rr
Vnr=34,x8O
Vnr

Yru:24V
= IrXReqr
V"qr:34.x12O
Vaz

: 36V
Vnz : 36V
Vns : 36V
V"qr

To find power used by

R1:

Given:

Yru=24V

Ir:

3A

6-68
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

ds.r.
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U6e andor
govened by tlE
on page 2 c{ tir

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|:

To find the current through Rz and R:, refer to the original circuit, Figure 6.48 (A). You know Vnz
and Vn: f rom previous calculation.
Given:

= 36V
Vn: = 36V
Rz
20O

H
;

Rz

:30f)

Solution:

=;v
K7

tR2

=,;{)

;
;

l:
;
;
;
;

v".,

Inz

;
;

lite

Pr::72W

Vnz

):

ar-:lct a3 3rd

Pnr=Vnrxlr
Pnr=24Vx3A

tj
tj

t:
t:
t:

li a:sr.irllo.,{./iii

alaaajat.(xr!r Caaairair

(Ohms,s LawJ

36V

Inz = t.BA

,,R3= Vn:

R;

.lR3

36V
=

3;6

Ina = 1.2e

;
;
;
;
;

L-.
L_.
;

Now that you have solved for the unknown quantities in this circuit, you can apply what you
have learned to any series, parallel, or combination circuit. lt is important to remember to first
look at the circuit and from observation make your determination of the type of circuit, what is
known, and what you are looking for. A minute spent in this manner may save you many
unnecessary calculations.
Having computed all the currents and voltages of Figure 6.48 a complete description of the
operation of the circuit can be made. The total current of 3 amps leaves the negative terminal of
the battery and flows through the B-ohm resistor (Rr). ln so doing, a voltage drop of 24 volts
occurs across resistor Rr. At point A, this 3-ampere current divides into two currents. Of the total
current, 1.8 amps flows through the 20-ohm resistor. The remaining current of 1.2 amps flows

Lt--

Use and/or disc osure is


governed by lhe statemenl
on page 2 oirhs chaoler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-69
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from point A, down through the 30-ohm resistor to point B. This current produces a voltage drop
of 36 volts across the 30-ohm resistor. (Notice that the voltage drops across the 20- and 30-ohm
resistors are the same.) The two branch currents of 1-.8 and 1-.2 amps combine atjunction B and
the total current of 3 amps flows back to the source. The action of the circuit has been
completely described with the exception of power consumed, which could be described using
the values previously computed.
It should be pointed out that the combination circuit is not difficult to solve. The key to its
solution lies in knowing the order in which the steps of the solution must be accomplished.

6-70
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Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

rerrsr-r
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lntegrated Training System

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Practice Circuit Problem


Figure 6.49 is a typical combination circuit. To make sure you understand the techniques of
solving for the unknown quantities, solve for Vnr.

*t

R_

l2

,'NXl

-:

.,

R3
Vs

{A}

{B}

**q r

rr
l;
l:

rl;
rl:
rr
rr
rr
rr
ru

(cl

(nt
Figure 6.49 - Combination practice circuit.

It is not necessary to solve for all the values in the circuit to compute the voltage drop across
resistor Rr (Vnr). First look at the circuit and determine that the values given do not provide
enough information to solve for Vp1 directly.

lf the current through Rr (lnr) is known, then Vnr cdn be computed by applying the formula:

Vnr=RrxlRr
The following steps will be used to solve the problem.
The total resistance (R1) is calculated by the use of equivalent resistance.
Given:

Rr= 300f)
Rz= 100f)

l--

rIJ

Use and/or dlsclosure is


qovernod by lhe sraremenl
on page 2 olrhs chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-71
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c'!be5t.c-ccan qrcsaio. prac:ice ald

Solution:

R"qr= Rr

Rz

R"qr=300O+1000
R"qr = 400O
Redraw the circuit as shown in Figure 6.49 (B).
Solution:
R"qz

Reqz

R"qz

= 200O

(Equal resistors in parallel)

F
400r)

Redraw the circuit as shown in Figure 6,49 (C).


Given:
R"qz

Ra:

200O
1kQ

Solution:

R"q=R"qz*R+

R"o-2999*tun
Req

1.2p5'

The total current

(11)

is now computed.

Given:

V,

Req

300v

f.2L9

Solution:

lr:' Req

Ir: 300V
12kf)
6-72
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use

t
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Ir = 250mA
Solve for the voltage dropped across Reo2. This represents the voltage dropped across the
network Rr, Rz, and Rg in the original circuit'
Given:

l96g1
Ir = 250mA

Req

Solution:

VreqZ=Reqzxlr
Vreq2 = 200f)x250mA

V."qz: 50V
Solve for the current through Ruqr.(R"qr represents the network Rr and Rz in the original circuit.)
Since the voltage across e-ach branch of a parallel circuit is equal to the voltage across the
equivalent resistor representing the circuit:
Given:

l/v eqz_

E
-- Lreql

Vreqt : 50V
Reqr = 400f)

Solution:

VR"qr

Ireql:

50v
400f)

I1gq1 =

125mA

'."0r:TIi

solve for the voltage dropped across R1 (the quantity you were asked to find). since R"qr
represents the series network of Rr and Rz and total current flows through each resistor in a
series circuit, Ip1 must equal Ip"o1.
Given:

Inr = 125mA
Rr = 300O

Use and/ordisclosure is
governed by the sralernenl
on page 2 of this Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

b-/J
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fnteglated Training System


,rlj,l.:j, ,

, :

r.r'. .:,:

Solution:

Vnr=lnrxRr

Vni:

125mAx 300O

Vnr = 37.5V

6-74
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O Copyrioht 2011

lVlodule 3.6 DC Circuits

)4

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lntegrated Training System

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Redrawing Circuits for Clarity


You will notice that the schematic diagrams you have been working with have shown parallel
circuits drawn as neat square figures, with each branch easily identified.
ln actual practice the wired circuits and more complex schematics are rarely laid out in this
simple form. For this reason, it is important for you to recognize that circuits can be drawn in a
variety of ways, and to learn some of the techniques for redrawing them into their simplified
form. When a circuit is redrawn for clarity or to its simplest form, the following steps are used.
Trace the current paths in the circuit.
Label the junctions in the circuit.
Recognize points which are at the same potential.
Visualize a rearrangement, "stretching" or "shrinking," of connecting wires.
Redraw the circuit into simpler form (through stages if necessary).

To redraw any circuit, stad at the source, and trace the path of current flow through the circuit.
At points where the current divides, called junctions, parallel branches begin. These junctions
are key points of reference in any circuit and should be labelled as you find them. The wires in
circuit schematics are assumed to have no resistance and there is no voltage drop along any
wire. This means that any unbroken wire is at the same voltage all along its length, until it is
interrupted by a resistor, battery, or some other circuit component. ln redrawing a circuit, a wire
can be "stretched" or "shrunk" as much as you like without changing any electrical characteristic
of the circuit.
Figure 6.50 (A) is a schematic of a circuit that is not drawn in the box-like fashion used in
previous illustrations. To redraw this circuit, start at the voltage source and trace the path for
current to the junction marked (a). At this junction the current divides into three paths. lf you
were to stretch the wire to show the three current paths, the circuit would appear as shown in
Figure 6.50 (B).

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Use and/or disclosuie is


govemed by the staiemenr
on paqe 2 ot rhis Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-75
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Designed :n ass.cialion with the

cl!b66?ao"csn qrstion praclice a:d

{A}

{B:
Figure 6.50 - Redrawing a simple parallel circuit.
While these circuits may appear to be different, the two drawings actually represent the same
circuit. The drawing in Figure 6.50 (B) is the familiar box-like structure and may be easier to
work with. Figure 6.51(A) is a schematic ol a circuit shown in a box-like structure, but may be
misleading. This circuit in reality is a series-parallel circuit that may be redrawn as shown in
Figure 6.51 (B). The drawing in part (B) of the figure is a simpler representation of the original
circuit and could be reduced to iust two resistors in parallel.

6-76
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Usandor(is.d

govemed by tf' <ron Pag 2 ol t6t-

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{A)

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(B)

,:

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Figure 6.51 - Redrawing a simple series-parallel circuit.

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Use and/or disclosure is


governed by the staterent
on page 2 of lhis Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-77
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l!;iiae{.1 ir

aarsatl:ll ai: irlta i:le

r:lrbllafto a:i:rl qtal:llro:: p'4.:aiail

ana:

Redrawing a Complex Circuit


Figure 6.52 (A) shows u
steps.

"orpil*

circuit that may be redrawn for clarification in the following

".1
{b,

{r}

tel
R?

3*
{b}

(cl
Figure 6.52 - Redrawing a complex circuit'
time you reach a iunctior'
NOTE: As you redraw the circuit, draw it in simple box-like form' Each
a new branch is created by stretching or shrinking the wires'
Rr to a.iunction and
start at the positive terminal of the voltage source. current flows through
paths o{ current through Rr anc
divides into ihree paths; label this lunctiJn (a). Follow one of the
This iunction is labelled (b)
R: to a junction where the current divides into two more paths.

back to the source (The


The current through one branch of this junction goes through Rs and
to the source, return to the
most direct path.) Now thaiyou 6ave completeJa path foriurrent
last junction, (b).

junction. current flows from junction (b)


Follow current through the other branch from this
been traced' Only one path f rom
fiougrr R- to the sorirce. nrr ir'" puir'. ttom junction (b) have
the other tu'c
junction (a) has been completed: you must now return to junction (a) to complete
through Rz back to the source. (There are no
i"ir,". eri, junction (a) the current flows to;unition
(a) to trace the third path from this junction
additional branches on tnis-p"aiiri n"tutn
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use a.::_::: :;-qdemr:j :: ==:-!


o. paq. . :_:_ : 4

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,-

Current flows through Re and Re and comes to a junction. Label this junction (c). From junction
(c) one path for current is through Rs to the source. The other path lor current from junction (c) is
through Rro to the source. All the junctions in this circuit have now been labelled. The circuit and
the junction can be redrawn as shown in Figure 6.52 (c). lt is much easier to recognize the
series and parallel paths in the redrawn circuit.

What is the total resistance of the circuit shown in Figure 6.53? (Hint: Redraw the circuit to
simplify and then use equivalent resistances to compute for Rr.)

Rr to':

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l:

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Figure 6.53 - Simplification circuit problem.

What is the total resistance of the circuit shown in Figure 6-54?

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l-

R1

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]:

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rr

tft

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ni

50v

Figure 6.54 - Source resistance in a parallel circuit.

What effect does the internal resistance have on the rest of the circuit shown in Figure 6.54?

Use andor disclosure is


gove.ned by lhe slatemenl
on pag 2 of lhis Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-79
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l]*5igatd

ii':

:r::a;raa:loi ?iih l::a

.luba:p.r..c. l.eslir* tia.li..

a;i.i

Effects of Open and Short Circuits


Earlier in this chapter the terms open and shon circuits were discussed. The following
discussion deals with the effects on a circuit when an open or a shotl occurs.
The major difference between an open in a parallel circuit and an open in a series circuit is that
in the parallel circuit the open would not necessarily disable the circuit. lf the open condition
occurs in a series portion of the circuit, there will be no current because there is no complete
path for current flow. lf, on the other hand, the open occurs in a parallel path, some current will
still flow in the circuit. The parallel branch where the open occurs will be effectively disabled,
total resistance of the circuit will increase, and total current will decrease.
To clarify these points, Figure 6.55 illustrates a series parallel circuit. First the effect of an open
in the series portion of this circuit will be examined. Figure 6.55 (A) shows the normal circuit,
Rr = 40 ohms and Ir = 3 amps. ln Figure 6.55 (B) an open is shown in the series pottion of the
circuit, there is no complete path for current and the resistance of the circuit is considered to be
infinite.

(B)

tAl

{e}
Figure 6.55 - Series-parallel circuit with opens.

ln Figure 6.55 (C) an open is shown in the parallel branch of R3. There is no path for current
through R3. ln the circuit, current flows through Rr and Rz only. Since there is only one path for
current flow, Rr and Rz are effectively in series.

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use and/or dlerol= s


qovemed by ihe slaireon page 2 ot lhls Cr:l:-

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a:.1

Under these conditions Rr: 120O and lr: 1amp. As you can see, when an open occurs in a
parallel branch, total circuit resistance increases and total circuit current decreases.

A short circuit in a parallel network has an effect similar to a short in a series circuit. ln general,
the short will cause an increase in current and the possibility of component damage regardless
of the type of circuit involved. To illustrate this point, Figure 6.56 shows a series-parallel network
in which shorts are developed. ln Figure 6.56 (A) the normal circuit is shown. Rr = 40 ohms and
Ir = 3 amps.

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Figure 6.56 - Series-parallel circuit with shorts.

ln Figure 6.56 (B), Rr has shorted. Rr now has zero ohms of resistance. The total of the
resistance of the circuit is now equal to the resistance of the parallel network of Rz and Rs, or
20 ohms. Circuit current has increased to 6 amps. All of this current goes through the parallel
network (Rz, R:) and this increase in current would most likely damage the components.
ln Figure 6.56 (C), Ra has shorted. With R: shorted there is a short circuit in parallel with Rz. The
short circuit routes the current around Rz, effectively removing Rz from the circuit. Total circuit
resistance is now equal to the resistance of R1, or 20 ohms.
As you know,
follows:

Use and/or discLosure is


govemed by rhe sratemenl
of page 2 of lhis Chapler.

Rz

and R: form a parallel network. Resistance of the network can be calculated as

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-81
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D;sign-.d in association wilh the

.lub66prc com q!-astion precii.. aia

Given:

= 100O
R:=0O
Rz

Solution:

R"q

Rp^
R"q

R2xR3
R2+ R3

1000 x 0f)
1000 + 0r)
0O

The total circuit current with Ra shorted is 6 amps. All of this current flows through Rr and would
most likely damage Rr. Notice that even though only one portion of the parallel network was
shorted, the entire paralleled network was disabled.
Opens and shods alike, if occurring in a circuit, result in an overall change in the equivalent
resistance. This can cause undesirable effects in other parts of the circuit due to the
corresponding change in the total current flow. A short usually causes components to fail in a
circuit which is not propedy fused or otherwise protected. The failure may take the form of a
burned-out resistor, damaged source, or a fire in the circuit components and wiring.
Fuses and other circuit protection devices are installed in equipment circuits to prevent damage
caused by increases in current. These circuit protection devices are designed to open if current
increases to a predetermined value. Circuit protection devices are connected in series with the
circuit or portion of the circuit that the device is protecting. When the circuit protection device
opens, current flow ceases in the circuit.

6-82
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Use and/ordide= s
governed by lhe gaisat:
on page 2 of lhLs C--a

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Dsl!n.d

Most electrical and electronics equipment use voltages of various levels throughout their
circu itry.
One circuit may require a 90-volt supply, another a l-So-volt supply, and still another a 18o-volt
supply. These voltage requirements could be supplied by three individual power sources. This
method is expensive and requires a considerable amount of room. The most common method
of supplying these voltages is to use a single voltage source and a voltage divider. Before
voltage dividers are explained, a review of what was discussed earlier concerning voltage
references may be of help.
As you know, some circuits are designed to supply both positive and negative voltages.
Perhaps now you wonder if a negative voltage has any less potential than a positive voltage.
The answer is that 100 volts is 100 volts. Whether it is negative or positive does not affect the
feeling you get when you are shocked.

Voltage polarities are considered as being positive or negative in respect to a reference point,
usually ground. Figure 6.57 will help to illustrate this point.
E+

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F *?SV

* 5llV

C +50V

e * ?511

A.lV

{sl

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f-

llXlV

B +25V

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Voltage Dividers

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Figure 6.57 - Voltage polarities.


Figure 6.57 (A) shows a series circuit with a voltage source of 100 volts and four 50-ohm
resistors connected in series. The ground, or reference point, is connected to one end of
resistor R1. The current in this circuit determined by Ohm's law is 0.5 amp. Each resistor
develops (drops) 25 volts. The five tap-off points indicated in the schematic are points at which

Use an.rordisclosure ls

qoverned by the slalement


on Page 2 ollhis Chapter

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-83
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1..:!n.a

iir rssoriat

al!b66t,..4o.l:

gr ,rli5 ilre

a!]ars;l.nr praclice aid

the voltage can be measured. As indicated on the schematic, the voltage measured at each of
the points from point E to point A starts at 25 volts and becomes more negative in 25 volt steps
to a value of positive zero volts.

ln Figure 6.57 (B), the ground, or reference point has been moved to point B. The current in the
circuit is still 0.5 amp and each resistor still develops 25 volts. The total voltage developed in ihe
circuit remains at 100 volts, but because the reference point has been changed, the voltage at
point A is negative 25 volts. Point E, which was at positive 100 volts in Figure 6.57 (A), now has
a voltage of positive 75 volts. As you can see the voltage at any point in the circuit is dependent
on three factors; the current through the resistor, the ohmic value of the resistor, and the
reference point in the circuit.
A typical voltage divider consists of two or more resistors connected in series across a source
voltage (VJ. The source voltage must be as high or higher than any voltage developed by the
voltage divider. As the source voltage is dropped in successive steps through the series
resistors, any desired portion of the source voltage may be "tapped off" to supply individual
voltage requirements. The values of the series resistors used in the voltage divider are
determined by the voltage and current requirements of the loads.

Figure 6.58 is used to illustrate the development of a simple voltage divider. The requirement for
this voltage divider is to provide a voltage of 25 volts and a current of 910 milliamps to the load
from a source voltage of l-00 volts. Figure 6.58 (A) provides a circuit in which 25 volts is
available at point B. lf the load was connected between point B and ground, you might think that
the load would be supplied with 25 volts. This is not true since the load connected between
point B and ground forms a parallel network of the load and resistor Rr. (Remember that the
value of resistance of a parallel network is always less than the value of the smallest resistor in
the network.)

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

t-lse

and.-

r-s::s-= :

a: tr
on page 2 c'-: ::ai_

govemsj b!

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lntegrated Training System

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+ 100v

B+

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0v

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+z5v
91Oma

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Figure 6.58 - Simple voltage divider.

since the resistance of the network would now be less than 25 ohms, the voltage at point B
would be less than 25 volts. This would not satisfy the requirement of the load.
To determine the size of resistor used in the voltage divider, a rule-of-thumb is used. The
current in the divider resistor should equal approximately 10 percent of the load current. This
current, which does not flow through any of the load devices, is called bleeder current.
Given this information, the voltage divider can be designed using the following steps.
Determine the load requirement and the available voltage source.

V' = 100V

= 25V
Iroaa = 910mA

Vroaa

Select bleeder current by applying the 10% rule-olthumb.

l-

a,-

l-

use and/or discLosure is


govemed by lhe slatemanl
on page 2 ol rhis chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-8s
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O Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System

les g'rea li :.r3aitl:lrrr

r,rlih lhe

.r!b66pro aa.': :raili!a,r p'actlce

:iii

Inr=100%xhoua
Inr: 0.1 x 91OmA
Inr = 91mA
Calculate bleeder resistance.

'I\l ^-Rr=

VRr

Inr
25V

91mA

Rt:274'73Q
The value of R1 ma! be rounded off to 275 ohms:
Rr

= 275f)

Calculate the total current (load plus bleeder).

Ir:

Itoua* Inr

Ir:910mA + 91mA
Ir= 14 (rounded olf)
Calculate the resistance of the other divider resistor(s).

Vnz=Vr=Vnr

Vnz=100V-25V
Vnz = 75V

Rr=k
-11
75V
D
f\7=-14

Rz = 75O

The voltage divider circuit can now be drawn as shown in Figure 6.58 (B).

6-86
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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lntegrated Training System

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Multiple-Load Voltage Dividers


A multiple-load voltage divider is shown in Figure 6.59. An important point that was not
emphasized before is that when using the 10% rule-of-thumb to calculate the bleeder current,
you must take 10% of the total load current.

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Figure 6.59 - Multiple-load voltage divider.


Given the information shown in Figure 6.59, you can calculate the values for the resistors
needed in the voltage-divider circuits. The same steps will be followed as in the previous
voltage divider problem.

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Use and/or dlsclosure is


governed by lhe dalemenl
on page 2 of lhis Chapter

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6-87
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,esigned ln a53orletiofl wilh

]!'re

allbS6pro.coa: atlslion pracliao atd

Given:

Load 1:

V=90V
I

Load 2:

Load 3:

= 150V

10rnA

10mA

-'t75V

30mA

V' = 285V
The bleeder current should be 10% of the total load current.
Solution:

Inr

I (load total)
10%o x (10mA * 10mA + 30mA)
10%o x

Inr:
Inr

= 5mA

Since the voltage across Rr (Vnr) is equal to the voltage requirement for load 1 , Ohm's law can
be used to calculate the value for Rr.
Solution:

P',

=YU
lnr
90v

Rr: 5mA
Rr

- l8kf)

The current through Rz (lnz) is equal to the current through R1 plus the current through load

1.

Solution:

Inz=lnr*ltoaar

Inz:5mA*10mA
Inz: 1SmA
The voltage across Rz (Vnz) is equal to the difference between the voltage requirements of load
1 and load 2.

6-BB
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O Copyright 2011

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

Use andor

disd.::=

govemed by the

sia:.+

on Page 2 of this

C.aj

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cllbeapia com qts.llri p:aclice aid

Vnz=Vroaoz-Vroadr

Vnz=150-90V
Vnz = 60V
Ohm's law can now be used to solve for the value of
Solution:

Pr-v*
- Inz
Rz=

rr
rr
rlI3

60v
15mA

Rz = 60V

The current through R; (ln:) is equal to the current through

Rz

plus the current through load 2.

In:=lnz*lroaaz

Ins=15mA*10mA
In: = 25mA
The voltage across
and load 2.

R3

(Vn:) equals the difference between the voltage requirement of load 3

Vns:Vto"a:-Vtoadz
Vn:= 175V- 150V
Vns = 25V
Ohm's law can now be used to solve for the value of R:.
Solution:

p." - v*:ln:

|:

l:
l:

Rz.

R:=
R:

25V

25mA

- 1kO

The current through R+ (ln+) is equal to the current through R3 plus the current through load 3.
In+ is equal to total circuit cunent (lr).

In+=lns*lroaa:

Use and/or discrosLrG is


governed by ih slatement
on page 2 ofthis Chapter.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

6_89
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lntegrated Training System


Des:!].*.1 :: .$scciaaion wlfh tfre
cluil6epra.ao.l qresiion praclcl: ai!i

Ina: 25mA
Ine :

30mA

55rnA

The voltage across R4 (Vn+) equals the difference between the source voltage and the voltage
requirement of load 3.

Vna=Vr-Vtoad3
Vna:285V- 175V
Vn+ = 1l-0V
Ohm's law can now be used to solve for the value of

Ra.

Solution:

R,'

V^n

In+

110v

R4__
' 55mA
Rc=ZkQ
With the calculations just explained, the values of the resistors used in the voltage divider are as
follows:

Rr:1BkO
= 4kO
= 1kO
Ra = 2kO
Rz
Rs

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Voltage Divider with Positive and Negative Voltage Requirements


ln many cases the load for a voltage divider requires both positive and negative voltages.
Positive and negative voltages can be supplied from a single source voltage by connecting the
ground (reference point) between two of the divider resistors. The exact point in the circuit at
which the reference point is placed depends upon the voltages required by the loads.
For example, a voltage divider can be designed to provide the voltage and current to three
loads from a given source voltage.
Given:

Load

1:

I
Load

2'.

= -25V

300mA

V = *50V
I 50mA

Load 3:

V= *250V
I = 100mA

Vs

= 310V

The circuit is drawn as shown in Figure 6.60. Notice the placement of the ground reference
point. The values for resistors Rr, Rs, and R4 are computed exac y as was done in the last
example. Inr is the bleeder current and can be calculated as follows:

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Figure 6.60 - Voltage divider providing both positive and negative voltages.
Calculate the value of Rr.
Solution:

p,^ -YBr
In t
Rr=
Rr

25V

45mA

= 556O

Calculate the current through R2 using Kirchhoff's current law.

At point A:

Inr

45A

Inz

Itoaaz

*lroaa:

300mA

Inz

50mA

- 100mA-

Itoua

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345mA*lnz-150mA-0

195mA*lnz:0
Inz

: -195mA

Since Vnz =

Vroaa2,

(or 195mA leaving point A)

you can calculate the value of

Rz.

Solution:

^K2- :.= VRz


Inz

D^-

50v

195mA

Rz

= 256O

Calculate the current through R3.

);

The voltage dcross R: (Vn:) equals the difference between the voltage requirements of loads 3
and 2.

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In:=Vtoaa:-Vtoaa2

Ins=195mA*50mA
Ins = 245mA

Solution:

VRa=Vtoaag=Vloadz

Vn:=250V-50V
Vn:

= 200V

Calculate the value of R:.


Solution:

p.- - YBI
ln:
200v

R?- 245mA

Use and/ordisclosure is
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on Page 2 ol this Chapler.

Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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)ssigned jn as3orir::ri:

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ll:a

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Rs

aid

= 816O

Calculate the current through

Ra.

In+=lnE*ltoaa:

lpq=245mA* 100mA
Ina

= 345mA

The voltage across Vn+ equals the source voltage (V.) minus the voltage requirement of load 3
and the voltage requirement of load I. Remember Kirchhoff's voltage law which states that the
sum of the voltage drops and EMFs around any closed loop is equal to zero.
Solution:

Vna=V.-Vtoad3-Vloadr

Vn+:310V -250V -25V


Vn+:35V
Calculate the value of

Ra.

Solution:

r.,
r\4-'-

VR*
In+

35V

D,

'345mA

Ra

= l-01.4O

With the calculations just explained, the values of the resistors used in the voltage divider are as
follows:

Rr:

556O

= 256f)
R: = 816O
Rz

Ra= 101O
From the information just calculated, any other circuit quantity, such as power, total current, or
resistance of the load, could be calculated.

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Practical Application of Voltage Dividers


In actual practice the computed value of the bleeder resistor does not always come out to an
even value. Since the rule-of-thumb for bleeder current is only an estimated value, the bleeder
resistor can be of a value close to the computed value. (lf the computed value of the resistance
were 510 ohms, a 500-ohm resistor could be used.) once the actual value of the bleeder
resistor is selected, the bleeder current must be recomputed. The voltage developed by the
bleeder resistor must be equal to the voltage requirement of the load in parallel with the bleeder
resistor.

The value of the remaining resistors in the voltage divider is computed from the current through
the remaining resistors and the voltage across them. These values must be used to provide the
required voltage and current to the loads.
lf the computed values for the divider resistors are not even values; series, parallel, or seriesparallel networks can be used to provide the required resistance.
Example: A voltage divider is required to supply two loads from a 190.s volts source. Load
requires *45 volts and 210 milliamps; load 2 requires *165 volts and 100 milliamps.

Calculate the bleeder current using the rule-of-thumb.


Given:

= 210mA
Iload2 = 100mA
Iload1

DIT Library
Bolton Street,

Solution:

A naaeQ
-\JZ- J\JU

Inr

10%o

x (210mA + 100mA)

Inr:31mA
Calculate the ohmic value of the bleeder resistor.
Given:

:45V (Vrouar)
Inr:31mA

Vnr

Solution:

nt: *
45V
Rr: 31mA

Rr

= 1451.6O

Use and/or disctosure is


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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Since it would be difficult to find a resistor of 1451.6 ohms, a practical choice for Rr is 1500 ohms.
Calculate the actual bleeder current using the selected value for Rr.
G

iven:

Vnr :45V
Inr = 1.5kO
Solution:

,rnr

Vnr

l-r
45V

Inr: 1.5kO
Inr

30mA

Using this value for Inr, calculate the resistance needed for the next divider resistor. The current
(lnz) is equal to the bleeder current plus the current used by load 1.
Given:

Inr

= 3OmA
Iloadl = 21OmA
Solution:

Inz=lnr*Load1

Inz=30mA+210mA
In+ = 240mA
The voltage across Rz (Vnz) is equal to the difference between the voltage requirements of loads
2 and l, or 120 volts.
Calculate the value of

Rz.

Given:

120V
ktz = 24OmA

Vnz

Solution:

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Inz

t20v

Rz=

24OmA

- 500O

Rz

The value of the final divider resistor is calculated with In: (lnz
(V' - Vro"az) equal to 25.5V.
G

Irouaz)

equal to 340 mA and Vn:

iven:

Vn: 25.5V
Ins= 340mA
Solution:

p.-v*
Ing

Rs=

Z55V

340mA

R::

75O

A 75-ohm resistor may not be easily obtainable, so a network of resistors equal to 75 ohms can
be used in place of R:.
Any combination of resistor values adding up to 75 ohms could be placed in series to develop
the required network. For example, if you had two 37.5-ohm resistors, you could connect them
in series to get a network of 75 ohms. One 50-ohm and one 25-ohm resistor or seven 10-ohm
and one 5-ohm resistor could also be used.
A parallel network could be constructed from two 150-ohm resistors or three 225-ohm resistors.
Either of these parallel networks would also be a network of 75 ohms.
The network used in this example will be a series-parallel network using three 50-ohm resistors.
With the information given, you should be able to draw this voltage divider network.

once the values for the various divider resistors have been selected, you can compute the

power used by each resistor using the methods previously explained. When the power used by
each resistor is known, the wattage rating required of each resistor determines the physical size
and type needed for the circuit. This circuit is shown in Figure 6.61 .

Use and/or disctos

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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Figure 6.61 - Practical example of a voltage divider.

6-98
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Module 3.6 DC Circuits

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Module 3
Licence Category Bl and 82
Electrical Fundamentals
3. 7

Resistance/Resistor

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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

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Copyright Notice
@ Copyright. All

worldwide rights reserved. No parl of this publication may be reproduced,


stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e.
photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
Total Training Support Ltd.

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81 , 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, 81 and 82 are indicated by the allocation of knowledge levels indicators (1, 2 or
3) against each applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category 81 or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are delined as follows:

LEVEL

A familiarisation with the principal elements ol the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge ol the theoretical and practical aspects ol the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Objectives:
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a general description of the subject using, as appropriate, typical
examples.
The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction with physical laws describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicant should be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoretical fundamentals
and specific examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical formulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schematics
describing the subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturer's
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results lrom various sources and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

7-2

Module 3.7 Resistance/Flesistor

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Table of Contents

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


(a)
Resistivity
Electrical Resistance
Standard Colour Code Systems
Resistors in Series and Parallel
Operation and use of Potentiometers and Rheostats
Operation of the Wheatstone Bridge

10
15
25
30

(b)
Conductance
Electrical Resistors
Resistor Wattage Rating
Construction of Potentiometers

33
33
34
35
36

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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


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Module 3.7 Enabling Obiectives and Certification Statement


Cefiification Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 2O42|2OO3 Annex lll (Part-66)
below:
Levels as
l. and the associated

Resistance and affectinq factors


Resistor colour code, values and tolerances,
Resistors in series and
Calculation of total resistance using series,
lel and series oarallel combinations
Operation and use of potentiometers and
rheostats

Positive and negative temperature coe{ficient


conductance
Fixed resistors, stability, tolerance and
limitations. methods of construction
Variable resistors, thermistors, voltage

Construction of potentiometers and rheostats

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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

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Mod ule 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


(a)

Resistivity
Electrical resistivity (also known as specific electrical resistance) is a measure
of how
strongly a material opposes the flow of electric current. A low resistivity inOicates
a material that
readily allows the movement of electrical charge. The Sl unit of electrical
resistivity is the ohm
metre.

It differs from resistance, in that it de.pends only on the materiar,


and is a property of the
material, and is independent of the dimensions of the conductor.

The eleckical resistivity p (rho) of a material is given

|:

l;

f '
|h '
|r- -

l-

l:
t:
l:
ll-]

1-,

where:
p is the static resistivity (measured in ohm
mehes, Q-m);
R is the electrical resistance of a uniform
specimen of the material (measured in ohms,
o);
I is the length of the piece of material
(measured in metres, m);
A is the cross-sectional area of the
Figure 7.1
specimen (measured in square metres,

Dimensions of a conductor

m').

The unit of resistivity is thus the ohm-metre; values may be


obtained from tables where they are
usuallv quoted at 0'b. The resistlvities of some of the more
common materials in electrical use
are snown rn taDte 7.1.

jlls:S^t:llll^" Flperature dependant, with most materiars increasing in resistivity as


lemperature lncreases. This is called a positive temperature coefricient.
Some materials,
including.all semiconductors, have a negative temperature
coefficient. Carbon is a

semtconductormaterial.

,*un,.,ooo*-""
::l,:Jiii? lti "JxliTii'

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

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RESISTIVITY
AT o'c

Material

ohmmetre

lO-8

RESISIVITY
RELATIVE TO

TEMPERATURE
COEFFICIENT
x1o-4 PER

COPPER

Silver

1.51

0.95

41

Copper

1.59

1.00

43

Gold

2.O4

1.28

40

Aluminium

2.45

1.54

45

Platinum

9.81

fr-l/

39.2

lron

8.90

5.60

65

Hard Steel

46

28.9

16

Mercury

94

59.2

Manganin

41

26.1

0.1

Constantan

49

30.8

0.4

Nickrome

110

69

1.5

Carbon

T;bleTlf

4425
Reslst'rvities of some common materials at
7000

oc

Negative

USE

Good
conductors

Used as
conductors
because of their
other properties

Stable resistors
(low temp.
coefficient)
Very low cost

The formula quoted for resistivity is usually transposed as follows:

.R*

pL
A

and cross sectional


This then provides the resistance of a conductor, given its resistivity, length
on these factors next'
area. These being the factors which affect resistance. More discussion

7-6
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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

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Electrical Resistance
It is known that the directed movement of electrons constitutes a current flow. lt is also known
that the electrons do not move freely through a conductor's crystalline structure. Some materials
offer little opposition to current flow, while others greatly oppose current flow. This opposition to
current flow is known as resistance (R), and the unit of measure is the ohm. The standard of
measure for one ohm is the resistance provided at zero degrees Celsius by a column of
mercury having a cross-sectional area of one square millimetre and a length of 106.3
centimetres. A conductor has one ohm of resistance when an applied potential of one volt
produces a current of one ampere. The symbol used to represent the ohm is the Greek letter

omega

).

Resistance, although an electrical property, is determined by the physical structure of a


material. The resistance of a material is governed by many of the same factors that control
current flow. Therefore, in a subsequent discussion, the factors that affect cunent flow will be
used to assist in the explanation of the factors affecting resistance.

Factors that Affect Resistance


The magnitude of resistance is determined in part by the "number of free electrons" available
within the material. Since a decrease in the number of free electrons will decrease the current
flow, it can be said that the opposition to current flow (resistance) is greater in a material with
fewer f ree electrons. Thus, the resistance of a material is determined by the number of free
electrons available in a material.
A knowledge of the conditions that limit current flow and, therefore, affect resistance can now be
used to consider how the type of material, physical dimensions, and temperature will affect the
resistance of a conductor.

Type of Material (Resistivity) - Depending upon their atomic structure, different materials will
have different quantities of free electrons. Therefore, the various conductors used in electrical
applications have different values of resistance.
This was discussed in the previous section under "Resistivity,,.

Consider a simple metallic substance. Most metals are crystalline in structure and consist of
atoms that are tightly bound in the lattice network. The atoms of such elements are so close
together that the electrons in the outer shell of the atom are associated with one atom as much
as with its neighbour. (See figure 7.2 view A). As a result, the force of attachment of an outer
electron with an individual atom is practically zero. Depending on the metal, at least one
electron, sometimes two, and in a few cases, three electrons per atom exist in this state. ln such
a case, a relatively small amount of additional electron energy would free the outer electrons
f rom the attraction of the nucleus. At normal room temperature materials of this type have many
free electrons and are good conductors. Good conductors will have a low resistance.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use and/or disclosure is
governed by rhe slatemenl
on page 2 ol rhis chapter

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(A)

{El
Figure

.2 - Atomic spacing in conductors.

lf the atoms of a material are far.ther apart, as illustrated in figure 7.2view B, the electrons in the
outer shells will not be equally attached to several atoms as they orbit the nucleus. They will be
attracted by the nucleus of the parent atom only. There{ore, a greater amount of energy is
required to free any of these electrons. Materials of this type are poor conductors and therefore
have a high resistance.
Silver, gold, and aluminium are good conductors. Therefore, materials composed of their atoms
would have a low resistance.

The element copper is the conductor most widely used throughout electrical applications. Silver
has a lower resistance than copper but its cost limits usage to circuits where a high conductivity
is demanded.
Aluminium, which is considerably lighter than copper, is used as a conductor when weight is a
major factor.

Effect of Cross-Sectional Area - Cross-sectional area greatly affects the magnitude of


resistance. lf the cross-sectional area of a conductor is increased, a greater quantity of
electrons is available for movement through the conductor. Therefore, a larger current will flow
for a given amount of applied voltage. An increase in current indicates that when the crosssectional area of a conductor is increased, the resistance must have decreased. lf the crosssectional area of a conductor is decreased, the number of available electrons decreases and,
for a given applied voltage, the current through the conductor decreases. A decrease in current
flow indicates that when the cross-sectional area of a conductor is decreased, the resistance
must have increased. Thus, the resistance of a conductor is inversely proportional to its
cross-sectional area.

7-8

Module 3-7 Resistance/Resistor

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Effect of Conductor Length - The length of a conductor is also a factor which determines the
resistance of a conductor. lf the length of a conductor is increased, the amount of energy givenup increases' As free electrons move from atom to atom some energy is given off as heat. The
longer a conductor is, the more energy is lost to heat. The additionai-enefuy loss subtracts from
the energy being transfened through the conductor, resulting in a decreas-e in current flow for a
given applied voltage. A decrease in current flow indicates an increase in resistance, since
voltage was held constant. Therefore, if the length of a conductor is increased, the resistance
increases. The resistance of a conductor is direcily proportional to its length.
Effect of Temperature - Temperature changes affect the resistance of materials in different
ways' ln some materials an increase in temperature causes an increase in resistance, whereas
in others, an increase in temperature causes a decrease in resistance. The amount oi change
of resistance per unit change in temperature is known as the temperature coefficient. lf foi an
increase in temperature the resistance of a material increases, it is said to have a positive
temperature coefficient. A material whose resistance decreases with an increase in
temperature has a negative temperature coefficient. Most conductors used in electronic
applications have a positive temperature coefficient. However, carbon, a frequently used
material, is a substance having a negative temperature coefficient. Several materiils, such as
the alloys constantan and manganin, are considered to have a zero temperature coefficient
because their resistance remains relatively constant for changes in temperature.
The resistance Rt at a temperature of

(oC) can be calculated from the approximation

Rt-Ro(1+

Where

the resistance at 0C.


is the temperature coefficient per degree, taking 0C as the standard.

Ro is

For example: The field winding of a generator has a resistance of 40 at oc. what is its
resistance at 50c? Resistance-Temperature coeffici ent of copper is 0.0043 per
c at 0c (see
table 7.1).

Rt=Ro(1

+ 0.0043 x 50)
- 40(1 '1.2\5
- 40 x
- 48.6

rr
rr
rv
rl-

Use and/or discloslre ls


govemed by lhe statment
on page 2 oi this Chapler.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

7_9
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Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System


De$iOn--d ln

r3::e:iri

vrilh ]he

.l'dl)66prc.c. q.r:a:,!n tr?.i;ce

aid

Standard Colour Code Systems


4-Band System
ln the standard colour code system, four bands are painted on the resistor, as shown in figure
7.3.

L-

T*lerartce
iifurltiplier
2rrd *ligit
1*t tligit

Figure 7.3

- A common

4-band resistor

The colour of the first band indicates the value of the first significant digit. The colour of the
second band indicates the value of the second significant digit. The third colour band
represents a decimal multiplier by which the first two digits must be multiplied to obtain the
resistance value of the resistor. The colours for the bands and their corresponding values are
shown in T able 7.2.

1:t & ?nd


*ards
Table 7 .2 - Standard Colour Code for Resistors

7-10
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O Copyright 2011

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

Use an.vordiscosure
governed by the stalereon page 2 olthis Chapl.

L.
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Designed in association wilh the
question practicc a;d

.lrt6i;prc.orn

Simplifying the Colour Code - Resistors are the most common components used in
electronics. The technician must identify, select, check, remove, and replace resistors.
Resistors and resistor circuits are usually the easiest branches of electronics to understand.
The resistor colour code sometimes presents problems to a technician. lt really should not,
because once the resistor colour code is learned, you should remember it for the rest of your
life.
Black, brown, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, gray, white - this is the order of colours
you should know automatically. There is a memory aid that will help you remember the code in
its proper order. Each word starts with the first letter of the colours. lf you match it up with the
colour code, you will not forget the code.

Bad Boys Run Over Yellow Gardenias Behind Victory Garden Walls,
or:

rr

l:
t:
l:
l;
t;
l:
a:
l:
l:
l:
l:

Black

Bad

Brown

Boys

Red

Run

Orange Over

Yellow Yellow

Table 7.3

Green

Garden ias

Blue

Behind

Violet

Victory

Gray

Garden

White

Walls

Resistor colour order

- aid to memory

There are many other memory aid sentences that you might want to ask about from
experienced technicians. We could not possibly print them here, for fear of offending someone.
There is still a good chance that you will make a mistake on a resistor's colour band. Most
technicians do at one time or another. lf you make a mistake on the first two significant colours,
it usually is not too serious. lf you make a mistake on the third band, you are in trouble, because
the value is going to be at least 10 times too high or too low.

t:

t:
l:

rr

ru
l.'

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use and/or disclosure is
qovemed by rhe slatement
on paqe 2 of rhis Chapter.

7 -11
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lesiOred lft .rss:r:a:!rr
club65p.o.cc.1 qlra::::*

!.1

laa

t:a:lia.

a:.1

The fourth band, which is the tolerance band, usually does not present too much of a problem.
lf there is no fourth band, the resistor has a 20"/" tolerance; a silver fourlh band indicates a 1 0percent tolerance; and a gold fourth band indicates a s-percent tolerance.

T able 7 .4

5th Band

Colour Codes (Tolerance Band)

Some older 4-band resistors that conform to military


specifications have a fifth band. The fifth band
indicates the reliability level per 1,000 hours of
operation as follows:
Fifth band colour Level
Brown

Red

0.1%

Orange

O.O1"/"

Yellow

0.001 /"

Table 7.5

5th

,0o/o

Figure 7 .4 - A 4-band resistor with


a sth band for reliability

colour band - Reliability

For a resistor whose the fifth band is colour coded brown, the resistor's chance of failure will not
exceed 1 percent for every 1,000 hours of operation.
ln equipment such as the aircraft's complex computers, the reliability level is very significant.
For example, in a piece of equipment containing 10,000 orange fifth-band resistors, no more
than one resistor will fail during 1,000 hours of operation. This is very good reliability.
However, the reliability of modern manufactured resistors is now so high, that the chance oJ
failure is well under the 0.001% of the yellow band designated resistor. Hence the 5th band is
no longer used to denote reliability. The five band resistor is now used for the high tolerance,
high resolution resistors, as will be explained next.

7-12
TTS lntegrated Training System
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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use and

or::::s- i
-:
::e-i

govemed bt -:
on page 2 c'::

L
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l.s:ilir.d :. *socla:irn willr i::?
al!tiati-c.coir cu.tilo:1 precllce *l

,-

l:

t:

l:
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l:

t:
t:
t;b
lt:
t:

S-Band System
Read the colours from left to right just like for 4-band resistors. The first band is the first
significant digit (1st number), the second band is the second significant digit (2nd number), the
third band is the third significant digit (3rd number), the fourth band is the multiplier band
(number of zeros to add to the two digit number, again this band can also be Gold or Silver to
move the decimal point to the left), and the fifth band is the tolerance band. Tolerance values
for five band resistors can only be 0.05%, 0"1o/", O.25o/",0.5% or 1"/o (grey, violet, blue, green,
brown). For most of us, we will only see 1% tolerance resistors as the highest precision
components in electronic devices. lf you work on test instruments or specialized equipment,
you may see some of the higher precision components.

|:

l:
l:
l-

a:
t;
t;
a;
t:

Figure 7.5

- A modern

Tclerance
hlultiplier
3rd digit
2trtl digii
t*t digit
S-band resistor

6-Band - Temperature coefficient


Occasionally, one can encounter resistors with six colour bands, the last one of which is
anomalous for a tolerance class specilication (orange, yellow or white).
ln such cases, the last band defines the worst-case temperature-dependence coefficient of the
component.

The codes for temperature coefficients are listed in Table 7.5.


Temperature-tolerance colour-coding is used very rarely and may differ
slightly among manufacturers.

Table 7.5 Temperature Coeff icients

a,;

l:
l:
l:
t:
a'
l-

Figure 7.6

A 6-band resistor

tr

TenrpCo

Tolsrance
Multiplier
3rd digit
?nd digit
1st digit

7-13

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use and/or disclosure is
govemed by lhe starement
on Page 2 ol this Chapter.

TTS lntegrated Training System


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Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System


]']aa:llaa:d n asicriatlon ,ri:a: il't

a!l36pro.ccr

qr-teslion

ti:tt;iae

aiC

Combined 4-Band and S-Band Colour Chart


The same colour chart can be used to determine the value of both 4-band and S-band resistors.
On the 4-band resistor, the '3'd-band' column of the charl is ignored.
soldr c0d6

10K Olrmt

* 5%

6&and cclor rode

41,tKOhmrrl4,{

pnd eolor ands

116 O*sr*

$li

Y$lraflae

l-stG;o+61

ffi w

seo6d Oigit

TcLpt

E"n

?mperah$e
Coe!fitn*

ffi

Figure 7.7 - Combined 4-Band, S-Band and 6-Band Chart

7-14
TTS lntegrated Training System
O Copyriqht 201'1

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Useand/ordlsclosur::
govened by rhe slateF-on pase 2 ol this Chap:e-

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Deslgn.l in assocjaai.n with :ae
clu,6ilpra_aom allll]slior aractiaa aid

Resistors in Series and parallel


Series Resistance
Referring to Figure 7.8, the current in a series circuit must flow through
each lamp to complete
the electrical path in the circuit. Each additional lamp offers added reiistance.
ln L series circuit,
the total circuit resistance (Rr) is equal to the sum of the individual resistances.
As an equation:

Rr=Rr*Rz*R:*...R"

NorE: The subscript n denotes any number of additional resistances that might be
in the
equation.

,:

rL
rll:
)-

t:
l:
lj:

t:
a-

SSSK

CiRCUIT

SEHNES

Cffi*UIT

Figure 7.8 - Comparison of basic and series circuits.

l:

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|:

rk'

t:'

Use andor disctosure is


govorned by the sratement
on page 2 ol this Chapier.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

7_15
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lntegrated Training System


aJ.s ilaaa ;:r i33cri::,aillirlia: l1e
al rblia tr a..toa' 1ri..rl:or ti-?aliac a d

Example: ln Figure 7.9 a series circuii consisting of three resistors: one of 10 ohms, one of
l-5 ohms, and one of 30 ohms, is shown. A voltage source provides 110 volts. What is the total
resistance?

Figure 7.9 - Solving for total resistance in a series circuit.

Given:

Rr=

10 ohms

Rz= l-5 ohms

R:=
Solution:

30 ohms

Rr=Rr+R2+R3
Rr = 10 ohms + 15 ohms + 30 ohms
Rr = 55 ohms

ln some circuit applications, the total resistance is known and the value of one of the circuit
resistors has to be determined. The equation Rr = Rr + Rz + R: c?n be transposed to solve for the
value of the unknown resistance.
Example: ln Figure 7.10 the total resistance of a circuit containing three resistors is 40 ohms.

Two of the circuit resistors are 10 ohms each. Calculate the value of the third resistor (R: ).

7-16
TTS lntegrated Training System
O Copyriqht 2011

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


9or:_?::

=:!--:-

L,
1;

lntegrated Training System

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De:lgned ir: ai-sooialion with the

.l!a6atro.a.n q

estion pracllre aid

Figure 7.10 - Calculating the value ol one resistance in a series circuit.


Given:

40 ohms
10 ohms
R: = 10 ohms
Rr

Rz -

Solution:

Rr=Rr+Rz+R:

(Subtract Rr + Rz from both side of the equation)

Rr-Rr-Rz-RE
Rs-Rr-Rr-Rz
Rs = 40 ohms - 10 ohms R: = 40 ohms - 20 ohms
Rs

10 ohms

= 20 ohms

t:
r
t:

rr
r

r=-

l-

Module 3.7 Resistance/Besistor


Use andordisclos!re ls
governed by rhe statsment
on page 2 ol rhis chapter.

7-17
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;e.iajried in ass,)ciaLirn

!^rlii'i riie

club66pro.con qLresilon praci aa

ail

Parallel Resistance
ln the example diagram, Figure 7.11, there are two resistors connected in parallel across a
5 volt battery. Each has a resistance value of 10 ohms. A complete circuit consisting of two
parallel paths is formed and current flows as shown.

*.1
10 t?

Figure 7.11 - Two equal resistors connected in parallel.


Computing the individual currents shows that there is one-half of an ampere of current through
each resistance. The total current flowing from the battery to the junction of the resistors, and
returning from the resistors to the battery, is equal to l ampere.

The total resistance of the circuit can be calculated by using the values of total voltage (Vr) and
total current (lr).
NOTE: From this point on the abbreviations and symbology for electrical quantities will be used
in example problems.
Given:

Vr-5V

Ir:

1A

Solution:

R=

V
I

VRr'11
= ---l
5V
Rt=*

Rr=5()
7-18
TTS lntegrated Training System
O Copyright 2011

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

Use

a.d.' i::,::---

r: i: -Ec':' : 4.5:

govemed by

o.

page 2

L
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This computation shows the total resistance to be 5 ohms; one-half the value of either of the two
resistors.
Since the total resistance of a parallel circuit is smaller than any of the individual resistors, total
resistance of a parallel circuit is not the sum of the individual resistor values as was the case in
a series circuit. The total resistance ol resistors in parallel is also referred to as equivalent
resistance (R"q). The terms total resistance and equivalent resistance are used
interchangeably.

There are several methods used to determine the equivalent resistance of parallel circuits. The
best method for a given circuit depends on the number and value of the resistors. For lhe circuit
described above, where all resistors have the same value, the following simple equation is
used:

n"o=*

l:
l:

t:
t:
l:
l:
a:
a:
l:
t:
t:
l:
a:
t:
l:
l:

rr
rr
r^
a-

Req

= equivalent parallel resistance

= ohmic value of one resistor


N = number of resistors
R

This equation is valid for any number of parallel resistors of equal value.
Example. Four 40-ohm resistors are connected in parallel. What is their equivalent resistance?
Given:

Rr*Rz*R:*Ra
Rr

+ 40O

Solution:
R
R"":-"N

40fl

R"q = _+

Req

= 169

Figure7,12 shows two resistors of unequal value in parallel. Since the total current is shown,
the equivalent resistance can be calculated.

7-19

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use and/or disclosure is
governed by lhe slalement
on page 2 oi lhis Chapter.

TTS lntegrated Training System


@

Copyright 2011

lntegrated Training System


l*sig.-ad in assct:l:raltr with the
alulraatr...on ar.!llcn praciica eij

R2

6f]

154
*-------------*
Figure 7.12 - Example circuit with unequal parallel resistors.
Given:

V. = 30V
Ir = 15A
Solution:

V"
D
_ ---9
r\eq _
,
rT

30v

R"": ---15A
R"q: 2o
The equivalent resistance of the circuit shown in Figure7.12 is smaller than either of the two
resistors (Rr, Rz). An important point to remember is that the equivalent resistance o{ a parallel
circuit is always less than the resistance of any branch.
Equivalent resistance can be found if you know the individual resistance values and the source
voltage. By calculating each branch current, adding the branch currents to calculate total
current, and dividing the source voltage by the total current, the total can be found. This
method, while effective, is somewhat lengthy. A quicker method of finding equivalent resistance
is to use the general formula for resistors in parallel:

lLllI
Req Rt R2 R3

7-20
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Rn

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use

ar::- i-r::s--- :

govem-:, -E :,j_
on

par.2

:'-: :_z:

l-,,_

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tE
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clrb66pro.com q!sl:ln praclit) a1d

lf you apply the general formula to the circuit shown in Figure 6.40 you will get the same value
for equivalent resistance (2f)) as was obtained in the previous calculation that used source
voltage and total current.

Given:

Rr-3O
Rz=6()
Solution:

Lt1

____!_

Req R1 '

Ltl

____!_

ReQ

L2\

ReQ 6f)' 60

t;
l-

13
ReQ 6fl

l;

tt.
l-

6f)

____L_

l:

rt

'

Convert the fractions to a common denominator.

|:

at;,
u
b
h
lt;
lt:
r

3c)

R2

IT
Req

2A

since both sides are reciprocals (divided into one), disregard the reciprocal function.
Req

291

The formula you were given for equal resistors in parallel


(R"q =

rv

is a simplification of the general formula for resistors in parallel

TITLT

ouo:&+&+R3+"Rn
There are other simplifications of the general formula for resistors in parallel which can be used
to calculate the total or equivalent resistance in a parallel circuit.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Flesistor


Use and/or disclos u re is
govemed by lhe statement
on paqe 2 of ihis Chaoter.

7-21
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Desiqned ln associailon w,ith the
cluh6ljprc.corn q esti.n pradic-a ald

Reciprocal Method - This method is based upon taking the reciprocal of each side of the
equation. This presents the general formula for resistors in parallel as:

eq =

E;_'
;_=
Rr 'Rz ' Rn

This formula is used to solve for the equivalent resistance of a number of unequal parallel
resistors. You must find the lowest common denominator in solving these problems.
Example: Three resistors are connected in parallel as shown in Figure 7.13. The resistor values
dr: R1 :20 ohms, Rz:30 ohms, R::40 ohms. What is the equivalent resistance? (Use the
reciprocal method.)

Figure 7.13 - Example parallel circuit with unequal branch resistors.


Given:

Rr

= 20O

Rz:30f)
R: = 40O

7-22
TTS lnlegrated Training System
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Module 3-7 Resislance/Resistor

Use

a.::- i rr|s-r;
: :r-: -=iry
-_=-=

govem{:.
on pag.

a;
4...-

lntegrated Training System

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Desig.ed in assc.lallrn erilh iae


c ub66pic.arl.r qrcslirn lra.li.e aad

Solution:

rt

Req

Rt

tE

^1
]J

"eq- -- 1 , 1 ,

cr
rE

Req

:
120a

120o"

R"q =,,.r1
L20

R"q = 1?i3 o
Req = 9'z:o
Product Over the Sum Method - A convenient method for finding the equivalent, or total,
resistance of two parallel resistors is by using the following formula.

tt:

,-,
I\an

rr
E
rr
r

x R2
Rl + R2
R1

=-

This equation, called the product over the sum formula, is used so frequenily it should be
committed to memory.
Example: What is the equivalent resistance of a 20-ohm and a 30-ohm resistor connected in
parallel, as in Figure 7.14?

rt:
t:
t:
rl:
l-

20f,, 30ct 400

rt
rr
a:

ra1

=-r,+-,
r-R, -Rt

Figure

.14 - Parallel circuit with two unequal resistors.

Module 3.7 Flesistance/Resistor


Use an.rordisclosure is
govemed by the statement
page 2 olthis Chapter

I -ZJ
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lntegrated Training System


cesig.rC :r .ss.rl!alon rlllfi lhe
a:uaaaF,..rc.: :.reniis]1 !raallce aid

Given:

Rr= 20O
Rz= 20O
Solution:

xR2
R1+ R2

R1
Req

Req

= 20f)+30f)

Req

200 x 3Of)

Ruq

600

-so
12o

7-24
TTS lntegrated Training System
O Copyright 2011

Module 3.7 Resislance/Resistor

:
is:;*1
2 r:E :)zP

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govemel
on pa9

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Operation and use of Potentiometers and Rheostats


A potentiometer is a variable tapped resistor that can be used as a voltage divider.

f
Potentiometer

|:
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Variable Resistor

Rheostat

Figure 7.15 - Schematic symbol for a potentiometer. The arrow


represents the moving terminal, called the wiper.

|:

+Fd-

..J

A form of potentiometer is used as an instrument to measure the potential (or voltage) in a


circuit by tapping off a fraction of a known voltage from a resistive slide wire and cohparing it
with the unknown voltage by means of a galvanometer. The sliding tap of the potentiometer
is
adiusted and the galvanometer briefly connected to both the slidirig tap and tl-re unknown
potential; the deflection of the galvanometer is observed and the siiding
tap adjusted until the
galvanometer no longer deflects. At that point the galvanometer is drariring no
turrent from the
unknown source, and the magnitude of voltage can be calculated from the" positLn of
the sliding
contact. This null balance method is a fundamental technique of electrical metrology.

As an eleclrical component, potentiometer (or 'pot' for short) describes a three-terminal


resistor
with a sliding contact that forms an adjustable voltage dividei. lf all three terminals
are used, it
can act as a variable voltage divider. lf only two terminals are used (one side
and the wipe4, it
acts as a variable resistor or rheostat. Potentiometers are commonly used as
controls for
electrical devices such as a volume control of a radio. Potentiometers op"rii"o-Uy
a mechanism
can be used as position transducers, for example, in a joystick.

Potentiometer as Measuring lnstrument


Before the introduction of the calibratable (sprung) moving coil meter, potentiometers
were used
in measuring voltage, hence the '-meter' part of tieir name. Today this
method is confined to
standards work, and is not normally used in other areas of electronics.
The original potentiometer is a type of bridge circuit for measuring voltages by
comparison
between a small fraction of the voltage which could be precisely ieasuied,
then balancing the
two circuits to get null current flow which could be precisely me-asured. The
word itself derives
from the phrase "voltage potential," and "potential','*as used to refer to ',strength."
The original
potentiometers are divided into four main classes listed below.

Constant Current Potentiometer


This is used for measuring voltages below 1.5 volts. In this circuit, the unknown voltage is
connected across a section of resistance wire the ends of which are connected to a slandard
electrochemical cell that provides a constant current through the wire, The unknown EMF, in
series with a galvanometer, is then connected across a uaiiable-lengih section of the resistance

Use andor disctosure is


governed by ihe sratement
on page 2 olthis Chaple.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

7_25
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lntegrated Training System


:-lalr:iec

ln assori;t,o1 rt::li lle


.,!aalepro.con areti:tlr pre.ll.e all

wire using a sliding contact(s). The sliding contact is moved until no current flows into or out of
the standard cell, as indicated by a galvanometer in series with the unknown EMF. The voltage
across the selected section of wire is then equal to the unknown voltage. All that remains is to
calculate the unknown voltage from the current and the fraction of the length of the resistance
wire that was connected to the unknown EMF. The galvanometer does not need to be
calibrated, as its only function is to read zero. When the galvanometer reads zero, no current is
drawn from the unknown electromotive force and so the reading is independent of the source's
internal resistance.
Because the resistance wire can be made very uniform in cross-section and resistivity, and the
position of the wiper can be measured easily, this method can be analyzed to accurately
determine the uncertainties in the measurement. When measuring potentials larger than that
produced by a standard cell, an external voltage divider is used to scale the measured voltage
down to approximately 1 volt lor measurement by the potentiometer; the uncertainties due to
the voltage divider construction and the load placed on the source by the voltage divider then
become part of the uncertainty of the overall measurement.

Constant Resistance Potentiometer


The constant resistance potentiometer is a variation of the basic idea in which a variable currenl
is fed through a fixed resistor. These are used primarily for measurements in the millivolt and
microvolt range.

Microvolt Potentiometer
This is a form of the constant resistance potentiometer described above but designed to
minimize the effects of contact resistance and thermal EMF. This equipment is satisfactorily
used down to readings of 10 nV or so.

Thermocouple Potentiometer
Another development of the standard types was the 'thermocouple potentiometel especially
modified for performing temperature measurements with thermocouples. Poteniiometers for use
with thermocouples also measure the temperature at which the thermocouple wires are
connected, so that cold-junction compensation may be applied to correct the apparent
measured EMF to the standard cold-junction temperature of 0 degrees C.

Potentiometer as an Electronic Component


A potentiometer is a potential divider, a three terminal resistor where the position of the sliding
connection is user adiustable via a knob or slider. Potentiometers are sometimes provided with
one or more switches mounted on the same shaft. For instance, when attached to a volume
control, the knob can also function as an on/off switch at the lowest volume.
Ordinarily potentiometers are rarely used to directly control anything of significant power (more
than a watt). lnstead they are used to adjust the level of analogue signals (e.g. volume controls
on audio equipment), and as control inputs for electronic circuits. For example, a tight dimmer
uses a potentiometer to control ihe switching of a triac and so indirectly control the brightness o'
lamps.

7-26

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resislor

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Rheostats
A rheostat is a two{erminal variable resistor. Often these are designed to handle much higher
voltage and current. Typically these are constructed as a resistive wire wrapped to form a
toroid coil with the wiper moving over the upper surface of the toroid, sliding f rom one turn of
the wire to the next. Sometimes a rheostat is made from resistance wire wound on a heat
resisting cylinder with the slider made f rom a number of metal fingers that grip lightly onto a
small portion of the turns of resistance wire. The 'fingers'can be moved along the coil of
resistance wire by a sliding knob thus changing the 'tapping' point. They are usually used as
variable resistors rather than variable potential dividers.

Figure 7.16 - A high power toroidal wire-wound rheostat.

l:

Any threeterminal potentiometer can be used as a two-terminal variable resistor, by not


connecting to the 3rd terminal. lt is common practice to connect the wiper terminal to the
unused end of the resistance track to reduce the amount of resistance variation caused by dirt
on the track.

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Applications of Potentiometers

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Potentiometers are widely used as user controls, and may control a very wide variety of
equipment functions.

The widespread use of pots in consumer electronics has declined in the 1990s, with digital
controls now more common. However they remain in use in many applications. Two ol the most
common applications are as volume controls and as position sensors.

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7-27
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Audio Control
Sliding potentiometers ("faders")
One of the most common uses for
modern low-power potentiometers
is as audio control devices. Both
sliding pots (also known as
faders) and rotary potentiometers
(commonly called knobs) are
regularly used to adjust loudness,
frequency attenuation and other
characteristics of audio signals.

The 'log pot' is used as the


volume control in audio amplifiers,
where it is also called an "audio
taper pot", because the amplitude
response of the human ear is
Figure 7.17 - Sliding potentiometers.
also logarithmic. lt ensures that,
on a volume control marked 0 to
10, for example, a setting of 5 sounds half as loud as a setting of 10. There is also an anti-log
pot or reverse audio taper which is simply the reverse of a log pot. lt is almost always used in a
ganged configuration with a log pot, for instance, in an audio balance control.

Potentiometers used in combination with filter networks act as tone controls.

Transducers
Potentiometers are also very widely used as a part of position transducers because of the
simplicity of construction and because they can give a large output signal.

7-28

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

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Theory of Operation
A potentiometer with a resistive load, showing equivalent fixed resistors for clarity, is shown in
figure 7.18.

Figure 7.18

The potentiometer and its equivalent circuit as a voltage divider

The potentiometer can be used as a potential divider (or voltage divider) to obtain a manually
adiustable output voltage at the slider (wiper) from a fixed input voltage applied across the two
ends of the pot. This is the most common use of pots.
One of the advantages of the potential divider compared to a variable resistor in series with the
source is that, while variable resistors have a maximum resistance where some current will
always flow, dividers are able to vary the output voltage from maximum (Vg to ground (zero
volts) as the wiper moves from one end of the pot to the other. There is, however, always a
small amount of contact resistance.

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resistor in series with the load could have a negligible effect or an excessive effect, depending
on the load.

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Operation of the Wheatstone Bridge


A Wheatstone bridge is a measuring instrument invented by Samuel Hunter Christie in 1833
and improved and popularized by Sir Charles Wheatstone in 1843. lt is used to measure an
unknown electrical resistance by balancing two legs of a bridge circuit, one leg of which
includes the unknown component. lts operation is similar to the original potentiometer except
that in potentiometer circuits the meter used is a sensitive galvanometer.

The Basic Bridge Circuit


The fundamental concept of the Wheatstone Bridge is two voltage dividers, both fed by the
same input, as shown to the right. The circuit output is taken from both voltage divider outputs,
as shown here.

Figure 7.19

- The basic Wheatstone

Bridge circuit

ln its classic form, a galvanometer (a very sensitive DC current meter) is connected between
the output terminals, and is used to monitor the current flowing from one voltage divider to the
other. lf the two voltage dividers have exactly the same ratio (Rr/Rz - Rs/R+), then the bridge is
said to be balanced and no current flows in either direction through the galvanometer. lf one of
the resistors changes, even a little bit in value, the bridge will become unbalanced and current
will flow through the galvanometer. Thus, the galvanometer becomes a very sensitive indicator
of the balance condition.

7-30
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Using the Wheatstone Bridge


ln its basic application, a DC voltage (V) is applied to the Wheatstone Bridge, and a
galvanometer (G) is used to monitor the balance condition. The values of Rr and R3 are precisely
known, but do not have to be identical. Rz is a calibrated variable resistance, whose current
value may be read from a dial or scale.

Figure

7 .2O

The practical Wheatstone Bridge

An unknown resistor, Rx, is connected as the fourth side of the circuit, and power is applied.
is adjusted until the galvanometer, G, reads zero current. At this point, Rx = RzxR:/Rr.

R2

This circuit is most sensitive when all four resistors have similar resistance values. However, the
circuit works quite well in any event. lf Rz can be varied over a 10:1 resistance range and R1 is of
a similar value, we can switch decade values of R: into and out of the circuit according to the
range of value we expect from Rx. Using this method, we can accurately measure any value of
Rx by moving one multiple-position switch and adjusting one precision potentiometer.

Applications of the Wheatstone Bridge


It is not possible to cover all of the practical variations and applications of the Wheatstone
Bridge, let alone all types of bridges, in a single web page. sir charles wheatstone invented
many uses himself, and others have been developed, along with many variations, since that
time. One very common application in industry today is to monitor sensor devices such as strain
gauges. Such devices change their internal resistance according to the specific level of strain
(or pressure, temperature, etc.), and serye as the unknown resistor Rx. However, instead of
trying to constantly adjust Rz to balance the circuit, the galvanometer is replaced by a circuit that
can be calibrated to record the degree of imbalance in the bridge as the value of sirain or other
condition being applied to the sensor.

A second application is used by electrical power distributors to accurately locate breaks in a


power line. The method is fast and accurate, and does not require a large number of field
technicians.

Module 3.7 Besistance/Resistor


Use and/or disclosure is
governed by lhe stalement
on paoe 2 ol rhis chaDter.

7-31
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(b)

Conductance
Electricity is a study that is frequenfly explained in terms of opposites. The term that is the
opposite of resistance is conductance. conductance is the ability of a material to pass
electrons. The factors that affect the magnitude of resistance are exac y the same for
conductance, but they affect conductance in the opposite manner. Therefore, conductance is
direcily proporlional to area, and inversely proportional to the length of the material. The
temperature of the material is definitely a factor, but assuming a constant temperature, the
conductance of a material can be calculated.

The unit of conductance is the mho (c), which is ohm spelled backwards. Recently the term
mho has been redesignated Siemens (S). Whereas the symbol used to represent iesistance (R)
is the Greek letter omega
), the symbol used to represent conductance (c) is (s). The
relationship that exists between resistance (R) and conductance (G) or (S) is a reciprocal one. A
reciprocal of a number is one divided by that number. ln terms of resistance and conductance:

R=1

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Positive and Negative Coefficients of Conductance


since conductance is merely the reciprocal of resistance, it is temperature dependant.
However, the reciprocal nature of its relationship with resistance means that where a material
has-a positive temperature coefficient of resistance, it will have a negative temperature
coefficient of conductance, and vice versa.

Use and/or dis.tos!re is


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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

7_33
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Electrical Resistors

Resistance is a property of every electrical component. At times, its effects will be undesirable.
However, resistance is used in many varied ways. Resistors are components manufactured to
possess specific values of resistance. They are manufactured in many types and sizes. When
drawn using its schematic representation, a resistor is shown as a series of jagged lines, as
illustrated in figure 7.21 .

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.21 - Types of resistors.

Composition of Resistors

One of the most common types of resistors is the moulded composition, usually referred to as
the carbon resistor. These resistors are manufactured in a variety of sizes and shapes. The
chemical composition of the resistor determines its ohmic value and is accurately controlled by
the manufacturer in the development process. They are made in ohmic values that range from
one ohm to millions of ohms. The physical size of the resistor is related to its wattage rating,
which is the ability of resistor to dissipate heat caused by the resistance.

Carbon resistors, as you might suspect, have as their principal ingredient the element carbon. ln
the manufacturer of carbon iesistors, fillers or binders are added to the carbon to obtain various
resistor values. Examples of these fillers are clay, Bakelite, rubber, and talc. These fillers are
doping agents and cause the overall conduction characteristics to change'

7-34
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Module 3-7 Resistance/Resistor

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Carbon resistors are the most common resistors found because they are easy to manufacturer,
inexpensive, and have a tolerance that is adequate for most electrical and electronic
applications. Their prime disadvantage is that they have a tendency to change value as they
age. One other disadvantage of carbon resistors is their limited power handling capacity.
The disadvantage of carbon resistors can be overcome by the use of WIREWOUND resistors
(Iigure 7..21 (_B) and (C)). Wire-wound resistors have very accurate values and possess a higher
current handling capability than carbon resistors. The material that is frequently used to
manufacture wire-wound resistors is German silver which is composed of copper, nickel, and
zinc' The qualities and quantities of these elements present in the wire determine the resistivity
of the wire. (The resistivity of the wire is the measure or ability of the wire to resist current.
Usually the percent of nickel in the wire determines the resistivity.) One disadvantage of the
wire-wound resistor is that it takes a large amount of wire to manufacture a resistorbf high
ohmic value, thereby increasing the cost. A variation of the wire-wound resistor provides an
exposed surface to the resistance wire on one side. An adjustable tap is attached to this side.
Such resistors, sometimes with two or more adjustable taps, are used as voltage dividers in
power supplies and other applications where a specific voltage is desired to be "tapped" off.

Fixed and Variable Resistors


There are two kinds of resistors, Fixed and Variable. The fixed resistor will have one value and
will never change (other than through temperature, age, etc.). The resistors shown in A and B ol
Iigure 7.21 are classed as fixed resistors. The tapped resistor illustrated in B has several fixed
taps and makes more than one resistance value available. The sliding contact resistor shown in
C has an adjustable collar that can be moved to tap off any resistanc6 within the ohmic value
range of the resistor.
There are two types of variable resistors, one called a potentiometer and the other a rheostat
(see views D and E of figure 7.21) An example of the potentiometer is the volume control on
your radio, and an example of the rheostat is the dimmer control for the dash lights in an
automobile. There is a slight difference between them. Rheostats usually have two connections,
one fixed and the other moveable. Any variable resistor can properly be called a rheostat. The
potentiometer always has three connections, two fixed and one moveable. Generally,
the
rheostat has a limited range of values and a high current-handling capability. The potentiometer
has a wide range of values, but it usually has alimited current-handling cafability.
Potentiometers are always connected as voltage dividers.

Resistor Wattage Rating


When a current is passed through a resistor, heat is developed within the resistor. The resistor
must be capable of dissipating this heat into the surrounding air; otherwise, the temperature of
the resistor rises causing a change in resistance, or possibly causing the resistor to burn out.
The ability of the resistor to dissipate heat depends upon thb design-of the resistor itself. This
ability to dissipate heat depends on the amount of surface area which is exposed to the air. A
resistor designed to dissipate a large amount of heat must therefore have a large physical size.
The heat dissipating capability of a resistor is measured in Watts. Some of the-nrore common
wattage ratings of carbon resistors are: one-eighth watt, one-fourlh watt, one-half watt, one
watt, and two watts. ln some of the newer state-of-the-art circuits of today, much smaller
wattage resistors are used. Generally, the type that you will be able to physically work with are
of the values glven. The higher the wattage rating of the resistor the taiger is the physical size.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor


Use and/or disclosura is
governed by lhe stalement
on page 2 oi lhis Chapter

7_35
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Resistors that dissipate very large amounts of power (watts) are usually wire-wound resistors.
Wire-wound resistors with wattage ratings up to 50 watts are not uncommon.

Construction of Potentiometers
Figure 7.22 - Construction of a wire-wound circular
potentiometer.

The resistive element (1) of the shown device is


trapezoidal, giving a non-linear relationship between
resistance and turn angle. The wiper (3) rotates with
the axis (4), providing the changeable resistance
between the wiper contact (6) and the fixed contacts
(5) and (9). The vertical position of the axis is fixed in
the body (2) with the ring (7) (below) and the bolt (8)
(above).

A potentiometer is constructed using a flat semi-circular graphite


resistive element, with a sliding contact (wiper). The wiper is
connected through another sliding contact to the third terminal.
On panel pots, the wiper is usually the centre terminal. For
single turn pots, this wiper typically travels just under one
revolution around the contact. 'Multiturn' potentiometers also
exist, where the resistor element may be helical and the wiper
may move '10, 20, or more complete revolutions. Besides
graphite, other materials may be used to make the resistive
element. These may be resistance wire, or carbon padicles in
plastic, or a ceramic/metal mixture called cermet.
Figure 7.23 - A typical single turn potentiometer

One form of rotary potentiometer is called a string pot. lt is a multiturn potentiometer with an
attached reel ol wire turning against a spring. lt is convenient for measuring movement and
therefore acts as a position transducer.
ln a linear slider pot, a sliding control is provided instead of a dial control. The word linear also
describes the geometry of the resistive element which is a rectangular strip, nct semi-circular as
in a rotary potentiometer. Because of the large opening for the wiper and knob, this type of pot
has a greater potential for getting contaminated.
Potentiometers can be obtained with either linear or logarithmic laws (or "tapers").

7-36
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Module 3.7 Resistance/Resistor

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adjustment.

Linear Taper Potentiometer


A linear taper potentiometer has a resistive element of constant cross-section, resulting in a
device where the resistance between the contact (wiper) and one end terminal is proportional to
the distance belween them. Linear taper describes the electrical characteristic of the device, not
the geometry ol the resistive element. Linear taper potentiometers are used when an
approximately proporlional relation is desired between shaft rotation and the division ratio of the
potentiometer; for example, controls used for adjusting the centreing of (an analogue) cathoderay oscilloscope.

Logarithmic Potentiometer
A logarithmic taper potentiometer has a resistive element that either'tapers' in from one end to
the other, or is made from a material whose resistivity varies f rom one end to the other. This
results in a device where output voltage is a logarithmic (or inverse logarithmic depending on
type) function of the mechanical angle of lhe pot.
Most (cheaper) "log" pots are actually not logarithmic, but use two regions oJ different, but
constant, resistivity to approximate a logarithmic law. A log pot can also be simulated with a
linear pot and an external resistor. True log pots are significantly more expensive.
Logarithmic taper potentiometers are often used in connection with audio amplifiers.

Module 3.7 Resistance/Flesistor


lse

and/or d sc osure s
governed by lhe slalement
o. pale 2 ofrhis Chapter.

7-37
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Electrical Fundamentals
3.8 Power

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Copyright Notice
copyright. AII worldwide rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever:
i.e.
photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without
prior
the
writlen permission ot
Total Training Support Ltd.
@

Knowledge Levels
Licence

category A, Bl, 82 and c Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, B^1 and 82 are indicated by the allocation
ol knowledge levels indicators (.1, 2 or
3) against each applicable subject. category c applicants must meet either the
categori Bt oi the caregory ez
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are defined as follows:

LEVEL

A familiarisation with the principal elements ol the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject,
using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects ol the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Ubjecttves:
The applicant shourd be abre to understand the theoreticar fundamentars
of the subject.
The applicant shourd be abre to give a generar description of the subject
u"ing,
uppiopriate, typicar
examples.
""
The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction
with physical laws describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches,
drawings and schematics describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical
manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects
of the subject.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge
in a togical and comprehensjve
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should knowthe theory of lhe subject and inierrelationships
with other subjects,
The applicant should be able to give a detailed description of
the subje;t using theoretical lundamentals
and specific examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical
formulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches,
simple drawings and schematics
descrrbing the subject.
The,applicant shourd be abre to appry his knowredge in a practicar manner
using manufacturer,s
rnstrucnons.
The applicant should be able to interpret results from various sources
and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

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Module 3.8 Power

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Table of Contents

Module 3.8 Power


lntroduction
Power Rating
Power Conversion and Eff iciency
Power in a Series Circuit
Power Transfer and Eff iciency
Power in a Parallel Circuit
Power in the Voltage Divider

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15
16
17

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Module 3.8 Enabling Objectives and Certification Statement


Certification Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 2O42/2OO3 Annex lll (Part-66)
below:
ix l, and the associated
Levels as

Power. work and e


Power formula
Calculations involvino power. work and ene

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Module 3.8 Power


lntroduction
Power, whether electrical or mechanical, pertains to the rate at which work is being done. Work
is done whenever a force causes motion. When a mechanical force is used to lift or move a
weight, work is done. However, force exeded without causing motion, such as the force of a
compressed spring acting between two fixed objects, does not constitute work.
Previously, it was shown that voltage is an electrical force, and that voltage forces current to
flow in a closed circuit. However, when voltage exists but current does not flow because the
circuit is open, no work is done. This is similar to the spring under tension that produced no
motion. When voltage causes electrons to move, work is done. The instantaneous rate at which
this work is done is called the electric power rate, and is measured in Watts.
A total amount of work may be done in different lengths of time. For example, a given number of
electrons may be moved from one point to another in 1 second or in t hour, depending on the
rate at which they are moved. ln both cases, total work done is the same. However, when the
work is done in a short time, the wattage, or instantaneous power rate, is greater than when
the same amount of work is done over a longer period of time.

As stated, the basic unit of power is the watt. Power in watts is equal to the voltage across a
circuit multiplied by current through the circuit. This represents the rate at any given instant at
which work is being done. The symbol P indicates electrical power. Thus, the basic power
formula is P V x I, where V is voltage and I is current in the circuit. The amount of power
changes when either voltage or current, or both voltage and current, are caused to change.

ln practice, the only factors that can be changed are voltage and resistance. ln explaining the
different forms that formulas may take, current is sometimes presented as a quantity that is
changed. Remember, if current is changed, it is because either voltage or resistance has been
changed.
Figure 8.9 shows a basic circuit using a source of power that can be varied from 0 to 8 volts and
a graph that indicates the relationship between voltage and power.

The resistance of this circuit is 2 ohms; this value does not change. Voltage (V) is increased (by
increasing the voltage source), in steps of 1 volt, from 0 volts to 8 volts. By applying Ohm's law,
the current (l) is determined for each step of voltage. For instance, when V is 1volt, the current
is:

I=-R
I

volt

-_

2 ohms

0.5 ampere

Module 3.8 Power


Use and/or disclosure is
governed by the slalement
on page 2 ofthis Chapter.

B-5
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lntegrated Training System


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F*VI

-v2
.R
F orye:T$l

tiIATT$

t0
12.5

6
4,5
2

1 t

4 5 S ? ff

V(VOLTS)

Figure 8.1 - Graph of power related to changing voltage.


Power (P), in watts, is determined by applying the basic power formula:

P-Vxl
P-1voltx0.5ampere
P

0.5

watt

When V is increased to 2 volts:

r=yR
2

volts

I= 2 ohms
and

P-Vxl
8-6
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Module 3.8 Power

Use

and.':s::s =::
:: r=.',. : ::a-=

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,-

rr
rr
rr
tr
rr
r
f

P-2voltsxlampere
P

2 watts

When V is increased to 3 volts

I=-

-I
I

3 volts
--

ohms

1.5 amperes

And

P-Vxl
P=3volts xl.5ampere
P

J9u

l
F,
f

4.5 watts

shou]d notice that when the voltage was increased to 2


volts, the power increased from

:;:iy,l:i

i #tH

:? 3 ffi:: :ifi J
varies directty with the

f
f

r
f

r
f.

f:jl:y^:v
constantis:

Bysubstitution
Youget:

rf sincer
rR
rl-J'
f

Thereforel

y"xxiliff;:"i:1;"",

lT:l"ii,,:,i[ *i :,i:i:$l ff :Tffil

of proving that power varies as the square of the voltage


when resistance is held

Since:

rfdur
f

"qu"r"

li;""?s:e
oiil,i ulitui".

1=IR

ini p-Vxl
P=v*YR
P

_Y*V
R

p_Y
R

r-Y
Module 3.8 Power

B-7
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LL;oun"'o"n""n'o'"'

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Desi;r*d ril :i:raali,:i:ri:al wiih li.a
ciulli{lpro.a:ar i:lr..ar:::rn

pf

aaiice 3i.:

Another important relationship may be seen by studying Figure 8.10. Thus far, power has been
calculated with voltage and current (P = Vx l), and with voltage and resistance
D

y2

-_ R

Referring to Figure 8.10, note that power also varies as the square of current just as it does with
voltage. Thus, another formula for power, with current and resistance as its factors, is P I2R.
This can be proved by:

Since:
By substitution:
You get:
Or:
Therefore:

V-lxR
P-Vxl
P-lxRxl
P-lxlxR
P=12

ps1!ff n $:FFLY}

{v&ru*Elf

ll - t vol-Ts

n{pxrr}
?

sH]lts

F * ff
r = rtfr
$rftTls

.,

15

?5 I

35 a I

{eHP5}

Figure 8.2 - Graph of power related to changing current"


Up to this point, four of the most important electrical quantities have been discussed. These are
voltage (V), current (l), resistance (R), and power (P). You must understand the relationships
which exist among these quantities because they are used throughout your study of electricity,
ln the preceding paragraphs, P was expressed in terms of alternate pairs of the other three
basic quantities V, I, and R. ln practice, you should be able to express any one of these

B-8
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Module 3.8 Power

Use

and/ordsc.s-

. :

govemed by the s1a::-e


on page2 ol ths C_:::

|-,

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quantities in terms of any two of the others.


Figure 8.3 is a summary of 12 basic formulas you should know. The four quantities V, I, R, and p
Adjacent to each quantity are three segments. Note that in each
,i"Jffi""J lll,""lll,v:; expressed in terms of two other basic quantities, and no two
segments are alike.

l:il:'ff
F,
f

rr
rr
rr
rt:

t:
l:
l:
t:
t:

'IT
vE-

Figure 8.3 - Summary of basic formulas.


For example, the formula wheel in Figure 8.3 could be used to find the formula to solve the
following problem:
A circuit has a voltage source that delivers 6 volts and the circuit uses 3 watts of power. what is
the resistance of the load?

f
a:
f

Since R is the quantity you have been asked to find, look in the section of the wheel that has
rn rne cenrre. the segment

l:

V2

t:
t:
l:

a:
t:

E
contains the quantities you have been given. The formula you would use is
V2
R=P

The problem can now be solved.

):
):

t:
f
f,

Module 3.8 Power


ff"il"'.T,"fi"J""::iil""",

on Pase 2 orrhis chaprer.

8-9
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:1..1!.ed l1 assoc aiior: ,r];il. ih.
a|:i5eir'a.tcrn q esilon trarilca a:d

Given:

V = 6 volts
P : 3 watts
y2

Solution:

R=-P
ft=

(6 volts)2
3

watts

36

R=-=l-2ohms
3
Power Rating
Electrical components are often given a power rating. The power rating, in watts, indicates the
rate at which the device convens electrical energy into another form of energy, such as light.
heat, or motion. An example of such a rating is noted when comparing a 150-watt lamp to a
'100-watt lamp. The higher wattage rating of the 150-watt lamp indicates it is capable of
conveding more electrical energy into light energy than the lamp of the lower rating. Other
common examples of devices with power ratings are soldering irons and small electric motors.
ln some electrical devices the wattage rating indicates the maximum power the device is
designed to use rather than the normal operating power. A 1S0-watt lamp, for example, uses
150 watts when operated at the specified voltage printed on the bulb. ln contrast, a device such
as a resistor is not normally given a voltage or a current rating. A resistor is given a power rating
in watts and can be operated at any combination of voltage and current as long as the power
rating is not exceeded. ln most circuits, the actual power used by a resistor is considerably less
than the power rating of the resistor because a 50% safety factor is used. For example, if a
resistor normally used 2 watts of power, a resistor with a power rating of 3 watts would be useo.
Resistors of the same resistance value are available in different wattage values. Carbon
resistors, for example, are commonly made in wattage ratings of L/8,L/4,L/2,L, and 2 wans.
The larger the physical size of a carbon resistor the higher the wattage rating. This is true
because a larger sudace area of material radiates a greater amount of heat more easily.

When resistors with wattage ratings greater than 5 watts are needed, wirewound resistors are
used. Wirewound resistors are made in values between 5 and 200 watts. Special types of
wirewound resistors are used for power in excess of 200 watts.
As with other electrical quantities, prefixes may be attached to the word watt when expressing
very large or very small amounts of power. Some of the more common of these are the kito$,ai
(1,000 watts), the megawatt (1,000,000 watts), and the milliwatt (1/1,000 of a watt).

8-10
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Module 3.8 Power

Us:-,1r rs::s:=

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Power Gonversion and Efficiency


The term power consumption is common in the electrical field. It is applied to the use of power
in the same sense that gasoline consumption is applied to the use of iuel in an automobile.
Another common term is 'power conversion'.
Power is used by electrical devices and is converted from one form of energy to another. An
electrical motor conveds electrical energy to mechanical energy. An electriCiight bulb converts
electrical energy into light energy and an electric range converts electrical energy into heat
energy. Power used by electrical devices is measured in energy. This practical unit of electrical
energy is equal to l watt of power used continuously for t hour. The term kilowatt hour (kWh) is
used more extensively on a daily basis and is equal to 1,000 watt-hours.

The efficiency of an electrical device is the ratio of power converted to useful energy divided by
the power consumed by the device. This number will always be less than one (1 .00)-becarse oi
the losses in any electrical device. lf a device has an efficiency rating of 0.95, it effectively
transforms 95 watts into useful energy for every 1OO watts of input power. The other 5 watts are
lost to heat, or other losses which cannot be used.
Calculating the amount of power converted by an electrical device is a simple matter. You need
to know the length of time the device is operated and the input power or horsepower rating.
Horsepower, a unit of work, is often found as a rating on electrical motors. One horsepower is
equal to 746 watts. Example: A 3/a hp motor operates g hours a day. How much power is
converted by the motor per month? How many kWh does this represent?
Given:

t-8hrsx30days
P

-3/+ hp

Solution: Convert horsepower to watts

hp x746watts

= 3/4 x746watts

559 watts

Convert watts to watt-hours

P-workxtime
P=559wattsxBx30
P

134,000 watt-hours per month

Use anci/or disclosure is


governed by the starement
on page 2 ol lhis Chapler

Module 3.8 Power

8-11
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Desiqned

ii r33ori:il{lr

with the

club66;r.o.co3 airesllof praciic. ald

(NOTE: These figures are rounded to the nearest 1000.)


To convert to kwh

watt-hours
P: power in1000

P-

134,000 in

watt-hours

1000

P = 134 kWh

lf the motor actually uses 137 kWh per month, what is the efJiciency of the motor?
Given:

Power converted = 134 kWh per month


Power used = 137 kwh per month
Solution:

EFF

_ Power converted

EFF

_ 134 kwh per month

power used

1-3

EFF

kwh per month

0.978 (rounded to three significant figures)

8-12
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Module 3.8 Power

Use

and/o.disd:s,= s

governed by the

st4--F
Cz-t

on Page 2 oilhis

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Power in a Series Circuit


Each of the resistors in a series circuit consumes power which is dissipated in the form
of heat.
since this power must come from the source, the total power must be equal to the power
consumed by the circuit resistances. ln a series circuit the total power is equal to the SUM of
the power dissipated by the individual resistors. Total power (prl is equal to:

Pr=Pr*Pz*Pe...Pn
Example: A series circuit consists of three resistors having values of s ohms, L0 ohms, and
15 ohms. Find the total power when 120 volts is applied to the circuit. (see Figure 8.4)

V1

l:
t:
l;

u
u
b
u
b
ll;
a;
l:
l:

t;
t:
t:
a:
|;

Figure 8.4 - Solving for total power in a series circuit.


Given:

R1
5 ohms
R2 = 10 ohms
R3 15 ohms
V 120 volts

Solution: The total resistance is found first.

Rr=Rr+Rz+R:
Rr = 5 ohms + 10 ohms + 15 ohms
Rr = 30 ohms
By using the total resistance and the applied voltage, the circuit current is calculated.

):

]:

f-

Use and/or d sclosure is


govemed by lhe sialement
or page 2 of lhis Chapier.

Module 3.8 Power

8-13
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De.iQ..a it associ;.{ c* illar l:re

cl!ir56taa.aom qLresiloil t.ar::ae atd

I- R1
I=

120 volts
30 ohms

I -- 4 amps
By means of the power formulas, the power can be calculated for each resistor:

For Rt

Pt=12xRr
Pr=(4amps)2x5ohms
P1 = 80 watts

For Rz

Pz =12
Pz =

(a

xRz
amps)2 x 10 ohms

P2 = 160 watts

For Rs

P:=12xRE
P3 = ( a amps)2 x 15 ohms
P3 = 240 watts

For total power:

Pr=Pr+Pz+P:
Pr = 8O watts + 1 60 watts + 240 watts
Pr = 480 watts
To check the answer, the total power delivered by the source can be calculated:

= Isource X Vsou..e
Psou.." = 4 amps x 120 volts
Psou.." = 480 watts
Prou..e

The total power is equal to the sum of the power used by the individual resistors.

Rule for Series DC Circuits


The total power in a series circuit is equal to the sum of the individual powers used by each
circuit component.

8-14
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Module 3.8 Power

Use an.Iior d:-:s,= s


govemed by th:
-:---eon page2 of thi3 a_-.-

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Power Transfer and Efficiency


Maximum power is transferred from the source to the load when the resistance of the load is
equal to the internal resistance of the source. When the load resistance is 5 ohms, matching the
source resistance, the maximum power of 500 watts is developed in the load.
The efficiency of power transfer (ratio of output power to input power) f rom the source to the
load increases as the load resistance is increased. The efficiency approaches 100 percent as
the load resistance approaches a relatively large value compared with that of the source, since
less power is lost in the source. The efficiency of power transfer is only 50 percent at the
maximum power transfer point (when the load resistance equals the internal resistance of the
source). The efficiency of power transfer approaches zero efficiency when the load resistance is
relatively small compared with the internal resistance of the source.
The problem of a desire for both high efficiency and maximum power transfer is resolved by a
compromise between maximum power transfer and high efficiency. Where the amounts of
power involved are large and the efficiency is important, the load resistance is made large
relative to the source resistance so that the losses are kept small. ln this case, the efficiency is
high. Where the problem of matching a source to a load is important, as in communications
circuits, a strong signal may be more impodant than a high percentage of efficiency. ln such
cases, the efficiency of power transfer should be only about 50 percent; however, the power
transfer would be the maximum which the source is capable of supplying.
You should now understand the basic concepts of series circuits. The principles which have
been presented are of lasting importance. Once equipped with a firm understanding ol series
circuits, you hold the key to an understanding of the parallel circuits to be presented next.

b
u
b
b
b
b
ll:

t:
l:
|:

,:
|:

I'

Module 3.8 Power


Use and/or disclosure is
qovernd by the srarement
on Pag 2 ofihis Chapler

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Power in a Parallel Gircuit


Power computations in a parallel circuit are essentially the same as those used for the series
circuit. Since power dissipation in resistors consists of a heat loss, power dissipations are
additive regardless of how the resistors are connected in the circuit. The total power is equal to
the sum of the power dissipated by the individual resistors. Like the series circuit, the total
power consumed by the parallel circuit is:

Pr=Pr+Pz+...Pn
Example: Find the total power consumed by the circuit in Figure 8.5.

Vs&
{illl l*

f*
l*

RE

ffn

l-

Figure 8.5 - Example parallel circuit.


Given:

Rr

= 10O

Inr:5A

Rz :25O
lvz = 2A

R::50O
In: = 14

8-16
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O Copyright 2011

Module 3.8 Power

Use and/or disdcreas


govemed by the sralrsa
on paoe 2 of this

cfEE

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P_I2R
Pp1

-(lp1)2xRr
Pnr=(5A)2x10O
Pnr

= 250W

Pp2-(ln2)2xRz
P*z = (2 A)2 xZSA
Pnz : 100 W
Pp3-(1ns)2xR:
pn: = (1A
)2 x 5Oft
Pns=50W

* Pnz * Pn:
Pr: 250W + 100W + 50W
Pr= Pnr

Pr

= 400W

Solution:

Pr=Vsxlr

Pr-50VxBA
Pr:400W
Rule for Parallel DC Circuits
The total power consumed in a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of the power
consumptions of
the individual resistances.

Power in the Voltage Divider


Power in the voltage divider is an extremely impodant quantity.

The power. dissipated by the resistors in the voltage divider should be calculated
to determine
the power handling requirements of the resistors.-Total power of the circuit is needed
to
determine the power requirement of the source.
The power for the circuit shown in Figure g.6 is calculated as follows:

):

l:
):
):

lt-

Use and/or disclosure is


governed by the statemenl
on page 2 of this Chapter

Module 3.8 Power

8-17
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Desiored ln a3:.taril.rn .,^riih the
ciuba:6pro..nn n13!l::r practice aid

Figure 8.6 - Multiple-load voltage divider.

Given:

Vnr
Vnr

= 90V
= 5mA

Solution:

Pnr=Vn:xlnr
Pnr=90VxSmA
Pnr = 0.45W

B-18
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O Copyriqht 201 1

Module 3.8 Power

Use

-::_ isc-=

govem- :. -E :on pag: - -r: -:4=

L.
l1:
,:
,:

lntegrated Training System


Deslg.ea i:r 3:.l.lallon with ihe
cl!bai6pro con-. iiueslll,t 3t'arciice aid

The power in each resistor is calculated just as for Rr. When the calculations are performed, the
following results are obtained:

,:

t:

vr
rr
r

= 0.9W
Pna:0.625W
Pna = 6.05W
Pnz

To calculate the power for load

Given:

= 90V
Loaa = 10mA

Vtoua

,;

Solution:

,':

l:

Ploud: Vloudxlloud

t:

Proua:90Vx10mA
Ptoaa = 0.9W

,;

l;
l;
l;
);

t;
t;
t;
f,
);

l:
l:
);
):
):

The power in each load is calculated just as for load 1. When the calculations are pedormed,
the following results are obtained.

= 1'5W
Pload3 = 5.25W

Ptoaaz

Total power is calculated by summing the power consumed by the loads and the power
dissipated by the divider resistors. The total power in the circuit is 15.675 watts.
The power used by the loads and divider resistors is supplied by the source. This applies to all
electrical circuits; power for all components is supplied by the source.
Since power is the product o{ voltage and current, the power supplied by the source is equal to
the source voltage multiplied by the total circuit current (V. x Ir).
ln the circuit of Figure 8.6, the total power can be calculated by:
Given:

Vs:
Ir

285V
55mA (lna)

l:
l:

rIJ

Module 3.8 Power


Use and/ordiscosure is
govemed by lhe statement
on paqe 2 ol lhis chapter

8-19
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ntegrated Training System


'r

'i:arr .::,.r:,r::

.. I

' r,:rr;.tlra:

Solution:

Pr:Esxlr
Pr:285Vx55mA
Pr = 15.675W

8-20
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O Copyriqht 2011

Module 3.8 Power

lntegrated Training System

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clta66pro.con quesllalr practici ei:

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Module 3
Licence Category 81 and 82

rtt;-

Electrical Fundamentals

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3. 9

Use and/or disciosure is


govemed by lhe stalemenl
on page 2 of lhis chapter

Capacitance/Capacitor

Module 3-9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-1
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i)e!l:aaa li iissa,oltllaril ,!ial! laa
cir55ai.1a.aoa1 qLrcsl:a:r traa:la..i

1{j

Copyright Notice
o copyright. All worldwide rights reserved. No parl of this publication may be reproduced,

stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e.
photocopy, electronii, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission oi
Total Training Suppott Ltd.

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, 81 , 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, B1 and 82 are indicated by the allocation of knowledge levels indicators (1 2
3) against eacti applicabl6 subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category 81 or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are defined as follows:

LEVEL

).,"

.'

A {amiliarisation with the principal elements of the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects ol the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Objectives:

The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals ol the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a general description of the subject using, as appropriate, typical
examples.

The applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction wilh physical laws describing'if-e
subject.

The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject.

The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge ol the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements of knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the theory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicant should be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoretical fundamentals
and specif ic examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical lormulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schematics
describing the subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturer's
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results from various sources and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

9-2
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

and.'::: :: -_:
i.: i::-F
_:i:
on page 2 cl::
Use

govemed b!

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club66pro.ccm qrgitlcr aa:rat:aa iid

Table of Contents

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor


lntroduction
The Electrostatic Field
The Simple Capacitor
The Farad
Factors Aff ecting the Value of Capacitance
Formula fo r Capacitance
Permittivity
Voltage Rating of Capacitors
Capacitor Losses
Energy Stored in a Capacitor
Charging and Discharging a Capacitor
Charge and Discharge of an RC Series Circuit
RC Time Constant
Capacitors in Series and Parallel
The Fixed Capacitor
The Variable Capacitor
Colour Codes for Capacitors
Basic Capacitor Testing

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10
11

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23
27
29
35

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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Module 3.9 Enabling Obiectives and Certification Statement


Certification Statement
ihese Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 204212003 Annex lll (Part-66
ix I, and the associated K

citor
ration and f unction of a
Factors alfecting capacitance area of plates,
distance between plates, number of plates,
dielectric and dielectric constant, working
construction and f unction
citor colour codi
Calculations of capacitance and voltage in
series and parallel circuits
Exponential charge and discharge of a
itor. time constants
Testi

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Mod u le 3.9 Gapacitance/Capacitor


lntroduction
A capacitor is a device that stores electrical energy in an electrostatic field. The energy is
stored in such a way as to oppose any change in voltage. Just how capacitance opposes a
change in voltage is explained later in this chapter. However, it is first necessary to explain the
principles of an electrostatic field as it is applied to capacitance.

The Electrostatic Field


You previously learned that opposite electrical charges attract each other while like electrical
charges repel each other. The reason for this is the existence of an electrostatic field. Any
charged particle is surrounded by invisible lines of force, called electrostatic lines of force.
These lines of force have some interesting characteristics:
They
They
They
They

are polarized from positive to negative.


radiate from a charged particle in straight lines and do not form closed loops.
have the ability to pass through any known material.
have the ability to distort the orbits of tightly bound electrons.

Examine Figure 9.1. This figure represents two unlike charges surrounded by their electrostatic
field. Because an electrostatic field is polarized positive to negative, arrows are shown radiating
away from the positive charge and toward the negative charge. Stated another way, the field
from the positive charge is pushing, while the field from the negative charge is pulling. The
effect of the field is to push and pull the unlike charges together.

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Figure 9.1 - Electrostatic field attracts two unlike charged particles.

ln Figure 9.2, two like charges are shown with their surrounding electrostatic field. The effect of
the electrostatic field is to push the charges apart.

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Figure 9"2 - Electrostatic field repels two like charged particles.


lf two unlike charges are placed on opposite sides of an atom whose outermost electrons
cannot escape their orbits, the orbits of the electrons are distorted as shown in Figure 9.3.
Figure 9.3 (A) shows the normal orbit. Part (B) of the figure shows the same orbit in the
presence of charged particles. Since the electron is a negative charge, the positive charge

Use and/or disciosure is


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attracts the electrons, pulling the electrons closer to the positive charge. The negative charge
repels the electrons, pushing them further from the negative charge. lt is this ability of an
electrostatic field to attract and to repel charges that allows the capacitor to store energy.

Figure 9.3 - Distortion of electron orbital paths due to electrostatic force.

The Simple Capacitor


A simple capacitor consists of two metal plates separated by an insulating material called a
dielectric, as illustrated in Figure 9.4. Note that one plate is connected to the positive terminal
of a battery; the other plate is connected through a closed switch (S1) to the negative terminal
of the battery. Remember, an insulator is a material whose electrons cannot easily escape their
orbits" Due to the battery voltage, plate A is charged positively and plate B is charged
negatively. (How this happens is explained later in this chapter.) Thus an electrostatic field is set
up between the positive and negative plates. The electrons on the negative plate (plate B) are
attracted to the positive charges on the positive plate (plate A).

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Figure 9.4 - Distorlion of electron orbits in a dielectric.


Notice that the orbits of the electrons in the dielectric material are distorted by the electrostatic
field. The distortion occurs because the electrons in the dielectric are attracted to the top plate
while being repelled from the bottom plate. When switch Sl is opened, the battery is removed
from the circuit and the charge is retained by the capacitor. This occurs because the dielectric
material is an insulator, and the electrons in the bottom plate (negative charge) have no path to
reach the top plate (positive charge). The distorted orbits of the atoms of the dielectric plus the
electrostatic force of attraction between the two plates hold the positive and negative charges in
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their original position. Thus, the energy which came from the battery is now stored in the
electrostatic field of the capacitor. Two slightly different symbols foirepresenting a capacitor are
shown in Figure 9.5. Notice that each symbol is composed of two plates separaled by a space
that represents the dielectric. The curved plate in (B) of the figure indicates the plate should be
connected to a negative polarity.

I I IL -],L
T T T?T
Nor:rnal

Eleclrolytic

Variable

Figure 9.5 - Circuit symbols for capacitors.

The Farad
Capacitance is measured in units called farads. A one-farad capacitor stores one coulomb (a
unit of charge (Q) equal to 6.28 X 1018 electrons) of charge when a potential of l volt is appiied
across the terminals of the capacitor. This can be expressed by the formula:
C

(farads)

Q (coulombs)

V (volts)

The farad is a very large unit of measurement of capacitance. For convenience, the microfarad
(abbreviated pF) or the Picofarad (abbreviated pF) is used. one (1.0) microfarad is equal to
0.000001 farad or 1X 10-0 farad, and j,.0 picofarad is equal to 0.000000000001 farad or
1,0 x.10 12 farad. capacitance is a physical property of the capacitor and does not
depend on
circuit characteristics of voltage, current, and resisiance. A given capacitor always has the same
value of capacitance (farads) in one circuit as in any other circuit in which it is connected.

Factors Affecting the Value of


Gapacitance
The value of capacitance of a capacitor
depends on three lactors:
The area (A) of the plates.
The distance (d) between the
plates.
The dielectric constant
(permittivity)of the material
between the plates.

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Figure 9.6 - Capacitor plates, and the distance


between them

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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Plate area affects the value of capacitance in the same manner that the size of a container
affects the amount of water that can be held by the container. A capacitor with the large plate
area can store more charges than a capacitor with a small plate area. Simply stated, "the larger
the plate area, the larger the capacitance".
The second factor affecting capacitance is the distance between the plates. Electrostatic lines
of force are strongest when the charged particles that create them are close together. When the
charged particles are moved further apart, the lines of force weaken, and the ability to store a
charge decreases.

,-

The third factor affecting capacitance is the dielectric constant (also called Permittivity). ot
the insulating material between the plates of a capacitor. The various insulating materials used
as the dielectric in a capacitor differ in their ability to respond to (pass) electrostatic lines of
force. A dielectric material, or insulator, is rated as to its ability to respond to electrostatic lines
of force in terms of a figure called the dielectric constant. A dielectric material with a high
dielectric constant is a better insulator than a dielectric material with a low dielectric constant.
Dielectric constants for some common materials are given in the following list:

Material

Constant

Vacuum

1.0000

Air

1.0006

Paraff in paper

J.)

Glass
Mica

5toL0
3to6

Rubber

2.5 to 35

Wood

2-5 to B

Glycerine (15C)

56

Petroleum

Pure Water

81

Table 9.1 - Some common values of


Relative Permittivity (dielectric
constants)
Notice the dielectric constant for a vacuum. Since a vacuum is the standard of reference, it is
assigned a constant of one. The dielectric constants of all materials are compared to that of a
vacuum. Since the dielectric constant of air has been determined to be approximately the same
as that of a vacuum, the dielectric constant of air is also considered to be equal to one.

9-8
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Formula for Capacitance


The capacitance of the majority of capacitors used in electronic circuits is several orders of
magnitude smaller than the farad. The most common subunits of capacitance in use today are
the millifarad (mF), microfarad (pF), the nanofarad (nF) and the picofarad (pF)
The capacitance can be calculated if the geometry of the conductors and the dielectric
properties of the insulator between the conductors are known. For example, the capacitance of
a parallel-plate capacitor constructed of two parallel plates of area A separated by a distance d
is approximately equal to the following:
C

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where
the capacitance in farads, F
A is the area of each plate, measured in square metres
a' is the relative static permittivity (sometimes called the dielectric constant) of the
material between the plates, (vacuum =l)
e6 is the permlttivity of free space where e6 = B.8S4xj.0-12 F
/m
d is the separation between the plates, measured in metres
C is

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Permittivity
Permittivity is a physical quantity that describes how an electric field affects and is affected by

a dielectric medium, and is determined by the ability of a material to polarize in response to the
field' and thereby reduce the total eleckic field inside the material. Thus, permittivity relates to a
material's ability to transmit (or "permit") an electric field.
It is directly related to electric susceptibility. For example, in a capacitor, an increased
permittivity allows the same charge to be stored with a smaller eiectric field (and thus a smaller
voltage), leading to an increased capacitance.

Free space Permittivity is the permittivity of a vacuum (Free space), also known as the
Electrical Constant and has the symbol t6

to = 8.854 x1.0-12F/m
Relative Permittivity is the permittivity of other mediums, and is a measure of permittivity
relative to that ol Free Space. lt has the symbol tr

Absolute Permittivity is the Permittivity of other mediums relative to zero, and has the symbol

(no suffix).

Note that
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Voltage Rating of Capacitors


ln selecting or substituting a capacitor ior use, consideration must be given to (1) the value of
capacitance desired and (2) the amount of voltage to be applied across the capaciior. lf the
voltage applied across the capacitor is too great, the dielectric will break down and arcing will
occur between the capacitor plates. When this happens the capacitor becomes a short-circuit
and the flow of direct current through it can cause damage to other electronic parls. Each
capacitor has a voltage rating (a working voltage) that should not be exceeded.

The working voltage of the capacitor is the maximum voltage that can be steadily applied
without danger of breaking down the dielectric. The working voltage depends on the type of
material used as the dielectric and on the thickness of the dialectic. (A high-voltage capacitor
that has a thick dielectric must have a relatively large plate area in order to have the same
capacitance as a similar low-voltage capacitor having a thin dielectric.) The working voltage also
depends on the applied frequency because the losses, and the resultant heating effect,
increase as the frequency increases.

,-

A capacitor with a voltage rating of 500 volts DC cannot be safely subjected to an alternating
voltage or a pulsating direct voltage having an effective value of 500 volts. Since an alternating
voltage of 500 volts (RMS) has a peak value of 707 volts, a capacitor to which it is applied
should have a working voltage of at least 750 volts. ln practice, a capacitor should be selected
so that its working voltage is at least 50 perceni greater than the highest effective voltage to be
applied to it.

Capacitor Losses
Power loss in a capacitor may be attributed to dielectric hysteresis and dielectric leakage.
Dielectric hysteresis may be defined as an eJfect in a dielectric material similar to the hysteresis
found in a magnetic material" lt is the result of changes in orientation of electron orbits in the
dielectric because of the rapid reversals of the polarity of the line voltage. The amount of power
loss due to dielectric hysteresis depends upon the type of dielectric used" A vacuum dielectric
has the smallest power loss.
Dielectric leakage occurs in a capacitor as the result o{ leakage current through the dielectric.
Normally it is assumed that the dielectric will effectively prevent the flow of current through the
capacitor. Although the resistance of the dielectric is extremely high, a minute amount of current
does flow. Ordinarily this current is so small that for all practical purposes it is ignored. However.
if the leakage through the dielectric is abnormally high, there will be a rapid loss of charge and
an overheating of the capacitor-

The power loss of a capacitor is determined by loss in the dielectric. lf the loss is negligible and
the capacitor returns the total charge to the circuit, it is considered to be a perfect capacitor with
a power loss of zero.

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Energy Stored in a Capacitor


A capacitor can store electric energy when disconnected from its charging circuit, so it can be
used like a temporary battery. Capacitors are commonly used in electronic devices to maintain
power supply while batteries are being changed. (This prevents loss of information in volatile
memory.)

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Gharging and Discharging a Capacitor


Charging

ln order to better understand the action of a capacitor in conjunction with other components, the
charge and discharge actions of a purely capacitive circuit are analysed first' For ease of
(no
explJnation the capicitor and voltage source shown in Figure 9.7 are assumed to be perfect
internal resistance), although this is impossible in practice.

ln Figure 9.7 (A), an uncharged capacitor is shown connected to a four-position switch' With the
switJh in posiiion 1 the circu-it is open and no voltage is applied to the capacitor. lnitially each
plate of the capacitor is a neutral 6ody and until a difference of potential is impressed across the
capacitor, no electrostatic field can exist between the plates'

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Figure 9.7 - Charging a caPacitor.

To charge the capacitor, the switch must be thrown to position 2, which places the capacitor
across tde terminals of the battery. Under the assumed pedect conditions, the capacitor would
reach full charge instantaneously. However, the charging action is spread out over a period of
time in the following discussion so that a step-by-step analysis can be made.
At the instant the switch is thrown to position 2 (Figure 9.7 (B)), a displacement of electrons
occurs simultaneously in all parts of the circuit. This electron displacement is directed away
from the negative terminal and toward the positive terminal of the source (the battery). A brief
surge of current will flow as the capacitor charges.

lf it were possible to analyse the motion of the individual electrons in this surge of charging
current, the following action would be observed. See Figure 9.8.

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Figure 9.8 - Electron motion during charge.

At the instant the switch is closed, the positive terminal of the battery extracts an electron from
the bottom conductor. The negative terminal of the battery forces an electron into the top
conductor. At this same instant an electron is forced into the top plate of the capacitor and
another is pulled from the bottom plate" Thus, in every pad of the circuit a clockwise
displacement of electrons occurs simultaneously.
As electrons accumulate on the top plate of the capacitor and others depart from the bottom
plate, a difference of potential develops across the capacitor. Each eleciron forced onto the top
plate makes that plate more negative, while each electron removed from the bottom causes the
bottom plate to become more positive. Notice that the polarity of the voltage which builds up
across the capacitor is such as to oppose the source voltage. The source voltage (EMF) foices
electron flow around the circuit of Figure 9.8 in a clockwise direction. The EMF -developed
across the capacitor, however, has a tendency to force the current in a counter-clockwise
direction, opposing the source EMF. As the capacitor continues to charge, the voltage across
the capacitor rises until it is equal to the source voltage. Once the capa|itor voltagelquals the
source voltage, the two voltages balance one another and current ceases to flowln the circuit.
ln studying the charging process of a capacitor, you must be aware that no current flows
through the capacitor. The material between the plates of the capacitor must be an insulator.
However, to an observer stationed at the source or along one of ihe circuit conductors, the
action has all the appearances of a true flow of current, even though the insulating material
between the plates of the capacitor prevents the current from haviig a complete
[ath. The
current which appears to flow through a capacitor is called displacement current.

when a capacitor is fully charged and the source voltage is equalled by the counter

electromotive force (back-EMF) across the capacitor, the elecirostatic field between the plates
of the capacitor is maximum. Since the electrostatic field is maximum the energy stored in the
dielectric is also maximum.
lf the switch is now opened as shown in Figure 9.9 (A), the electrons on the upper plate are
isolated. The electrons on the top plate are attracted to the charged bottom plaie. Because the
dielectric is an insulator, the electrons can not cross the dielectrii to the bott,om plate" The
charges on both plates will be effectively kapped by the electrostatic field and the capacitor will
remain.charged indefinitely. You should note at this point that the insulating dielectric material in
a practical capacitor is not pedect and small leakage current will flow through the dielectric. This
current will eventually dissipate the charge. However, a high quality capaciior may hold its
charge for a month or more.

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9-13

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Figure 9.9 - Discharging a capacitor.

To review briefly, when a capacitor is connected across a voltage source, a surge of charging
current flows. This charging current develops a back-EMF across the capacitor which opposes
the applied voltage. When the capacitor is fully charged, the back-EMF is equal to the applied
voltage and charging current ceases. At full charge, the electrostatic field between the plates is
at maximum intensity and the energy stored in the dielectric is maximum. lf the charged
capacitor is disconnected from the source, the charge will be retained for some period of time.
The length of time the charge is retained depends on the amount of leakage current present.
Since electrical energy is stored in the capacitor, a charged capacitor can act as a source backEMF"

Discharging
To discharge a capacitor, the charges on the two plates must be neutralized. This is
accomplished by providing a conducting path between the two plates as shown in Figure g.9
(B). With the switch in position (4) the excess electrons on the negative plate can flow to the
positive plate and neutralize its charge. When the capacitor is discharged, the distorted orbits of
the electrons in the dielectric return to their normal positions and the stored energy is returned
to the circuit. lt is important for you to note that a capacitor does not consume power. The
energy the capacitor d raws from the source is recovered when the capacitor is discharged.

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Charge and Discharge of an RC Series Circuit


ohm's law states that the voltage across a resistance is equal to the current through the
resistance times the value of the resistance. This means that a voltage is developed across a
resistance only when current flows through the resistance.

A capacitor is capable of storing or holding a charge of electrons, When uncharged, both plates
of the capacitor contain essentially the same number of free electrons. When charged, one
plate contains more free electrons than the other plate. The difference in the number of
electrons is a measure of the charge on the capacitor. The accumulation of this charge builds
up a voltage across the terminals of the capacitor, and the charge continues to increase until
this voltage equals the applied voltage. The charge in a capacitor is related to the capacitance
and voltage as follows:

Q=VC
in which Q is the charge in coulombs,
capacitor in volts.

the capacitance in farads, and V the EMF across the

Charge Cycle
A voltage divider containing resistance and capacitance is connected in a circuit by means of a
switch, as shown at the top of Figure 9.10. Such a series arrangement is called an RC series
circuit.

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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-15
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In explaining the charge and discharge cycles of an RC series circuit, the time interval from time
to (time zero, when the switch is first closed) to time tr (time one, when the capacitor reaches
full charge or discharge potential) will be used. (Note ihat switches 51 and 52 move at the
same time and can never both be closed at the same time.)

When switch 51 of ihe circuit in Figure 9.10 is closed at to, the source voltage (Vs) is instantly
felt across the entire circuit. Graph (A) of the figure shows an instantaneous rise at time t0 from
zero to source voltage (Vs = 6 volts). The total voltage can be measured across the circuit
between points 1 and 2. Now look at graph (B) which represents the charging current in the
capacitor (iJ. At time t0, charging current is maximum. As time elapses toward time tr, there is
a continuous decrease in current flowing into the capacitor. The decreasing flow is caused by
the voltage build-up across the capacitor. At time tr, current flowing in the capacitor stops. At
this time, the capacitor has reached full charge and has stored maximum energy in its
electrostatic field. Graph (C) represents the voltage drop (v.) across the resistor (R). The value
of e. is determined by ihe amount of current flowing through the resistor on its way to the
capacitor. At time t0 the current flowing to the capacitor is maximum. Thus, the voltage drop
across the resistor is maximum (V = IR) As time progresses toward time tr, the current flowing
to the capacitor steadily decreases and causes the voltage developed across the resistor (R) to
steadily decrease. When time tr is reached, current flowing to the capacitor is stopped and the
voltage developed across the resistor has decreased to zero.

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Figure 9. 1 1 - The capacitor charge curve

The capacitor charge curve is logarithmic.


You should remember that capaciiance opposes a change in voltage. This is shown by
comparing graph 9.10 (A) to graph (D). ln graph (A) the voltage changed instantly lrom 0 volts
to 6 volts across the circuit, while the voltage developed across the capacitor in graph (D) took
the entire time interval from time to to time tr to reach 6 volts. The reason for this is that in the
first instant at time to, maximum current flows through R and the entire circuit voltage is dropped
across the resistor. The voltage impressed across the capacitor at t0 is zero volts. As time
progresses toward t1, the decreasing current causes progressively less voltage to be dropped
across the resistor (R), and more voltage builds up across the capacitor (C). At time t1, the
voltage felt across the capacitor is equal to the source voltage (6 volts), and the voltage dropped
across the resisior (R) is equal to zero. This is the complete charge cycle of the capacitor.

9-16
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

Useand/ord sclos-_: :
govehed by lhe slai:-on page2 oj ths Ct::-:-

rntesratedl{3"':ilg.:r*n

E i4p,
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RC circuit are exactly opposite to those in'a series


LR

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f

circuit.

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Figure 9.12

Discharge of an RC Series circuit.

Because s2 is closed at the same time 51


is open, the stored energy of the capacitor now has
path.for current to frow. nt,r, oir"r,urg"
cu-rrent (i6) from the bottom prate of the capacitor

a-

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-

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Module 3.9

Capacirance/Capacitor

g-17

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lJ.

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tr

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E Rf, EEf, 3R[ 4RC sRf, ERI


TrHE

Figure 9.13

-+

- The capacitor

discharge curve

The capacitor discharge is an exponential decay.


The discharge causes a corresponding voltage drop across the resistor as shown in f igure 9.1 2
graph (C). At time to, the current through the resistor is maximum and the voltage drop (vJ
across the resistor is maximum. As the current through the resistor decreases, the voltage drop
across the resistor decreases until at tr it has reached a value ol zero. Graph (D) shows the
voltage across the capacitor (vJ during the discharge cycle. At tlme t0 the voltage is maximum
and as time progresses toward time t1, the energy stored in the capacitor is depleted. At the
same time the voltage across the resistor is decreasing, the voltage (vJ across the capacitor is
decreasing until at time t1 the voltage (v.) reaches zero.
By comparing graph (A) with graph (D) of Figure 9.12, you can see the effect that capacitance
has on a change in voltage. lf the circuit had not contained a capacitor, the voltage would have
ceased at the instant 51 was opened at time te. Because the capacitor is in the circuit, voltage is
applied to the circuit until the capacitor has discharged completely at tr. The effect of
capacitance has been to oppose this change in voltage.

RC Time Constant
T_he.time required to charge a capacitor to 63 percent (actually 63.2 percent) of full charge or to
discharge it to 37 percent (actually 36.8 percent) of its initial voltage is known as the time
constant (Tc) of the circuit. The charge and discharge curves of a capacitor are shown in

Figure 9.14. Note that the charge curve is like the curve in Figure 9.11, and the discharge curve
like the curve in Figure g.1 3.

9-18
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

Use and/or disclosure s


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on Page 2 olthis ChaPler

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lLl

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'lRC 3Re 3Rf 4RC 5RC

TIME--ts

Figure 9.14 - RC time constant.

The value of the time constant in seconds is equal to the product of the circuit resistance in
ohms and the circuit capacitance in farads. The value of one time constant is expressed
mathematically as t = RC. Some forms of this formula used in calculating RC time constants are:

(in seconds)

R (in ohms) x C (in farads)

(in seconds)

R (in megohms) x C (in microfarads)

(in microseconds)

ft (in ohms) x C (in microfarads)

(in micro seconds)

R (in megohms) x C (in picofarads)

The graphs shown in Figure 9.11 and 9.13 are not entirely complete. That is, the charge or
discharge (or the growth or decay) is not quite complete in 5 RC time constants. However, when
the values reach 0.99 of the maximum (conesponding to 5 RC), the graphs may be considered
accurate enough for all practical purposes

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Use and/or disclosure is


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on page 2 oi lhis Chaprer.

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-19
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i.l.:,ilaa::a in ,::,aci.l:'.r,, \,"r il, l ri
a,l:,ra6a!,a..;:rnr iiI,ILiIii]I L pir:lu'irai:i

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Capacitors in Series and Parallel


Capacitors may be connected in series or in parallel to obtain a resultant value which may be
either the sum of the individual values (in parallel) or a value less than that of the smallest
capacitance (in series).

Capacitors in Series
The overall ef{ect of connecting capacitors in series is to move the plates of the capacitors
further apart. This is shown in Figure 9.15. Notice that the junction between C1 and C2 has both
a negative and a positive charge. This causes the junction to be essentially neutral. The total
capacitance o{ the circuit is developed between the left plate ol C1 and the right plate of C2.
Because these plates are farther apart, the total value of the capacitance in the circuit is
decreased. Solving for the total capacitance (Cr) of capacitors connected in series is similar to
solving lor the total resistance (Rr) of resisiors connected in parallel.

--

* r:*
----- 1f '
cT

I
t

$
lr
Figure 9.1 5 - Capacitors in series.
Note the similarity between the formulas for Rr and Cr:
1,

r\l _ 1 I
_-L_r..-_

Rl

'R2'

I
Rn

r\ | =

cr+cr+'cn
lf the circuit contains more than two capacitors, use the above formula. lf the circuit contains
only two capacitors, use the below formula: -

Cr=

9-20
Copyriqht 201

CZ

CI+C2

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

TTS lntegrated Training System


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Note: All values for cr,cr,c2, c3,... cn should be in farads. lt should be evident
from the above
formulas that the total capacitance of capacitors in series is less than tfr"
of any of
the individual capacitors.
"ipu"iiun"e

Example: Determine the total capacitance of a series circuit containing three capacitors
whose
values are 0.01 pF,0.25 pF, and 50,000 pF, respectively.

Given:

C1 0.01 ps
C2 0.25 ps
C3 = 50,00OpF

Soluti on:

"'
"-- -

#*#**

Cr=

1.-_---lo.o1pF 0.25pF 5 0,ooopF


7

F
1x10

Cr=

24xIO-

5x10-

t,*l-,----1tooxto6 ' 4xro6

' 2oxto6

cr=--1
,F
124xIOo
Cr = o.oo8 pF
The total capacitance of 0.008pF is slightly smaller than the smallest
capacitor (0.01pF).

Use and/or disclos0re is


govened by lhe statemenl
on page 2 oi lhis Chapler.

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-21
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Desig.ea l* .::.iiation v,/iih lhe


clrb{61,a-aan ql;ar::on prac1i.. ai.;

Capacitors in Parallel
When capacitors are connected in parallel, one plate of each capacitor is connected directly to
one terminal of the source, while the other plate of each capacitor is connected to the other
terminal of the source. Figure 9.16 shows all the negative plates of the capacitors connected
together, and all the positive plates connected together. Cr, therefore, appears as a capacitor
with a plate area equal to the sum of all the individual plate areas. As previously mentioned,
capacitance is a direct function of plate area. Connecting capacitors in parallel effectively
increases plate area and thereby increases total capacitance.
I

I
*

I
I

4l

ca :-k cr
-i t
I
I
I

Figure 9.16 - Parallel capacitive circuit.


For capacitors connected in parallel the total capacitance is the sum of all the individual
capacitances. The total capacitance of the circuit may by calculated using the formula:

Cr

C1

+ C2 +

C3 +.......C"

where all capacitances are in the same units.


Example: Determine the total capacitance in a parallel capacitive circuit containing three
capacitors whose values are 0.03 pF,2.0 pF, and 0.25 pF, respectively.
Given:

c1

0.03

prF

C2 -2VF
C3 = 0.25 pF
Solution:

Cr=Cr*Cz*Cs
Cr
Cr

= 0.03

pF

2.0 pF

+ 0.25

gF

2.28 VF

9-22
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

Use

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govemed by lhe nai-,


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The Fixed Capacitor


A fixed capacitor is constructed in such manner that it possesses a fixed value of capacitance
which cannot be adiusted. A fixed capacitor is classified according to the type of material used
as its dielectric, such as paper, oil, mica, or electrolyte.

A Paper Capacitor is made of flat thin strips of metal foil conductors that are separated by
waxed paper (the dielectric material). Paper capacitors usually range in value from about 300
picofarads to about 4 microfarads. The working voltage of a paper capacitor rarely exceeds 600
volts. Paper capacitors are sealed with wax to prevent the harmful effects of moisture and to
prevent corrosion and leakage.
Many different kinds of outer covering are used on paper capacitors, the simplest being a
tubular cardboard covering, Some types of paper capacitors are encased in very hard plastic.
These types are very rugged and can be used over a much wider temperature range than can
the tubular cardboard type. Figure 9.17 (A) shows the construction of a tubular paper capacitor;
Figure 9.17 (B) shows a completed cardboard-encased capacitor.
INSULATOR

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Figure 9.17 - Paper capacitor.

A Mica capacitor is made of metal foil plates that are separated by sheets of mica (the
dielectric). The whole assembly is encased in moulded plastic. Figure 9.1g (A) shows a cutaway view of a mica capacitor. Because the capacitor parts are moulded into a plastic case,
corrosion and damage to the plates and dielectric are prevented. ln addition, the moulded
plastic case makes the capacitor mechanically stronger. Various types of terminals are used on
mica capacitors to connect them into circuits. These terminals are also moulded into the plastic
case.
Mica is an excellent dielectric and can withstand a higher voltage than can a paper dielectric of
the same thickness. Common values of mica capacitors range from approximately 50 picofarads
to 0.02 microfarad. Some dilferent shapes of mica capacitors are shown in Figure 9.18 (B).

LJse

an.Yor disclosure is

governed by ths slalemeni


on paae 2 ofthis ChaDter

9-23

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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-ies !nei :i :l*ociatlon ltlia, ::Je


club66tia.ao$i qlesiion are.:ias aid

TERMIHAL

PLASTIC CASE

(A)

(Bl
Figure 9.18 - Typical mica capacitors.

A Ceramic Capacitor is so named because it contains a ceramic dielectric. One type of


ceramic capacitor uses a hollow ceramic cylinder as both the form on which to construct the
capacitor and as the dielectric material. The plates consist of thin lilms of metal deposited on
the ceramic cylinder.
A second type of ceramic capacitor is manufactured in the shape of a disk. After leads are
attached to each side of the capacitor, the capacitor is completely covered with an insulating
moisture-proof coating. Ceramic capacitors usually range in value from l Picofarad to 0.01
microfarad and may be used with voltages as high as 30,000 volts. some different shapes of
ceramic capacitors are shown in Figure 9.1g.

Figure 9.19 - Ceramic capacitors.

9-24

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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O Copyright 201

Use and/ordiscos!re
governed by lhe slateGon page 2 ollhis Chac::-

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An Electrolytic Capacitor is used where a large amount of capacitance is required. As the


name implies, an electrolytic capacitor contains an electrolyte. This electrolyte can be in the
form of a liquid (wet electrolytic capacitor). The wet electrolytic capacitor is no longer in popular
use due to the care needed to prevent spilling of the electrolyte.
A dry electrolytic capacitor consists essentially of two metal plates separated by the electrolyte.
ln most cases the capacitor is housed in a cylindrical aluminium container which acts as the
negative terminal of the capacitor (see Figure 9.20). The positive terminal (or terminals if the
capacitor is of the multisection type) is a lug (or lugs) on the bottom end of the container. The
capacitance value(s) and the voltage rating of the capacitor are generally printed on the side of
the aluminium case.
ALUMINUM
FOIL

PAPER

OXIDE FILM

tA)

l:
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Figure 9.20 - Construction of an electrolytic capacitor.

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Figure 9.21

- An electrolytic

Use and/or disclosure is


governed by lhe slaiement
on page 2 ol rhls chapter

capacitor

An example of a multisection electrolytic


capacitor is illustrated in Figure 9.20 (B). The
four lugs at the end of the cylindrical aluminium
container indicate that four electrolytic
capacitors are enclosed in the can. Each
section of the capacitor is electrically
independent of the other sections. lt is possible
for one section to be defective while the other
sections are still good. The can is the common
negative connection to the four capacitors.
Separate terminals are provided for the positive
plates of the capacitors. Each capacitor is
identified by an embossed mark adjacent to the
lugs, as shown in Figure 9.20 (B)" Note the
identifying marks used on the electrolytic
capacitor are the half moon, the triangle, the
square, and no embossed mark. By looking at

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-25
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asscciai:r.

club66pro.col. qra::i':.

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the bottom of the container and the identifying sheet pasted to the side of the container, you can
easily identify the value of each section.
lnternally, the electrolytic capacitor is constructed similarly to the paper capacitor. The positive
plate consists of aluminium foil covered with an extremely thin film of oxide. This thin oxide film
(which is formed by an electrochemical process) acts as the dielectric of the capacitor. Next to
and in contact wiih the oxide is a strip ol paper or gauze which has been impregnated with a
paste-like electrolyte. The electrolyte acts as the negative plate of the capacitor. A second strip
of aluminium foil is then placed against the electrolyte to provide electrical contact to the
negative electrode (the electrolyte). When the three layers are in place they are rolled up into a
cylinder as shown in Figure 9.20 (A).
An electrolytic capacitor has two primary disadvantages compared to a paper capacitor in that
the electrolytic type is polarized and has a low leakage resistance. This means that should
the positive plate be accidentally connected to the negative terminal of the source, the thin
oxide film dielectric will dissolve and the capacitor will become a conductor (i.e., it will shotl).
The polarity of the terminals is normally marked on the case of the capacitor. Since an
electrolytic capacitor is polarity sensitive, its use is ordinarily restricted to a DC circuit or to a
circuit where a small AC voltage is superimposed on a DC voltage. Special electrolytic
capacitors are available for cedain AC applications, such as a motor starting capacitor. Dry
electrolytic capacitors vary in size from about 4 microfarads to several thousand microfarads
and have a working voltage of approximately 500 volts.

>

The type of dielectric used and its thickness govern the amount of voltage that can safely be
applied to the electrolytic capacitor. lf the voltage applied to the capacitor is high enough to
cause the atoms of the dielectric material to become ionised, arcing between the plates will
occur. ln most other types of capacitors, arcing will destroy the capacitor. However, an
electrolytic capacitor has the ability to be self-healing. lf the arcing is small, the electrolytic will
regenerate itself . lf the arcing is too large, the capacitor will not self-heal and will become
defective.

9-26

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Oil Capacitors are often used in high-power electronic


equipment. An oilJilled capacitor is nothing more than a
paper capacitor that is immersed in oil. Since oil
impregnated paper has a high dielectric constant, it can be
used in the production of capacitors having a high
capacitance value. Many capacitors will use oil with
another dieleckic material to prevent arcing between the
plates. lf arcing should occur between the plates of an oilfilled capacitor, the oil will tend to reseal the hole caused
by the arcing. Such a capacitor is referred to as a selfhealing capacitor.

Figure 9.22

Oil capacitors

The Variable Capacitor


A variable capacitor is constructed in such manner that its value of capacitance can be varied. A
typical variable capacitor (adjustable capacitor) is the rotor-stator type. lt consists of two sets of
metal plates arranged so that the rotor plates move between the siator plates. Air is the
dielectric. As the position of the rotor is changed, the capacitance value is likewise changed.
This type of capacitor is used for tuning most radio receivers. lts physical appearance and its
symbol are shown in Figure 9.23.

RO TOR

STATOR

++

sYMBoL

Figure 9.23 - Rotor-stator type variable capacitor.


Another type of variable capacitor (trimmer capacitor) and its symbol are shown in Figure
9.23.
This capacitor consists of two plates separated by a sheet of mica. A screw adjustment is used
to vary the distance between the plates, thereby changing the capacitance.

):

t:

t:
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Use and/or disclosure is


governod by the statemenr
on page2 ol this Chapter.

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-27
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)es qne.i iir a3s.riaaion wlih |he
alub66prc.aoln qirarsilon pracliclt axl

MICA
DIELECTRIC
PLATES

+fr

sYnneol

Figure 9.23 - Trimmer capacitor.

9-28
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

Use an.ror disclos:= s


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Colour Codes for Capacitors


An lnternational colour coding scheme was developed many years ago as a simple way of
identifying capacitor values and tolerances. lt consists of coloured bands (in spectral order)
whose meanings are illustrated below:

1tl nF,

2tl%

1tt0v

4/nF , 10'/"
240V

Figure 9.24 - Ceramic capacitor colour bands


For each of these codes, collared dots or bands are used to indicate the value of the capacitor.
A mica capacitor, it should be noted, may be marked with either three dots or six dots. Both the
three- and the six-dot codes are similar, but the six-dot code contains more information about
electrical ratings of the capacitor, such as working voltage and temperature coefficient.

The capacitor shown in Figure 9.25 represents either a mica capacitor or a moulded paper
capacitor. To determine the type and value of the capacitor, hold the capacitor so that the three
arrows point left to right (>). The first dot at the base of the arrow sequence (the left-most dot)
represents the capacitor type. This dot is either black, white, silver, or the same colour as the
capacitor body. Mica is represented by a black or white dot and paper by a silver dot or dot
having the same colour as the body o{ the capacitor. The two dots to the immediate right of the
type dot indicate the first and second digits of the capacitance value. The dot at the bottom right
represents the multiplier to be used. The multiplier represents picofarads. The dot in the bottom
centre indicates the tolerance value of the capacitor.

):
):

I-

Use and/or disclosure is


Qoverned by the statement
on paqe 2 of lhis Chapter

Module 3.9 Capaciiance/Capacitor

9-25
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D|RECTIOI{ 0F ***
READIHG DOTS

CHAFACTE RISTIC
OR CTASS

,orr*n.L
Figure 9.25

Colour

Ye low

Digit

Digit

nlurr,rt,r*

The capacitor dot-code

- order of reading'

Temperature Working
Multiplier Tolerance Tolerance Coeflicient voltage
D

T > 1OPf

T < 1Opf

x1

+ 2.0pF

x10

+ 20"/"
+ 1"k

x100

x1000
x10k
x100k

f)

t)

xlm

-150x10-6

+1OO"/",-O'k

-220x10-6

5o/o

0.5pF

-330x10-6
-470x1 0-6

x0.01

+BO'/',-2O"k
+ 1oo/o

Figure 9.26

TTS lntegrated Training System


O Copyrighi 2011

-75x'10-6

x.3o/"

Mica capacitors

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

-33x'l 0-6

-750x10-6

o
x0.1
I
White
Table 9.2 - Colour code for capacitors.

9-30

r 0.1pF
r 0.25pF

TC

250v

400v
.100v

630v

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Example of mica capacitors.

RED BROIITH

WT{ITE

To read the capacitor colour code on the above capacitor:


Hold the capacitor so the arrows point left to right.

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wl{tt

Read the first digit dot.


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RED

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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

9-31
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Read the multiplier dot and multiply the first two digits by multiplier (Remember that the
multiplier is in picofarads).

Lastly, read the tolerance dot.

BLUE

According to the coding (see Table 9.2), the capacitor is a mica capacitor whose capacitance is
1200 pF with a tolerance of +l- 6o/o.
The six digits indicate a capacitance ol 2200 pF with a +
/-4oo/o tolerance and a working voltage
of 44 volts.

9-32
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Copyrioht 2011

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Converting

nF - pF
Capacitor colour code systems are very similar to resistor colour code systems, except that the
units are in the order of 10-'zF (=pF)
trrF

These units can be converted to nF and


Note:
1

PtF

prF in

accordance with table g.3.

10-o F

1nF = 10-eF

1PF:10 tzf
microfarads

(FF)

nanofarads

(nF)

nF
0.00001pF =0"01nF
0.0001pF =0.1nF
0.001pF =1nF
0.01pF
=10nF
0.1pF
=100nF
1UF
=1000nF
10;rF
=10,000nF
100pF
=100,000nF
0.000001pF

Table 9.3

0.001

picofarads (pF)
1pF

=10pF
=100pF
=1000pF
=10,000pF
=100,000pF
=1,000,000pF
=10,000,000pF
=100,000,000pF

Conversion of capacitor units

,:

Use andor disclosure is

governed by rhe stalment


on paqe 2 otihis chapter

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Numeric Codes
Like resistors, small capacitors such as film or disk types conform to the BS1852 Standard
where the colours are replaced by a letter coded system. The code consists of 2 or 3 numbers
and an optional tolerance letter code. Where a two number code is used the value of the
capacitor only is given in picofarads (i.e. +Z - 47 pF). A three letter code consists of the two
value digits and a multiplier much like a resistor colour code (i.e. 471: 47 xI0 = 470pF). Three
digit codes are often accompanied by an additional tolerance letter code.

Figure 9.27 - A ceramic disc capacitor


Figure 9.27 is a ceramic disc capacitor that has the code "473J" printed onto its body. This
translates to:
47pF x 1,000 (3 zero's) = 47,000 pF, 47nF or 0.047 pF
the J indicates a tolerance oI +/- 5o/"

The written letters used to identify the tolerance value are given below;
B=
C

0.1oF.

+ 0.25pF,

- * 0.5nF.

F:+1pFor*lo/o,
G:+2pFor*2oA,

- -lI 3o/o,
:
J
5o/o,
*
Kl0o/0,
-l
H

M=
P

=
=

20o/o,

+100o/o,-0o/o
+B0o/o,-20o/o.

9-34
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Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Basic Capacitor Testing


Some Digital Multimeters (DMMs) have modes for capacitor testing. These work well to
determine approximate pF rating. However, for most applications, they do not test at anywhere
near the normal working voltage or test for leakage. Normally, this type of testing requires
disconnecting at least one lead of the suspect capacitor from the circuit to get a reasonably
accurate reading - or any reading at all.
However, newer models may also test capacitors in-circuit. Of course, all power must be
removed and the capacitors should be discharged. This will generally work as long as the
components attached to the capacitor are either semiconductors (which won't conduct with the
low test voltage) or passive components with a high enough impedance to not load the tester
too much. The reading may not be as accurate in-circuit, but probably won't result in a lalse
negative (calling a capacitor good that is bad).

Caution: For this and any other testing of large capacitors and/or capacitors in power
supply, power amplifier, or similar circuits, make sure the capacitor is fully discharged or
your multimeter may be damaged or destroyed!
Volt-Ohm Meters (VOMs) or DMMs without capacitance ranges can make certain types of tests.
For small capacitors (0.01pf or less), all you can really test is for shorts or leakage. (However,
on an analogue multimeter on the high ohms scale you may see a momentary deflection when
you touch the probes to the capacitor or reverse them. A DMM may not provide any indication
at all.) Any capacitor that measures a few ohms or less is bad. Most should test infinite even on
the highest resistance range.
For electrolytic capacitors in the pF range or above, you should be able to see the capacitor
charge when you use a high ohms scale with the proper polarity - the resistance will increase
until it goes to (nearly) inlinity. lf the capacitor is shorled, then it will never charge. lf it is open,
the resistance will be infinite immediately and won't change. lf the polarity of the probes is
reversed, it will not charge properly either.

Note: lt is important to determine the polarity of the meter - they are not all the same. Red is
usually negative with (analogue) VOMs but positive with most DMMs.
lf the resistance never goes very high, the capacitor is leaky.

The best way to really test a capacitor is to substitute a known good one. A VoM or DMM will
not test the capacitor under normal operating conditions or at its full rated voltage. However, it is
a quick way of finding major faults.
A simple way of determining the capacitance fairly accurately is to build an oscillator using a
555 timer. Substitute the cap in the circuit and then calculate the C value from the frequency.

With a few resistor values, this will work over quite a wide range.
Alternatively, using a DC power supply and series resistor, capacitance can be calculated by
measuring the rise time to 63% of the power supply voltage from T-RC or C=T/R.

Use and/or disclosure is

govened by lhe slalemeni


on page 2 of lhis Chapter.

Module 3.9 Capacitance/Capacitor

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Licence Category 81 and 82
Electrical Fundamentals
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0 Magnetism

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Copyright Notice
worldwide rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced,
stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form by any other means whatsoever: i.e.
photocopy, electronic, mechanical recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of
Total Training Support Ltd.

@ Copyright. All

Knowledge Levels
Licence

Category A, Bl , 82 and C Aircraft Maintenance

Basic knowledge for categories A, B1 and 82 are indicated by the allocation of knowledge levels indicators ( 1 , 2 or
3) against each applicable subject. Category C applicants must meet either the category Bl or the category 82
basic knowledge levels.
The knowledge level indicators are defined as follows:

LEVEL

A lamiliarisation with the principal elements of the subject.


Objectives:
The applicant should be familiar with the basic elements ol the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a simple description of the whole subject, using common words and
examples.
The applicant should be able to use typical terms.

LEVEL 2
A general knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
An ability to apply that knowledge.
Objectives:
The applicant should be able to understand the theoretical fundamentals of the subject.
The applicant should be able to give a general description oi the subject using, as appropriate, typical
examplesThe applicant should be able to use mathematical formulae in conjunction with physical laws describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to read and understand sketches, drawings and schematics describing the
subject.
The applicant should be able to apply his knowledge in a practical manner using detailed procedures.

LEVEL 3
A detailed knowledge of the theoretical and practical aspects of the subject.
A capacity to combine and apply the separate elements ot knowledge in a logical and comprehensive
manner.
Objectives:
The applicant should know the lheory of the subject and interrelationships with other subjects.
The applicant shouid be able to give a detailed description of the subject using theoretical lundamentals
and specific examples.
The applicant should understand and be able to use mathematical formulae related to the subject.
The applicant should be able to read, understand and prepare sketches, simple drawings and schemalics
describing the subject.
The applicant should be able 10 apply his knowledge in a practical manner using manufacturer's
instructions.
The applicant should be able to interpret results lrom various sources and measurements and apply
corrective action where appropriate.

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Table of Contents

Module 3.10 Magnetism

(a)
Magnetic Materials
Ferromagnetic Materials
Natural Magnets
Arlificial Magnets
Permeability
Types of Magnetism
Magnetic Poles
The Earth's Magnetism
Theories of Magnetism
Effect of Breaking a Bar Magnet
Magnetic Fields
Magnetic Effects
Magnetic Flux
Magnetic lnduction
Magnetic Shielding
Magnet Shapes
Care of Magnets

5
5
5
5
6
7
B

o
10
13
15
15
18
19
20

2l
22
23

(b)
Electromagnetism
Force on a Conductor in a Magnetic Field
Electromagnets
Permeance
Electrical and Magnetic Circuit Comparison
Hysteresis
Summary of Magnetism Terms and Symbols

25
25
26
28
29
30
31
o!)

):

l.--

Use and/or disc os!r6 s


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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Module 3.10 Enabling Obiectives and Certification Statement


Certif ication Statement
These Study Notes comply with the syllabus of EASA Regulation 204212003 Annex lll (Part-66)
below:
Levels as
l. and the associated Knowl
Level

82

Prooerties of a maqnet
Action of a magnet suspended in the Eadh's

Maonetic shieldin
Various tvpes of maqnetic material
Electromagnets construction and principles of
Hand clasp rules to determine: magnetic field
around current carryinq conductor
Magnetomotive force, field strength, magnetic
flux density, permeability, hysteresis loop,
retentivity, coercive force reluctance, saturation
Precautions for care and storaqe of maqnets

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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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on page 2 oilhis Chapi:-

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Module 3.10 Magnetism


(a)

Magnetic Materials
Magnetism is generally defined. as that property of a material
which enables it to attract pieces
of iron' A material possessing this property is t no*n
a magnet. The word originated with the
ancient Greeks, who found stones poisesiing this characteristic.
""
Materials that ire attracted by
a magnet, such as iron, steer, nicker and cobart, have the ability to oecome
magnetizeo. rhese
are called magnetic materiars. Materiars, such as paper, wood, grass,
or tin, which are not
atkacted by magnets, are considered nonmagnetic. i\onmagnetic
materiars are not abre to
become magnetized.

Ferromagnetic Materials
The most important group of materials connected with electricity
and electronics are the
ferromagnetic materiars. Ferromagnetic materiars are those
,hi"h u;" ,;;iiu"ry
to
magnetize, such as iron, steer, cobalt, and the ailoys Arnico
"""y is made by
ano eermatioy. tni arrov
combining two or more erements, one of which
b" a metar). These n'ew afloys can be very
strongly magnetized, and are capabre of obtaining u
Jnirgn to lift 500
times their own weight.

rrlt

NaturalMagnets
Magnetic stones such as those found by the ancient
Greeks are considered to be naturar
magnets' These stones had the ability io attract small pieces
of iron in a manner similar to the
magnets which are common today. However, the magnetic
properties attrinutlJ to the stones
were products of nature and not the result of the effois
of man. ftre Oreets carr"o ,"""
substances magnetite.

The Chinese are said to have been aware of some of the


effects of
magnetism as earry as 2600 B.c. They observed that
stones simirar
to magnetite, when freely suspended, had a tendency to
assume a
nearly north and south direction. Because of the dire6tional
quality
of these stones, they were later referred to as toOesiones
or leading
stones.

,:
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llll1i:l
r\orway, and Sweden, no longer

,-,

have any practical use, for it is now


possible to easily produce more powerful magnets.

):

a,-,

a,-

rugn"ti";ii""sl[i;i

Figure 10.1 - Loadstone


a natural magnet

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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Artificial Magnets
Magnets produced f rom magnetic materials are called artificial magnets. They can be made in
a variety of shapes and sizes and are used extensively in electrical apparatus. Artificial magnets
are generally made from special iron or steel alloys which are usually magnetized electrically,
The material to be magnetized is inserled into a coil of insulated wire and a heavy flow of
electrons is passed through the wire. Magnets can also be produced by stroking a magnetic
material with magnetite or with another artificial magnet. The forces causing magnetization are
represented by magnetic lines of force, very similar in nature to electrostatic lines of force.

Arlificial magnets are usually classified as permanent or temporary, depending on their ability
to retain their magnetic properties after the magnetizing force has been removed. Magnets
made from substances, such as hardened steel and certain alloys which retain a great deal of
their magnetism, are called permanent magnets. These materials are relatively difficult to
magnetize because of the opposition offered to the magnetic lines of force as the lines of force
try to distribute themselves ihroughout the material. The opposition that a material offers to the
magnetic lines of force is called reluctance. All permanent magneis are produced from
materials having a high reluctance.

A material with a low reluctance, such as soft iron or annealed silicon steel, is relatively easy to
magnetize but will retain only a small part of its magnetism once the magnetizing force is
removed. Materials of this type that easily lose most of their magnetic strength are called
temporary magnets. The amount of magnetism which remains in a temporary magnet is
referred to as its residual magnetism. The ability of a material to retain an amount of residual
magnetism is called the retentivity of the material.
The difference between a permanent and a temporary magnet has been indicated in terms of
reluctance, a permanent magnet having a high reluciance and a temporary magnet having a
low reluctance. Magnets are also described in terms of the permeability of their materials, or
the ease with which magnetic lines of force distribute themselves throughout the material. A
permaneni magnet, which is produced from a material with a high reluctance, has a low
permeability. A temporary magnet, produced f rom a material with a low reluctance, would have
a high permeability.

10-6
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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Permeability
ln magnetism, permeability is the degree of magnetization of a material that responds linearly
to an applied magnetic field. Magnetic permeability is represented by the Greek letter p.
ln sl units, permeability is measured in henries per metre (H/m), or Newtons per ampere
squared (N/A2).

The constant value po is known as the magnetic constant or the permeability of free space
(vacuum), and has the exact or defined value po :4nx!0-7 H/m (L.25663T1 H/m).
Relative permeability, sometimes denoted by the symbol pr, is the ratio of the permeability of a
specific medium to the permeability ol free space given by the magnetic constant p6:

l"=!Fo
Materials may have their relative or absolute permeability quoted" From the transposition of
the equation above, absolute permeability, trr:

lr = Frx

l_r0

,:

Permeability (p) x10"6

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Mu-metal

25,000 H/m

Permalloy

10,000 H/m

Transformer iron

5000 H/m

Steel

875H/m

Nickel

l25H/m

Platinum

1..2569701H/m

Aluminium

t.2566650 H/m

Hydrogen

r.2566371, H/m

Vacuum

1..2566371,

Sapphire

7.2566368H/m

Copper

1..2566290 H/m

Water
Table 10.1

Use and/or disclosure ls


qoverned by the slalemenr
on page 2 oi lhis Chaprer.

H/m (po)

1.2566270 H/m
Permeabilities of some materials

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Types of Magnetism
Diamagnetism
Diamagnetism is a weak repulsion from a magnetic field. lt is a form of magnetism that is only
exhibited by a substance in the presence of an externally applied magnetic field.
All materials show a diamagnetic response in an applied magnetic field. ln fact, diamagnetism is
a very general phenomenon. However, for materials which show some other form of magnetism
(such as ferromagnetism or paramagnetism), the diamagnetism is completely overpowered.
Substances which only, or mostly, display diamagnetic behaviour are termed diamagnetic
materials, or diamagnets. Materials that are said to be diamagnetic are those which are
usually considered by non-physicists as "non-magnetic", and include water, most organic
compounds such as petroleum and some plastics, and many metals including copper,
particularly the heavy ones with many core electrons, such as mercury, gold and bismuth.
Diamagnetic materials have a relative permeability that is less than 1, and are therefore
repelled by magnetic fields. However, since diamagnetism is such a weak property its effects
are not observable in every-day life.

Paramagnetism
Paramagnetism is a lorm of magnetism which occurs only in the presence of an externally
applied magnetic field. Paramagnetic materials are attracted to magnetic fields, hence have a
relative permeability greater than one. The force of attraction generated by the applied field is
Iinearin the field strength and rather weak. ll typically requires a sensitive analytical balance to
detect the effect. Unlike ferromagnets, paramagnets do not retain any magnetization in the
absence of an externally applied magnetic field. Thus the total magnetization will drop to zero
when the applied field is removed" Even in the presence of the field there is only a small
induced magnetization. This fraction is proportional to the field strength and this explains the
linear dependency. The attraction experienced by ferromagnets is non-linear and much
stronger, so that it is easily observed on the door of one's refrigerator.
Ferromagnetism
Ferromagnetism is the "normal" form of magnetism with which most people are familiar, as
exhibited in horseshoe magnets and refrigerator magnets. lt is responsible for mosi of the
magnetic behaviour encountered in everyday life. The attraction between a magnet and
ferromagnetic material is "the quality" of magnetism first apparent to the ancient world, and to us
today," according to a classic text on ferromagnetism.

)r-'

Ferromagnetism is defined as the phenomenon by which materials, such as iron, in an external


magnetic field become magnetized and remain magnetized for a period after the material is no
longer in the field.
All permanent magnets are ferromagnetic, as are the metals that are noticeably attracied to
them.
Historically, the term ferromagnet was used for any material that could exhibit spontaneous
magnetization: a net magnetic moment in the absence of an external magnetic field. This
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general definition is still in common use. More recently, however, different classes of
spontaneous magnetisation have been identified. All of these magnetic effects only occur at
temperatures below a cedain critical temperature, called the Curie temperature.

Magnetic Poles
The magnetic force surrounding a magnet is not uniform. There exists a great concentration of
force at each end of the magnet and a very weak force at the centre. Proof of this fact can be
obtained by dipping a magnet into iron filings (figure 10.2). lt is found that many filings will cling
to the ends of the magnet while very few adhere to the centre. The two ends, which are the
regions of concentrated lines of force, are called the poles of the magnet. Magnets have two
magnetic poles and both poles have equal magnetic strength.

rr
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l;
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Figure 10.2 - A magnet dipped in iron filings


Law of Magnetic Poles
lf a bar magnet is suspended freely on a string, as shown in figure 10.3, it will align itself in a
nodh and south direction. When this experiment is repeated, it is found that the same pole of
the magnet will always swing toward the north magnetic pole of the earth. Therefore, it is called
the nodh-seeking pole or simply the north-pole. The other pole of the magnet is the southseeking pole or the south-pole.

l:

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Figure 10.3 - North-pole and South-pole


A practical use of the directional characteristic of the magnet is the compass, a device in which
a freely rotating magnetized needle indicator points toward the North-pole. The realization that

Use a.d/or disclos!re is


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Module 3.10 Magnelism

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the poles of a suspended magnet always move to a definite position gives an indication that the
opposiie poles of a magnel have opposite magnetic polarity.
The law previously stated regarding the attraction and repulsion of charged bodies may also be
applied to magnetism if the pole is considered as a charge. The north-pole of a magnet will
always be attracted to the south-pole of another magnet and will show a repulsion to a nodhpole. The law for magnetic poles is:

Like poles repel, unlike poles attract

The Earth's Magnetism


The fact that a compass needle always aligns itself in a particular direction, regardless of its
location on eadh, indicates that the earth is a huge natural magnet. The distribution of the
magnetic force about the earth is the same as that which might be produced by a giant bar
magnet running through the centre of the earth (figure 10.4). The magnetic axis of the earth is
located about 1S"lrom its geographical axis thereb y locating the magnetic poles some distance
from the geographical poles. The ability of the north-pole of the compass needle to point toward
the north geographical pole is due to the presence of the magnetic pole nearby. This magnetic
pole is named the magnetic North-pole. However, in actuality, it must have the polarity of a
south magnetic pole since it attracts the north-pole of a compass needle (see figure 10.4). The
reason for this conflict in terminology can be traced to the early users of the compass. Knowing
little about magnetic effects, they called the end of the compass needle that pointed towards the
north geographical pole, the north-pole of a compass. With our present knowledge of
magneiism, we know the north-pole of a compass needle (a small bar magnet) can be attracted
only by an unlike magnetic pole, that is, a pole of south magnetic polarity.

Ge*graph!e p*l*

Gc*rgraphi* qu&:sr

***lm*g*el!*

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Figure 10.4 - The earth's magnetic field

0-10

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Magnetic Variation
The earth's magnetic poles are some distance from the geographic or "true" poles. The
magnetic lines of force do not pass over the surface in a neat geometric pattern because they
are influenced by the varying mineral content of the earth's crust. For these reasons, there is
usually an angular difference, or variation, between true north and magnetic north from a given
geographic location. Although this variation is not equal at all points on the earth, it does follow
a pattern. Points of equal variation can be connected by an isogonic line, which can be plotted
accurately on a chart. ln some places this variation is easterly; other places it is westerly. This
variation is shown on sectional and IFR charls.

lnall,*::*,,, l.lF.l:lina?

t',,x.a1tATli:f.l

l:
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l:
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t:
t:
1:
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,;

a:

t;
t;
t;
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IJ
,;

Figure 10.5

Lines of variation

of the USA (example), and on IFR charts

Magnetic lnclination (Dip)


The lines of force in the earth's magnetic f ield pass
through the centre of the earth, exit at both magnetic
poles, and bend around to re-enter at the opposite pole.
Near the Equator, these lines become almost parallel to
the surface of the earth. However, as they near the poles,
they tilt toward the earth until in the immediate area of the
magnetic poles they dip rather sharply into the earth.
Because the poles of a compass tend to align themselves
with the magnet lines of force, the magnet within the
compass tends to tilt or dip toward the earth in the same
manner as the lines of force. This angle of inclination (or
'dip') can be measured with a specially constructed
compass.

,;

lt-

a;

L---

Use and/or discloslre is


governed by rhe stalement
on page 2 otlhis Chaprer

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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t

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]'-

tt
tt
r

D.3lqned i..ssociallol] wilh ihe


a

Theories of Magnetism
Weber's Theory
A popular theory of magnetism considers the molecular alignment of the material. This is known
as weber's theory. This theory assumes that all magnetic Jubstances are composed
of tiny
molecular magnets.

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r

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rt:
rt:

ub{;6t:a.ccn ireatia)r ll:a.iaiice tirl

Figure 10.6

The, tiny magnet, composition of Weber,s Theory

Any unmagnified material has the magnetic forces of its molecular magnets neutralized by
adjacent molecular magnets, thereby eliminating any magnetic effect. magnetized
material
will have most of its molecula.r magnets lined up so ifrat tfre north-pole of ea-ch molecule points
in one direction, and the south-pole faces the opposite direction. A material
with its molecules
thus aligned will then have one_effective north-pole, and one effective south-pole.
An illustration
of webers Theory is shown in figure 10.7, where a steel bar is magnetized by
sirot<ing. when a
steel bar is skoked several times in the same direction by a magne-t, the magnetic force
from
the nor.th-pole of the magnet causes the molecules to align theriselves.

,:

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a:
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rr
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rL-

BAR BFIHG ]IIIAGNE"NZTD

BAI1 ]rIA$HE:TEft

Figure 10.7 - Weber's Theory

Use andor disclosLr re is


governed by ihe statement
o. page 2 ollhis Chaprer.

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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d th lh.:
't paactica
c Lral:al:ra.atn qr,a:t:.ta
[-1-.riiga]a: :ir naisai:li:i

ilii.1

Domain Theory
A more modern theory of magnetism is based on the electron spin principle- From the study of
atomic structure it is known that all matter is composed of vast quantities o{ atoms, each atom
containing one or more orbital electrons. The electrons are considered to orbit in various shells
and sub-Jhells depending upon their distance from the nucleus. The structure of the atom has
previously been compared to the solar system, wherein the electrons orbiting the nucleus
to the planets orbiting the sun. Along with its orbital motion about the sun, each
"orrutpond
planet also revolves on its axis. li is believed that the electron also revolves on its axis as it
orbits the nucleus of an atom.
It has been experimentally proven that an electron has a magnetic field about it along with an
ol
electric field. The effectiveness of the magnetic field of an atom is determined by the number
electrons spinning in each direction. lf an itom has equal numbers of electrons spinning in
opposite diiectionl, the magnetic fields surrounding the electrons cancel one another, and the
aiom is unmagnified. Howeier, if more electrons spin in one direction than another, the atom is
magnetized. An atom with an atomic number of 26, such as iron, has 26 protons in the nucleus
and-26 revolving electrons orbiting its nucleus. lf 13 electrons are spinning in a clockwise
direction and 13 electrons are spinning in a counter-clockwise direction, the opposing magnetic
fields will be neutralized. When more than 13 electrons spin in either direction, the atom is
magnetized. An example of a magnetized atom of iron is shown in figure 10'B'
NUbEga

ot

NUMSER OI

$Pt!tNtN6

ELEC'RON5
SPlNl'l:X

COUNTER.

cLOCKtlltlSE

ELECTFCNs

atocKwtSE
NUCLXUS

3
1

3
1

,l

\ /

YiSit-"".-V

suBsHELt
TN..MPLETE

Figure 10.8 - Domain Theory

I
I

0-14

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a.do': s: ::.,=

govemed b\ i":
=:--E
on page 2 .'r : :---

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l-r!sl$re,l a'l es;ocla|o. wii:l the
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Effect of Breaking a Bar Magnet


The molecular theory of ma-gnetism is supported
by the fact that if a britfle bar of hard steel,
such as a hacksaw brade. is magnetized
ano tren'urot<en, eacr, piece witt iJu"r"gn"t,
u"
shown in figure 10 9' Theoreticaiiy, it
pi"""
o"
broken
up
into
smaller
and smaller
pieces until each was a molecule,
"u"h
"o"ii
all *"rfOitif
f n"l"d]vidual
magnets.

t:

r
l:

Figure 10.9 - Effect of breaking a bar magnet.

Magnetic Fields

r.iffi
f
r

,""J:::t;1,,l:,Tfly*'"X:JH*n.
:i!!:ff
:ffifl
{'x?::::t?:ff
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l:,l?:::;t,flflli.q:T":"{:l:"i-i;j_3,1il#:il1r[xnfi
mn""F
5t1ff
becomes a temporary"magnet..tf

qr,:!!!Fffi

:::l^ll:"

the gtass is now tapped genly, the iron

si:tll "J[T"",T,:'][ yfi [Ti::H n nru ;1;fl ffi nflt !;i ;r il ;


:"["i#ff ,f'ffi f :i:iJ::ir,.Iifl i:[H#'*'f T:r,:il;I,l1fi :T:',""*"f,'."

::fr ;i?xl

l,;"JJffi
I -

l--

rt;

weakens as the distance tt"nr


extends from one pore to the

t'" plr"";;;;;u"u".

"*r"r, ""*tiiriing

lt is also apparent that the magnetic field


a toop about the magnet.

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Module 3.10 Maqnetism

10-15
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D*$l!1.-"d in associatlon with lhe
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Figure 10.10 - Magnetic flux lines


Small compasses placed in the magnetic field will indicate the direction of the lines of
magnetism being from the nodh-pole to the south-pole.

Lines of Force
To fudher describe and work with magnet phenomena, lines are used to represent the force
existing in the area surrounding a magnet (refer to f igure 10.1 1 ). These lines, called magnetic
lines of force, do not actually exist but are imaginary lines used to illustrate and describe the
pattern of the magnetic field. The magnetic lines of force are assumed to emanate from the
north-pole of a magnet, pass through surrounding space, and enter the south-pole- The lines of
force then travel inside the magnet from the south-pole to the norlh-pole, thus completing a
closed loop.

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govemed by the stale.Eon paqe2 ol this Chat::'

+t-/
a-

lntegrated Training System


lleslgnC i.l assocla::o|] v,/iih fhe
alrb6Stro.call}r lre:ilarr a::ctiae elcl

E
t

rr
rr

rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
rr
t:

Figure 10.1 1 - Magnetic lines of force


When two magnetic poles are brought close together, the mutual attraction or repulsion of the
poles produces a more complicated pattern than that of a single magnet. These magnetic lines
of force can be plotted by placing a compass at various points throughout the magnetic field, or
they can be roughly illustrated by the use of iron filings as before. A diagram of magnetic poles
placed close together is shown in f igure 1 0.1 2.

a:

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rt:

Figure 10.12 - Attraction and repulsion between magnets

l:

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Use and/ordisclosure is
governed by the statement
on page 2 olthis chapler.

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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re5ig.rd

:r: .ss.rialicn
'//lil lhe
.l.rb5atro.acfi q.renlicr prarlco aid

Although magnetic lines of force are imaginary, a simplified version of many magnetic
phenomena can be explained by assuming the magnetic lines to have cedain real properties.
The lines of force can be compared to rubber bands which stretch outward when a force is
exerted upon them and contract when the force is removed. The characteristics of magnetic
lines of force can be described as follows:

Magnetic lines of force are continuous and will always form closed loops.
Magnetic lines of force will never cross one another.
Parallel magnetic lines ol force travelling in the same direction repel one another.
Parallel magnetic lines of force travelling in opposite directions tend to unite with
each other and form into single lines travelling in a direction determined by the
magnetic poles creating the lines of force.
Magnetic lines of force tend to shorten themselves, Therefore, the magnetic lines
of force existing between two unlike poles cause the poles to be pulled together'
Magnetic lines of force pass through all materials, both magnetic and
nonmagnetic,
Magnetic lines of force always enter or leave a magnetic material at right angles to
the surface.

Magnetic Effects
Magnetic Flux. The total number of magnetic lines of force leaving or entering the pole
of a magnet is called magnetic flux. The number of flux lines per unit area is known as
f lux density.
Field lntensity. The intensity of a magnetic field is directly related to the magnetic force
exerted by the field.
Attraction/Repulsion. The intensity of attraction or repulsion between magnetic poles
may be described by a law almost identical to Coulomb's Law of Charged Bodies. The
force between two poles is directly proportional to the product of the pole strengths and
inversely proporlional to the square of the distance between the poles.

10-18
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U*

an3

:' is:.sr- :

govemsj :r :' ff
on pa! 2 r -s ::aE

L
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rt
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lntegrated Training System


il.$ignecl in as.r.lallpn with the
cl!b6atro.com quesl:.i practice aid

Magnetic Flux
The lines of magnetic force previously described, are more properly known as lines of flux. The
unit of magnetic flux is the Weber (Wb) named after Wilhelm Edouard Weber ('1804-91) and the
symbol for magnetic flux is

Flux Density
The effectiveness of a magnetic field is determined not by the total amount of flux but by the
density of flux. A given flux spread over a greater cross-sectional area will produce a field of
less intensity. On the other hand, if the flux can be concentrated into a smaller cross-section a
more effective field is produced. Thus, an impodant property of a magnetic field is the flux
density (B), defined as the flux per unit area of cross-section.
Flux Density (B)

Ftux

Cross Sectional Area (A)


D__

o
A

The unit of flux density is the Tesla (T), named after Nikola Tesla (1857-1943).

rl

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in lhr iroa
.- '. ii-i
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(ti-;=:
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rli

Figure 10.13 - Flux concentration

Tesla

Weber
MetreZ

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Use and/or disclosure is


by the slatemenl
on page 2 ofrhis chapter.

lovehed

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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tesi3a.ra r. esaatl{ on ;:l':a: :ac
clL-ibllit:a:.aarrr :i::a:irar pr;,ia:!a{" :licl

Magnetic Induction
of
It has been previously stated that all substances that are attracted by a magnet are capable
the
material
indicates
becoming magnetized. The fact that a material is attracted by a magnet
must itself be a magnet at the time of attraction.

with the knowledge of magnetic fields and magnetic lines of force developed up to this point, it
is simple to underitand thi manner in which a material becomes magnetized when brought
lines
near a magnet. As an iron nail is brought close to a bar magnet (figure 10.14), some flux
their
emanating"from the norlh-pole of the riagnet pass through the iron nail in completing
io the
magnetic-path. Since magnetic lines of fJrce iravel inside a magnet from the.south-pole
adjacent to
nor1"h-pole, the nail will bJ magnetized in such a polarity that its south-pole will be
magnets'
two
the north-pole of the bar magnet. There is now an attraction between the

MAC!tETlZll.lG

NAIL

UHLIKE PALTS ATTiACT


Figure 10.14 - Magnetic induction
lf another nail is brought in contact with the end of the first nail, it would be magnetized by
induction. This proceJs could be repeated until the sirength of the magnetic flux weakens as
distance from the bar magnet increases. However, as soon as the first iron nail is pulled away
from the bar magnet, all the nails will fall. The reason being that each nail becomes a temporary
magnet, and as soon as the magnetizing force is removed, their domains once again assume a
random distribution.
Magnetic induction will always produce a pole polarity on the material being magnetized
opp"osite that of the adjaceni pole of the magnetizing force. lt is sometimes possible to bring a
weak nodh-pole of a magnet near a strong magnet north-pole and note attraction between the
poles. The weak magnet, when placed within the magnetic field of the strong magnet, has its
magnetic polarity revlrsed by the field of the stronger magnet. Therefore, it is attracted to the
opp*osite pole. F-or this r"u.on, you must keep a very weak magnet, such as a compass needle.
away from a strong magnet.
Magnetism can be induced in a magnetic material by several means. The magnetic material
r"i n" placed in the magnetic field, brought into contact with a magnet, or stroked by a

10-20
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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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governed by lhe slale-
on page 2 olthls Cha::

J.,

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L.

1:

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lntegrated Training System

Deslgfled jn asscc1.ai.. *la: ihe

alr.raajCprc.cori

qIerac]r p.aci;c! aid

magnet. Stroking and contact both indicate actual contact with the material but are considered
in magnetic studies as magnetizing by induction.

Magnetic Shielding
There is no known insulator for magnetic flux. lf a nonmagnetic material is placed in a
magnetic field, there is no appreciable change in flux - that is, the flux penetrates the
nonmagnetic material. For example, a glass plate placed between the poles of a horseshoe
magnet will have no appreciable effect on the field although glass itself is a good insulator in an
electric circuit. If a magnetic material (for example, soft iron) is placed in a magnetic field, the
flux may be redirected to take advantage ol the greater permeability of the magnetic material,
as shown in figure 10.15. Permeability, as discussed earlier, is the quality of a substance which
determines the ease with which it can be magnetized.

t;
t:
r

rr
rr
rt:
rr
rt:

Figure 10.15

Flux lines follow the path of least permeability

The sensitive mechanisms of electric instruments and meters can be influenced by stray
magnetic fields which will cause errors in their readings. Because instrument mechanisms
cannot be insulated against magnetic flux, it is necessary to employ some means of directing
the flux around the instrument. This is accomplished by placing a sofliron case, called a
magnetic screen or shield, about the instrument. Because the flux is established more readily
through the iron (even though the path is longer) than through the air inside the case, the
instrument is effectively shielded, as shown by the watch and soft-iron shield in figure 10.16.

t:
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rl:
rt

a'

Use and/or dlsclosure is


govemed by rhe sralemenr
on paqe 2 oi this Chapter.

Module 3.10 Magnetism

10-21
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:,1;si0ned

ir .33.riati.rn !rli1

al!.b66 o.con.:iresl;on

il.

pracaiaa

aiil

50ft iron

Figure 10.16 - Magnetic shielding

Magnet Shapes
Because of the many uses of magnets, they are found in various shapes and sizes. However,
magnets usually come under one of three general classif ications: bar magnets, horseshoe
magnets, or ring magnets.

The bar magnet is most often used in schools and laboratories for studying the properties and
effects of magnetism. ln the preceding material, the bar magnet proved very helpful in
demonstrating magnetic eff ects.

Figure 10.17

Bar magnets

Another type of magnet is the ring magnet, which is used for computer memory cores. A
common application for a temporary ring magnet would be the shielding of electrical
instru ments.

Figure 10.18- Ring magnets

10-22

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Module 3.10 Magnetism

Usea.d.':<,:s-=:
E!:. >-=ry
2.'-: :--=

goveneo

on page

1L-"

lntegrated Training System

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The shape of the magnet most frequently used in electrical and electronic equipment is called
the horseshoe magnet. A horseshoe magnet is similar to a bar magnet but is bent in the shape
of a horseshoe. The horseshoe magnet provides much more magnetic strength than a bar
magnet of the same size and material because of the closeness of the magnetic poles. The
magnetic strength from one pole to the other is greatly increased due to the concentration of the
magnetic field in a smaller area. Electrical measuring devices quite frequently use horseshoetype magnets.

,:

Figure 10.'19

Horseshoe magnet

|;

Care of Magnets

,:

A piece of steel that has been magnetized can lose much of its magnetism by improper
handling. lf it is janed or heated, there will be a misalignment of its domains resulting in the loss
of some of its effective magnetism. Had this piece of steel formed the horseshoe magnet of a
meteI, the meter would no longer be operable or would give inaccurate readings. Therefore,
care must be exercised when handling instruments containing magnets. Severe jarring or
subjecting the instrument to high temperatures will damage the device.

|:

,;

A magnet may also become weakened from loss of flux. Thus when
storing magnets, one should always try to avoid excess leakage of
magnetic flux. A horseshoe magnet should always be stored with a
keeper, a soft iron bar used to join the magnetic poles. By using the
keeper while the magnet is being stored, the magnetic flux will
continuously circulate through the magnet and not leak off into space.
Figure 1 0.20 - Horseshow
magnet and keeper

|:

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r

rr
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7:
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When bar magnets are stored, the same principle must be


remembered. Therefore, bar magnets should always be stored in
pairs with a nodh-pole and a south-pole placed together, ideally
also with keepers. This provides a complete path for the magnetic
flux without any flux leakage.
Figure 10.21 - Bar magnets
- stored end{o-end with keepers

Use and/or disclosure is


qovemed by the statement
on page 2 of lhis chapter.

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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(b)

Electromagnetism
During a lecture demonstration in 1820 the Danish scientist Hans Christian Oersted (17701851) noticed that a compass needle, placed near to a current-carrying wire, was deflected from
its normal North-South position. This may not sound a very remarkable discovery, but Oersted
realized that it was evidence of a fundamental and far reaching fact. A magnetic field is
established around any conductor when current is passing through it. The lines of force which
depict such a field take the form of concentric circles disposed around the surface of the
conductor. The relationship between direction of current through the conductor and the direction
of flux produced around the conductor is the same as that of the forward movement and rotation
of a screw with a right-hand thread or the familiar corkscrew.

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pr0ruae * 3 m*qriflr[ fi*l{ la3: ]:i.::rl;lat in

.I,n

rri

{:a{k',qt*,:irn(lr4n

Figure 10.22 - Magnetism around a current carrying wire, and the Corkscrew Rule

The same relationship can be described with the Right Hand Clasp rule. Here, the fingers are
imagined to be clasped around the conductor, with the thumb pointing in the direction of
conventional current flow, and the fingers point in the direction of magnetic flow around the
conductor.

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Figure 10.23

llse and/or dlsclosure is


governed by lhe slalement
on Page 2 oj lhis Chapter.

- The Right Hand Clasp Rule

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Desig.ta :r assatiation \t/ill:he
alubaa!ra.ao.r q.restion

traclc!

a:d

Consider the circumstances when two conductors carrying current lie parallel with each other.
Each conductor is surrounded with a magnetic field, the lines of force being of elastic nature
and because they cannot intersect each other, their form is modified to constitute a resultant
field as shown.

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,,-:il1l-:1r.'

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_-

Figure 10.24 - Attraction and Repulsion of Two Conductors


Note how, with current flowing in the same direction in both conductors, the lines of force tend
to encircle the two conductors and so produce mutual attraction between them. With current
flowing in opposite directions in the conductors, then the mutual repulsion between the two
individual fields tends to drive the conductors apart.

Force on a Conductor in a Magnetic Field


lf a current carrying conductor is introduced into a maqnetic field at right angles to it, the
conductor will experience a force directed at right angies to both the direction of the lines of flux
and the direction of current. The rule for remembering these directions is called Fleming's Left
Hand (Motor) Rule. To apply the rule, set the thumb, first finger and second finger of the Ieft
hand at right angles to each other as shown. The thuMb indicates the direction of Motion when
the First finger is in the direction of the magnetic lines of Flux, and the seCond finger is in the
direction of the conventional Current flow in the wire.

10-26
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Module 3.10 Magnetism

Use aac._

ri::s--

qovemed c? :-. --]ry


on page 2 :' :,: ::a:-{

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al!b55pro.coor !lLresll& aracilce aid

\F*

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"?,gilTgl,
Figure 10.25 - Fleming's Left Hand
Rule
The magnitude of the force on a current carrying conductor at right angles to a magnetic field
depends on three factors.

.
2.
3.
1

The magnetic flux density (B).


The magnitude of the current flowing in the conductor (I).
The length of the conductor in the magnetic field .
metres)

Therefore force,

Force

BI

ln the case where the conductor is not at right angles to the magnetic field, the angle between
the conductor and the field ( ) has to be taken into account and the formula becomes

E_

F-BI

l-

a:
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t:
a:
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: ^ #=.U'

EFsb F#

I P.2r

sin

rrt

,:

rr
rr
r

l--

llur
drality
Dperlo;

==c':I=-],

fortr
lqvl al pcp. il

Bri^0

\l

tii

lor.r
lc"t ol too.r,
BI L.:n 0

rr drr(rd

Btr
1.. r t.nl

'l

lre

Figure 10.26 - Conductor Not at Right Angles to the Magnetic Field

Use anluor disciosure is


governed by lhe slatement
on page 2 oflhls chaote.

Module 3.10 Magnetism

10-27
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;csigned l* .s.rletion with l;'re
a:!b66pro.ccin {:treiiign pracllce

s1d

Electromagnets
lf a current carrying conductor is formed into a single loop, the lines of force encircling the
conductor will all pass through the loop in the same direction. A coil or solenoid is simply a
conductor formed into a number of loops and the lines of force travels the coil lengthwise and
complete themselves through the surrounding medium. The form of the field of a solenoid is
thus similar to that of a simple bar magnet. The polarity of a solenoid is found by using the
Right Hand Grasp Rule; imagine the solenoid grasped by the right hand with the fingers
pointing in the direction of the conventional current, then the outstretched thumb will point
towards the North-pole of the solenoid.

IrltF='

:i il j
'')',

Figure 10.27 - Right Hand Grasp Rule


When current is llowing in a solenoid it produces a Magneto Motive Force (MMF) and its value
is a product of the current and the number of turns on the coil, NI or Ampere Turns (AT). The
magnetic field sirength (Symbol H) of a solenoid is defined in terms of Magneto Motive Force
per unit length (1 Metre) and is therefore measured ln Ampere-Turns per metre.

H_N

Ampere-Turns per Metre.

Compared with a permanent magnet, a solenoid carrying current produces remarkably little
magnetic flux, but the output can be increased enormously by inserting an iron core into the coil.
This is because iron has a permeability several thousand times that of air.
Permeability (the relative ease with which lines of force pervade a material) is defined by the
ratio of flux density B to magnetic field strength F1 at any point in free space and is called the
permeability of free space. lt is represented by the symbol o. Thus in free space

Fo=

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Module 3. 10 Magnetism

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Pernreance

ln electromagnetic theory, permeance is the inverse of reluctance. Permeance is a measure of


the quantity of flux for a number of current-turns in magnetic circuit. A magnetic circuit almost
acts as though the flux is 'conducted', therefore permeance is larger for large cross sections of a
material and smaller for longer lengths. This concept is analogous to that of electrical
conductance.

It differs from permeability in that it includes the dimensions of the magnetic medium, whereas
permeability does not. This is in the same way that, in electrical terms, resistance differs from
resistivity.

The equation for permeance is:

o
_=

NI

A = Permeance
<D
= Flux
NI = Current-turns (current x number of coils)

The Sl unit of permeance is'Webers per Ampere-turn' given as \ /b/At

Use ancuordisclosure ls
lpverned by the slarement

.o paoe 2 ollhis chapter

Module 3.10 Magnetism

10-29
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lntegrated Training System


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Electrical and Magnetic Circuit Comparison


Electricity and magnetism have a lot in common in terms of their behaviour. When applied to an
electric circuit and a magnetic circuit respectively, only the symbols and units differ.

FERRITE CORE

LOWRELUCTANCE

RICHRELUCIANG
AIR GAP

Figure 10.28

Electrical and Magnetic circuits

Electric Circuit

Magnetic Circuit

Quantity

Unit

Quantity

Unit

E.M,F.

Volt (v)

M.M,F.

Ampere-turn (At)

Current (I)

Ampere (A)

magnetic f lux

Resistance (R)
Conductance (C)

ohm(

Reluctance (R)
Permeance ( A)

Siemens

(S)

E.M.F.=lxR
Table 10.2

Weber (wb)

AmpereturnMeber (Atlwb)
Webers/Ampereturn (Wb/At)
M.M.F.

xR

Comparison of electrical and magnetic terms

The magnetic circuit differs from the electric circuit in the following important respects:-

a)

The current in the electric circuit is confined to a defined path by insulating material on
the circuit conductors; the flux in the magnetic circuit cannot be restrained in this manner,
since there is no known "insulator'' for magnetic {lux (not even a vacuum) - the flux can
only be "lured" into the desired path by making the latter of low reluctance.

b)

The resistance of an electric circuit is almost constant, the reluctance of a magnetic


circuit, on the other hand, varies over a wide range by reason of changes in permeability
which decreases rapidly as saturation point is approached.

10-30
TTS lntegrated Training System
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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Hysteresis
Saturation point in a material being magnetized is reached when an increase in magnetic field
strength produces only a small increase in flux density. At this stage all the magnetic domains
(groups of atoms with the electron orbits aligned, which can be thought of as little magnets) in
the material are aligned and the increase in flux density is only that which would occui in free
space. The effect is cleady shown by the graphs of B/H curves for a number of ferromagnetic
materials-

J,L:.

Jl_.

E
E.
E
L:

r.
L:

ttL--:-.

E.

L--

tlL-*'

tooo

aooo tooo

{+oo

H ora.gcrcl4ttg

Figure 10.29 - B-H Curves


These curves have been drawn on the assumption that the iron had no trace of magnetism at
the commencement. lf, however, the iron is already magnetized to some extent, the new
magnetism may aid or oppose that which exists. lf it opposes the existing magnetism it is found
that the change in flux density lags behind the magnetic field strength. t6is efiect is called
'Hysteresis" and it is usually studied by considering a complete c/cle of magnetism, which
entails magnetizing in one direction of polarity, thenin the opposite directionlnd finally in the
initial direction again. A typical graph for a sample of iron is shown, the arrows indicating the
direction of magnetism from the commencement. lt should be noted that in this case the iron
has been magnetized to saturation in both directions_

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Module 3.10 Magnetism


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Figure 10.30 - HYsteresis LooP

Thegraph,knownasa..HysteresisLoop,',makes_clearthemagneticpropertie'softhematerial
u*i. i4' i. the "Residual" f lux density when H has been (c)
concerned. The intercept
The intercept on the ll axis
";il;;
reduced to zero and is called the "Remanence" of the material
zero and is called the coercivity o{
is the "Coercive Force" r-"quir"O-to reduce the residual flux to
the material.
and coercivity, indicate
The three properties of a magnetic maierial, permeability, remanence
material for permanent
its usetulnLss for a particularif plication. Foi example, a suitable
for electro.nugnlt" would have high coercivity and high remanence; a suitable material Typical
coercivity.
|.nudn"t, would have frilfr permeabitity but low remanence and low
Hysteresis LooPs are:-

Figure 10.31 - Hysteresis Loops for Soft lron and Hard Steel
wasted (converted to heat)
The area enclose by the Hysteresis Loop is a measure of the energy
energy is known as "Hysteresis
in magnetizing anO Oemagneiizing a maierial. The wasted
Loss".

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Module 3.10 Magnetism

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Summary of Magnetism Terms and Symbols


Name

Description

Magnetic
Flux

A measure of quantity of magnetism, taking into


account the strength and the extent of a magnetic

Sl Unit
Weber (wb)

Jield.

Magnetic
Flux Density

Magnetic
field strength
(Magnetizing
force)
Magneto
Molive Force

Reluctance

The amount of magnetic flux through a unit area


taken perpendicular to the direction of the magnetic
flux. AIso called magnetic induction. Calculated by
magnetic f/ux divided by cross sectional area
A vector quantity indicating the ability of a magnetic
lield to exed a force on moving electric charges. lt is
equal to lhe magnetic flux density divided by the
magnetic permeability ol the space where the field
exists. lt is measured in amperes per meter. Also
called magnetic intensity.

Any physical cause that produces magnetic flux

Teslas (T)

Ampereturns/Metre
(Atlm)

MMF

,;

A measure of the opposition to magnetic flux,


analogous to electric resistance.

a:
a;

The ability of a substance to allow magnetism to


pass through it .
The constant value po is known as the magnetic
constant or the permeability of vacuum, and has ihe
exact or defined value po 4trx10 7 H/m.

tl

,;

rr
a;

Permeability

Permeance

Coercivity

|:
Remanence

G
):
':

t:
r
,:

rr
l-

AmpereturnsAlVeber

(Atlwb)
Henries/metre
(H/m)

,;

Ampere-turns
(A0

Hysteresis

Use an.tor disclos!re is


governed by the statemenl
on Pag 2 olthis Chapler

Webers per

The degree to which a material admits a flow of


magnetism. The inverse of reluctance.

The force which in iron or steel produces a slowness


or difficulty in imparting magnetism to it, and also
interposes an obstacle to the return of a bar to its
natural state when active magnetism has ceased. A
form of Magnetic field strength.

Amperes/Metre
(A/m)

The magnetic flux density remaining in a material,


especially a ferromagnetic material, after removal of
the magnetizing field. Good permanent magnets
have a high degree of remanence. Also called
rete ntiv ity, or res id ual mag n etism.

Teslas (T)

Ampereturn'
(wb/A)

The magnetization of a material such as iron


depends not only on the magnetic f ield it is exposed
to but on previous exposures to magnetic fields.

Module 3.10 Magnetism

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