Notes On Current Flow In Circuits

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Taylor Blakely PHY 174 – J TA: Rabindra Pahari Formal: Science Column #2 Due: 04/29/2014 Current Flow in Circuits Electric current: the flow of electric charge; moving electrons are what often carry this charge through a wire. Current can also be carried by ions; however, for this column the focus will be on the current carried in a wire by moving electrons or individual moving charges. This current flow produced is measured as a rate of one Coulomb (C) that moves through a cross-sectional area per second, otherwise known as an Ampere. Once a current is placed in a circuit, the current will continue to move through that circuit as long as there is a potential difference present. This potential difference is more commonly known as a source of emf which can be thought of as a charge pump; examples of a source of emf would be a battery or a generator. Electric current causes many different outcomes, or consequences depending on the system that the current is acting in. These different aftereffects include heating and inducing magnetic fields. Currents can also be manipulated by resistors and capacitors. Among that, the way the resistors and/or capacitors are arranged in the circuit will have a particular effect on the current. This means that if resistors are in parallel, the current will behave differently that in they were in series; the same concept applies to capacitors. The scientific column to follow will attempt to better explain current in circuits that contain only resistors or resistors and capacitors. When a potential difference is applied to a wire, it creates an electric field that as a result yields a current. Due to this relationship, it is found that the current is proportional to the potential difference and the... ... middle of paper ... ...t malfunction, a person may need to have a pacemaker put in place in their chest because their heart can no longer produce the current naturally. This pacemaker produces an artificial current that is transferred to the tissue that allows the heart to generate a pulse and beat on its own. Circuits are also present in households and vehicles. Circuits are present on the engines of cars to aid in starting the engine and controlling all of the electronics in the car. In households, a circuit is typically present in the breaker box of the house. Here, circuits are used as a safety feature and if too much current is passed through a specific point in this box, a switch will automatically flip and end the flow of current. Current flow is very pertinent in the everyday life of people; however, it is never thought of as more than something we use to make it through the day.
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