# Unit 3 Overview: Electric Circuits

6 min readmarch 13, 2023

Riya Patel

26 resources
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## Overview

Electric circuits are systems that allow the flow of electric current. They consist of various components, such as voltage sources, resistors, capacitors, inductors, and switches, that are connected by conducting wires. Electric circuits can be found in numerous everyday devices, such as cell phones, computers, and home appliances.
The analysis and design of electric circuits are essential in many fields, such as electrical engineering, physics, and electronics. The behavior of electric circuits is governed by fundamental laws and principles, such as Ohm's law, Kirchhoff's laws, and Gauss's law. These laws describe the relationships between the electric current, voltage, and resistance, and they allow us to predict the behavior of complex circuits.
One of the key concepts in electric circuits is the idea of a circuit diagram. A circuit diagram is a graphical representation of an electric circuit, and it shows the components and their connections in a schematic form. By using circuit diagrams, we can analyze and design complex circuits with ease.
Electric circuits can be classified into two broad categories: direct current (DC) circuits and alternating current (AC) circuits. In a DC circuit, the electric current flows in only one direction, while in an AC circuit, the direction of the current changes periodically. AC circuits are used in many applications, such as power generation and transmission, while DC circuits are used in battery-powered devices and electronic systems.
Electric circuits are an essential part of modern technology, and the analysis and design of circuits are important skills for anyone working in fields such as electrical engineering, physics, and electronics. By understanding the principles of electric circuits, we can create innovative and efficient systems that can benefit society in many ways.

### Key Vocabulary

• Electric current: The flow of electric charge in a circuit.
• Voltage: A measure of the electric potential difference between two points in a circuit, which causes current to flow.
• Resistance: The property of a material or component that resists the flow of current.
• Ohm's law: The law that describes the relationship between current, voltage, and resistance in a circuit.
• Kirchhoff's laws: Two laws that describe the conservation of charge and energy in a circuit, which are used for circuit analysis.
• Capacitor: A component that stores electrical energy in an electric field.
• Inductor: A component that stores electrical energy in a magnetic field.
• Alternating current (AC): A type of electric current that periodically reverses direction.
• Direct current (DC): A type of electric current that flows in only one direction.
• Circuit diagram: A graphical representation of an electric circuit that shows the components and their connections.
• Electric power: The rate at which electric energy is transferred or consumed in a circuit.
• Electric field: A region around an electric charge or charged object in which an electric force is exerted on other charged objects.
• Electric flux: A measure of the flow of an electric field through a surface.
• Gauss's law: A fundamental principle in electromagnetism that relates the electric field to the distribution of electric charge.

### 3.1 Current and Resistance & 3.2 Current, Resistance, and Power

In physics, electric current, resistance, and power are all interrelated concepts in the field of electromagnetism.
Electric current is the rate at which electric charge flows through a material, and it is measured in amperes (A). The flow of electric charge is caused by a potential difference or voltage, which is measured in volts (V). The relationship between electric current, voltage, and resistance is described by Ohm's law, which states that the current through a conductor is proportional to the voltage across it and inversely proportional to its resistance. Mathematically, Ohm's law can be written as I = V/R, where I is the current, V is the voltage, and R is the resistance.
Resistance is a measure of how much a material resists the flow of electric current, and it is measured in ohms (Ω). The resistance of a material depends on its physical properties, such as its dimensions, temperature, and composition. Materials that have high resistance, such as insulators, are poor conductors of electricity, while materials with low resistance, such as metals, are good conductors.
Power is the rate at which energy is transferred, and it is measured in watts (W). In an electrical circuit, power is equal to the product of the current and the voltage, which can be written as P = IV. This relationship is known as the power law.

### 3.3 Steady-State Direct-Current Circuits with Batteries and Resistors Only

In a steady-state direct-current (DC) circuit, the electric current, and voltage do not change with time. A DC circuit typically consists of a voltage source, such as a battery, and a load, which is usually a resistor or a combination of resistors. The goal of the circuit analysis is to determine the current flow through the circuit and the voltage across each component.
The behavior of the circuit is governed by Ohm's law, which states that the current through a resistor is proportional to the voltage across it, and the proportionality constant is the resistance of the resistor. Kirchhoff's laws are also used to analyze the circuit. Kirchhoff's current law (KCL) states that the sum of the currents flowing into a node in a circuit is equal to the sum of the currents flowing out of the node. Kirchhoff's voltage law (KVL) states that the sum of the voltage drops across all components in a closed loop is equal to the voltage supplied by the source.
To analyze a DC circuit with batteries and resistors only, one can use the following steps:
1. Draw a schematic diagram of the circuit, including all the components and their connections.
2. Label the components with their values, such as the resistance of each resistor and the voltage of the battery.
3. Apply KCL to each node in the circuit to determine the current flowing through each resistor.
4. Apply KVL to each loop in the circuit to determine the voltage drop across each resistor and the voltage of the battery.
5. Use Ohm's law to determine the current flowing through each resistor and the power dissipated by each resistor.
6. Check the results for consistency with the laws of physics, such as the conservation of energy and charge.
In summary, DC circuits with batteries and resistors only are common in many practical applications. Analyzing such circuits involves using Ohm's law and Kirchhoff's laws to determine the current flow and voltage across each component.
Understanding these principles is important for anyone working in fields such as electrical engineering, physics, and electronics.

### 3.4 Gauss's Law

Gauss's law is a fundamental principle in electromagnetism that relates the electric field to the distribution of electric charge. It is named after the German mathematician and physicist Carl Friedrich Gauss, who first formulated the law.
The basic idea behind Gauss's law is that the total electric flux through any closed surface is proportional to the total electric charge enclosed within the surface. Mathematically, this can be expressed as:
Φ = ∫ E · dA = Q/ε0
where Φ is the electric flux through a closed surface, E is the electric field, A is the area of the surface, Q is the total electric charge enclosed within the surface, and ε0 is the permittivity of free space.
In other words, the total electric flux through a closed surface is equal to the charge enclosed within the surface divided by the permittivity of free space. This relationship can be used to calculate the electric field in situations where the charge distribution is known.
Gauss's law can be applied to various charge distributions, such as point charges, line charges, surface charges, and volume charges. It is a powerful tool for calculating the electric field of symmetric charge distributions, such as spheres, cylinders, and planes.
Gauss's law has many important applications in physics and engineering, such as the analysis of capacitors, the design of electromagnetic shielding, and the calculation of the electric field in the vicinity of charged particles. It is also a fundamental principle in the study of electromagnetism and is often taught in introductory courses in physics and electrical engineering.
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🧲Unit 4 – Magnetic Fields
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