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AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity

Introduction to electricity

This page covers the following topics:

Current is the rate at which electrons or electric charge flow through a point in an electric circuit. Current is measured in amperes (A) and is calculated using the following formula: Current = Charge/time. The current in a circuit can be measured using an ammeter placed in series with the component through which the current is desired. The current at any point in a loop will be the same.

Current

An open circuit is one in which there is a break such that no current can flow. A closed circuit is a complete one in which current can flow. A short circuit is one in which an incorrect connection or a damaged part will cause the current in the circuit to take a shorter route to the one intended. This may lead to a decrease in resistance in the circuit and thus an increase in current. This high current flow may damage the circuit, which is why short circuits are dangerous.

Short, open and closed circuits

Charge is what an object possesses if it feels a force when placed in an electrical field. Electricity is negatively charged particles called electrons, which carry energy through circuits. Charge is measured in Coulombs, C, and it can be calculated using the following formula: Charge = Current Γ— time.

Charge flow

Resistance is the opposition to the current flow in a circuit and is measured in Ohms (Ξ©). As current flows through a material, the electric charge will collide with the ions in the metal material it is flowing through, which makes it more difficult for it to flow and so resistance in the circuit exists. Resistance in a circuit is measured by measuring the current and potential difference in it and calculating the resistance based on these values. The resistance in a wire is directly proportional to the length of the wire. As the length of a wire increases, the electric current will collide with more ions during its route and thus there will be a greater resistance. Further, the resistance in a wire is inversely proportional to the thickness of the wire. As the thickness of the wire decreases, there is less space for charge to flow, thus creating a greater resistance to the current.

Resistance

Potential difference, also known as voltage, is the amount of energy transferred by each unit of charge passing between two points in a circuit and is measured in volts (V). It can be calculated using the following formula: Work done = Charge Γ— Voltage. As charge flows through a circuit, it does work, and thus potential difference can be described as the work done or the energy gained in a circuit per unit charge. The potential difference across a component of a circuit can be measured by placing a voltmeter in parallel with it.

Potential difference

Ohm's Law states that the current flowing through a component in a circuit is directly proportional to the voltage across it, given that it is at a constant temperature. This is also given as the formula: V = IR, where V is voltage, I is current and R is resistance.

Ohm's law

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A student wants to measure the current flowing through a circuit. Draw the circuit symbol for the equipment he needs to do this.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity A student wants to measure the current flowing through a circuit. Draw the circuit symbol for the equipment he needs to do this.
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2

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Mary sets up the circuit given in the diagram. Explain why the lamp doesn't light up.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Mary sets up the circuit given in the diagram. Explain why the lamp doesn't light up.
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3

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Define current.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Define current.
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4

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Alan wants to measure the current flowing through the lamp in a circuit. State which of the two circuit set-ups is the correct one to do this.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Alan wants to measure the current flowing through the lamp in a circuit. State which of the two circuit set-ups is the correct one to do this.
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5

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The current in a circuit is calculated to be 1.9 A. Calculate the time taken for 50 C of charge to flow through a point in the circuit.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity The current in a circuit is calculated to be 1.9 A. Calculate the time taken for 50 C of charge to flow through a point in the circuit.
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6

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What is an electron?

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity What is an electron?
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7

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Calculate the charge flowing through a point in 35 seconds, given that the current in the circuit is 4 A.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Calculate the charge flowing through a point in 35 seconds, given that the current in the circuit is 4 A.
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8

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Given that the value on the ammeter is 3.2 A, calculate the charge flowing through the lamp in 15 seconds.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Given that the value on the ammeter is 3.2 A, calculate the charge flowing through the lamp in 15 seconds.
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9

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What units is resistance measured in?

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity What units is resistance measured in?
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10

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Electrons are flowing through two connected wires of the same thickness. The first wire is 7 cm long and the second wire is 11 cm long. Explain which wire the electrons will experience the greater resistance in.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Electrons are flowing through two connected wires of the same thickness. The first wire is 7 cm long and the second wire is 11 cm long. Explain which wire the electrons will experience the greater resistance in.
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11

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Define potential difference.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Define potential difference.
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12

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Sketch the set-up required to measure the potential difference across a battery.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Sketch the set-up required to measure the potential difference across a battery.
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13

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Calculate the work done by 12 C of charge in a lamp, given that the potential difference across it is 9 V.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Calculate the work done by 12 C of charge in a lamp, given that the potential difference across it is 9 V.
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14

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What is the condition required for Ohm's Law to hold?

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity What is the condition required for Ohm's Law to hold?
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15

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Describe using Ohm's Law, what will happen to the current across a fixed resistor with constant temperature given that the potential difference across it increases.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity Describe using Ohm's Law, what will happen to the current across a fixed resistor with constant temperature given that the potential difference across it increases.
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16

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The graph shows how the potential difference across a fixed resistor varies as the current varies. Calculate its resistance.

AQA GCSE Physics Introduction to electricity The graph shows how the potential difference across a fixed resistor varies as the current varies. Calculate its resistance.
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