# 0.10 Electric circuits

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## Electric circuits

People all over the world depend on electricity to provide power for most appliances in the home and at work. For example, fluorescent lights, electric heating and cooking (on electric stoves), all depend on electricity to work. To realise just how big an impact electricity has on our daily lives, just think about what happens when there is a powerfailure or load shedding.

## Discussion : uses of electricity

With a partner, take the following topics and, for each topic, write down at least 5 items/appliances/machines which need electricity to work. Try not to use the same item more than once.

• At home
• At school
• At the hospital
• In the city

Once you have finished making your lists, compare with the lists of other people in your class. (Save your lists somewhere safe for later because there will be another activity for which you'll need them.)

When you start comparing, you should notice that there are many different items which we use in our daily lives which rely on electricity to work!

Safety Warning: We believe in experimenting and learning about physics at every opportunity, BUT playing with electricity and electrical appliances can be EXTREMELY DANGEROUS ! Do not try to build homemade circuits alone. Make sure you have someone with you who knows if what you are doing is safe.Normal electrical outlets are dangerous. Treat electricity with respect in your everyday life. Do not touch exposed wires and do not approach downed power lines.

## Closed circuits

In the following activity we will investigate what is needed to cause charge to flow in an electric circuit.

## Aim:

To determine what is required to make electrical charges flow. In this experiment, we will use a lightbulb to check whether electrical charge is flowing in the circuit or not. If charge is flowing, the lightbulb should glow. On the other hand, if no charge is flowing, the lightbulb will not glow.

## Apparatus:

You will need a small lightbulb which is attached to a metal conductor (e.g. a bulb from a school electrical kit), some connecting wires and a battery.

## Method:

Take the apparatus items and try to connect them in a way that you cause the light bulb to glow (i.e. charge flows in the circuit).

## Questions:

1. Once you have arranged your circuit elements to make the lightbulb glow, draw your circuit.
2. What can you say about how the battery is connected? (i.e. does it have one or two connecting leads attached? Where are they attached?)
3. What can you say about how the light bulb is connected in your circuit? (i.e. does it connect to one or two connecting leads, and where are they attached?)
4. Are there any items in your circuit which are not attached to something? In other words, are there any gaps in your circuit?

Write down your conclusion about what is needed to make an electric circuit work and charge to flow.

In the experiment above, you will have seen that the light bulb only glows when there is a closed circuit i.e. there are no gaps in the circuit and all the circuit elements are connected in a closed loop . Therefore, in order for charges to flow, a closed circuit and an energy source (in this case the battery) are needed. (Note: you do not have to have a lightbulb in the circuit! We used this as a check that charge was flowing.)

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x-2y+3z=-3 2x-y+z=7 -x+3y-z=6
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x+2y-z=7
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