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  • Define electric current, ampere, and drift velocity
  • Describe the direction of charge flow in conventional current.
  • Use drift velocity to calculate current and vice versa.

Electric current

Electric current is defined to be the rate at which charge flows. A large current, such as that used to start a truck engine, moves a large amount of charge in a small time, whereas a small current, such as that used to operate a hand-held calculator, moves a small amount of charge over a long period of time. In equation form, electric current     I size 12{I } {} is defined to be

I = Δ Q Δ t , size 12{I = { {ΔQ} over {Δt} } ","} {}

where Δ Q size 12{ΔQ} {} is the amount of charge passing through a given area in time Δ t size 12{Δt} {} . (As in previous chapters, initial time is often taken to be zero, in which case Δ t = t size 12{Δt=t} {} .) (See [link] .) The SI unit for current is the ampere    (A), named for the French physicist André-Marie Ampère (1775–1836). Since I = Δ Q / Δ t size 12{I = ΔQ/Δt} {} , we see that an ampere is one coulomb per second:

1 A = 1 C/s size 12{"1 A "=" 1 C/s"} {}

Not only are fuses and circuit breakers rated in amperes (or amps), so are many electrical appliances.

Charges are shown as small spheres moving through a section of a conducting wire. The direction of movement of charge is indicated by arrows along the length of the conductor toward the right. The cross-sectional area of the wire is labeled as A. The current is equal to the flow of charge.
The rate of flow of charge is current. An ampere is the flow of one coulomb through an area in one second.

Calculating currents: current in a truck battery and a handheld calculator

(a) What is the current involved when a truck battery sets in motion 720 C of charge in 4.00 s while starting an engine? (b) How long does it take 1.00 C of charge to flow through a handheld calculator if a 0.300-mA current is flowing?

Strategy

We can use the definition of current in the equation I = Δ Q / Δ t size 12{I = ΔQ/Δt} {} to find the current in part (a), since charge and time are given. In part (b), we rearrange the definition of current and use the given values of charge and current to find the time required.

Solution for (a)

Entering the given values for charge and time into the definition of current gives

I = Δ Q Δ t = 720 C 4.00 s = 180 C/s = 180 A.

Discussion for (a)

This large value for current illustrates the fact that a large charge is moved in a small amount of time. The currents in these “starter motors” are fairly large because large frictional forces need to be overcome when setting something in motion.

Solution for (b)

Solving the relationship I = Δ Q / Δ t size 12{I = ΔQ/Δt} {} for time Δ t size 12{Δt} {} , and entering the known values for charge and current gives

Δ t = Δ Q I = 1.00 C 0.300 × 10 - 3 C/s = 3.33 × 10 3 s.

Discussion for (b)

This time is slightly less than an hour. The small current used by the hand-held calculator takes a much longer time to move a smaller charge than the large current of the truck starter. So why can we operate our calculators only seconds after turning them on? It’s because calculators require very little energy. Such small current and energy demands allow handheld calculators to operate from solar cells or to get many hours of use out of small batteries. Remember, calculators do not have moving parts in the same way that a truck engine has with cylinders and pistons, so the technology requires smaller currents.

Got questions? Get instant answers now!

[link] shows a simple circuit and the standard schematic representation of a battery, conducting path, and load (a resistor). Schematics are very useful in visualizing the main features of a circuit. A single schematic can represent a wide variety of situations. The schematic in [link] (b), for example, can represent anything from a truck battery connected to a headlight lighting the street in front of the truck to a small battery connected to a penlight lighting a keyhole in a door. Such schematics are useful because the analysis is the same for a wide variety of situations. We need to understand a few schematics to apply the concepts and analysis to many more situations.

Questions & Answers

what is a wave
Williams Reply
wave means. A field of study
aondohemba
what are Atoms
aondohemba
is the movement back and front or up and down
sani
how ?
aondohemba
wave is a disturbance that transfers energy through matter or space with little or no associated mass.
lots
A wave is a motion of particles in disturbed medium that carry energy from one midium to another
conist
an atom is the smallest unit( particle) of an element that bares it's chemical properties
conist
what is electromagnetic induction?
conist
How is the de Broglie wavelength of electrons related to the quantization of their orbits in atoms and molecules?
Larissa Reply
How do you convert 0.0045kgcm³ to the si unit?
EDYKING Reply
how many state of matter do we really have like I mean... is there any newly discovered state of matter?
Falana Reply
I only know 5: •Solids •Liquids •Gases •Plasma •Bose-Einstein condensate
Thapelo
Alright Thank you
Falana
Which one is the Bose-Einstein
James
can you explain what plasma and the I her one you mentioned
Olatunde
u can say sun or stars are just the state of plasma
Mohit
but the are more than seven
Issa
list it out I wanna know
Cristal
what the meaning of continuum
Akhigbe Reply
What state of matter is fire
Thapelo Reply
fire is not in any state of matter...fire is rather a form of energy produced from an oxidising reaction.
Xenda
Isn`t fire the plasma state of matter?
Walter
all this while I taught it was plasma
Victor
How can you define time?
Thapelo Reply
Time can be defined as a continuous , dynamic , irreversible , unpredictable quantity .
Tanaya
unpredictable? but I can say after one o'clock its going to be two o'clock predictably!
Victor
how can we define vector
mahmud
I would define it as having a magnitude (size)with a direction. An example I can think of is a car traveling at 50m/s (magnitude) going North (direction)
Hanzo
as for me guys u would say time is quantity that measures how long it takes for a specific condition to happen e.g how long it takes for the day to end or how it takes for the travelling car to cover a km.
conist
what is the relativity of physics
Paul Reply
How do you convert 0.0045kgcm³ to the si unit?
flint
What is the formula for motion
Anthony Reply
V=u+at V²=u²-2as
flint
S=ut+½at
flint
they are eqns of linear motion
King
S=Vt
Thapelo
v=u+at s=ut+at^\2 v^=u^+2as where ^=2
King
hi
Mehadi
hello
King
Explain dopplers effect
Jennifer Reply
Not yet learnt
Bob
Explain motion with types
Bob
Acceleration is the change in velocity over time. Given this information, is acceleration a vector or a scalar quantity? Explain.
Alabi Reply
Scalar quantity Because acceleration has only magnitude
Bob
acleration is vectr quatity it is found in a spefied direction and it is product of displcemnt
bhat
its a scalar quantity
Paul
velocity is speed and direction. since velocity is a part of acceleration that makes acceleration a vector quantity. an example of this is centripetal acceleration. when you're moving in a circular patter at a constant speed, you are still accelerating because your direction is constantly changing.
Josh
acceleration is a vector quantity. As explained by Josh Thompson, even in circular motion, bodies undergoing circular motion only accelerate because on the constantly changing direction of their constant speed. also retardation and acceleration are differentiated by virtue of their direction in
fitzgerald
respect to prevailing force
fitzgerald
What is the difference between impulse and momentum?
Manyo
Momentum is the product of the mass of a body and the change in velocity of its motion. ie P=m(v-u)/t (SI unit is kgm/s). it is literally the impact of collision from a moving body. While Impulse is the product of momentum and time. I = Pt (SI unit is kgm) or it is literally the change in momentum
fitzgerald
Or I = m(v-u)
fitzgerald
the tendency of a body to maintain it's inertia motion is called momentum( I believe you know what inertia means) so for a body to be in momentum it will be really hard to stop such body or object..... this is where impulse comes in.. the force applied to stop the momentum of such body is impulse..
Pelumi
Calculation of kinetic and potential energy
dion Reply
K.e=mv² P.e=mgh
Malia
K is actually 1/2 mv^2
Josh
what impulse is given to an a-particle of mass 6.7*10^-27 kg if it is ejected from a stationary nucleus at a speed of 3.2*10^-6ms²? what average force is needed if it is ejected in approximately 10^-8 s?
John
speed=velocity÷time velocity=speed×time=3.2×10^-6×10^-8=32×10^-14m/s impulse [I]=∆momentum[P]=mass×velocity=6.7×10^-27×32×10^-14=214.4×10^-41kg/ms force=impulse÷time=214.4×10^-41÷10^-8=214.4×10^-33N. dats how I solved it.if wrong pls correct me.
Melody
what is sound wave
Nworu Reply
sound wave is a mechanical longitudinal wave that transfers energy from one point to another
Ogor
its a longitudnal wave which is associted wth compresion nad rearfractions
bhat
what is power
PROMISE Reply
it's also a capability to do something or act in a particular way.
Kayode
Newton laws of motion
Mike
power also known as the rate of ability to do work
Slim
power means capabilty to do work p=w/t its unit is watt or j/s it also represents how much work is done fr evry second
bhat
what does fluorine do?
Cheyanne Reply
strengthen and whiten teeth.
Gia
Practice Key Terms 3

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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