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What is voltage drop?by sameeralord
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#1
Nov2209, 07:54 AM

P: 640

Is voltage the potential energy difference between source A and B in a circuit? If so in absense of resistance and the presence of a 3V battery does point A have 3V to begin with and at point B there is 0 volts. Is all potential energy converted to kinetic energy when moving from A to B? A is origin and B is the terminal end of the circuit by the way. Is that voltage drop?
If what I have said is not correct and voltage doesn't drop like this does a circuit with no resistor and negligble resistance from the wires have 3V at point A and also 3V at point B? Let's say that I have a circuit like this (made it linear for ease) 3V batterypoint A1ohm resistorpointB What is the voltage of the resistor? It is 3 right. Does that when current passes through the resistor it loses 3V. If it loses all the voltage how does it move to point B? Thanks Edit: I think I'm assuming when they say voltage drops across the 1 ohm resistor is 3, the 1 ohm resistor uses all 3V. When they say voltage drop in this case are they actually referring to voltage drop from A to B. The actual amount of energy lost due to the resistor is not really 3V. It is something less. The voltage drop across the whole thing is 3 V. Is that right? 


#2
Nov2209, 10:42 AM

Mentor
P: 17,322

Let's make this a little clearer:



#3
Nov2209, 10:58 AM

P: 640

If volatage is P.E is it converted into K.E when going from A to B. Shouldn't this mean a voltage drop as well. Thanks!! 


#4
Nov2209, 11:23 AM

PF Gold
P: 3,207

What is voltage drop?
Voltage is not electric potential energy, but electric potential difference.
More precisely, [tex]\vec E =  \nabla V[/tex], hence [tex]V=\int_a^b \vec E d \vec l[/tex]. The units of V are volts, while energy is always measured in joules (in the SI). 


#5
Nov2209, 11:28 AM

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P: 11,781

When you go completely around a circuit and return to your starting point, the total potential difference must be zero. In DaleSpam's example, let point b be the negative terminal of the battery. Start there and go clockwise. Then the potential differences are +3.0000 V (battery)  0.0001 V (first wire)  2.9998 V (resistor)  0.0001 V (second wire) = 0.0000 V (total).
The total potential difference can also be considered as (potential at final point)  (potential at starting point) = (potential at point b)  (potential at point b) = 0. 


#6
Nov2209, 11:30 AM

PF Gold
P: 3,207




#7
Nov2209, 12:00 PM

P: 640

Ok thanks for the answers guys. While I'm thinking about what you guys are saying I have another question. What is power dissipiated?
If the circuit has no resistor why is power disspiated so high and through what does the volatage drop(there is no resistor). If all energy is dissipiated as heat how can there be a current flow. What I mean is if dissipiation is turning in to heat how can there be enough energy for current flow? Thanks!! 


#8
Nov2209, 12:50 PM

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P: 11,781

Batteries have their own resistance (look in your textbook or Google for "internal resistance"). This is usually small enough that we can often ignore it when we analyze a circuit, but when it's the largest resistance in a circuit...
Now consider [itex]P = V^2/R[/itex] and what happens when R is small while keeping V constant! 


#9
Nov2209, 01:01 PM

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P: 17,322

The only exception that I know of is vacuum tubes. 


#10
Nov2209, 04:24 PM

Sci Advisor
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 12,182

Current flow is not energy!
The Voltage is, effectively, the energy. That is what gets 'used up' as you go from the positive terminal 'down' to the negative terminal. The same charge flows all the way round because there are immensely strong electric forces which ensure that every electron which moves form one atom to another will displace another one, further along in the circuit, so you cannot get a build up. Even in a battery or capacitor, you still get the same number of charges leaving or entering, so the current is the same all the way round. Like a bicycle chain, carrying energy from foot to wheel. 


#11
Nov2209, 04:26 PM

PF Gold
P: 3,207




#12
Nov2209, 04:53 PM

Sci Advisor
Thanks
PF Gold
P: 12,182

One Volt is One Joule per Coulomb.
I am sure Wikkers will confirm that. There's yer energy. :) 


#13
Nov2209, 06:09 PM

P: 196




#14
Nov2209, 06:10 PM

P: 196




#15
Nov2209, 06:12 PM

P: 1,345

http://ocw.mit.edu/NR/rdonlyres/Elec...es/6002_l1.pdf
See slides 618, it might help clear some things up. 


#16
Nov2209, 06:52 PM

P: 1

I accept with information: In DaleSpam's example, let point b be the negative terminal of the battery. Start there and go clockwise. Then the potential differences are +3.0000 V (battery)  0.0001 V (first wire)  2.9998 V (resistor)  0.0001 V (second wire) = 0.0000 V (total).
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#17
Nov2209, 10:16 PM

P: 640

Thanks guys but I'm still at square one. I don't think I expressed my question properly. I understand K.. law.
Why do different resistances get different portions of the voltage. For example in 14 do have a voltage you need to have more electrons at 4 than 1. If the current (rate) flowing through each resistor is the same how can there be different electron differences. Basically why do different resistances have different voltage drops? 


#18
Nov2309, 12:59 AM

Mentor
P: 7,320

Voltage is not about the number of electrons. It is about the energy available to move electrons. Outside of the battery electrons are not stored, gained, or lost anywhere in the circuit so the number of electrons passing any point in a time interval must be constant. In other words current is constant in a series circuit.
Now do you know Ohms Law? E=IR This gives the voltage measured across a resistor given the current through it. In a series circuit the current is constant and the sum of the voltage drops is equal to the source voltage. 


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