## Current in a parallel resistor?

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

The problem involves a battery of emf 10V [with no internal resistance] and a combination of resistors. Here is the diagram provided:

A picture of the diagram can be found here: http://gyazo.com/7791710d0645de38cfab59f0ac4740ec

(Couldn't get the image feature to work)

• Total resistance, which I found to be 5Ω, which is correct
• Next part says show that each resistor is 3Ω, which I did correctly

The part that I am stuck on is calculating the current through resistor Y.

2. Relevant equations
R=V/I is the only equation I need to use

3. The attempt at a solution

The question can be found here (its question 7): http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/pdf...W-QP-JUN11.PDF
The answers can be found here: http://store.aqa.org.uk/qual/gce/pdf...W-MS-JUN11.PDF

Since the pd across Y needs to be found before I try to figure out the current, I simply used V = IR, this gave me 6V across Y (2A x 3Ω). So then I simply did I = V/R which gave me an answer of 2A (6V / 3Ω).

My answer was clearly wrong as current splits in parallel so it cannot be 2A which was stated in the question as the reading of the ammeter, which was in series.

I couldn't figure it out, so I checked the mark scheme and it said I had to do:

10V (emf) - (2Ax3Ω) which gives you 4V across Y and then you get 1.3A across Y.

My question is, why do I have to take away the voltage across Y from the emf? Surely that would just give me the remaining emf in the circuit, not the pd across Y.

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Hi TheGreenMarin!
 Quote by TheGreenMarin … why do I have to take away the voltage across Y from thecemf? Surely that would just give me the remaining emf in the circuit, not the pd across Y.
the remaining emf is the pd between those two dots, isn't it?

 Quote by tiny-tim Hi TheGreenMarin! the remaining emf is the pd between those two dots, isn't it?
Yes, I think so, but how would this help me find the current through Y?

The mark scheme says I have to take the voltage across Y from the emf to give me 4V then use R = V/I to find the current.

I'm still not sure why I have to take the voltage across Y from the emf, why can't I use the voltage across Y by itself?

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## Current in a parallel resistor?

 Quote by TheGreenMarin I'm still not sure why I have to take the voltage across Y from the emf, why can't I use the voltage across Y by itself?
not following you … what's the difference?

from KVL, the sum of the pds must be the emf

the pd between the dots is the emf minus the pd across Z

and of course it's the same pd across Y and across W and X
(and what did you mean by "the voltage across Y by itself"?

 Quote by tiny-tim not following you … what's the difference? from KVL, the sum of the pds must be the emf the pd between the dots is the emf minus the pd across Z and of course it's the same pd across Y and across W and X (and what did you mean by "the voltage across Y by itself"?
Yes, I am confused

The question asks for the current going through Y, so I know the resistance of Y is 3Ω, the pd across Y I worked out as 6V, which is wrong. According to the mark scheme I have to do 10-6 to get 4V, which is the pd across Y, but I don't understand, why did I have to do that, why couldn't I just use the 6V I worked out?

Thanks, electricity isn't my strong point

 Quote by tiny-tim the pd between the dots is the emf minus the pd across Z and of course it's the same pd across Y and across W and X
That makes more sense :D, so I needed to work out the pd across Z first?

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 Quote by TheGreenMarin The question asks for the current going through Y, so I know the resistance of Y is 3Ω, the pd across Y I worked out as 6V, which is wrong. According to the mark scheme I have to do 10-6 to get 4V, which is the pd across Y, but I don't understand, why did I have to do that, why couldn't I just use the 6V I worked out?
let's see where your 6V came from …
 Quote by TheGreenMarin Since the pd across Y needs to be found before I try to figure out the current, I simply used V = IR, this gave me 6V across Y (2A x 3Ω).
ah, but the current across Y isn't 2A, you'd need to use KCL

 Quote by tiny-tim let's see where your 6V came from … ah, but the current across Y isn't 2A, you'd need to use KCL
I think I know where I went wrong. I was following the circuit from left to right, instead of using conventional current flow, so I never actually passed the Z resistor so I excluded it from my calculations.

Is that correct?

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 Quote by TheGreenMarin I was following the circuit from left to right, instead of using conventional current flow, so I never actually passed the Z resistor so I excluded it from my calculations. Is that correct?
nooo

for KVL, you must always go the whole way round any loop

 Quote by tiny-tim nooo … for KVL, you must always go the whole way round any loop
I am going to fail this exam. So I have to consider the whole circuit, right I see. I really need help with electricity.
 Blog Entries: 27 Recognitions: Gold Member Homework Help Science Advisor in a way, what you've been doing does make sense … if you call the potential 0 at one end of the circuit, and V at the other end, and if you know what I is, then yes you can go from either end (starting at 0 or V as the case may be), subtracting or adding the potential difference of each component until you get to the point you want (but that's not easy if you have components in parallel, as with W X and Y)
 practise makes perfect...

 Quote by TheGreenMarin I am going to fail this exam. So I have to consider the whole circuit, right I see. I really need help with electricity.
You can try these Electricity exam practise questions:
http://www.online-exam-solutions.co....el/electricity

I got quite low in my first attempt, but then kept going through until i was confident.
Apparently if you can do them all your on track for top marks.
I find the 'suggest' and 'Explain' parts the hardest.

 Tags current, electricty, emf, resistance