# Power delivered to resistors

by jedjj
Tags: delivered, power, resistors
 P: 26 A question on my homework is asking about power delivered to resistors. These resistors are on an open circuit. While P=IV, it is also equal to (V^2)/R, so my question is if resistors are on an open circuit is it possible for power to be delivered to them? There is a source supplying voltage to the circuit. Thanks in advance :Move this thread if necessary-no this is not actually a question on my homework, but rather a confusion of mine about how to approach the problem.
 Mentor P: 17,326 What is the current through an open circuit?
 Emeritus Sci Advisor PF Gold P: 5,196 If the resistors are open circuited, charge is not flowing (indeed, cannot flow) through them. In other words, there is no current. If the current is zero, what happens to P? This should be pretty intuitive. You're not going to dissipate energy by...doing nothing. The formula P = V2/R is derived by assuming that the current in the resistor is V/R (which is true for a resistor that happens to obey Ohm's law). In which case, P = IV = (V/R)V = V2/R. In other words, this formula is, very specifically, "the power dissipated in a resistor of resistance R with voltage V across it." It is not valid under any other circumstances. Edit: DaleSpam was much more succinct than I. I hope he's not mad that I gave away this answer. This is not a homework thread. The OP was confused about a concept, so I clarified it. That having been said, I can see the value of asking the OP pointed questions in order to allow him to reason his way to the answer himself.
 Mentor P: 7,320 Power delivered to resistors If the circiut is open then current is 0. If the current is 0 then so is the voltage drop across the resistor. Power is the same using either relationship.
 Sci Advisor HW Helper P: 8,953 An open circuit means an infinite resistance so no current. No current = no power. What confuses a lot of students is the V^2/R, it seems to say you should have power with no current. But the V is the voltage DIFFERENCE accross the resistor. If there is no current through the resistor then there is no voltage difference accross it and so V is zero.
 P: 26 Thank you, I am aware that the current through an open circuit is zero, and assumed that the (V^2)/R method is there when there is current assumed to be through it, but I was unsure. So I thank you for your help.
Mentor
P: 17,326
 Quote by cepheid DaleSpam was much more succinct than I. I hope he's not mad that I gave away this answer.
Not at all, that was pretty fun to see all of the replies in such a short time.

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