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Homework Help: Potential Difference and Resistors

  1. Mar 21, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Suppose the three resistors in the circuit have the values R1 = 180, R2 = 220, and R3 = 350, and that the emf of the battery is 18.0 V

    Find the potential difference across each resistor.

    Find the current that flows through each resistor.

    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution

    These things really confuse me, but here is my shot:

    I also know that due to the loop rule, the sum of all of the potential differences is 0. Because of the junction rule, the current flowing into a junction must equal what's flowing out. I'm just not sure how I can figure out either the V or I across a resistor if I have two unknowns...

    any help would be awesome ! :)
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 21, 2010 #2


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    This is wrong.
    R2 and R3 are in series and R1 is in parallel with that combination.
  4. Mar 21, 2010 #3
    Oh, wow, that definitely was wrong. Stupid mistake because I'm frustrated with this stuff I guess. Itotal=136.8

    The problem is more of I'm not sure what to do next though
  5. Mar 21, 2010 #4


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    18 V is common across R1 and (R2 +R3) combination.
    So I1 = 18/R1
    And I2 = 18/(R2+R3)
  6. Mar 21, 2010 #5
    So Voltage is the same throughout all circuits? Or just in parallel circuits? I'm more looking for the concept of the whole thing more than the answer right now. Thanks for your help so far!
  7. Mar 21, 2010 #6
    Also, when it wants V1,V2,V3 and I enter 18,18,18, that is not correct.
    When it wants I1, I2, I3 (In mA) and I enter 100, 81.8, 51.4, that also is not correct.
  8. Mar 21, 2010 #7


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    In the parallel combination the voltage is common across each branch.
    In each branch current may be different.
    In a branch if there more than one resistance, then
    V = V1+ V1 + ......
    In the given problem
    I1 = V/R1
    I2 = V/(R2 + R3).
    V2 = I2*R2
    V3 = I2*R3
  9. Mar 21, 2010 #8
    Oh, right on man. Thanks for your help! I'm pretty sure I understand now.
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