(3)

The ohmic resistance of a conductor depends upon four factors:

(a) Material. Most metals are conductors of electricity. Silver and

copper have comparatively low resistance, allowing current to flow much more freely

than do insulators or nonconductors such as rubber, glass, and plastics, which have

high resistance. Copper is used almost exclusively in electric wiring as it offers less

resistance to the flow of electric current than any other common material.

(b) Length. For a given material, the resistance of a conductor is

directly proportional to its length. For example, 10 feet of wire has 10 times as much

resistance as 1 foot of the same wire.

(c) Cross-section. The greater the cross-section of a conductor, the

smaller will be its resistance per foot of length. For example, a wire 1 millimeter (mm) in

diameter has four times as much resistance as a wire of the same length and material,

but 2 mm in diameter, because the latter has four times as much cross-sectional area.

The resistance of a conductor is inversely proportional to its cross-sectional area (or to

the square of its radius).

(d) Temperature. For most conductors, the resistance increases with

an increase in the conductor's temperature. The hotter the conductor becomes, the

greater will be its resistance.

Every circuit has three essential requirements: (1) a source of potential

difference (voltage), (2) a current-carrying wire (conductor), and (3) a resistive device to

regulate the rate of current flow (resistance). Figure 2-2 shows some of the common

diagrammatic symbols used in electrical drawings.

a. **Series**. A series circuit is one in which all the resistances are connected end

to end so that the same current flows through each part of the circuit, using but one

path. In the simple series circuit shown in figure 2-3, all of the current flowing from the

battery must flow through the switch, the resistor, and the lamp, then back to the

battery.

b. **Parallel**. Parallel circuits provide more than one path in which the current can

flow. In figure 2-4, the current from the battery divides to follow two paths.

Recombination of the current occurs when one portion of the current flows through the

resistor and the other through the lamp. The amount of current flowing in each path

(branch) depends on the resistance in that branch of the circuit.

c. **Closed**. A closed circuit results when a complete path is available through

which the electrons can flow.

MD0950

2-6

Integrated Publishing, Inc. |