An electric circuit is a course for the transmission of electric current. When electric present moves through a circuit, electric energy in the existing is transferred to tools that readjust it right into other develops of energy that can do work, such as offering power come lights, appliances, and other devices.

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Understanding current and also electric circuits is vital to knowledge how electricity works. Electric current is a circulation of fee particles, consisting of electrons, protons, and ions. Current is defined as either straight or alternating, relying on how the charges relocate through a circuit. In direct present (DC), electrical charges constantly move in the very same direction with the circuit. In alternate current (AC), dues pulse back and forth many times per second as the current moves with the circuit. Because that a comprehensive discussion of electric current, see electricity.

Electric circuits might be an easy or complex, however all circuits have actually three main components: wires that bring the present through the circuit; a device such as a desk lamp or motor that supplies the present to execute some form of work; and a power source, such together a battery or generator. Homes and also other huge buildings obtain power from power supplied through generators at a strength plant. (See electrical power.)


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For a circuit come work, all of its parts need to be connected. When all of the parts are connected, the circuit is closed and current moves freely. When a component is no connected, the circuit is open and the present stops. A switch have the right to be offered to rotate the current in a circuit on and off. Flipping top top a lamp switch closes the circuit. This enables current to circulation freely and also the lamp to light up. Transforming off the switch breaks, or opens, the circuit—the circulation of existing stops and also the lamp shuts off.

Series and also Parallel Circuits


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There space two main species of electric circuits—series circuits and also parallel circuits.

Series Circuit


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A series circuit is composed of a solitary pathway with which electrical power can flow. Every one of the components of a collection circuit—power source, wires, and also devices—are connected along the same pathway; the gadgets are linked one after another, through no branches. Existing moves through one device, climate the next, and also so on.

The lot of current is the very same at every point in a collection circuit. However, the lot of present for each machine in a series circuit reduce as much more devices are included to the circuit. Because that example, together you include lights come a collection circuit, each light will burn dimmer than it walk before. The much more lights added, the much less current easily accessible to every light. Present is never ever “used up” in a series circuit, however, regardless of the number of devices that are added.

If one device in a series circuit burns the end or is disconnected, the entire circuit is broken—the flow of current stops and all of the gadgets stop working. Collection circuits space most generally used in flashlights, vacation lights, and other an easy devices.

Parallel Circuit

A parallel circuit has multiple pathways, or branches. Each maker in a parallel circuit is top top a separate branch. The current flowing v a parallel circuit divides as it reaches each branch. Since only part of the complete current flows with each branch, the amount of existing is different at different points in a parallel circuit.

The current in every branch of a parallel circuit is separate; therefore, including branches (and devices) walk not influence the amount of current obtainable for every branch. Every light you add to a parallel circuit will certainly glow as brightly as the others, as long as each new light is included on its own branch.

Because every branch in a parallel circuit is different from the various other branches, a machine in one branch deserve to be switched top top or off without influence the others. If one machine in a parallel circuit breaks or is disconnected, the devices in the various other branches will store working. Parallel circuits are provided in homes, schools, offices—any location where the is crucial to store multiple gadgets working even when one maker burns out.

Measuring Electricity

The electric energy in a circuit deserve to be measure in regards to both current and voltage. Current is the rate at which charge flows with a circuit, vice versa, voltage steps how strong that fee is in ~ a offered point. One analogy to current and voltage is water running through a pipe: present is comparable to a measure of exactly how much water is flowing v the pipe per second; voltage is like a measure up of exactly how forcefully the water is pushing previous a provided point.

Electric existing is measured together the lot of fee (the number of charged particles) flowing previous a allude in a circuit per second. Existing is measure in units of amperes, or amps, making use of an ammeter; the symbol for amperes is A. One amp is equal to 6.25 × 1018 charged particles flowing through a circuit every second.

To measure the present in a circuit, an ammeter is linked in series with a maker in the circuit. The much more charge (particles) flowing between the machine and the ammeter, the better the current.

Voltage is a measure up of how strong the present is in a circuit. It is what “pushes” the current through the circuit to a device. Specifically, voltage is measured together the difference in electric energy in between two point out in a circuit. Voltage is measured in systems of volts making use of a voltmeter; the symbol because that volts is V.

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To measure up the voltage reaching a machine in a circuit, a voltmeter is connected in parallel v the device. The better the difference in the amount of electrical energy between the point out of connection, the stronger the voltage that the device.