Chapter Thirty Four Notes: Electric Current

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Chapter Thirty Four Notes: Electric Current
Conceptual Physics Chapter Thirty Four Notes: Electric Current

Electric current is related to the voltage that produced it and the resistance that opposed it.
Flow of Charge In household circuits, the energy is supplied by a local utility company which is responsible for making sure that the hot and the neutral plates within the circuit panel box of your home always have an electric potential difference of about 110 Volts to 120 Volts (in the United States). In typical lab activities, an electrochemical cell or group of cells (i.e., a battery) is used to establish an electric potential difference across the two ends of the external circuit of about 1.5 Volts (a single cell) or 4.5 Volts (three cells in a pack). Analogies are often made between an electric circuit and the water circuit at a water park or a roller coaster ride at an amusement park. In all three cases, there is something which is moving through a complete loop - that is, through a circuit. And in all three cases, it is essential that the circuit include a section where energy is put into the water, the coaster car or the charge in order to move it uphill against its natural direction of motion from a low potential energy to a high potential energy.

A water park ride has a water pump which pumps the water from ground level to the top of the slide. A roller coaster ride has a motor-driven chain that carries the train of coaster cars from ground level to the top of the first drop. And an electric circuit has an electrochemical cell, battery (group of cells) or some other energy supply that moves the charge from ground level (the negative terminal) to the positive terminal. By constantly supplying the energy to move the charge from the low energy, low potential terminal to the high energy, high potential terminal, a continuous flow of charge can be maintained. By establishing this difference in electric potential, charge is able to flow downhill through the external circuit. This motion of the charge is natural and does not require energy. Like the movement of water at a water park or a roller coaster car at an amusement park, the downhill motion is natural and occurs without the need for energy from an external source. It is the difference in potential - whether gravitational potential or electric potential - which causes the water, the coaster car and the charge to move. This potential difference requires the input of energy from an external source. In the case of an electric circuit, one of the two requirements to establish an electric circuit is an energy source.

In conclusion, there are two requirements which must be met in order to establish an electric circuit. The requirements are There must be an energy supply capable doing work on charge to move it from a low energy location to a high energy location and thus establish an electric potential difference across the two ends of the external circuit. There must be a closed conducting loop in the external circuit which stretches from the high potential, positive terminal to the low potential, negative terminal.

34.2 Electric Current If the two requirements of an electric circuit are met, then charge will flow through the external circuit. It is said that there is a current - a flow of charge. Using the word current in this context is to simply use it to say that something is happening in the wires - charge is moving. Yet current is a physical quantity which can be measured and expressed numerically. As a physical quantity, current is the rate at which charge flows past a point on a circuit. As depicted in the diagram below, the current in a circuit can be determined if the quantity of charge Q passing through a cross section of a wire in a time t can be measured. The current is simply the ratio of the quantity of charge and time.

1 ampere = 1 coulomb / 1 second
Current is a rate quantity. There are several rate quantities in physics. For instance, velocity is a rate quantity - the rate at which an object changes its position. Mathematically, velocity is the position change per time ratio. Acceleration is a rate quantity - the rate at which an object changes its velocity. Mathematically, acceleration is the velocity change per time ratio. And power is a rate quantity - the rate at which work is done on an object. Mathematically, power is the work per time ratio. In every case of a rate quantity, the mathematical equation involves some quantity over time. Thus, current as a rate quantity would be expressed mathematically as Note that the equation above uses the symbol I to represent the quantity current. As is the usual case, when a quantity is introduced in Physics, the standard metric unit used to express that quantity are introduced as well. The standard metric unit for current is the ampere. Ampere is often shortened to Amp and is abbreviated by the unit symbol A. A current of 1 ampere means that there is 1 coulomb of charge passing through a cross section of a wire every 1 second. 1 ampere = 1 coulomb / 1 second

To test your understanding, determine the current for the following two situations. Note that some extraneous information is given in each situation. Click the Check Answer button to see if you are correct. A 2 mm long cross section of wire is isolated and 20 C of charge are determined to pass through it in 40 s. A 1 mm long cross section of wire is isolated and 2 C of charge are determined to pass through it in 0.5 s. I = _____ Ampere Check Answer A 2 mm long cross section of wire is isolated and 20 C of charge are determined to pass through it in 40 s. Answer: I = Q / t = (20 C) / (40 s) = 0.50 Ampere A 1 mm long cross section of wire is isolated and 2 C of charge are determined to pass through it in 0.5 s. Answer: I = Q / t = (2 C) / (0.5 s) = 4.0 Ampere

26.3 Media That Transmit Sound
Any elastic material can transmit sound. Steel is a very good conductor of sound. Water is not as good a conductor as steel, but is better than air. Air is a poor conductor of sound

26.4 Speed of Sound The Speed of Sound
A sound wave is a pressure disturbance which travels through a medium by means of particle-to-particle interaction. As one particle becomes disturbed, it exerts a force on the next adjacent particle, thus disturbing that particle from rest and transporting the energy through the medium. Like any wave, the speed of a sound wave refers to how fast the disturbance is passed from particle to particle. While frequency refers to the number of vibrations which an individual particle makes per unit of time, speed refers to the distance which the disturbance travels per unit of time. Always be cautious to distinguish between the two often confused quantities of speed (how fast...) and frequency (how often...). Since the speed of a wave is defined as the distance which a point on a wave (such as a compression or a rarefaction) travels per unit of time, it is often expressed in units of meters/second (abbreviated m/s). In equation form, this is speed = distance/time

Factors Affecting Wave Speed
The faster a sound wave travels, the more distance it will cover in the same period of time. If a sound wave is observed to travel a distance of 700 meters in 2 seconds, then the speed of the wave would be 350 m/s. A slower wave would cover less distance - perhaps 660 meters - in the same time period of 2 seconds and thus have a speed of 330 m/s. Faster waves cover more distance in the same period of time. Factors Affecting Wave Speed The speed of any wave depends upon the properties of the medium through which the wave is traveling. Typically there are two essential types of properties which affect wave speed - inertial properties and elastic properties. Elastic properties are those properties related to the tendency of a material to maintain its shape and not deform whenever a force or stress is applied to it. A material such as steel will experience a very small deformation of shape (and dimension) when a stress is applied to it. Steel is a rigid material with a high elasticity. On the other hand, a material such as a rubber band is highly flexible; when a force is applied to stretch the rubber band, it deforms or changes its shape readily. A small stress on the rubber band causes a large deformation.

vsolids > vliquids > vgases
Steel is considered to be a stiff or rigid material, whereas a rubber band is considered a flexible material. At the particle level, a stiff or rigid material is characterized by atoms and/or molecules with strong attractions for each other. When a force is applied in an attempt to stretch or deform the material, its strong particle interactions prevent this deformation and help the material maintain its shape. Rigid materials such as steel are considered to have a high elasticity. (Elastic modulus is the technical term). The phase of matter has a tremendous impact upon the elastic properties of the medium. In general, solids have the strongest interactions between particles, followed by liquids and then gases. For this reason, longitudinal sound waves travel faster in solids than they do in liquids than they do in gases. Even though the inertial factor may favor gases, the elastic factor has a greater influence on the speed (v) of a wave, thus yielding this general pattern: vsolids > vliquids > vgases Inertial properties are those properties related to the material's tendency to be sluggish to changes in it's state of motion. The density of a medium is an example of an inertial property.

The greater the inertia (i. e
The greater the inertia (i.e., mass density) of individual particles of the medium, the less responsive they will be to the interactions between neighboring particles and the slower that the wave will be. As stated above, sound waves travel faster in solids than they do in liquids than they do in gases. However, within a single phase of matter, the inertial property of density tends to be the property which has a greatest impact upon the speed of sound. A sound wave will travel faster in a less dense material than a more dense material. Thus, a sound wave will travel nearly three times faster in Helium as it will in air. This is mostly due to the lower mass of Helium particles as compared to air particles. The speed of a sound wave in air depends upon the properties of the air, namely the temperature and the pressure. The pressure of air (like any gas) will affect the mass density of the air (an inertial property) and the temperature will affect the strength of the particle interactions (an elastic property). At normal atmospheric pressure, the temperature dependence of the speed of a sound wave through air is approximated by the following equation: v = 331 m/s + (0.6 m/s/C)•T where T is the temperature of the air in degrees Celsius. Using this equation to determine the speed of a sound wave in air at a temperature of 20 degrees Celsius yields the following solution.

26.5 Loudness • v = 331 m/s + (0.6 m/s/C)•T
v = 331 m/s + (0.6 m/s/C)•(20 C) v = 331 m/s + 12 m/s v = 343 m/s Loudness While the intensity of a sound is a very objective quantity which can be measured with sensitive instrumentation, the loudness of a sound is more of a subjective response which will vary with a number of factors. The same sound will not be perceived to have the same loudness to all individuals. Age is one factor which effects the human ear's response to a sound. Quite obviously, your grandparents do not hear like they used to. The same intensity sound would not be perceived to have the same loudness to them as it would to you. Furthermore, two sounds with the same intensity but different frequencies will not be perceived to have the same loudness. Because of the human ear's tendency to amplify sounds having frequencies in the range from 1000 Hz to 5000 Hz, sounds with these intensities seem louder to the human ear. Despite the distinction between intensity and loudness, it is safe to state that the more intense sounds will be perceived to be the loudest sounds.

Natural Frequency Nearly all objects, when hit or struck or plucked or strummed or somehow disturbed, will vibrate. If you drop a meter stick or pencil on the floor, it will begin to vibrate. If you pluck a guitar string, it will begin to vibrate. If you blow over the top of a pop bottle, the air inside will vibrate. When each of these objects vibrate, they tend to vibrate at a particular frequency or a set of frequencies. The frequency or frequencies at which an object tends to vibrate with when hit, struck, plucked, strummed or somehow disturbed is known as the natural frequency of the object. If the amplitude of the vibrations are large enough and if natural frequency is within the human frequency range, then the vibrating object will produce sound waves which are audible. All objects have a natural frequency or set of frequencies at which they vibrate. The quality or timbre of the sound produced by a vibrating object is dependent upon the natural frequencies of the sound waves produced by the objects.

Some objects tend to vibrate at a single frequency and they are often said to produce a pure tone. A flute tends to vibrate at a single frequency, producing a very pure tone. Other objects vibrate and produce more complex waves with a set of frequencies which have a whole number mathematical relationship between them; these are said to produce a rich sound. A tuba tends to vibrate at a set of frequencies which are mathematically related by whole number ratios; it produces a rich tone. Still other objects will vibrate at a set of multiple frequencies which have no simple mathematical relationship between them. These objects are not musical at all and the sounds which they create could be described as noise. When a meter stick or pencil is dropped on the floor, it vibrates with a number of frequencies, producing a complex sound wave which is clanky and noisy.

Forced Vibrations If you were to take a guitar string and stretch it to a given length and a given tightness and have a friend pluck it, you would hear a noise; but the noise would not even be close in comparison to the loudness produced by an acoustic guitar. On the other hand, if the string is attached to the sound box of the guitar, the vibrating string is capable of forcing the sound box into vibrating at that same natural frequency. The sound box in turn forces air particles inside the box into vibrational motion at the same natural frequency as the string. The entire system (string, guitar, and enclosed air) begins vibrating and forces surrounding air particles into vibrational motion. The tendency of one object to force another adjoining or interconnected object into vibrational motion is referred to as a forced vibration. In the case of the guitar string mounted to the sound box, the fact that the surface area of the sound box is greater than the surface area of the string, means that more surrounding air particles will be forced into vibration. This causes an increase in the amplitude and thus loudness of the sound.

This same principle of a forced vibration is often demonstrated in a Physics classroom using a tuning fork. If the tuning fork is held in your hand and hit with a rubber mallet, a sound is produced as the tines of the tuning fork set surrounding air particles into vibrational motion. The sound produced by the tuning fork is barely audible to students in the back rows of the room. However, if the tuning fork is set upon the whiteboard panel or the glass panel of the overhead projector, the panel begins vibrating at the same natural frequency of the tuning fork. The tuning fork forces surrounding glass (or vinyl) particles into vibrational motion. The vibrating whiteboard or overhead projector panel in turn forces surrounding air particles into vibrational motion and the result is an increase in the amplitude and thus loudness of the sound. This principle of forced vibration explains why demonstration tuning forks are mounted on a sound box, why a commercial music box mechanism is mounted on a sounding board, why a guitar utilizes a sound box, and why a piano string is attached to a sounding board. A louder sound is always produced when an accompanying object of greater surface area is forced into vibration at the same natural frequency.

Resonance Now consider a related situation which resembles another common Physics demonstration. Suppose that a tuning fork is mounted on a sound box and set upon the table; and suppose a second tuning fork/sound box system having the same natural frequency (say 256 Hz) is placed on the table near the first system. Neither of the tuning forks is vibrating. Suppose the first tuning fork is struck with a rubber mallet and the tines begin vibrating at its natural frequency Hz. These vibrations set its sound box and the air inside the sound box vibrating at the same natural frequency of 256 Hz. Surrounding air particles are set into vibrational motion at the same natural frequency of 256 Hz and every student in the classroom hears the sound. Then the tines of the tuning fork are grabbed to prevent their vibration and remarkably the sound of 256 Hz is still being heard. Only now the sound is being produced by the second tuning fork - the one which wasn't hit with the mallet. Amazing!! The demonstration is often repeated to assure that the same surprising results are observed. They are! What is happening?

In this demonstration, one tuning fork forces another tuning fork into vibrational motion at the same natural frequency. The two forks are connected by the surrounding air particles. As the air particles surrounding the first fork (and its connected sound box) begin vibrating, the pressure waves which it creates begin to impinge at a periodic and regular rate of 256 Hz upon the second tuning fork (and its connected sound box). The energy carried by this sound wave through the air is tuned to the frequency of the second tuning fork. Since the incoming sound waves share the same natural frequency as the second tuning fork, the tuning fork easily begins vibrating at its natural frequency. This is an example of resonance - when one object vibrating at the same natural frequency of a second object forces that second object into vibrational motion. The result of resonance is always a large vibration. Regardless of the vibrating system, if resonance occurs, a large vibration results.

Interference Wave interference is the phenomenon which occurs when two waves meet while traveling along the same medium. The interference of waves causes the medium to take on a shape which results from the net effect of the two individual waves upon the particles of the medium. As mentioned in the last chapter, if two upward displaced pulses having the same shape meet up with one another while traveling in opposite directions along a medium, the medium will take on the shape of an upward displaced pulse with twice the amplitude of the two interfering pulses. This type of interference is known as constructive interference. If an upward displaced pulse and a downward displaced pulse having the same shape meet up with one another while traveling in opposite directions along a medium, the two pulses will cancel each other's effect upon the displacement of the medium and the medium will assume the equilibrium position. This type of interference is known as destructive interference.

The diagrams below show two waves - one is blue and the other is red - interfering in such a way to produce a resultant shape in a medium; the resultant is shown in green. In two cases (on the left and in the middle), constructive interference occurs and in the third case (on the far right, destructive interference occurs. But how can sound waves which do not possess upward and downward displacements interfere constructively and destructively? Sound is a pressure wave which consists of compressions and rarefactions. As a compression passes through a section of a medium, it tends to pull particles together into a small region of space, thus creating a high pressure region. And as a rarefaction passes through a section of a medium, it tends to push particles apart, thus creating a low pressure region. The interference of sound waves causes the particles of the medium to behave in a manner that reflects the net effect of the two individual waves upon the particles.

The animation below shows two sound waves interfering constructively in order to produce very large oscillations in pressure at a variety of anti-nodal locations. Note that compressions are labeled with a C and rarefactions are labeled with an R. Now if two sound waves interfere at a given location in such a way that the compression of one wave meets up with the rarefaction of a second wave, destructive interference results. The net effect of a compression (which pushes particles together) and a rarefaction (which pulls particles apart) upon the particles in a given region of the medium is to not even cause a displacement of the particles. The tendency of the compression to push particles together is canceled by the tendency of the rarefactions to pull particles apart; the particles would remain at their rest position as though there wasn't even a disturbance passing through them. This is a form of destructive interference.

Two Source Sound Interference
Now if a particular location along the medium repeatedly experiences the interference of a compression and rarefaction followed up by the interference of a rarefaction and a compression, then the two sound waves will continually cancel each other and no sound is heard. The absence of sound is the result of the particles remaining at rest and behaving as though there were no disturbance passing through it. Amazingly, in a situation such as this, two sound waves would combine to produce no sound. As mentioned in in the last chapter when talking about standing waves, locations along the medium where destructive interference continually occurs are known as nodes. Two Source Sound Interference A popular Physics demonstration involves the interference of two sound waves from two speakers. The speakers are set approximately 1 meter apart and produced identical tones. The two sound waves traveled through the air in front of the speakers, spreading our through the room in spherical fashion. A snapshot in time of the appearance of these waves is shown in the diagram on the next page.

In the diagram, the compressions of a wavefront are represented by a thick line and the rarefactions are represented by thin lines. These two waves interfere in such a manner as to produce locations of some loud sounds and other locations of no sound. Of course the loud sounds are heard at locations where compressions meet compressions or rarefactions meet rarefactions and the "no sound" locations appear wherever the compressions of one of the waves meet the rarefactions of the other wave. If you were to plug one ear and turn the other ear towards the place of the speakers and then slowly walk across the room parallel to the plane of the speakers, then you would encounter an amazing phenomenon. You would alternatively hear loud sounds as you approached anti-nodal locations and virtually no sound as you approached nodal locations.

Destructive interference of sound waves becomes an important issue in the design of concert halls and auditoriums. The rooms must be designed in such as way as to reduce the amount of destructive interference. Interference can occur as the result of sound from two speakers meeting at the same location as well as the result of sound from a speaker meeting with sound reflected off the walls and ceilings. If the sound arrives at a given location such that compressions meet rarefactions, then destructive interference will occur resulting in a reduction in the loudness of the sound at that location. One means of reducing the severity of destructive interference is by the design of walls, ceilings, and baffles that serve to absorb sound rather than reflect it. The destructive interference of sound waves can also be used advantageously in noise reduction systems. Ear phones have been produced which can be used by factory and construction workers to reduce the noise levels on their jobs. Such ear phones capture sound from the environment and use computer technology to produce a second sound wave which one-half cycle out of phase. The combination of these two sound waves within the headset will result in destructive interference and thus reduce a worker's exposure to loud noise.

Beats A final application of physics to the world of music pertains to the topic of beats. Beats are the periodic and repeating fluctuations heard in the intensity of a sound when two sound waves of very similar frequencies interfere with one another. The diagram illustrates the wave interference pattern resulting from two waves (drawn in red and blue) with very similar frequencies. A beat pattern is characterized by a wave whose amplitude is changing at a regular rate. Observe that the beat pattern (drawn in green) repeatedly oscillates from zero amplitude to a large amplitude, back to zero amplitude throughout the pattern. Points of constructive interference (C.I.) and destructive interference (D.I.) are labeled on the diagram. When constructive interference occurs between two crests or two troughs, a loud sound is heard. This corresponds to a peak on the beat pattern (drawn in green).

When destructive interference between a crest and a trough occurs, no sound is heard; this corresponds to a point of no displacement on the beat pattern. Since there is a clear relationship between the amplitude and the loudness, this beat pattern would be consistent with a wave which varies in volume at a regular rate. A piano tuner frequently utilizes the phenomenon of beats to tune a piano string. She will pluck the string and tap a tuning fork at the same time. If the two sound sources - the piano string and the tuning fork - produce detectable beats then their frequencies are not identical. She will then adjust the tension of the piano string and repeat the process until the beats can no longer be heard. As the piano string becomes more in tune with the tuning fork, the beat frequency will be reduced and approach 0 Hz. When beats are no longer heard, the piano string is tuned to the tuning fork; that is, they play the same frequency. The process allows a piano tuner to match the strings' frequency to the frequency of a standardized set of tuning forks. Important Note: Many of the previous diagrams represent a sound wave by a sine wave. Such a wave more closely resembles a transverse wave and may mislead people into thinking that sound is a transverse wave. Sound is not a transverse wave, but rather a longitudinal wave. Nonetheless, the variations in pressure with time take on the pattern of a sine wave and thus a sine wave is often used to represent the pressure-time features of a sound wave.