Science Glossary Terms
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- A closed path along which electrons that are powered by an energy source can flow
- There are three types of simple electric circuits: Series, Parallel, and Series-Parallel
- A source of energy that generates an electric current by chemical reactions involving two different metals or metal compounds separated by a solution that is a conductor.
- e.g. An AA or D cell or "battery"
- A connection of two or more cells
- 1.5 Volts
- e.g. 2 or more 1.5 V cells, (2 AA cells)
- One of two metal terminals in a cell or a battery
- Hold on to electrons and must be made of different metals to do so
- A solution or paste that conducts charge
- e.g. Sodium chloride, nitric acid, chloric acid
- A cell that contains an electrolyte that is a paste
- Has no free liquid and only has enough moisture to allow current to flow
- e.g. Zinc carbon dry cell battery
- A cell that contains a liquid electrolyte, most wet cells use a solution of sulfuric acid
- e.g. Car battery
- A cell that can be used only once and becomes dead after a period of time
- e.g. Dry cells
- A cell that can be recharged and used again and again
- e.g. Lead storage cell
- A cell that generates electricity through the chemical reactions of fuel that is stored outside the cell. Fuel cells are capable of providing energy for automobiles, buses and small devices.
- e.g. Hydrogen fuel cell,
- A cell that converts sunlight into electrical energy
- Few small solar cells can power a calculator while large solar panels can operate a communications satellite
- e.g. Solar cells in calculators
- Location on a cell that must be connected to other components to form a circuit
- There is a positive and negative terminal or "poles"
- A control device that can complete or break the circuit to which it is connected
- A circuit that contains a gap or break
- e.g. Opening a switch which creates a gap which does not let electrons flow through any part of the circuit
- The rate of movement of electric charge
- In an electric circuit the current is due to the flow of electrons
- Measured in coulombs (C)
- The quantity of charge that is equal to the charge of 6.25 x electrons
- The electric charge passing by a point in a circuit measured in large numbers of electrons.
- The unit of electric current, equivalent to one coulomb per second
- e.g. A current of 1.0 A in a circuit means that 1.0 C of charge passes a given point in the circuit every second
- The property of a substance that hinders electric current and converts electrical energy to other forms of energyMeasured in Ohms (Ω)
- Using Ohm's law
- A device that used in an electric circuit to decrease the current through a component by a specific amount
- e.g. Can be affected by heat, or material etc.
- A resistor or any other device that transforms electrical energy into heat, motion, sound or light
- e.g. resistor, microwave, heater
Potential Difference (voltage)
- The difference between the electric potential energy per unit of charge at two points in a circuit (voltage)
- Potential Difference = Difference in Potential Energy(J)/Charge (C)
- The unit for potential difference, equivalent to one joule (J) per coulomb (C)
- e.g. A cell marked 1.5 V will do 1.5 J of work moving a coulomb of electrons from the negative terminal through the circuit to the positive terminal
A diagram that uses standard symbols to represent the components in an electric circuit and their connections
- A circuit in which there is only one path along which electrons can flow
- e.g. If one bulb were to go out all the bulbs would go out
- A circuit in which there is more than one path along which electrons
- e.g. If one bulb were to go out the rest would stay lit through multiple paths
- The ratio of potential difference to current is a constant called resistance
- The unit for resistance, equivalent to one volt per ampere (V/A)
- Measured using Ohm's law
- A material through which electric charge can flow with no resistance
- Does not transform electrical energy into heat
- e.g. Some very powerful magnets are made using superconducting wires
- Not following Ohm's law
- If ratio of potential difference between the ends of a load to the current through the load changes as the potential difference varies the load does not have a constant resistance thus, does not obey Ohm's law.
Loads in Series
- The way electrons flow through a series circuit using current, potential difference and resistance
- e.g. If one bulb goes out they all go out
Loads in Parallel
- The way electrons flow through a parallel circuit using current, potential difference and resistance
- e.g. If one bulb goes out, the rest stay on
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