Sources & Circuit Components In Series Or Parallel Connections

Sources/Circuit Components In Series

When electrical sources, such as batteries or cells, are connected in a manner that the positive terminal of one source is linked to the negative terminal of the next, this configuration is known as a series connection.

This setup results in the electromotive forces (e.m.f.s) of the connected sources adding up, thereby increasing the overall voltage available to the circuit. Essentially, the total e.m.f. of the series arrangement is the sum of the individual e.m.f.s of all the sources involved. This is because the electric charge that travels around a circuit in such an arrangement encounters each source sequentially, acquiring additional electrical potential energy from every source it passes through. This process effectively increases the overall voltage available to the circuit, enhancing the circuit’s ability to do work over what a single source could provide.

Advantages of Series Connections

The primary advantage of series connections is their ability to increase the total voltage across the circuit without requiring sources of higher individual voltage. This is particularly useful in applications where a specific voltage higher than what a single source can provide is needed.

Real-Life Example of Series Connection

A common real-life example of series connections is the use of multiple batteries in a flashlight. If a flashlight requires 6 volts to operate and uses 1.5-volt batteries, four batteries connected in series would be used to achieve the necessary voltage.

Sources/Circuit Components In Parallel

In a parallel configuration, all the positive terminals of the sources are connected together, and all the negative terminals are also connected together. Unlike series connections, the combined e.m.f. of a parallel arrangement does not increase. Instead, the parallel configuration maintains the same voltage as a single source but increases the total current capacity of the assembly. This means that a battery arranged in parallel will not deliver a higher voltage but will last longer before depleting, making it ideal for applications requiring prolonged energy supply at a constant voltage.

Advantages of Parallel Connections

The main advantage of parallel connections is the increase in the total current capacity of the circuit, which is beneficial for applications that require prolonged energy supply at a constant voltage without increasing the voltage.

Real-Life Example of Parallel Connection

A real-life example of parallel connections is the wiring of household electrical outlets. These outlets are connected in parallel to ensure that each appliance receives the same voltage level from the main power supply, allowing them to operate independently without affecting each other’s performance.

Table Showing Differences Between Series & Parallel Connections

FeatureSeries ConnectionParallel Connection
Voltage (e.m.f.)Increases (sum of all sources)Remains the same as a single source
Current CapacityRemains the same as the source with the lowest capacityIncreases (sum of the capacities of all sources)
ApplicationUsed when higher voltage is neededUsed when longer duration of power supply is needed
Real-Life ExampleFlashlights requiring multiple batteries for the desired voltageHousehold electrical outlets providing power to multiple appliances

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