AP Physics 2 : Resistors and Resistance

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for AP Physics 2

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Example Questions

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Example Question #1 : Resistors And Resistance

Suppose a circuit consists of a battery connected to four resistors, all of which are connected in parallel. If a fifth resistor is added in parallel to this circuit, how will the current in the other four resistors change?

Possible Answers:

The current through the four resistors will halve

The current through the four resistors will quadruple

There is not enough information given to answer the question

There will be no change in the current through the four resistors

The current through the four resistors will double

Correct answer:

There will be no change in the current through the four resistors

Explanation:

Since all the resistors are connected in parallel, they will all experience the same voltage drop, which is equal to the voltage of the battery. Furthermore, since each resistor has the same resistance, the current flowing through the four resistors will be equal.

The current flowing through each resistor can be shown by Ohm's law:

Also, the total current of the circuit can be found by noting:

Moreover, the total resistance can be calculated by noting that resistors in parallel add inversely.

Since each resistor is the same, we can note that:

Plugging  into the previous equation, we see that:

So in the case of four resistors connected in parallel, the total current in the circuit is equal to  . And since the overall current is split evenly between the four resistors, we see that:

 

Now, if we consider the case of five resistors connected in parallel, we will see that the total resistance is:

Therefore, the overall current in the circuit when a fifth resistor is added in parallel is:

And once again, since each of the five resistors are connected in parallel, the total current will be split evenly between them, thus giving:

Therefore, we see that the current through each resistor is the same, both before and after the addition of the fifth resistor.

To summarize, the voltage drop across each resistor is the same since they are connected in parallel. Also, since each resistor has the same resistance, the current through each is the same. Adding a fifth resistor in parallel decreased the overall resistance of the circuit and increased the overall current flowing through the circuit. But because this new, greater current is divided evenly among all the resistors, including the new one that was added, the current through each of the resistors does not change.

Example Question #1 : Resistors And Resistance

The following is a picture of a circuit with 4 resistors, labeled , , , and .

4resistorcircuit

What is the total resistance of the circuit if the values of the resistors are as follows?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Remember, the equations for find the total resistance of a circuit are as follows:

 

 

Let's complete this in pieces. First, we see that  and  are in series, so they just add together. Next, we see that  and  are in parallel, so we invert the added inverses. Finally, we see that  and  are in series, so we add them together.

Therefore, the total resistance of the circuit is .

Example Question #2 : Resistors And Resistance

Parallel circuit 1 jpeg

What is the total resistance of the circuit above?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

Use our rule for adding resistors in parallel.

 

Plug in known values.

Example Question #3 : Resistors And Resistance

Photo 4 1

What is the total resistance of the circuit shown above?

Possible Answers:

None of these

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The equations for adding resistances in parallel, as in the diagram is:

Solve.

Example Question #5 : Resistors And Resistance

Photo 2

Resistances:

If the circuit above is connected to a  battery, what is the total power output of the system?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The rules for adding resistors are:

From the diagram, A, B, and C are in parallel, E and F are in parallel, and ABC , EF, and D are in series.

Find the resistance of A, B and C.

Find the resistance of E, and F.

Find the total equivalent resistance by using the rule for adding (systems of) resistors in series.

Therefore the total resistance is

The power equation is:

Since we know total resistance and potential difference, we can find current. Use Ohm's law.

Now we can find the power.

This fraction is equivalent to

Example Question #4 : Resistors And Resistance

Photo 2

Resistances:

What is the total resistance of the system in the diagram above?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

The rules for adding resistors are:

Note that these equations are the opposite of the equations used for adding capacitors.

From the diagram, A, B, and C are in parallel, E and F are in parallel, and ABC , EF, and D are in series.

Find the equivalent resistances for each system of resistors.

Find the equivalent resistance of the other system of parallel resistors.

The three systems of resistors are in series. Find the equivalent resistance using the appropriate equation.

The total resistance is about

Example Question #5 : Resistors And Resistance

You have 3 resistors in parallel with each other. What can you say for certain about the total resistance of the circuit?

Possible Answers:

Nothing can be said for certain about the total resistance.

The total resistance is equal to the arithmetic mean of the resistors.

The total resistance is less than any individual resistor.

The total resistance is higher than any individual resistor.

The total resistance is somwhere between the highest resistor and the lowest resistor.

Correct answer:

The total resistance is less than any individual resistor.

Explanation:

Because the resistors are in parallel, we can use the equation for finding the total resistance.

Using this equation, any positive numbers we plug into the equation for the resistances will yield a number that is less than any of the resistors individually. Using this property allows for many more resistances to be achieved besides the individual resistors one may have.

Example Question #8 : Resistors And Resistance

Resistors

The circuit in the figure has a battery providing a  potential. The resistors have resistances of . Find the voltage drop across .

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

First off, we need to find the current coming out of the battery. If we consider  and  in parallel, we can find the equivalent resistance of those two. The circuit will look like

Resistors2

Where

Notice in this figure above that  is in series with . Finding the total equivalent reistance of the circuit will allow us to find the total current coming out of the battery.

The total current coming out of the battery is found using Ohm's Law,

Notice that if  is in series with  than the current coming out of the battery is the same current traveling through  since for a series circuit

This means that the voltage drop across  is just

Example Question #6 : Resistors And Resistance

You have two resistors in series, with the pair being in parallel with another resistor. What can be said for certain about the total resistance?

Possible Answers:

The total resistance is higher than any individual resistor.

None of the answers are certain.

The total resistance is lower than any individual resistor.

The total resistance is somewhere in between the highest resistor and the lowest resistor (inclusive).

The total resistance is the arithmetic mean of the resistors.

Correct answer:

None of the answers are certain.

Explanation:

Nothing can be said for certain about the total resistance. This is because, depending on the strength of the resistors, there can be practically any value for the total resistance. For instance, if our resistors were 1, 1, and 2, respectively, then after using the resistor equations (R1 and R2), we find that the total resistance is 1 Ohm, which would eliminate the answers "arithmetic mean", "greater than any individual", and "less than any individual", which leaves "somewhere between the highest and lowest" and "none". However, we can use another example to disprove the first of those two. 

Let the resistors equal 100, 100, and 1, respectively. The total resistance for that setup is , which is less than any individual resistor, not in between the highest and lowest, but we've already shown an example that contradicts this finding. Therefore, none of the answers are correct and can be said for certain.

Example Question #967 : Ap Physics 2

A circuit has two identical resistors in series. The resistors are then changed so they are in parallel. How will the current of the circuit change?

Possible Answers:

It will be quadrupled. 

None of these.

It will be cut in half.

It will be a quarter of it's original value.

It will double.

Correct answer:

It will be quadrupled. 

Explanation:

 

Putting the resistors in parallel makes the total resistance  of the original value. Thus, the current is quadrupled. 

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