High School Physics : Understanding Series and Parallel

Study concepts, example questions & explanations for High School Physics

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Example Questions

Example Question #1 : Understanding Series And Parallel

Each branch of a parallel circuit carries an equal __________.

Possible Answers:

voltage

resistance

current

power

capacitance

Correct answer:

voltage

Explanation:

By definition, each branch of a parallel circuit will have the same voltage. The current, however, may be split between branches in inequal amounts. In contrast, a series circuit will carry a constant current throughout the circuit, but voltage may differ between elements.

Resistance and capacitance are dependent on the elements present in a given circuit, so no claims can be made. Power is similarly dependent on the elements present in a specific circuit.

Example Question #2 : Understanding Series And Parallel

Each component of a series circuit carries an equal __________.

Possible Answers:

voltage

current

resistance

power

capacitance

Correct answer:

current

Explanation:

A series circuit has the same current running through each component, though the voltage across each component may vary. In contrast, a parallel circuit will carry a constant voltage in each branch and the current may be split in inequal amounts between branches.

Resistance and capacitance are dependent on the elements present in a given circuit, so no claims can be made. Power is similarly dependent on the elements present in a specific circuit.

Example Question #3 : Understanding Series And Parallel

Two  resistors are placed in a circuit. What is the difference in equivalent resistance when the resistors in series versus when they are in parallel?

Possible Answers:

Correct answer:

Explanation:

In series, the equivalent resistance is equal to the sum of each individual resistance. In parallel, the inverse of equivalent resistance is equal to the sum of the inverses of each individual resistance.

We can calculate these two values, and then find the difference between them.

Find the difference:

 

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