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Types of Circuits


An electrical circuit comprises an arrangement of elements for the conversion, transmission and storage of energy. Energy enters a circuit via one or more sources and leaves via one or more sinks. In the sources energy is converted from mechanical, thermal, chemical or electromagnetic form into electrical form; in the sinks the reverse process takes place. In an electrical circuit energy is conveyed through the agency of electrical charge and through the medium of electric and magnetic fields. There are different types of circuits, series and parallel circuits. The clarification about these types are mentioned below.

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Series Circuits

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A series circuit is one in which several resistances are connected one after the other. Such connection is also called end to end connection or cascade connection. There is only one path for the flow of current. 
Characteristics of Series circuit:
  • The same current flows through each resistance.
  • The supply voltage V is the sum of the individual voltage drops across the resistances.
                 V = V+ V+ V+ .....+ Vn
  • The equivalent resistance is equal to the sum of the individual resistances.
  • The equivalent resistance is the largest of all the individual resistances. 
                R > R1, R > R2,....., R > Rn

Parallel Circuits

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The parallel circuit is one in which several resistances are connected across one another in such a way that one terminal of each is connected to form a junction point while the remaining end are also joined to form another point.
Characteristics of Parallel circuits:
  • The same potential difference gets across all the resistances in parallel.
  • The total current gets divided into the number of paths equal to the number of resistances in parallel. The total current is always sum of all the individual currents.
                   I = I+ I+ I+ ......+ In
  • The reciprocal of the equivalent resistance of a parallel circuit is equal to the sum of the reciprocal of the individual resistances.
  • The equivalent resistance is the smallest of all the resistances.
                   R < R1, R < R2, ....., R < Rn
  • The equivalent conductance is the arithmetic addition of the individual conductance.

The equivalent resistance is smaller than the smallest of all the resistances connected in parallel.


Differences

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The differences between series and parallel circuits are illustrated in the given table.

Series Circuit  Parallel Circuit 
There is only one current pathway There is more than one current pathway
All components have the same current through them All components have the same potential difference across them
The sum of the potential drops across each component is equal to the emf of the source. The sum of the currents flowing into any point in the circuit equals the sum of the currents flowing out of that point.

Schematic Diagrams

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Schematic diagrams of series and parallel circuits are given below:

Series circuit:

Series Circuit


Parallel circuit:

Parallel Circuit
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