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Electric Resistance

The opposition to the flow of electric charges in an electric current and its SI Unit of measurement.

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Circuit Mall

How do the dynamics of a line to a new attraction compare to electric circuits?              


Credit: cliff1066
Source: http://www.flickr.com/photos/nostri-imago/2873535879/sizes/o/in/photolist-5nVC74-5nVD2D-5nZSNw-5Z2EYh-6U5qft-6U5qiB-6U9rdG-7kkxW8-7kky9i-7kkynp-7kkzgF-7kkzCn-7kkA1r-7kpruG-7kptiL-7kptFA-7kpu95-7ku7ur-7ku7vZ-7ku7Ag-7ku7EK-7ku7Fx-7ky1WE-7ky1Xs-cXg5KU-cXg61o/
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Imagine you are in line to enter a brand new shopping mall. The stores comprising the mall are very popular, and so the demand for entry is very high. Security guards only allow one person through the doors at a time. As a result, the line and the wait are quite long. To add to the chaos, the waiting crowd is made mostly of frequent shoppers who are growing very impatient and holding up the line with their constant complaints. Together, these factors affect the flow of customers into the shopping mall, just as electric resistance affects the flow of charges through a current.

Creative Applications

1. What makes less resistance more favorable in a circuit?

2. If the guards formed two adjacent lines to allow two people into the mall at a time, we would expect the mall to fill up faster. If we encased these two lines within a wire, the wire would be wider and shorter than the original. In terms of flowing electrons, why are wider, shorter wires favored over narrow, long ones?

3. Compare the impatient shoppers to insulators in a circuit. What do insulators do to current flow? Are insulators necessarily bad for the circuit? (Hint: How are they helpful to humans?) Which type of material is commonly used as an insulator?

4. The type of customers the line is made up of impacts how well it flows. Most wires are made of what type of material and why? Name some examples of this material that are ideal for wires.

5. Let's say security manages to calm down impatient shoppers with coupon offers. The environment becomes less heated and so the line becomes more orderly. Therefore, do you think cooler wires have less resistance than warmer wires? Why or why not?

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