MYTUTOR SUBJECT ANSWERS

983 views

Why does current split between branches of a parallel circuit, but voltage remains the same for each branch?

Current is the rate of flow of charge in a circuit; you can imagine the flow of electrons as water flowing through a pipe. If the pipe splits into two, some of the flow will go through one pipe and some through the other. The flow in either pipe is less than the flow in the original pipe. Similarly, if the electrons travelling round a circuit come to a branch in the circuit, then some electrons will go through one wire and some through the other. Therefore, the rate of flow of charge is reduced in each branch compared to the original wire (electrons have a fixed charge and will be travelling at the same average speed). So current splits between branches in a parllel circuit.

Voltage is a measure of energy (in Joules) per unit charge (in Coulombs). As each electron has the same charge, each electron is carrying the same amount of energy, so the voltage across each branch of the parallel circuit will be the same because the voltage doesn't epend on the number of electrons in each branch. Returning to the water flow analogy, if a flow of water split into two before going over a waterfall. the water in both streams would still fall the same distance before meeting again at the bottom.

Rose A. A Level Physics tutor, A Level Maths tutor, GCSE Chemistry tutor

2 years ago

Answered by Rose, an A Level Physics tutor with MyTutor


Still stuck? Get one-to-one help from a personally interviewed subject specialist

102 SUBJECT SPECIALISTS

£24 /hr

Ayusha A.

Degree: BEng electrical and electronics engineering (Bachelors) - Newcastle University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 1 more

Physics
Maths
Further Mathematics

“About me: I am a final year Electrical and Electronic Engineering student at Newcastle University. I took Mathematics, Further Mathematics, Chemistry and Physics as my A-level subjects. I did peer mentoring in university and also have...”

£20 /hr

Hannah B.

Degree: Natural Sciences (Masters) - Nottingham University

Subjects offered:Physics, Science+ 2 more

Physics
Science
Maths
Chemistry

“2nd-year Natural Sciences student at the University of Nottingham. Looking forward to meeting you!”

MyTutor guarantee

£22 /hr

Raghav A.

Degree: Chemical Engineering (Masters) - Bath University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 2 more

Physics
Maths
Chemistry
-Personal Statements-

“If you are looking for a tutor who is not only approachable and passionate about his subjects, but willing to go the extra mile, I am here to help”

About the author

£20 /hr

Rose A.

Degree: Physics (Masters) - Oxford, Keble College University

Subjects offered:Physics, Maths+ 1 more

Physics
Maths
Chemistry

“Top tutor from the renowned Russell university group, ready to help you improve your grades.”

MyTutor guarantee

You may also like...

Posts by Rose

How do I sketch a graph of a polynomial function?

Why does current split between branches of a parallel circuit, but voltage remains the same for each branch?

Why doesn't the concentration of products or reactants change when a reaction is at dynamic equilibrium?

Other A Level Physics questions

Explain what is meant by resonance.

What is simple harmonic motion?

The Heisenberg Uncertainty principle states that ΔxΔp > h/4π. What is represented by the terms Δx, and Δp? What can we say about p if the precise value of x is known? What does this mean for experimental results.

In a fluorescent tube, how are the atoms in the tube excited?

View A Level Physics tutors

We use cookies to improve your site experience. By continuing to use this website, we'll assume that you're OK with this. Dismiss

mtw:mercury1:status:ok