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Physics/resistor in series


QUESTION: Hello sir,
   PLs.eloborate me the function of resistor in series. If we connect three resistor for example 2, 3, and 4 0hm respectively. resistor means that slows the speed  of the electric current.when it comes to the first resistor 2 0hm speed will be reduced when it come to the second resistor 5 0hm speed will be reduced when it comes to the third resistor 9 ohm will be reduced when it passes the third resistor and flow on the metallic wire then also 9 ohm speed will be reduced. pls. elaborate me with example in simple term

ANSWER: No, it does not "slow the speed" of an electric current.  Current is like water in a hose, the pressure causes the water to flow like the electric field (due to voltage) causes charge to flow.  The resistors are like blockages stuck in the hose.  The overall flow needs more pressure to continue, but the flow out at the end is equal to the flow in at the front.

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QUESTION: sir,  Thanks for answering my question. In my text I cannot understand this wording fully pls. help me.
  The current through each resistor is the same having a value I. The total potential difference across the combination of resistor . is equal to the sum of potential difference across individual resistor.
the first sentence i can understand since it is in series If there is 5 coulomb charge it will flow through all the resistor.

ANSWER: You kept using the word "speed" to refer to the current in your initial question, which is not a really relevant word.  I'm not sure what you're asking here.  You seem to understand what's going on with current in the resistors, so I'm not sure where your question actually lies.  You correctly described the potential and the current flow in your follow-up.  You don't really seem to have a question.  What do you think you don't understand?

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QUESTION: Sir, my son is studying 10 th std. In India. He quoted me this sentence and asked me what it means. The total potential difference across the combination of resistor is equal to the sum of potential difference across individual resistor. this sentence comes in the title resistor in series.It is difficult for me to explain him. so pls. elaborate me how can I explain.

There's no deeper meaning to that sentence, if you put resistors in series and pass a current through them, each one will get a voltage.  As you go from one end to the other, the voltages simply add up.  Think of the resistors like rungs on a ladder.  As I climb the ladder, my gravitational potential energy increases with each step.  The electric fields inside the resistors that correspond to their voltages act on charge the was gravity acts on masses.  It's the same concept, no difference, except that the electric fields in a circuit can (of course) take on quite a complex geometry.  Try to draw the resistors laid out in a nice, straight row for this explanation.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.


I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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