11 terms

Physics Honors Vocabulary Chapter 23

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Series Circuit
A type of electric circuit in which all current travels through each device and is the same everywhere; its current is equal to the potential difference divided by the equivalent resistance.
Equivalent Resistance
For resistors in a series, is the sum of all the individual resistances.
Voltage Divider
A series circuit that is used to produce a voltage source of desired magnitude from a higher-voltage battery; often is used with sensors such as photoresistors.
Parallel Circuit
A type of electric circuit in which there are several current paths; its total current is equal to the sum of the currents in the individual branches, and if any branch is opened, the current in the other branches remains unchanged.
Short Circuit
Occurs when a very low resistance circuit is formed, causing a very large current that could easily start a fire from overheated wires.
Fuse
A short piece of metal that acts as a safety device in an electric circuit by melting and stopping the current from flowing if a dangerously high current passes through the circuit.
Circuit Breaker
An automatic switch that acts as a safety device in an electric circuit by opening and stopping the current flow when too much current flows through a circuit.
Ground-Fault Interrupter
A device that contains an electronic circuit that detects small current differences caused by an extra current path; it opens the circuit, prevents electrocution, and often is required as a safety measure for bathroom, kitchen, and exterior outlets.
Combination Series-Parallel Circuit
A complex electric circuit that includes both series and parallel branches.
Ammeter
A low-resistance device connected in series that is used to measure the electric current in any branch or part of a circuit.
Voltmeter
A high-resistance device used to measure the voltage drop across any portion or a combination of portions of a circuit and is connected in parallel with the part of the circuit being measured.