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# OCR (A) specifications: 5.2.

2e,k,l

Chapter 13
Practical circuits
Worksheet
Worked examples
Practical 1: The e.m.f. and internal resistance of a lemon cell
Practical 2: Calibrating an electrical thermometer
Practical 3: Investigating turbidity
End-of-chapter test
Marking scheme: Worksheet
Marking scheme: End-of-chapter test

Worksheet
Intermediate level
1
2

## Suggest why a chemical cell has internal resistance.

Use the terms below to write a word equation for the e.m.f. of a power supply.



terminal p.d.
e.m.f. of power supply
p.d. across internal resistance



## A d.c. power supply of e.m.f. 12 V has an internal resistance of 2.3 . It is accidentally

shorted-out across its terminals by a short length of wire of negligible resistance.
a



## Suggest why it may be dangerous to have a supply shorted-out in this way.



A cell of e.m.f. 1.5 V is connected across a length of wire of resistance 2.6 . A highresistance voltmeter placed across the terminals of the cell measures 0.85 V. Calculate:
a





## The diagram shows a potential divider circuit.

The battery has negligible internal resistance.
Calculate the potential difference across the
6.0 resistor.

5.0 V



Higher level
6

6.0

18.0

## A length of wire of resistance 7.3 is connected across the terminals of a cell of

e.m.f. 1.4 V. A high-resistance voltmeter measures a p.d. of 0.81 V across the
terminals of the cell. Calculate:
a

the lost volts (the p.d. across the internal resistance of the cell);



## the internal resistance of the cell;



the ratio:
power dissipated by the 7.3 resistor
power delivered by the cell



Two chemical cells are connected in series. Each cell has e.m.f. 1.4 V and internal
resistance 0.38 . The combination of the cells is connected across an electronic
circuit of resistance 1.8 . Calculate:
a





## The diagram shows a potential divider circuit. The

voltmeter has infinite resistance and the battery has
negligible internal resistance.
a

## The variable resistor is set on its maximum

resistance of 200 . Calculate the voltmeter



## The resistance R of the variable resistor is

gradually altered from its maximum resistance
value of 200 to zero. Use a sketch graph to
describe how the voltmeter reading changes
with R.


13 Practical circuits

6.0 V

180

123

## 9 The diagram shows a simple electrical thermometer

based on a negative temperature coefficient (NTC)
thermistor. At 30 C the thermistor has a resistance
of 2.4 k and this decreases to 430 at 100 C. The
battery has negligible internal resistance. Calculate
the maximum input voltage into the datalogger.

5.0 V


3.6 k

to datalogger

Extension
10 A cell has e.m.f. 1.5 V and internal resistance 0.50 . It is
connected across a variable resistor of resistance R. Copy
and complete the table (I = current drawn from the cell;
V = terminal p.d.; P = power dissipated by external
resistor).
With the aid of a sketch graph, describe how the power
dissipated by the external resistor is affected by its
resistance.


R ()

I (A)

V (V)

P (W)

0
0.10
0.20
0.30
0.40
0.50
0.60
0.70
0.80
0.90
1.00
Total: Score:
40

124

## Cambridge University Press 2005

13 Practical circuits

Worked examples
Example 1
For the circuit shown below, calculate the reading shown by the high-resistance voltmeter.
4.5 V

battery
0.8

2.0

e.m.f.
current =
total resistance
Therefore:
I=

E
R+r

I=

4.5
= 1.61 A 1.6 A
2.0 + 0.8

The current in a series circuit is the same at all points. Hence, the p.d. across the
external resistor is given by:
V = IR = 1.61 2.0

## You must use 2.0 here. Substituting

0.8 will give the lost volts.

V 3.2 V

Tip
There is another method for getting the correct answer. You can also use the
potential divider equation:
V=

Rb
Vin
Ra + Rb

V=

2.0
4.5
0.8 + 2.0

V 3.2 V

13 Practical circuits

125

Example 2

9.0 V

## For the circuit shown, calculate the reading on the

high-resistance voltmeter connected across the
thermistor, which has a resistance of 1.2 k. You
may assume that the supply has negligible internal
resistance.
The p.d. across the thermistor is given by the
potential divider equation:
V=

Rb
Vin
Ra + Rb

V=

1.2
9.0 1.8 V
4.7 + 1.2

4.7 k

## The resistance values are often confused. You are

measuring the p.d. across the resistor of resistance Rb.

Tip
You can use your knowledge of series circuits to get the answer.
current =

e.m.f.
total resistance

I=

9.0
1.53 103 A
5900

## The potential difference across the thermistor is given by:

V = IR
V = 1.53 103 1200 1.8 V

126

## Cambridge University Press 2005

13 Practical circuits

Practical 1
The e.m.f. and internal resistance of a lemon cell
Safety
There are not likely to be any major hazards in carrying out this experiment. However,
teachers and technicians should always refer to the departmental risk assessment before
carrying out any practical work.

Apparatus
fresh lemon
variable resistor (100 k)
clean zinc and copper electrodes

digital voltmeter
digital ammeter (100 A fsd)

Introduction
You will be familiar with cells such as chemical cells, solar cells, etc. In this experiment,
you have the opportunity to make your own cell and investigate its properties in terms of
its e.m.f. and its internal resistance. The cell is a little unusual it is made from a lemon!

Procedure
The diagram below shows how to use a lemon to make a chemical cell.
zinc electrode

copper electrode
E

lemon

I
A

equivalent to
E

100 k

1
2
3
4
5

## Connect up the circuit.

By altering the resistance of the variable resistor, measure the terminal potential
difference V across the lemon cell for a range of values of current I.
Record your results in a table.
Plot a graph of V against I and draw a straight line of best fit.
The magnitude of the gradient of the straight-line graph is equal to the internal
resistance r of the lemon cell. The intercept on the V axis is equal to the e.m.f. of
the lemon cell. Use your graph to determine the e.m.f. and internal resistance of

## Guidance for teachers

To achieve consistent results, it is advisable to remove any oxides from the electrodes using
an emery cloth. In trials, the following typical results were obtained for a fresh lemon:
e.m.f. 1.0 V

13 Practical circuits

## Cambridge University Press 2005

127

Practical 2
Calibrating an electrical thermometer
Safety
Take care when pouring the boiling water into the beaker. Teachers and technicians
should follow their school and departmental safety policies and should ensure that the
employers risk assessment has been carried out before undertaking any practical work.

Apparatus

## low-voltage d.c. supply

1 k resistor (or equivalent)
digital voltmeter
electric kettle

100 ml beaker
thermometer
NTC thermistor

Introduction
In this experiment you will calibrate a thermistor-based potential divider circuit and
use the results to estimate your body temperature.

Procedure

## Connect up a potential divider circuit incorporating a thermistor as shown in

figure 13.10 on page 111 of Physics 1.

2
3
4

Put the thermistor in a waterproof plastic bag and place into the beaker.

5
6
7
8
9

128

## Pour boiling hot water into the beaker.

Measure and record the temperature of the water and the potential difference
across the thermistor.
Take several readings of temperature and potential difference as the water cools.
Plot a graph of potential difference against temperature.
Remove the thermistor from the beaker and the plastic bag and hold it tightly
between the palms of your hands.
Record the constant value of the potential difference across the thermistor.
Use this reading and the calibration graph to determine your body temperature.
How reliable is your estimate for your body temperature? How does this value
compare with a reading using the glass thermometer?

## Cambridge University Press 2005

13 Practical circuits

Practical 3
Investigating turbidity
Safety
There are not likely to be any major hazards in carrying out this experiment. However,
teachers and technicians should always refer to the departmental risk assessment before
carrying out any practical work.

Apparatus

## low-voltage d.c. supply

300 resistor or equivalent
digital voltmeter
pipette with small quantity of milk

100 ml beaker
light-dependent resistor (LDR)
light source (table lamp or ray box)

Introduction
Potential divider circuits are very useful as sensing circuits, especially when used with
thermistors and light-dependent resistors (LDRs). In this experiment you will investigate
the effect of varying light intensity on a potential divider circuit based on an LDR.

Procedure

Connect up the potential divider circuit incorporating an LDR as shown in figure 13.12
on page 112 of Physics 1.

## Set up the light source,

beaker, LDR and pipette as
shown in the diagram.

the beaker.

## Measure the potential

difference across the LDR.

## Add one drop of milk and

measure the potential
difference.

7
8

## Repeat for more drops of milk

until the water is very turbid
(cloudy).

pipette
of milk

to potential divider
light
water
LDR

## Plot a graph of potential difference against the number of drops of milk.

The intensity of light falling on the LDR decreases as the number of drops of milk
increases. The graph will show that the potential difference across the LDR increases
as more drops of milk are added to the water. Can you explain these observations in
terms of the potential divider equation?
V=

Rb
Vin
Ra + Rb

13 Practical circuits

## Cambridge University Press 2005

129

End-of-chapter test

Two identical cells are connected in series. Each cell has internal resistance of 0.4
and e.m.f. of 1.5 V.
a



ii

## the total internal resistance.



The two cells in series are now connected to an electrical device of constant
resistance 2.5 . Calculate:
i



ii



## The graph shows how the terminal

p.d. V depends on the current I drawn
for a particular cell.

V (V)
4.5 V

a
b

cell;





3.0 A
0
0

I (A)

## In the potential divider circuit shown, the

voltmeter has an infinite resistance and the
power supply has negligible internal resistance.

6.0 V

a





1.2 k
V

1.8 k
1.2 k

## Describe how the resistance of a light-dependent resistor (LDR) is affected

by the intensity of the incident light.


## The diagram shows a light-sensing circuit.

The voltmeter has an infinite resistance and the
power supply has negligible internal resistance.
Describe how the voltmeter reading changes as
a hand gradually obscures the intensity of light
on the LDR.



Total: Score:
23

130

## Cambridge University Press 2005

13 Practical circuits

Marking scheme
Worksheet
1
2
3

Due to the current flowing through the chemicals within the cell. 
e.m.f. of power supply = terminal p.d. + p.d. across internal resistance 
a

E = I (R + r)
R = 0 (since supply is shorted-out)

so

I=

E
;
r

I=

12
= 5.2 A 
2.3

## E = V + Ir; p.d. across internal resistance = Ir = 1.5 0.85 

Vr = 0.65 V 
V
0.85
0.65
=I=
= 0.327 A ; r =
2.0 
R
2.6
0.327

I=

V=

Rb
Vin ;
Ra + Rb

E = V + Ir

V=

6.0
5.0 ; V = 1.25 V 1.3 V 
18 + 6.0

## p.d. across internal resistance = Ir = 1.4 0.81 ; Vr = 0.59 V 

V 0.81
=
= 0.111 A ;
R 7.3

I=

P = I2R 
Ratio =

r=

0.59
= 5.3 
0.111

0.1112 7.3

0.1112 (7.3 + 5.3)

Ratio = 0.58 (42% of the power is lost internally in the cell) 

I=

E

R+r

I=

and

## total internal resistance = 2 0.38 = 0.76 

2.8
= 1.094 A 1.1 A ; V = IR = 1.094 1.8 = 1.97 V 2.0 V 
0.76 + 1.8

V = E Ir ;

V=

Rb
Vin ;
Ra + Rb

V=

200
6.0 
180 + 200

## V = 3.16 V 3.2 V 

b

As the resistance decreases, the p.d. across the variable resistor decreases. 
Voltmeter

3.2 V

## Correct shape curve 

200

R ()

13 Practical circuits

## Cambridge University Press 2005

131

9 Maximum p.d. across the 3.6 k resistor is when the resistance of the thermistor is
minimum. 
V=

Rb
Vin ;
Ra + Rb

V=

3600
5.0 ; V = 4.47 V 4.5 V 
430 + 3600

## 10 All columns correctly calculated (for R = 0.50 , P = 1.13 W). 

The completed table will show that maximum power is dissipated when the
external resistor has resistance of 0.50 . This resistance value is equal to the
internal resistance. 
If you want to deliver maximum power to an external load, then its resistance must
match the resistance of the supply (the cell in this case). 
P (W)

1.13 W

0.50

132

## Cambridge University Press 2005

R ()

13 Practical circuits

Marking scheme
End-of-chapter test
1

ii

I=

ii

P = I 2R ;

V = E Ir

V=

1
1
1
=
+
R 1.2 1.2
V=

E
3.0
=
= 0.91 A ;
R + r 2.5 + 0.8

so

Rb
Vin ;
Ra + Rb
so

1.8
6.0 ;
0.6 + 1.8

V=

4.5
= 1.5 
3.0

## e.m.f. = 4.5 V 

1.8
6.0 ; V = 3.6 V 
1.2 + 1.8

V = 4.5 V 

## The resistance of a light-dependent resistor decreases as the light intensity

falling on it increases. 

When the hand does not obscure the LDR its resistance is low  and the
voltmeter reading is low. 
As the hand obscures the LDR its resistance increases  and the voltmeter
reading is high. 

13 Practical circuits

133