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Experiment 8 - Resistors in a Parallel Circuit

Consider the circuit diagram shown. You can recognize the two resistors connected in parallel.

Measurement of the resistance of a parallel circuit. (Enlarge)

Circuit diagram of a parallel circuit.

With the ohmmeter you measure a total resistance of 500 Ω. The formula describing this is a bit more complicated...

1/RTotal = 1/R1 + 1/R2

You can rewrite the formula to get...

Rtotal = ( R1 × R2 ) / ( R1 + R2 )

Parallel Circuit

If the components are connected such that there are several paths for the current through the components, it is called a parallel circuit. Strictly speaking, there is the same number of paths as components.

From Kirchhoff's Voltage Law (KVL) follows that to all components apply the same voltage.

          = ( 1000 Ω × 1000 Ω ) / ( 1000 Ω + 1000 Ω )

          = 500 Ω

The total resistance of a parallel circuit of resistors is therefore smaller than any of the individual resistances.

The result becomes clear when you measure the currents...

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