Teaching Physics with the Physics Suite

Edward F. Redish

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Throwing a switch

A circuit is shown at the right containing a battery, four resistors, and a switch. The battery yields a potential difference of V0 and the resistors have the following values: RA =RD = R and RB = RC = 3R.

(a) When the switch is open, find the current flowing through the battery. Express your answer in terms of the symbols V0 and R. Show your reasoning.

(b) When the switch is closed, the current flowing through the battery is I0. Is there any current flowing through the switch? If so, in which direction and how much? You may express your answer as a fraction of I0 or in terms of V0 and R.

Page last modified May 12, 2009: E60