One Way Current Flow Topic Simple electronic circuits Introduction Electronics can be defined as the study and design of systems using the flow of electrons through components such as semiconductors, resistors, and capacitors. It uses many of the concepts underlying electric circuits, but many of the components used in electronic circuits have specialized characteristics. For instance, a diode (whose name refers to the fact that it has two electrodes, an anode and a cathode) is a component that allows electrons to flow around a circuit in one direction only (see diagram 1 below). In this experiment, you will use light emitting diodes (LEDs) to demonstrate that diodes only allow current to flow in one direction. An LED (see diagram 2 below) is a special type of diode that lights up when current flows through it; the color of the LED depends on the material used to make it. In this experiment, you will also construct a simple electronic circuit to find out more about the properties of LEDs. 1 anode cathode – + current allowed this way Current flow in a diode 2 Selection of light emitting diodes (LEDs) Time required 15 minutes for Part A 10 minutes for Part B Materials 9 volt battery and snap connector 5 mm (0.2 in.) green LED 560 ohm resistor (0.25 watts) © Diagram Visual Information Ltd. clip leads or other suitable connection system (e.g. breadboard*) clock or watch Published by Facts On File, Inc. All electronic storage, reproduction, or transmittal is copyright protected by the publisher. *A breadboard is a device that allows temporary connections to be made between electronic components. It consists of a plastic block with holes through which the wires from the components are inserted. Beneath each hole is a clip, which holds the wire in place and makes electrical contact with other components. The breadboard shown in the experiments in this section has two central blocks where connections are made along each horizontal row and two lines down each side in which connections are made down the vertical rows. If you are using a breadboard, you will also need a short length of connecting wire (e.g., approximately no. 20 gauge, insulated, tinned copper wire with about 0.5 cm of insulation stripped away at each end). Electronic components are available from suppliers such as RadioShack (http://www.radioshack.com). The appearance of the components may vary among suppliers. Simple wiring diagrams and circuit diagrams are given in this experiment to show the arrangement of the components. Diagram 3 below shows the symbols used in the circuit diagrams in this experiment. 3 resistor LED supply voltage (longer line identifies positive pole) Symbols used in circuit diagrams Safety note Do not use an electrical outlet. Procedure Part A: Current flow and LEDs 1. Look at the LED. It has a plastic body with two wires coming out of it; these are the electrodes. The wires may be different lengths; if so, the shorter wire is the cathode. If the LED has a flat side, this should be on the cathode side. Identify the anode and the cathode of your LED. 2. Set up the equipment as shown in diagram 4 on the next page (i.e., anode of the LED connected to the positive supply voltage). Observe the LED and record your observations in data table A on the next page. 3. Disconnect the LED and reverse the connections (i.e., cathode connected to the positive supply voltage). Observe the LED and record your observations. Disconnect the battery from the circuit. © Diagram Visual Information Ltd. Published by Facts On File, Inc. All electronic storage, reproduction, or transmittal is copyright protected by the publisher. 4A 4B battery 9 volt connecting wire breadboard LED 560 ohm resistor Circuit diagram (A) and wiring diagram (B) for Part A DATA TABLE A Observations Appearance of LED Appearance of LED with connections reversed Part B: Sensitivity of components Warning: make sure your teacher knows you are doing this experiment, as it will make the LED unusable. 1. Set up the equipment as shown in diagram 5 below (anode connected to the positive supply voltage). 2. Observe the LED for about 5 minutes and then disconnect the circuit. Gently touch the LED. Record your observations in the first row of data table B on the next page. 3. Reconnect the same LED in the circuit. Observe and touch the LED. Record your observations in the second row of data table B on the next page. Disconnect the battery from the circuit. 5A 5B battery connecting wire 9 volt breadboard LED Circuit diagram (A) and wiring diagram (B) for Part B © Diagram Visual Information Ltd. Published by Facts On File, Inc. All electronic storage, reproduction, or transmittal is copyright protected by the publisher. DATA Glowing? TABLE B Color (if glowing) Temperature Color and condition of LED (step 2) Condition of LED (step 3) Analysis Part A: Current flow and LEDs 1. What was the appearance of the LED when the circuit was connected as shown in diagram 4? 2. What was the appearance of the LED when the connections were reversed? Part B: Sensitivity of components 1. What was the appearance of the LED when the circuit was connected as shown in diagram 5? 2 How did the LED feel when you touched it after it had been disconnected from the circuit in step 2? 3. What was the appearance of the LED after the circuit had been reconnected in step 3? Want to know more? Click here to view our findings. © Diagram Visual Information Ltd. Published by Facts On File, Inc. All electronic storage, reproduction, or transmittal is copyright protected by the publisher. 10.41 • OUR FINDINGS PHYSICS EXPERIMENTS ON FILETM 5. When the magnet is stationary, no current is recorded. 6. When the magnet is moving quickly in and out of the coil, there is a larger reading on the meter than when it is moving slowly. These results follow part of Faraday’s law of induction, which relates the speed with which a magnet moves relative to a conductor to the size of the induced current. 8.07 Electric Motor Construction 1. The motor spins in the opposite direction when the poles of the magnets are reversed. 2. The motor spins in the opposite direction when the connections to the cells are reversed. Electricity flows through the coil when the wire from one end of the coil is in contact with one of the brushes, and the wire from other end of the coil is in contact with the other. As the coil is in a magnetic field, a force acts on it (force on an electrical conductor in a magnetic field) and it moves round on the axle, breaking the electrical connection. The wire from the other side of the commutator now touches the brush and current flows through the coil again; the force acts on it again and the coil continues to rotate. The effect of these events is to cause the coil to continue turning as the circuit for the current to flow through the coil is continually made and broken. The direction of rotation is reversed if the magnetic field is reversed (it acts north to south) following Fleming’s Left Hand Rule (see Experiment 8.05: Invisible Force). If the direction of the electric current flow is reversed, the direction of rotation is also reversed. Electronics 9.01 One Way Current Flow Part A: Current flow and LEDs 1. The LED glowed green when the circuit was connected as shown in diagram 4. 2. The LED did not glow when the circuit was connected with the LED the other way around. A semiconductor diode is a silicon or germanium crystal of which part (p-type) has been treated so that it has excess positive charges; the other part (n-type) has been treated to have an excess of electrons. If a cell is connected across such a diode, electrons will flow as indicated in the diagram on the next page. Virtually no current flows if the semiconductor diode is connected the other way around (the diode is said to be “reverse biased” in this situation), unless a very large voltage is used and the diode breaks down. © Diagram Visual Information Ltd. Published by Facts On File, Inc. All electronic storage, reproduction, or transmittal is copyright protected by the publisher. PHYSICS EXPERIMENTS ON FILETM OUR FINDINGS • 10.42 p-type n-type many excess positive charges many electrons junction appreciable current Electron flow through a diode Part B: Sensitivity of components 1. The LED glowed yellow, then orange. It then began to glow less brightly. This shows that the current through the LED was greater than it was designed to take (this is usually 10 mA). 2. The LED felt hot. This shows that the LED was overheating. 3. Our LED did not glow, showing that it had been destroyed and was no longer capable of conducting. It is important to protect electronic components such as LEDs by connecting them in series with a resistor. Many examples of output devices (LED, buzzer, motor) can be incorporated in electronic circuits. As in electrical circuits, they can be connected in series or in parallel. When studying electronic circuits, it is important to bear in mind the idea of the positive and negative supply rails – the points in the circuit that notionally supply and return the electric current (see the diagram below left). Circuit diagrams in electronics are often complicated so, to simplify them, the supply is often not shown. The positive supply rail is then drawn as a line, which represents the positive side of the circuit. Another line is drawn representing the negative side and is shown at 0 volts (see the diagram below right). positive supply rail +9V 0V +9V 0V negative supply rail Positive and negative supply rails © Diagram Visual Information Ltd. Example circuit diagram for electronics circuit Published by Facts On File, Inc. All electronic storage, reproduction, or transmittal is copyright protected by the publisher.