Episode 119: Preparation for EMF and internal resistance topic

Advance warning
It is essential to become well-versed in the use of an oscilloscope for displaying voltages. If you have access to more than one CRO, you are likely to find that they are not all identical, so it is vital to develop an understanding of how they work, rather than just ‘getting by’ with one particular model.

Equipment to demonstrate energy transfers in electric circuit

Start by looking at the available CROs. (You may also have interfaces which allow you to use a computer as a CRO.) Learn to use the simplest one, and work up to the more complex models.

You should also find out how you can allow students to use CROs. Do you have enough for them to work individually, or in small groups? Or will you have to include one or two CRO-based experiments in a circus?

Once you are confident with a CRO, you will find it useful in many areas, such as the display of sound waves.

Main aims
Students will:

  • describe energy changes in an electric circuit
  • define the EMF of a cell
  • demonstrate how the load on a cell reduces its terminal voltage
  • solve problems involving terminal voltage, ‘lost volts’, internal resistance and EMF
  • measuring EMF and internal resistance
  • use an oscilloscope - measuring constant and varying voltages
  • describe alternating current in terms of r.m.s. and peak values

Prior knowledge
Students should be able to apply the equations V = I R and W = Q V, and Kirchhoff’s laws, to simple circuits.

Where this leads
Once students have completed this (and earlier) electrical topics, they should have a clear understanding of electric circuits. They should understand about current, voltage and resistance, and how these relate to energy transfers.

This will give them a much better understanding when they progress to studies of electromagnetism and electronic circuits.

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Episode 119: Preparation for EMF and internal resistance topic (Word, 43 KB)