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RC circuit lab report - Essay Example

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Insert name Name of institution Name of professor Date Measurement of voltage across a capacitor A capacitor is a circuit element designed to store energy transferred across an electric system in a closed loop. When the circuit is closed, current begins to flow through the connection wires, some of which are stored by the capacitor…
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RC circuit lab report
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Contrarily, when the circuit is opened, the connection is broken and current ceases to flow within the loop. The capacitor then begins loosing its charge and eventually becomes discharged over time. The amount of charge stored by a capacitor however is determined by the length of time for passing the current and the amount of charge being transferred across the loop. This paper will demonstrate the process of charging and discharging a capacitor using an AC, I, current over a period of time, T. the amount of charge acquired by the capacitor, Q is measured and the capacitor allowed to freely discharge over some time. The paper will as well look at the general factors which affect the amount of charge that is stored by a capacitor over a length of time. This will be done by answering certain specific questions of inquiry commonly encountered during a laboratory research experiment. The voltage, V, across the capacitor over time during charging and discharging can be given by the following equation; Q= CV, V is therefore given by the equation V= Q/C. However, Q (t) = Q (I) while the capacitor is charging or discharging. We can therefore use the three equations to derive the equation for obtaining the amount of voltage flowing across the circuit over a period of time, t, by combining the two equations. ...
This is because the time constant is the gradient of the graph obtained after plotting the values of Q against t/RC. This constant (gradient of the graph can be obtained at any point without necessarily projecting the graph to point 0) hence the constant of time during charging and discharging processes. However, the experiment has a lot of flaws hindering the acquisition of accurate measurements of both the voltage stored in the capacitors during charging and that lost during the discharge processes as well as the capacitance of the resistors. These flaws often act as the sources of errors in such experiments. The flow of current within the circuit is often affected by several factors varying from the material composition of the wires used in connection and the length of the same. To begin with, the length of the wires used in connection can affect the flow of current through the connection circuit by increasing the distance over which current flows. These often increases the resistance to the flow of current due to the realignment of the dipoles to enable current flow. The length L of the connection wire is therefore a great source of errors in the flow of current (Bird). Moreover, the transmission of the current across the loop is as well is abject to external environmental interferences such as the changes in temperature t over time as the current is transmitted across the loop. This is because of the occurrence in the internal resistance of the wires which keeps on increasing over time as the current flows. The increase in temperature often lowers the flow of current within the loop, hence a reduction in the amount of voltage stored by the capacitor per unit time and increases the resistance per unit time. Resistors used in almost every electrical Read More
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