AP Physics Chapter 18: Basic Electric Circuits

2. Steady-state direct current circuits with batteries and resistors only

a) Students should understand the behavior of series and parallel combinations of resistors, so they can:

(1) Identify on a circuit diagram whether resistors are in series or in parallel.
(2) Determine the ratio of the voltages across resistors connected in series or the ratio of the currents through resistors connected in parallel.
(3) Calculate the equivalent resistance of a network of resistors that can be broken down into series and parallel combinations.
(4) Calculate the voltage, current, and power dissipation for any resistor in such a network of resistors connected to a single power supply.
(5) Design a simple series-parallel circuit that produces a given current through and potential difference across one specified component, and draw a diagram for the circuit using conventional symbols.

b) Students should understand the properties of ideal and real batteries, so they can:
(1) Calculate the terminal voltage of a battery of specified emf and internal resistance from which a known current is flowing.

c) Students should be able to apply Ohm’s law and Kirchhoff’s rules to direct-current circuits, in order to:
(1) Determine a single unknown current, voltage, or resistance.

d) Students should understand the properties of voltmeters and ammeters, so they can:
(1) State whether the resistance of each is high or low.
(2) Identify or show correct methods of connecting meters into circuits in order to measure voltage or current.

3. Capacitors in circuits

a) Students should understand the and steady-state behavior of capacitors connected in series or in parallel, so they can:
(1) Calculate the equivalent capacitance of a series or parallel combination.
(2) Describe how stored charge is divided between capacitors connected in parallel.
(3) Determine the ratio of voltages for capacitors connected in series.
(4) Calculate the voltage or stored charge, under steady-state conditions, for a capacitor connected to a circuit consisting of a battery and resistors.

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - DC circuits with batteries and resistors

Tutorial (Univ. of California) - Capacitors in circuits

Mini lab - title

AP lab - title

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - DC Circuit construction kit

Virtual lab (PhET @ Colorado) - Semiconductors

Video (Eureka) - title

Video (MIT) - Transformers, car coils and RC circuits

Video (The Mechanical Universe) - Episode 33: Electric circuits

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 1)
  • Introduction to electricity, circuits, current and resistance

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 2)
  • Resistors in series

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 3)
  • Resistors in parallel

Video (Khan Academy) - Circuits (Part 4)
  • A hairy resistance problem