Sunday, February 05, 2006

Electron Flow in a Lightbulb

Q) A 1.6 Ohm bulb is connected to a 9V battery. How many electrons flow through it per second?

A) Bulbs can be treated like resistors - their relatively low resistance leads to a high current and lots of heat so they glow. However, because they heat up so much, their resistance varies considerably with the current. We'll assume that the resistance given is valid for the current we will calculate.

I = 9/1.6 A

I = 5.6C/s

I = 5.6C/s/(1.6x10-19 C/e)

I = 3.5x1019 electrons/second

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