Questions | 5 |

Topics | Battery Configurations, Conductive Materials, Power, Resistors, Series Circuit |

Batteries can be connected together in various combinations to increase their total voltage and/or total current. Connecting batteries in **series** combines their voltage while keeping their current the same, connecting batteries in **parallel** combines their current while keeping their voltage the same, and using a **series-parallel** configuration, half the batteries can be connected in series and half in parallel to combine both voltage and current.

All conductors have resistance and the amount of resistance varies with the element. But, resistance isn't the only consideration when choosing a conductor as the most highly conductive elements like silver and gold are also more expensive and more brittle than slightly less conductive elements like copper. A balance needs to be struck between the electrical qualities of a material and its cost and durability.

Electrical power is measured in watts (W) and is calculated by multiplying the voltage (V) applied to a circuit by the resulting current (I) that flows in the circuit: **P = IV**. In addition to measuring production capacity, power also measures the rate of energy consumption and many loads are rated for their consumption capacity. For example, a 60W lightbulb utilizes 60W of energy to produce the equivalent of 60W of heat and light energy.

Resistors are used to limit voltage and/or current in a circuit and can have a **fixed** or **variable** resistance. Variable resistors (often called potentiometers or rheostats) are used when dynamic control over the voltage/current in a circuit is needed, for example, in a light dimmer or volume control.

A series circuit has only one path for current to flow. In a series circuit, current (I) is the same throughout the circuit and is equal to the total voltage (V) applied to the circuit divided by the total resistance (R) of the loads in the circuit. The sum of the voltage drops across each resistor in the circuit will equal the total voltage applied to the circuit.