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Difference Between Parallel Circuit and Series Circuit for JEE Main 2024

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Last updated date: 17th Jul 2024
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What is Parallel Circuit and Series Circuit: Introduction

To differentiate between parallel circuits and series circuits: Parallel circuits and series circuits are two fundamental types of electrical circuits. In a parallel circuit, multiple components are connected in such a way that there are multiple paths for the current to flow. Each component is connected to the same voltage source, and the voltage across each component remains the same. In contrast, a series circuit has components connected one after the other in a single path, forming a loop. The current flowing through each component is the same, and the total voltage across the circuit is divided among the components. These circuit configurations have distinct properties and applications, making them essential in understanding and analyzing electrical circuits in various fields, including electronics, engineering, and physics. Read further for more detail about them.


Category:

JEE Main Difference Between

Content-Type:

Text, Images, Videos and PDF

Exam:

JEE Main

Topic Name:

Difference Between Parallel Circuit and Series Circuit

Academic Session:

2024

Medium:

English Medium

Subject:

Physics

Available Material:

Chapter-wise Difference Between Topics


What is Parallel Circuit?

A parallel circuit is an electrical circuit configuration where multiple components are connected in such a way that there are multiple paths for the current to flow. In a parallel circuit, each component has its own separate branch connected across the same voltage source. The voltage across each component remains the same, while the current splits among the branches based on the individual resistance of each component. This means that the total current entering the parallel circuit is divided among the branches, and the sum of the currents flowing through each branch is equal to the total current. Parallel circuits are commonly used in household wiring, electrical distribution systems, and complex electronic devices. The characteristics of parallel circuits are: 


  • Voltage: In a parallel circuit, the voltage across each component remains the same. This is because each component is connected directly to the voltage source.

  • Current: The total current entering a parallel circuit is divided among the different branches. The current flowing through each branch depends on the resistance of the component connected to that branch.

  • Resistance: The total resistance of a parallel circuit is less than the smallest resistance of any individual component. This is because the presence of multiple paths for current flow reduces the overall resistance.

  • Independent Operation: Each component in a parallel circuit operates independently. If one component fails or is removed, the other components continue to function unaffected.

  • Brightness: In a parallel circuit with light bulbs, each bulb maintains its brightness regardless of the other bulbs in the circuit. 

  • Individual Current Control: Each branch in a parallel circuit can have its own switch or control device, allowing individual control of current flow through specific components.


What is Series Circuit?

A series circuit is an electrical circuit configuration where components are connected one after the other in a single path, forming a loop. In a series circuit, the current flows through each component in succession, and the total current remains the same throughout the circuit. The voltage across the circuit is divided among the components based on their individual resistances. The total resistance of a series circuit is the sum of the resistances of all the components. Series circuits are commonly used in simple lighting circuits, Christmas tree lights, and certain electronic devices where the flow of current through each component needs to be regulated. The characteristics of series circuits are: 


  • Current: The same current flows through all components in a series circuit. This is because there is only one path for the current to flow, and it experiences the same resistance in each component.

  • Voltage: The total voltage across a series circuit is equal to the sum of the individual voltages across each component. The voltage is divided among the components based on their individual resistances.

  • Resistance: The total resistance of a series circuit is the sum of the resistances of all the components connected in series. As more components are added, the total resistance increases.

  • Brightness: In a series circuit with light bulbs, the brightness of each bulb depends on the total resistance of the circuit. If one bulb burns out or is removed, the circuit is broken, and all bulbs turn off.

  • Current Control: Adding a switch or control device in series breaks the circuit and stops the flow of current through all components.


Differentiate Between Parallel Circuit and Series Circuit

S.No

Category 

Parallel Circuit

Series Circuit

1.

Path of Current

Multiple paths for current

Single path for current

2.

Voltage

Same voltage across each component

Voltage divided among components

3.

Current

Total current is divided

Same current flows through all components

4.

Resistance

Total resistance is less than the smallest individual resistance

Total resistance is the sum of individual resistance

5. 

Component Failure

Other components remain unaffected

Circuit is broken if one component fails or is removed

6. 

Brightness (Bulbs)

Each bulb maintains brightness

All bulbs turn off if one bulb fails or is removed


This table provides a general overview of the main differences between parallel circuits and series circuits, but there can be more complexities and variations in specific circuit configurations.


Summary 

Parallel circuits consist of components that are connected side by side, providing multiple paths for current to flow. Each component in a parallel circuit has the same voltage across it, and the total current is divided among the branches based on their respective resistances. Adding more branches in parallel reduces the overall resistance. In contrast, series circuits have components connected end to end, forming a single path for current. The voltage in a series circuit is divided across the components, and the same current flows through each component. Adding more components in a series increases the total resistance.

FAQs on Difference Between Parallel Circuit and Series Circuit for JEE Main 2024

1. What happens to the voltage in a parallel circuit?

In a parallel circuit, the voltage remains the same across each component. This is because each component is connected directly to the voltage source, creating individual paths for the current to flow. The voltage across each component is equal to the source voltage, regardless of the resistance or characteristics of the other components. This characteristic of parallel circuits allows for independent operation of each component, as they receive the same voltage supply.

2. What happens if one component in a parallel circuit fails or is removed?

If one component in a parallel circuit fails or is removed, the other components in the circuit remain unaffected. This is because each component in a parallel circuit has its own separate path for the current to flow. When a component fails or is removed, the current simply adjusts to the remaining paths, and the voltage across the other components remains the same. In contrast to a series circuit, where the failure of one component breaks the circuit and interrupts the flow of current, a parallel circuit allows for independent operation and resilience in case of component failure.

3. Can a parallel circuit and a series circuit be combined?

Yes, a parallel circuit and a series circuit can be combined to form more complex electrical circuits. This is known as a combination circuit. In a combination circuit, components are connected in both parallel and series configurations. By using a combination of parallel and series connections, it is possible to achieve different characteristics and functionalities in the circuit. This allows for greater flexibility and customization in designing circuits to meet specific requirements.

4. What happens to the current in a series circuit?

In a series circuit, the current remains the same throughout the circuit. This is due to the fact that there is only one path for the current to flow, connecting all the components in a series. The current flowing into the circuit is equal to the current flowing out of the circuit, resulting in a consistent flow of current through each component. As a result, the current passing through any component in a series circuit is identical to the current passing through any other component in that same circuit.

5. How does the total resistance in a series circuit relate to the individual resistances?

In a series circuit, the total resistance is equal to the sum of the individual resistances of all the components connected in a series. This relationship arises because the current must pass through each component in succession. As the current flows through each component, it encounters the resistance offered by that component. The total resistance is a cumulative effect of these individual resistances. Mathematically, R_total = R1 + R2 + R3 + ..., where R_total is the total resistance and R1, R2, R3, and so on, are the individual resistances. Thus, in a series circuit, the total resistance increases with the addition of more resistors in series.