Heating Effect of Electric Current

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Practical Application of Heating Effect of Electric Current

The heating effect of current is used widely by all of us in our day-to-day life. The kettle, heater, toaster, electric iron, etc. are used by all of us as the alternatives to the conventional methods when it comes to cooking and laundry. The same heating effect is used in the electric bulbs which make for the alternative of the conventional lamps. All these devices have revolutionized the world that we live in over the past years. In this section today, we will learn about the heating effect of electric current definition and the application of the heating effect of current.


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Whenever an electric current gets passed through the conductor, it tends to generate heat because of the hindrance that is caused due to the conductor to the current flowing inside. The amount of work done to overcome this hindrance to the electric current produces heat in that specific conductor.


Heating Effect of Electric Current Formula

Let us now learn about the formula of the heating effect of electric current.

When the current flows through the conductor, thermal energy gets generated inside the conductor. This heating effect of the current is dependent on three different factors.

  1. The resistance of the conductor: Higher the resistance, more is the heat generated.

  2. The time duration of the current flow: If the current flow for a longer time, the amount of heat generated is higher.

  3. Higher the flow of the electric current, the higher is the generation of heat.

Therefore, the heating effect generated by the current I, through the conductor having resistance R, for the given time T, is given by the following equation.

H = I2RT

This equation is also known as Joule’s equation of electrical heating.


Application of Heating Effect of Electric Current

Given below are some applications of the heating effect of electric current.

Electric Iron:

Mica is known as an insulator which is placed in between the metal part and the coil in the iron. The coil gets heated up when an electric current is passed. It then gets transferred to the metallic part via mica. Lastly, the metal part gets heated up, which we use to iron our clothes.


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Electric Bulb:

An electric bulb consists of a thick metallic wire that is made up of tungsten. Tungsten is kept under an inert environment with either vacuum or neutral gas. Whenever current tends to flow through the tungsten wire, it gets heated and tends to emit light. Most of the electric power which is drawn in the circuit from an electric source tends to get dissipated in the environment in the form of heat and remaining gets emitted in the form of the light energy.


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Electric Heater:

When it comes to the electric heater, a high resistance nichrome wire is used in the form of a coil. This coil is then wound on the grooves that are made up from either a ceramic material or china clay. Whenever the current flows through the coil, it gets heated, which is, in turn, used in heating the cooking vessels.


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Electric Fuse:

In any type of electrical instrument, because of the sudden rise of current, the instrument is burnt down. This can sometimes lead to a fire. A conducting wire having a lower melting point gets connected in the form of a series connection with the circuit for avoiding this type of an accident. When the current tends to rise, the wire melts because of the excessive heating, and hence, breaks the electrical circuit.


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To harness the heating effect of the electric current, the element of appliances is needed for having higher melting points for retaining more heat.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Q1. Define the Heating Effect of Electric Current.

Ans: Let us define the heating effect of current.

Whenever an electric current gets passed through the conductor, it produces heat because of the hindrance caused due to the conductor to the current flowing. The total work done for overcoming this hindrance to the electric current produces heat in the conductor. This is referred to as the heating effect of current. This heating effect is dependent on three factors which are as follows.

  1. The resistance of the conductor.

  2. Duration of the flow of the current.

  3. The amount of the current flowing.

Q2. What is the Thermal Effect of Electric Current?

Ans: We will now explain the heating effect of electric current.

The heating effect of the electric current is also known as the thermal effect of the electric current.

When an electric current tends to flow in the conductor, electrical energy tends to get expended to overcome the frictional resistance between the molecules and the electrons in the wire. If we consider that a potential difference of V volts is applied to the conductor and an electric current or I amperes tends to flow across it for a given time t seconds, the amount of energy that is expended is equal to VIt joules or watt-secs.


In simpler words, whenever an electric current is allowed to pass through a purely resistive conductor, the energy of that current is entirely dissipated in the form of heat energy, and as a result, the conductor tends to get heated up. This is referred to as the thermal effect of electric current.

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