Types of Circuits

What is an Electric Circuit?

In order for electrons to flow they have a loop. An electric circuit provides an entire, closed path for electricity. The parts of a circuit contain a load or resistance; wires; and a switch. The source of energy can be a battery, thermocouple, photocell, or an electric generator. The load is a part of the circuit that uses the facility. Some resistance to the flow of electrons is always offered by the load of the circuit. As a result, energy is converted into heat, light, or mechanical energy. The switch is an electric circuit used to prevent the flow of electrons. This is called an open circuit There are two sorts of electric circuits, the series, and shunt circuit. 

What is a Series Circuit?

In a series circuit there's just one path for the electrons to flow (see the image of a series circuit below). The main disadvantage of this circuit is that if there's damage within the circuit the whole circuit is open and no current will flow. An example of a series would be the lights on many inexpensive Christmas trees. If one light goes out all of them will.

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Series Circuits Model

Properties of Series Circuit:

  • The same current travels through every resistance.

  • The total individual voltage dips across the resistances are the supply voltage V: 

V = V1 + V2 + …. + Vn

  • The total of the individual resistances is the equivalent electrical resistance.

  •  The biggest of all the individual resistances is the equivalent resistance R:

R > R1, R > R2, R > R3 …., R > Rn

What is a Parallel Circuit?

In a shunt circuit, the various parts of the electrical circuit are on several different branches. There are several different paths that electrons can flow. If there's an opportunity in one branch of the circuit electrons can still flow in other branches (see the image of a parallel circuit below). Your house is wired during a shunt circuit so if one light bulb goes out the opposite will stay.

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Parallel Circuits Model

Properties of Parallel Circuits:

  • Across all the resistances in parallel, a similar potential difference gets through.

  • To the number of paths equivalent to the number of resistances in parallel, the total current gets distributed. The aggregate current (I) is always the total sum of all the individual currents.


  • The reciprocal of the equivalent resistance of a shunt circuit is like the sum of the reciprocal of the individual resistances. 

  • The equivalent resistance is the minutest of all the resistances.

R < R1, R < R2, R < R3 …., R < Rn

  • The mathematical addition of the single conductances is the equivalent conductance.

  • Even lesser than the smallest of all the resistances linked in parallel is the equivalent resistance.

Difference Between Series And Parallel Circuits

Circuit In Series

Circuit In Parallel

There is a single current pathway in Series circuits 

There are multiple current pathways

All components have similar current running through them

All components have similar potential difference across them

The summation of the dips in potential across all the components is equivalent to the emf of the source.

The sum of the currents entering the point is the same as the sum of the current leaving the same point.

Did You Know?

  • Ampere is the unit of measuring electric current. 

  • A battery is the major component of an electric circuit that acts as a power source. It provides energy which helps electrons to flow. 

  • In a circuit, electrons are due to negative to positive. 

  • A switch is employed to regulate the flow of electricity. If a switch is open, it'll create a niche within the circuit and current won't flow. When it is closed, the circuit will be completed and flow will continue.

  • Electric Circuits in your Home: It can be observed in our home that most of the outlets have three prongs. Connected to the outlet are three wires. Two of the wires run parallel to every other and have a possible difference of 220 volts(in India). The third wire is connected to the ground. A wire that's connected to the bottom provides the shortest path of electrons to Earth. This wire carries no current but is just a security feature against short circuits.

  • A short circuit is when an accident takes place in a circuit that lets electricity take a shorter path within the circuit. These circuits have less resistance and thus more current flow. If the high potential wire should touch the opposite metal surface of an appliance the whole appliance will draw current and provides the person touching it a shock.

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is A Parallel Circuit? Mention The Disadvantages Of A Parallel Connection

A shunt circuit may be a loop during which the present divides into two or more paths before recombining to finish the circuit. Each load connected during a separate path receives the complete circuit voltage, and therefore the total circuit current is adequate to the sum of the individual branch currents. 

The Disadvantages Of A Parallel Connection Are As Follows:

  • Wiring. Parallel circuits need more wiring. 

  • Parallel circuits can draw more power than equivalent series circuits, costing more. 

  • Parallel circuits cause more EMF - more wires, more magnetic fields.

  • Parallel circuits are more robust, so manufacturers can charge more, they cost more.

  • Parallel circuits cause more heat- more power makes more heat.

2. How To Make A Series Circuit? Mention The Disadvantages Of A Series Circuit.

In a series connection, components are connected end to end, in such an order that the current flows first through one component at an end and then to the other end. In the series connection, the current goes through one lamp and then to the other. The lamps are strung together end to end.

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     Circuit Diagram

The Disadvantages Of A Series Circuit Are As Follows:

  • If one component fails during a circuit failure, then all the other components within the circuit also fail because the circuit has been broken in that case.

  • The more components there are within the circuit, the greater is the circuit's resistance.