06 November, 2010

Current and the path of least resistance

Someone in my Physics class once told me that electrical current ONLY flows through the path of least resistance. This is a serious misconception. This explanation might have been useful in explaining why a light bulb does not light up when a battery is short circuited, but I don't think it should be promoted.

The correct statement is current flows through ALL paths, inversely proportional to their resistance. Think about it: if you connect different kinds of light bulbs in parallel, does only 1 light up, or all of them? If current only flowed through the path of least resistance, only the highest wattage bulb would light up, wouldn't it?

No comments:

Post a Comment