Kirchhoff's circuit laws
Kirchhoff's circuit laws
Kirchhoff's circuit laws are two equalities that deal with the current and potential difference (commonly known as voltage) in the lumped element model of electrical circuits. They were first described in 1845 by German physicist Gustav Kirchhoff. This generalized the work of Georg Ohm and preceded the work of James Clerk Maxwell. Widely used in electrical engineering, they are also called Kirchhoff's rules or simply Kirchhoff's laws. These laws can be applied in time and frequency domains and form the basis for network analysis.
Both of Kirchhoff's laws can be understood as corollaries of Maxwell's equations in the low-frequency limit. They are accurate for DC circuits, and for AC circuits at frequencies where the wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation are very large compared to the circuits.
Kirchhoff's current law
The current entering any junction is equal to the current leaving that junction. i2 + i3 = i1 + i4
This law is also called Kirchhoff's first law, Kirchhoff's point rule, or Kirchhoff's junction rule (or nodal rule).
This law states that, for any node (junction) in an electrical circuit, the sum of currents flowing into that node is equal to the sum of currents flowing out of that node; or equivalently:
The algebraic sum of currents in a network of conductors meeting at a point is zero.
Recalling that current is a signed (positive or negative) quantity reflecting direction towards or away.
A matrix version of Kirchhoff's current law is the basis of most circuit simulation software, such as SPICE. The current law is used with Ohm's law to perform nodal analysis.
The current law is applicable to any lumped network irrespective of the nature of the network; whether unilateral or bilateral, active or passive, linear or non-linear.
Kirchhoff's voltage law
The sum of all the voltages around a loop is equal to zero.
v1 + v2 + v3 +v4 = 0
This law is also called Kirchhoff's second law, Kirchhoff's loop (or mesh) rule, and Kirchhoff's second rule.
This law states that
The directed sum of the potential differences (voltages) around any closed loop is zero.
In the low-frequency limit, the voltage drop around any loop is zero. This includes imaginary loops arranged arbitrarily in space – not limited to the loops delineated by the circuit elements and conductors. In the low-frequency limit, this is a corollary of Faraday's law of induction (which is one of Maxwell's equations).This has practical application in situations involving "static electricity".
Journal of Insights in Analytical Electrochemistry
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