Nov 8, 2017 in Analysis

Potential Divider

The main focus of this coursework is potential dividers. Research has been performed to gather all the appropriate and significant information on this matter. The history if potential dividers is discussed, as well as their functions, roles, and importance. Figures are used to describe the work of potential dividers as well. The purpose of this coursework is to understand that a potential divider is a resource of variable difference of potentials; to learn how to use the equation of the potential dividers; to learn how to utilize potential dividers. 


In 1927 Georg Simon Ohm, a German electrician, has discovered the occurrence that he identified to be the resistance. He was the one to notice that different materials that are assumed to be able to conduct electricity have different levels of easiness, with which an electric current can pass through them. This means that every electricity-conducting material or system is able to let the flow through with different resistance to the flow. Basically, resistance can be also characterized as a certain type of friction that makes it possible to manage and control the flow of electric current.

Georg Simon Ohm found out that this depended on the type of the material and certain external factors (temperature, humidity). The German electrician described such occurrence as ‘resistance.’ One of the most important discoveries made by this prominent scientist of his time was the formula, with which he came up. That formula provides proof that there exists certain connection between the resistance, voltage and the current in a particular electric system:


Due to all of what was mentioned above, it is no wonder that the resistance is measured with Ohms in honor of the inventor (Wisegeek).


Potential dividers are basically electronic compounds of an electric system that are designed to produce voltage difference between its terminals. They are passive compounds, containing no power source, however, their function is vital as they are the only ones that are able to decrease the signal of the current that passes through.

Resistors are mostly utilized as elements of electronic routes (BBC). They are included in almost every electronic design and circuit. The structure of resistors is shown on the Fig. 1. 

There are two types of electronic circuits – parallel and series ones. Although in both of these the function that the potential dividers perform is pretty much the same, the key to understanding their direct purpose and mechanism of work lays in understanding the difference between their performance in both of these electronic systems (Ryan, 2009). Figure 2 exposes both of the series and parallel circuit connections.

The function of potential divider in parallel circuits is to branch off other circuits that results in creating one big net. Series circuits, on the other hand, are utilized to link up a few light bulbs, yet they make them weaker. This exposes the concept of equivalent resistance, which is the resistance that a single potential divider would require for being equal to the general affect of the resistors’ collection in the circuit.

Both types of electronic circuits obtain their own formula modifications that explain the principles of their work. For parallel circuit: V=V1=V2=Vn, Rtotal=R1R2/R1+R2; Itotal=V(1/R1+…1/Rn); for series circuit: I=I1=…=In; Rtotal=R1+…+Rn.

Potential dividers can be made of different materials and obtain carbon composition, pile or film, thick film, thin film, metal film, oxide metal film, foil resistor, and so on.  There exist a wide variety of such components of the electric circuit, for example: adjustable, variable or potentiometer, power, wire wound resistors, special devices, etc. Figure 3 shows how the potential dividers are usually shown schematically.


In the year of 1927 Georg Ohm has discovered resistance of materials. Resistors, which are also widely known as the potential dividers, are the most basic and widely utilized component of electronic circuit. Potential dividers are utilized to resist and break up the current and voltage in a particular electric circuit so that separate parts can only get the current and the voltage that are both adequate and necessary to maintain the required system. Resistors can be interconnected together either in series and parallel combinations that create networks of electric current or electric circuit. Despite the fact that the difference between the two electric circuits is quiet significant, the function performed by the potential dividers remains the same – to decrease the flow and spread the voltage adequately and maintain the optimal work of the system. If the circuit is parallel, Voltage is constant, while in the series the I, or the electric current is, which changes the basic formula I=V/R accordingly.

Related essays