Electrical resistance and conductance | energy dissipation and joule heating

Energy dissipation and Joule heating

Running current through a material with high resistance creates heat, in a phenomenon called Joule heating. In this picture, a cartridge heater, warmed by Joule heating, is glowing red hot.

Resistors (and other elements with resistance) oppose the flow of electric current; therefore, electrical energy is required to push current through the resistance. This electrical energy is dissipated, heating the resistor in the process. This is called Joule heating (after James Prescott Joule), also called ohmic heating or resistive heating.

The dissipation of electrical energy is often undesired, particularly in the case of transmission losses in power lines. High voltage transmission helps reduce the losses by reducing the current for a given power.

On the other hand, Joule heating is sometimes useful, for example in electric stoves and other electric heaters (also called resistive heaters). As another example, incandescent lamps rely on Joule heating: the filament is heated to such a high temperature that it glows "white hot" with thermal radiation (also called incandescence).

The formula for Joule heating is:

where P is the power (energy per unit time) converted from electrical energy to thermal energy, R is the resistance, and I is the current through the resistor.

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azərbaycanca: Elektrik müqaviməti
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Plattdüütsch: Elektrisch Wedderstand
polski: Rezystancja
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Simple English: Electrical resistance
slovenčina: Elektrický odpor
slovenščina: Električni upor
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Električni otpor
svenska: Resistans
Tagalog: Resistensiya
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