Electric circuits can be series or parallel. An ammeter measures current and a voltmeter measures a potential difference. Some materials have low resistance and are conductors; others are insulators.

Part of

The wires and the other components in a circuit reduces the flow of charge through them. This is called resistance.

The unit of resistance is the ohm, and it has the symbol Ω (an uppercase Greek letter omega). For example, a 2 Ω component has a greater resistance than a 1 Ω component, and will reduce the flow of charge through it more effectively.

The resistance increases when you add more components in series. For example, the resistance of two lamps is greater than the resistance of one lamp, so less current will flow through them.

To find the resistance of a component, you need to measure:

- the potential difference across it
- the current flowing through it

The resistance is the ratio of potential difference to current. We use this equation to calculate resistance:

resistance = potential difference ÷ current

For example, 3 A flows through a 240 V lamp. What is the resistance of the lamp?

resistance = 240 ÷ 3 = 80 Ω

If you plot a graph of current against potential difference for a wire, you get a straight line.