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In order to use the electrical energy, the current has to be passed through various electrical components arranged systematically.
An electric circuit is a continuous closed path or loop along which current flows from the positive terminal to the negative terminal of the battery. It has a network of electrical components through which electrons flow.
An electric circuit
Components of the circuit:
An electric circuit consists of four main components. They are
  1. A cell or a battery
  2. Connecting wires
  3. A switch
  4. A resistor or load
1. A cell or a battery:
A cell or a battery is a device that converts chemical energy into electrical energy, thus producing a small amount of electricity.
A cell is a single unit, whereas a battery is a collection of two or more cells.
2. Connecting wires:
The conducting wires connect the electrical components and act as a path for the current to flow. The wires can be seen when an electrical appliance is connected to a battery or a source of electric charge. The symbol for the wire is a single straight line.
Conducting wires
An electric switch or a key is connected to the circuit to stop or allow the current flow.
If a key is switched off, the current will not flow across the circuit; thus, it is an open circuit. A lamp does not glow in this type.
If the key is switched on, the current will flow, making it a closed circuit. A lamp glows in this type.
A switch
The resistor is used to control the amount of current flowing through the circuit. The resistor can be fixed or variable.
Fixed resistor:
A fixed resistor has a definite or a fixed value that cannot be changed.
Fixed resistors
Variable resistor:
A variable resistor or a rheostat controls and selects the amount of current flowing through a circuit.
In an actual circuit, many other electrical components are also used. Some standardised and uniform set of symbols has been developed to describe the electrical components in circuits.
Electric circuit diagram:
A circuit diagram helps to represent electrical wiring or to solve problems involving electric circuits.
A circuit diagram