An Introduction to Electricity using Potential Difference
Based on the German original from Junior Professor Jan-Philipp Burde. This book introduces students to electrical circuits using qualitative considerations about the nature of potential difference. Potential difference is established as the cause for current flow and that resistance presents a barrier to the movement of charge. The book:
- Begins with experiments linking to previous knowledge and everyday experiences.
- Develops a qualitative analysis using colour coding and everyday language.
- Continues from the qualitative knowledge as a foundation and introduces mathematical formalism.
The book uses the central analogy of electric pressure to describe why charge flows between areas of different potentials. It builds on less abstract phenomena visible in everyday life: pumping up a bicycle tyre or breathing through a straw.
Semi-scientific language like "electric pressure" allows learners to use language that is linked to the physical processes at hand, while not needing to learn new vocabulary. The words even reinforce the central analogies and a corrent physical interpretation.
By using a colour red-to-blue fading colour scheme to represent potential in circuits, learners can immediately encode and decode information about circuits without needing to resort to numbers or three-dimensional images.