ohm's law

KJ6EAD

Joined Apr 30, 2011
1,569
A high wattage bulb has a lower hot resistance but a lower wattage bulb requires less current to incandesce so the 40W bulb will be the brightest.
 

Adjuster

Joined Dec 26, 2010
2,148
Strictly, that answer will only be true if it can be assumed that all the lamps are designed for the same supply voltage.

This seems very likely to have been what whoever set the question had in mind, but for instance in a written answer to an assignment I would probably want say that that assumption had been made.
 

paulktreg

Joined Jun 2, 2008
786
All depends on the voltage.

The 200W if it glowed at all because it would get 50% of the available power. The 100W would get a 25%, the 60W 15% and the 40W only 10%.
 

MrChips

Joined Oct 2, 2009
21,818
This sounds like a homework question. Why don't you do the calculation. Work out the theoretical resistance of each lamp and calculate the current in the series connection. Then calculate the wattage of each bulb as a percentage of its rated wattage.
 

Adjuster

Joined Dec 26, 2010
2,148
All depends on the voltage.

The 200W if it glowed at all because it would get 50% of the available power. The 100W would get a 25%, the 60W 15% and the 40W only 10%.
This is not right if the lamps are designed to give their rated wattages at the same voltage.

What is important to notice here is that the lamps are all in series, so they all get the same current. For a typical filament lamp, brightness depends very strongly on the current. If all the lamps were made for the same voltage, the 40W bulb would get a larger percentage of its nominal current.

The 40W lamp would also end up with a bigger share of the total voltage across it, because it has a higher resistance than the other lamps. Hence in a series circuit the lower wattage lamp receives more watts than the higher wattage lamp. Only with the lamps connected in parallel do the wattages come out as rated.
 

BJT_user

Joined Oct 9, 2011
35
The 40 watt, being the highest resistance among the four, would burn the brightest because in series, all four bulbs share the same current. Since Ohms Law states that P = I^2 * R, then the highest resistance would dissipate the most power.
 

Thread Starter

akifnadeem

Joined Apr 9, 2010
15
thnx all for your informative replies. the answer 40W seems accurate. but point is, when we will add them in series current will reduce than the rated current of bulbs. and what, if we connect all of them in parallel keeping voltage constant?
 

SgtWookie

Joined Jul 17, 2007
22,220
the answer 40W seems accurate.
It is.
but point is, when we will add them in series current will reduce than the rated current of bulbs.
What?
Placing bulbs in series does not reduce the rated current of the bulbs.
and what, if we connect all of them in parallel keeping voltage constant?
Then the highest wattage bulb will have the greatest current flow, and be the brightest.
 
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