Lab Activity 22
March 20, 2015
Kirchhoff's circuit laws are two equalities that deal with the current and potential difference in the element model of electrical circuits. They are also called Kirchhoff’s rule or Kirchhoff’s laws and are widely used in electrical engineering. They were first described in 1845 by German physicist Gustav Kirchhoff which generalized the work of Georg Ohm and preceded the work of Maxwell. Kirchhoff’s current law is also called Kirchhoff's first law, Kirchhoff's point rule, or Kirchhoff's junction rule.
Kirchhoff's rules can be used to analyze any circuit by modifying them for those circuits with electromotive forces, resistors, capacitors and more. Combinations in series and parallel are typically much easier to perform than applying either of Kirchhoff's rules, but Kirchhoff's rules are more broadly applicable and should be used to solve problems involving complex circuits that cannot be simplified by combining circuit elements in series or parallel.
Uses of Kirchhoff’s current law are the basis of most circuit simulation software, such as SPICE. Kirchhoff's current law combined with Ohm's Law is used in nodal analysis.
Electronic circuit simulation uses mathematical models to replicate the behavior of an actual electronic device or circuit. Simulation software is used for modeling of circuit operation. Many Colleges and Universities use this type of software for the teaching of electronics technician and electronics engineering programs because of its accuracy. Electronics simulation software engages the user by integrating them into the learning experience. These kinds of interactions actively engage learners to analyze, synthesize, organize, and evaluate content and result in learners constructing their own knowledge.
Simulating a circuit’s behavior before actually building it can greatly improve design efficiency by making faulty designs known as such, and providing insight into the behavior of electronics circuit designs. In particular, for integrated circuits, the tooling is expensive, breadboards are impractical, and probing the behavior of internal signals is extremely difficult. Therefore almost all IC design relies heavily on simulation.
Some electronics simulators integrate a schematic editor, a simulation engine, and on-screen waveforms, and make “what-if” scenarios easy and instant. They also typically contain extensive model and device libraries. These models typically include IC specific transistor models such as BSIM, generic components such as resistors, capacitors, inductors and transformers, user defined models. Printed circuit board design requires specific models as well, such as transmission lines for the traces and IBIS models for driving and receiving electronics.
In analyzing a circuit using Kirchhoff's circuit laws,