Class 10 Science

Heating Effect of Electric Current

  • Examples of heating effect of electric current
  • Causes of heating effect of electric current
  • Joule's law of heating

These notes are based on the chapter Electricity class 10 science of NCERT book and CBSE syllabus.

When electric current is supplied to a purely resistive conductor, the energy of electric current is dissipated entirely in the form of heat and as a result, resistor gets heated. The heating of resistor because of dissipation of electrical energy is commonly known as Heating Effect of Electric Current.

Examples of heating effect of electric current

  • When electric energy is supplied to an electric bulb, the filament gets heated because of which it gives light. The heating of electric bulb happens because of heating effect of electric current.
  • When an electric iron is connected to an electric circuit, the element of electric iron gets heated because of dissipation of electric energy, which heats the electric iron. The element of electric iron is a purely resistive conductor. This happens because of heating effect of electric current.
  • When your laptop is being used for a long time, the base of the laptop becomes warm. This happens due to heating effect of electric current. Many people use small desk with ventilated slits so that there can be some cooling effect and it does not become uncomfortable to keep the laptop on the lap.

Cause of heating effect of electric current

Electric current generates heat to overcome the resistance offered by the conductor through which it passes. Higher the resistance, the electric current will generate higher amount of heat. Thus, generation of heat by electric current while passing through a conductor is an inevitable consequence. This heating effect is used in many appliances, such as electric iron, electric heater, electric geyser, etc.

Joule's Law of Heating:

Let an electric current I is flowing through a resistor having resistance equal to R.

The potential difference through the resistor is equal to V.

The charge Q flows through the circuit for the time t.

Thus, work done in moving of charge Q of potential difference `V = VQ`

Since, this charge Q flows through the circuit for time t

Therefore, power input (P) to the circuit can be given by following equation:


We know, electric current `I = Q/t`

Substituting `Q/t = I` in equation (i), we get,

`P = VI` ..........(ii)

Since the electric energy is supplied for time t, thus after multiplying both sides of equation (ii) by time t, we get

`P xx t = VI xx t = VIt` .....(iii)

Thus, for steady current I, the heat produced (H) in time t is equal to VIt

Or, `H = VIt` .........(iv)

We know, according to Ohm's law V = IR

By substituting this value of V in equation (iv), we get,

`H = IR xx It`

Or, `H = I^2Rt` ........(v)

The expression (v) is known as Joule's Law of Heating, which states that heat produced in a resistor is directly proportional to the square of current given to the resistor, directly proportional to the resistance for a given current and directly proportional to the time for which the current is flowing through the resistor.

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