Heating effect of electricity is one of the widely used effects in the world. When electric current is passed through a conductor, it generates heat due to the resistance it offers to the current flow. The work done in overcoming the resistance is generated as heat. This is studied by James Prescott Joule and he enunciated various factors that affect the heat generated. The heat produced by a heating element is directly proportional to the square of the electric current (I) passing through the conductor, directly proportional to the resistance (R) of the conductor, time (t) for which current passes through the conductor. It is given by the expression H = I2Rt and is well known as Joule’s Law.
Applications of the heating effect of electric current include appliances like electric immersion water heater, electric iron box, etc. All of these have a heating element in it. Heating elements are generally made of specific alloys like, nichrome, manganin, constantan etc. A good heating element has high resistivity and high melting point. An electric fuse is an example for the application of heating effect of electric current. The rating of 3 A of an electric fuse implies the maximum current it can sustain is three ampere.