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rheostat

rheostat (rē´əstăt´), device whose resistance to electric current depends on the position of some mechanical element or control in the device. Typically a rheostat consists of a resistance element equipped with two contacts, or terminals, by which it is attached to a circuit: a fixed contact at one end and a sliding contact that can be moved along the resistance element. Electric current enters and leaves the resistance element through the contacts. By moving the sliding contact toward or away from the fixed contact, the length of the resistance element through which the current travels can be decreased or increased. In this way the current through the circuit can be increased or decreased. Rheostats are widely used for such purposes as controlling the speed of electric motors and dimming electric lights, but they have been replaced in many applications by systems based on semiconductor devices that waste far less power. See potentiometer.

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"rheostat." The Columbia Encyclopedia, 6th ed.. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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rheostat

rhe·o·stat / ˈrēəˌstat/ • n. an electrical instrument used to control a current by varying the resistance. DERIVATIVES: rhe·o·stat·ic / ˌrēəˈstatik/ adj.

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"rheostat." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"rheostat." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rheostat-0

"rheostat." The Oxford Pocket Dictionary of Current English. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rheostat-0

rheostat

rheostat Variable resistor for regulating an electric current. The resistance element may be a metal wire, carbon or a conducting liquid. Rheostats are used to adjust generators, to dim lights and to control the speed of electric motors.

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"rheostat." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

"rheostat." World Encyclopedia. . Encyclopedia.com. (April 29, 2017). http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rheostat

"rheostat." World Encyclopedia. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/environment/encyclopedias-almanacs-transcripts-and-maps/rheostat

rheostat

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"rheostat." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Encyclopedia.com. 29 Apr. 2017 <http://www.encyclopedia.com>.

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"rheostat." Oxford Dictionary of Rhymes. . Retrieved April 29, 2017 from Encyclopedia.com: http://www.encyclopedia.com/humanities/dictionaries-thesauruses-pictures-and-press-releases/rheostat