Wheatstone Bridge

The Wheatstone bridge is an electrical circuit for the precise comparison of resistances. Sir Charles Wheatstone is most famous for this device but never claimed to have invented it - however, he did more than anyone else to invent uses for it,when he 'found' the description of the device in 1843. The first description of the bridge was by Samuel Hunter Christie (1784-1865) in 1833.

The Wheatstone bridge is an electrical bridge circuit used to measure resistance. It consists of a common source of electrical current (such as a battery) and a galvanometer that connects two parallel branches, conta ining four resistors, three of which are known. One parallel branch contains one known resistance and an unknown (R4 in the above example); the other parallel branch contains resistors of known resistances. In order to determine the resistance of the unknown resistor, the resistances of the other three are adjusted and balanced until the current passing through the galvanometer decreases to zero.


The Wheatstone bridge is well suited also for the measurement of small changes of a resistance and, therefore, is also suitable to measure the resistance change in a strain gauge. It is commonly known that the strain gauge transforms strain applied to it into a proportional change of resistance. It is widely used across industry even today.

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