Open Circuit Potential (OCP)

Last Updated: April 13, 2017

Definition - What does Open Circuit Potential (OCP) mean?

Open circuit potential (OCP) refers to the difference that exists in electrical potential. It normally occurs between two device terminals when detached from a circuit involving no external load.

It is the potential in a working electrode comparative to the electrode in reference when there is no current or potential existing in the cell. Once a potential relative to the open circuit is made present, the entire system gauges the potential of the open circuit prior to turning on the cell. This is followed by the application of potential relative to the existing measurement. If the primary potential is more than 300 mV, the initial potential should be more than 400 mV.

Open circuit potential is also known as open circuit voltage (OCV).

Corrosionpedia explains Open Circuit Potential (OCP)

Current will only flow in circuits. This can be in multiple or continuous paths that exist to and from the electromagnetic field sources. Any interruption that exists in the circuit, such as wiring problems, open switches and resistor failure can cause the current flow to stop. In such cases, an electromagnetic field can still be present, but currents and voltages surrounding the circuit will cease or change immediately. Any fault, like an open switch, is known as the open circuit potential.

One of the best applications of knowledge about open circuit potential is in industries that use wind turbines. Spinning generators with no load produce an open circuit potential. This is proportional to the generator’s revolutions per minite (RPM) and is relatively linear. This means that there is a constant RPM for each volt. The RPM of the generator is parallel to the voltage. When designing wind turbines, it is essential to match the generator’s RPM to the RPM of its rotor blades. For instance, a wind generator with an open circuit potential is to be utilized at a battery bank of 12 volts. In such a case, the OCP needs around 7 to 8 mph winds so that the wind turbine will begin charging at battery bank. Hence, knowledge about the right OCP to achieve optimum charging is essential.

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