Wheatstone Bridge circuit

Wheatstone Bridge Circuit Working Principle and Application

Wheatstone Bridge

Wheatstone bridge is the circuit setup made up of four resistances as shown in the figure which is generally used to find out the unknown resistance. Wheatstone bridge experiment was first conducted by Samuel Hunter Christie in the year 1833. 

The concept of wheatstone bridge was introduced in order to measure the unknown resistance with the help of two known and one variable resistance.


The circuit has much broad and important applications such as measuring the intensity of light and many other quantities.

Principle of Wheatstone bridge experiment

Wheatstone Bridge circuit

Wheatstone Bridge circuit

According to the wheatstone bridge principle if the ratio of the two resistance (R1/R3) on the one edge is equal to the ratio of the two resistance (R4/R2) in another edge then there will be no flow of current between the midpoints of the two edges of resistance.

Wheatstone Bridge basically has four resistances that are arranged in diamond like shape consisting a resistance in each of the edges.

As shown in figure the two conjunctions of edges are connected to the voltage supply and the midpoint of two opposite edges are connected to any current flow detecting device (it could be galvanometer, multimeter etc) in order to detect the presence of electric current between the two points.

Components of Wheatstone bridge experiment

  • Resistor with an unknown resistance value.
  • Two resistors (with known resistance value)
  • Variable Resistor (device like Rheostat or Preset could work)
  • Voltage/Power source 
  • Galvanometer (or any device which indicates the voltage difference or the floe of current)
  • Connecting Wires

Working of Wheatstone bridge

Analysis of a wheatstone bridge circuit can be done very easily. In order to measure the unknown resistance in the circuit a variable resistance is connected in series to the unknown resistor and the two resistor with known values are connected on the other edge.

After the setup for wheatstone bridge has been done, The variable resistance is varied till there is no current detection in between the mid point of the two edges.

R1/R3 = R4/R2

Assume that R4 and R2 are the known resistors you have used, resistance value of the variable resistor is measured. The unknown resistance will be R1 and the variable resistor value would be R3 or vice-versa according to the perspective.


R1 = Unknown resistor

R3 = Variable Resistance value

R2 and R4 are known resistors.


R1/R3 = R4/R2

i.e.  R1 = R3 (R4/R2)

In the wheatstone bridge experiment, one resistor should always be variable in order to obtain a balanced condition. The Circuit performs at its best when the regulated voltage source is used, instead of the current with repel characteristics,

After getting the values of the three resistors they are used in an equation above in order to find the unknown resistance value. Balanced or null condition (when there is no voltage difference or flow of current) in between the midpoints of the two edges is necessary to find the value of unknown resistance through wheatstone bridge.

Applications of Wheatstone bridge

The circuit has many application, you might have been using a device which have been using the setup. There are literally too many devices using the circuit, you can very easily spot wheatstone bridge application in daily life.

Measuring Strain with the help of Wheatstone bridge

The Wheatstone Bridge circuit is used to measure the strain.

In order to measure the strain,

The strain gauges are used in the place of variable resistance. The electrical resistance of the strain gauges varies with the increase or decrease in the strain of the device. The range of 30 ohms to 3000 ohms in the variable resistance end on the device is used in order to obtain the balance point of the circuit.


In order to measure strain the wheatstone bridge circuit is used. The setup is very helpfull when it comes to measure the fraction of changes in resistance with high accuracy. 

Role of Wheatstone bridge in Light Detectors

The Wheatstone Bridge is used in a Light Detecting sensors.

In this application one edge consists of the two fixed resistances and the other edge has photoresistive sensors (LDR) and a potentiometer (Variable resistor).

The resistance or LDR does varies as the intensity of light varies, With the help of potentiometer we can define that at how much intensity of light there will be the balance point.

There are other bonus conditions as well such as before and after what amount of light the current flows in a positive as well as negative direction from one edge to another.

Other Applications of Wheatstone bridge

  • The circuit is used in the light detecting devices.
  • For measuring the changes in the pressure.
  • For measuring the changes in the strain of the circuit.
  • They are also used for sensing mechanical and electrical quantities.
  • These circuits can also be used in devices like photoresistive devices.
  • Wheatstone bridges are also used in the thermometers for the temperature measurements which need to be accurate.


Wheatstone Bridge Working Principle and Application
Article Name
Wheatstone Bridge Working Principle and Application
In measuring starin wheatstone bridge experiment is used for measuring the fraction of changes in resistance with high accuracy.
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EEE Projects
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Join the discussion

  1. Lucilla Schippers

    Keep up the great work guys.

  2. Selina Salome

    Can you publish a post on measuring the resistance of any conductor with the help of Wheatstone bridge ?

  3. Dan Breezy

    Nicely explained !
    but i do not get the point of using wheatstone bridge circuit ? Can’t we simply use the multimeter to measure the value of the resistance ?

    • satish

      If we want to display the resistance in degree C, than we need wheatstone principle in work. Otherwise manually we can do it by multimeter.

  4. Andrew Hallquist

    What is the industrial application of wheatstone bridge circuit apart from manufacturing very low resistances ?

  5. Jaimik Patel

    I use the multimeter in my wheatstone bridge along with the wire with a pivot which makes the two adjacent resistance edge and a known resistance. Whenever i touch the conductor of the unknown resistance the voltage from the balance point fluctuates.

    can you explain the possible cause ?

    • Farhan Ahmad

      Well its known that our skin conducts the electricity. When you touch the conductor it disturbs the current balance in the circuit. That would be the possible cause for you to see the fluctuation.
      Hope that helped you.

  6. Chris Ranker

    does the wheatstone bridge is used in aircraft ? If yes then where and how did they use the bridge circuit ?

    • Farhan Ahmad

      Wheatstone bridge are used in monitoring the temperature and pressures in the aircraft. It is also used to monitor hydraulics and tire pressure.

  7. Akash

    is there any way to determine the resistance value if you have only single known resistance and some piece of wire ?

    • Rohit Mehta

      Yes it is, You need to use a conductor wire on the other side and have to vary the position of the wire attached on the middle in order to obtain the balance point as we do in wheatstone bridge.
      Then put the length of those wire pieces in place to other known resistance values and calculate the unknown resistance !

  8. edward yeboah

    experiment on application of wheatstone bridge when working with only two resistor one known and one unknown

    • Farhan Sheikh Ahmad

      Yes its an old and simpne wheatstone bridge experiment in which another resistor sigment is made by a conductor wire.
      The ballance point in the wire is found by varrying the position of the pot and then the redistance of two end of wire is calculated by its length-thickness with its resistivity. Then those resistor values are used in the wheatstone bridge experiment in order to find the unknown resistor value..

  9. Evan

    Can i use both voltmeter and ammeter in the balance of Wheatstone bridge ?

    • Farhan Ahmad

      yes, You can use any indicating device in order to detect the balance condition in the Wheatstone bridge.

      To be more practical just vary the resistor values in order to decrease the quantity then aquire the zero value, that would be your perfect balance condition.

  10. Varren

    Can we use the Wheatstone bridge circuit for calculating power ?

  11. Jannette

    is it possible to use the wheatstone bridge as a switch ?

  12. Nancee

    Very helpful


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