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Chapter 21
Alternating Current Circuits
and Electromagnetic Waves
AC Circuit
• An AC circuit consists of a combination of circuit
elements and an AC generator or source
• The output of an AC generator is sinusoidal and varies
with time according to the following equation
Δv = ΔVmax sin 2ƒt
• Δv: instantaneous voltage
• ΔVmax is the maximum voltage of the generator
• ƒ is the frequency at which the voltage changes, in Hz
Resistor in an AC Circuit
• Consider a circuit consisting of
an AC source and a resistor
• The graph shows the current
through and the voltage across
the resistor
• The current and the voltage
reach their maximum values at
the same time
• The current and the voltage are said to be in phase
• The direction of the current has no effect on the
behavior of the resistor
Resistor in an AC Circuit
• The rate at which electrical
energy is dissipated in the circuit
is given by
  i 2R
• i: instantaneous current
• The heating effect produced by an
AC current with a maximum value
of Imax is not the same as that of a
DC current of the same value
• The maximum current occurs for a small amount of
time
rms Current and Voltage
• The rms current is the direct current that would
dissipate the same amount of energy in a resistor as is
actually dissipated by the AC current
I rms 
Imax
2
 0.707 Imax
• Alternating voltages can also be discussed in terms of
rms values
V
 Vrms 
max
2
 0.707  Vmax
• The average power dissipated in resistor in an AC
circuit carrying a current I is
av  I
2
rms
R
Ohm’s Law in an AC Circuit
• rms values will be used when discussing AC currents
and voltages
• AC ammeters and voltmeters are designed to read
rms values
• Many of the equations will be in the same form as in
DC circuits
• Ohm’s Law for a resistor, R, in an AC circuit
ΔVR,rms = Irms R
• The same formula applies to the maximum values of v
and i
Chapter 21
Problem 4
The figure shows three lamps connected to a 120-V AC
(rms) household supply voltage. Lamps 1 and 2 have 150W bulbs; lamp 3 has a 100-W bulb. Find the rms current
and the resistance of each bulb.
Capacitors in an AC Circuit
• Consider a circuit containing a
capacitor and an AC source
• The current starts out at a large
value and charges the plates of
the capacitor
• There is initially no resistance to
hinder the flow of the current
while the plates are not charged
• As the charge on the plates increases, the voltage
across the plates increases and the current flowing in
the circuit decreases
Capacitors in an AC Circuit
• The current reverses direction
• The voltage across the plates
decreases as the plates lose the
charge they had accumulated
• The voltage across the capacitor
lags behind the current by 90°
• The impeding effect of a capacitor on the current in an
AC circuit is called the capacitive reactance (ƒ is in Hz,
C is in F, XC is in ohms):
1
XC 
• Ohm’s Law for a capacitor in an AC circuit
ΔVC,rms = Irms XC
2 ƒC
Inductors in an AC Circuit
• Consider an AC circuit with a
source and an inductor
• The current in the circuit is
impeded by the back emf of the
inductor
• The voltage across the inductor
always leads the current by 90°
• The effective resistance of a coil in an AC circuit is
called its inductive reactance (ƒ is in Hz, L is in H, XL is
in ohms):
XL = 2ƒL
• Ohm’s Law for the inductor:
ΔVL,rms = Irms XL
The RLC Series Circuit
• The resistor, inductor, and capacitor
can be combined in a circuit
• The current in the circuit is the same
at any time and varies sinusoidally
with time
The RLC Series Circuit
• The instantaneous voltage across
the resistor is in phase with the
current
• The instantaneous voltage across
the inductor leads the current by
90°
• The instantaneous voltage across
the capacitor lags the current by 90°
Phasor Diagrams
• To account for the different
phases of the voltage drops,
vector techniques are used
• Represent the voltage across
each element as a rotating vector,
called a phasor
• The diagram is called a phasor
diagram
• The voltage across the resistor is
on the +x axis since it is in phase
with the current
Phasor Diagrams
• The voltage across the inductor is
on the +y since it leads the
current by 90°
• The voltage across the capacitor
is on the –y axis since it lags
behind the current by 90°
• The phasors are added as vectors
to account for the phase
differences in the voltages
• ΔVL and ΔVC are on the same line
and so the net y component is
ΔVL - ΔVC
Phasor Diagrams
• The voltages are not in phase, so
they cannot simply be added to
get the voltage across the
combination of the elements or
the voltage source
Vmax 
VR2  (VL  VC )2
VL  VC
tan  
VR
•  is the phase angle between the
current and the maximum voltage
• The equations also apply to rms
values
Phasor Diagrams
ΔVR = Imax R
ΔVL = Imax XL
ΔVC = Imax XC
Vmax 
VR2  (VL  VC )2
VL  VC
tan  
VR
Vmax  I max R  ( X L  X C )
2
2
Impedance of a Circuit
• The impedance, Z, can also be represented in a phasor
diagram
Z 
R2  ( X L  X C )2
X L  XC
tan  
R
• Ohm’s Law can be applied to the impedance
ΔVmax = Imax Z
• This can be regarded as a generalized form of Ohm’s
Law applied to a series AC circuit
Summary of Circuit Elements,
Impedance and Phase Angles
Problem Solving for AC Circuits
• Calculate as many unknown quantities as possible
(e.g., find XL and XC)
• Be careful with units – use F, H, Ω
• Apply Ohm’s Law to the portion of the circuit that is
of interest
• Determine all the unknowns asked for in the problem
Chapter 21
Problem 26
A 60.0-V resistor is connected in series with a 30.0-µF capacitor and a
generator having a maximum voltage of 1.20 × 102 V and operating at 60.0 Hz.
Find the (a) capacitive reactance of the circuit, (b) impedance of the circuit,
and (c) maximum current in the circuit. (d) Does the voltage lead or lag the
current?
Power in an AC Circuit
• No power losses are associated with pure capacitors
and pure inductors in an AC circuit
• In a capacitor, during 1/2 of a cycle energy is stored and
during the other half the energy is returned to the circuit
• In an inductor, the source does work against the back
emf of the inductor and energy is stored in the inductor,
but when the current begins to decrease in the circuit,
the energy is returned to the circuit
Power in an AC Circuit
• The average power delivered by the generator is
converted to internal energy in the resistor
Pav = Irms ΔVR,rms
ΔVR, rms = ΔVrms cos 
Pav = Irms ΔVrms cos 
• cos  is called the power factor of the circuit
• Phase shifts can be used to maximize power outputs
Chapter 21
Problem 35
An inductor and a resistor are connected in series. When
connected to a 60-Hz, 90-V (rms) source, the voltage drop
across the resistor is found to be 50 V (rms) and the
power delivered to the circuit is 14 W. Find (a) the value of
the resistance and (b) the value of the inductance.
Resonance in an AC Circuit
• Resonance occurs at the frequency, ƒ0,
where the current has its maximum
value
I rms 
Vrms
R  (X L  XC )
2
2
• To achieve maximum current, the
impedance must have a minimum
value
• This occurs when XL = XC and
1
2f 0 L 
2f 0C
f0 
1
2 LC
Resonance in an AC Circuit
• Theoretically, if R = 0 the current
would be infinite at resonance
• Real circuits always have some
resistance
• Tuning a radio: a varying capacitor
changes the resonance frequency of
the tuning circuit in your radio to
match the station to be received
Transformers
• An AC transformer consists of two coils of wire wound
around a core of soft iron
• The side connected to the input AC voltage source is
called the primary and has N1 turns
• The other side, called the secondary, is connected to a
resistor and has N2 turns
• The core is used to increase the
magnetic flux and to provide a
medium for the flux to pass
from one coil to the other
 B Transformers
 B
V1   N1
V2   N 2
t
t
• The rate of change of the flux is the same for both coils,
so the voltages are related by
N2
V2 
N1
V1
• When N2 > N1, the transformer is referred to as a step
up transformer and when N2 < N1, the transformer is
referred to as a step down transformer
• The power input into the primary
equals the power output at the
secondary
I1V1  I 2 V2
Chapter 21
Problem 45
An AC power generator produces 50 A (rms) at 3 600 V. The voltage is
stepped up to 100 000 V by an ideal transformer, and the energy is
transmitted through a long-distance power line that has a resistance
of 100 Ω. What percentage of the power delivered by the generator is
dissipated as heat in the power line?
LC Circuit
• When the switch is closed, oscillations occur in the
current and in the charge on the capacitor
• When the capacitor is fully charged, the total energy of
the circuit is stored in the electric field of the capacitor
• At this time, the current is zero and no energy is stored
in the inductor
• As the capacitor discharges, the energy
stored in the electric field decreases
• At the same time, the current increases
and the energy stored in the magnetic
field increases
LC Circuit
• When the capacitor is fully discharged, there is no
energy stored in its electric field
• The current is at a maximum and all the energy is stored
in the magnetic field in the inductor
• The process repeats in the opposite direction
• There is a continuous transfer of energy between the
inductor and the capacitor
Maxwell’s Theory
• Electricity and magnetism were originally thought to be
unrelated
• Maxwell’s theory showed a close relationship between
all electric and magnetic phenomena and proved that
electric and magnetic fields play symmetric roles in
nature
• Maxwell hypothesized that a changing electric field
would produce a magnetic field
• He calculated the speed of light – 3x108 m/s
– and concluded that light and other
electromagnetic waves consist of
James Clerk Maxwell
fluctuating electric and magnetic fields
1831-1879
Maxwell’s Theory
• Stationary charges produce only electric fields
• Charges in uniform motion (constant velocity) produce
electric and magnetic fields
• Charges that are accelerated produce electric and
magnetic fields and electromagnetic waves
• A changing magnetic field produces an electric field
• A changing electric field produces a magnetic
field
• These fields are in phase and, at any point,
they both reach their maximum value at the
James Clerk Maxwell
same time
1831-1879
Hertz’s Experiment
• Hertz was the first to generate and detect
electromagnetic waves in a laboratory
setting
• An induction coil was connected to two
large spheres forming a capacitor
• Oscillations were initiated by short voltage
pulses
• The inductor and capacitor formed the
transmitter
Heinrich Rudolf
Hertz
1857 – 1894
Hertz’s Experiment
• Several meters away from the transmitter
was the receiver
• This consisted of a single loop of wire
connected to two spheres
• It had its own inductance and capacitance
• When the resonance frequencies of the
transmitter and receiver matched, energy
transfer occurred between them
Heinrich Rudolf
Hertz
1857 – 1894
Hertz’s Results
• Hertz hypothesized the energy transfer was in the form
of waves (now known to be electromagnetic waves)
• Hertz confirmed Maxwell’s theory by showing the waves
existed and had all the properties of light waves (with
different frequencies and wavelengths)
• Hertz measured the speed of the waves from the
transmitter (used the waves to form an interference
pattern and calculated the wavelength)
• The measured speed was very close to 3 x 108 m/s, the
known speed of light, which provided evidence in
support of Maxwell’s theory
Electromagnetic Waves Produced by
an Antenna
• When a charged particle undergoes an acceleration, it
must radiate energy in the form of electromagnetic
waves
• Electromagnetic waves are radiated by any circuit
carrying alternating current
• An alternating voltage applied to the wires of an
antenna forces the electric charge in the antenna to
oscillate
Electromagnetic Waves Produced by
an Antenna
• Two rods are connected to an ac source, charges
oscillate between the rods (a)
• As oscillations continue, the rods become less charged,
the field near the charges decreases and the field
produced at t = 0 moves away from the rod (b)
• The charges and field reverse (c) and the oscillations
continue (d)
Electromagnetic Waves Produced by
an Antenna
• Because the oscillating charges in the rod
produce a current, there is also a magnetic
field generated
• As the current changes, the magnetic field
spreads out from the antenna
• The magnetic field is perpendicular to the
electric field
Properties of Electromagnetic Waves
• Electromagnetic waves are transverse
• The E and B fields are perpendicular to each other and
both fields are perpendicular to the direction of motion
• Electromagnetic waves travel at
the speed of light (light is an
electromagnetic wave):
c 
1
 o o
E
c
B
• The ratio of the electric field to
the magnetic field is equal to the
speed of light
Properties of Electromagnetic Waves
• Electromagnetic waves carry energy as they travel
through space, and this energy can be transferred to
objects placed in their path
• Energy carried by em waves is shared equally by the
electric and magnetic fields
Average power per unit area 
2
2
Emax Bmax
Emax
c Bmax
I 


2o
2oc
2o
• Electromagnetic waves transport linear momentum as
well as energy
The Spectrum of EM Waves
• Types of electromagnetic
waves are distinguished
by their frequencies
(wavelengths): c = ƒ λ
• There is no sharp
division between one
kind of em wave and the
next – note the overlap
between types of waves
The Spectrum of EM Waves
• Radio waves are used in
radio and television
communication systems
• Microwaves (1 mm to 30
cm) are well suited for
radar systems +
microwave ovens are an
application
• Infrared waves are
produced by hot objects
and molecules and are
readily absorbed by most
materials
The Spectrum of EM Waves
• Visible light (a small
range of the spectrum
from 400 nm to 700 nm) –
part of the spectrum
detected by the human
eye
• Ultraviolet light (400 nm
to 0.6 nm): Sun is an
important source of uv
light, however most uv
light from the sun is
absorbed in the
stratosphere by ozone
The Spectrum of EM Waves
• X-rays – most common
source is acceleration of
high-energy electrons
striking a metal target,
also used as a diagnostic
tool in medicine
• Gamma rays: emitted by
radioactive nuclei, are
highly penetrating and
cause serious damage
when absorbed by living
tissue
Answers to Even Numbered Problems
Chapter 21:
Problem 8
(a) 141 mA
(b) 235 mA
Answers to Even Numbered Problems
Chapter 21:
Problem 14
(a) 12.6 Ω
(b) 6.19 A
(c) 8.75 A
Answers to Even Numbered Problems
Chapter 21:
Problem 40
(a) Z = R = 15 Ω
(b) 41 Hz
(c) At resonance
(d) 2.5 A
Answers to Even Numbered Problems
Chapter 21:
Problem 64
(a) 6.0036 × 1014 Hz
(b)increases by 3.6 × 1011 Hz
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