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EE 336 Lab Reports # 7

RC and RL Circuits

Magdalena Simic Ravi B Gondaliya

Performed on March 1, 2012 Submitted on March 8, 2012

Iman A. Hashemi Section 02

Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University Daytona Beach, FL 32114



This lab was intended to explore the concept of alternating current by using RC and RL circuits. An oscilloscope, oscillator, LCR machine, and digital multi-meter are all used during this analysis. An RC circuit consists of a capacitor and resistor while an RL circuit consists of an inductor and resistor. The RC circuit is used to analyze the charging and discharging of a capacitor, and the RL circuit is used to analyze an inductor. A time constant is then calculated for each specific circuit. This can then be applied to determine when a circuit reaches an equilibrium point. Overall, the experiment successfully demonstrated the fundamental analysis of the topics introduced. An oscillator is a technical instrument that is able to provide a constant frequency at a specified oscillation rate. It operates by using capacitor and inductor relation. When the charged capacitor undergoes a discharge, the emitted current induces a magnetic field on the inductor. Once the capacitor reaches a zero value, the field will diminish and induce a current of opposite direction. This reversal will recharge the capacitor and such a process will continue. This cycle then provides a steady oscillation. A capacitor is an electronic component that is able to store and release energy in a circuit. It consists of two conducting plates that are separated by an insulated material known as a dielectric. When a capacitor is connected to a live circuit, the device can either charge or discharge depending on the circuit conditions. It will continue to charge until the voltage across its terminals reaches the potential difference provided by the power supply. When it reaches this point, it will then discharge if the power supply is disconnected. Such an effect is caused by the oscillator in this experiment. The voltage stored by a capacitor can be expressed by the following equation: ( )

The charge on a capacitor versus time in a circuit containing a capacitor, resistor and voltage source is governed by the following equation and graph illustrating this relationship are: ( ) (

Figure 1: Capacitor Charge Curve

The current delivered to a capacitor versus time in a circuit containing a capacitor, resistor and voltage source is governed by the following equation and graph illustrating this relationship are: ( ) (

Figure 2: Current Delivered to a Capacitor The equation for discharging a capacitor and the accompanying graph are: ( ) ( ) (

Figure 3: Current Delivered to a Capacitor

An inductor is an electronic component that is dependent on frequency. It is used to store electric energy in the form of a magnetic field. Its physical structure is commonly a wrapped coil of wire. As current flows through the device, this coil creates a magnetic field that will then induce a voltage to occur. Maximum voltage will exist when the current reaches the zero line during an oscillation. The time constant that is obtained through RC and RL analysis is essential to time dependent relationships. It can be classified as measurement of the time necessary for the circuit to reach steady state (equilibrium). A small time constant will indicate a rapid response circuit, while a large value will indicate the opposite. Formally, a single value of this time constant is seen as the time necessary for 63.2% of a quantity to reach steady state. For the case of an RL circuit, the time constant is equal to:


Result Analysis and Discussion

In this experiment, a circuit was first assembled as seen below. This circuit was used to first determine the internal resistance value of the oscillator.

Figure 4: Circuit 1 Table 1: Comparison of Measured and Theoretical Resistor Value Theoretical Measured Percent Resistor Resistance () Resistance () Difference 1 1000 990 1.00% By using this information, an internal resistance of 694.22 was determined. This value was then applied to the analysis of the RC and RL circuits in this experiment. The following RC circuit was then assembled:

Figure 5: RC Circuit 2 By using the LCR measurement device, a value of 0.945 F was determined to be the actual value of capacitance of C1 and 2.68 as its resistance. After the circuit was connected to the oscilloscope apparatus, maximum amplitude of 5.12 V was determined by using the H-bar

measurement feature. The following equation was then used to determine the time constant in the circuit:

) *(1.04uF)

The following equation was then sued to determine the Vc at t=: ( ) ( ) ( ( ) Also, for the capacitor to be charged 99% of its full potential of 10V, the following equation was used: ( Thus, t = 1.316 x So, the number of time constants: s ) ( ) ( ) )

Thus, it needs 2 time constants to charge a capacitor to reach 99% of its full potential of 10V. For the final portion of this experiment, the following circuit was assembled:

Figure 6: Circuit 3 Schematic

By using the LCR measurement device, a value of 49.99 mH was determined to be the actual value of the inductor of L1 and 117 as its internal resistance. After the circuit was connected to the oscilloscope apparatus, the following equation was used to determine the time constant for the circuit:

Where, L = Inductance of the inductor = The total resistance of the internal resistance of the Function generator and the Inductor. And, ( )


Now, Using V-Bars and H-Bars to collect 10 coordinates of the curve, 5 for each half cycle, we get the following table: Table 2: V and H Bar Coordinates for Inductor Circuit
V Bar H Bar Coordinate (s) Coordinate(V) 76.6 9.9 73.4 5.1 71.6 0.0 69.4 -5.0 63.0 -10.3 56.6 -10.3 57.4 0.0 47.0 7.8 42.6 9.9 36.6 9.9 27.0 9.9 25.8 9.7

12 10 8 6 H Bar Co-ordinate(V) 4 2 0 0 -2 10 20 30

Co-ordinate Curve







V Bar Co-ordinate (s)

Figure 7: Graph of H and V Bar Coordinates Illustrating a Period from the Circuit Appendix Questions: 1: Since the unit of RC is seconds, and the unit of L/R is seconds, it means the unit of C is seconds/Ohms and the unit of L is seconds*ohms. Thus, the unit of LC is: 2: The measurements are done across the resistor part and not the coil because the energy stored in the inductor in the form of electric field may change the actual source readings of voltage and frequency. 3: It is important to include internal resistance in calculations since including the internal resistance increases the efficiency of the calculation. It also allows us to predict the actual loaded time constant for any capacitor and inductor.



The lab demonstrated and taught many fundamental aspects of capacitor and inductor function and analysis. These concepts will be essential in the further pursuit of complex circuit analysis and construction that may require such components. An oscillator was used to provide an oscillating signal to the circuit and an oscilloscope was used to perform the appropriate signal analysis. An LCR measurement device and digital multi-meter were used to verify the actual values of the components in the circuits. From our data, we are able to conclude that the time constant was significantly less for the capacitor versus the inductor. When comparing the two devices, it is important to note that the internal resistance of the capacitor is significantly less

than that of the inductor. In addition, the recorded data had a very low margin of percent error when compared to theoretical calculations. Overall, the experimental investigation was a success. IV. Statement

This experiment was efficient in demonstrating the properties of capacitors and inductors. The teaching assistant provided all the necessary assistance when asked.