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1.1. Introduction. When electric charges are set into motion, the magnetic field caused by the current of moving charges and the electric field caused by the presence of charges are not established throughout space instantancously but travel of light in free space, or about3 x 10 meters/sec. Imagine to parallel conductors connecting a generator to a load. The voltage impressed by the generator on its and of the line doesnt reach the load at the same instant but travels down the line at a finite velocity and reaches the load somewhat later. This can be explained by the action of the electric and magnetic fields which are guided by the conductors from the generator to the load, but it is most easily analyzed in terms of the distributed inductance and capacitance of the wires. The velocity of propagation depends upon the medium surrounding the wires, in which the electric and magnetic field exist. For air insulated lines the velocity is nearly equal to that of light in free space. It is somewhat lower for solid dielectrics. When the generator voltage varies sinusoidally with time, the distance that a wave travels in one cycle is equal to the wavelength = velocity X periode or = where f is the frequency of the driving source assuming v =3 x 10 meter/sec, we can compute the wavelength for various frequencies : for 60 cycles per second, = 3,100 miles; for 3 megacycles per second, = 100 meters; and for 3,000 megacycles per second, = 10 cm. The time lag between the sending and receiving ends of a transmission line is important whenever the line is so long or the frequency so high that it takes and appreciable portion of a cycle for the waves to travel the full length of the line. This is expressed more conveniently in terms of wavelength: transmission line theory must be used whenever the length of the line is appreciable compared with a quarter wavelength. When the wires are much shorter than a quarter wavelength, the time lag will be only a small part of a cycle and the system can be analyzed by the more usual a-c circuit theory (small circuit theory).

The primary use of transmission lines is to transmit a-c power between points which are separated by distances that are not small compared with a quarter wavelengths. At short wavelengths they also find important use as reactive circuit elements, as resonant circuits, as impedance transformers, and in many other ways. Figure 1.1 shows the arrangement of conductors and the configuration of the electric and magnetic fields for several common types of transmission lines. The open two wire line is easy to construct, and its characteristics are readily adjusted by changing the spacing of the wires. However, the fields extend far beyond the line, and radiation losses become excessive at the higher radio frequencies. Open wire lines are not often used at frequencies above a few hundred megacycles. A conducting shield is sometime placed around the two wires to contain the fields, as shown in fig.1.1b. the parallel-strip line shown in fig.1.1c. is occasionally used to provide a low impedance level. A coaxial line consists of a hollow tube and a concentric conductor, as shown in fig.1.1d. the center conductor may be held in place with dielectric beads or with a continuous solid dielectric

which fills the annular space. When a continuous solid insulator is used, the coaxial cable can be made flexible by constructing the outer conductor of a braid of fine wires. A coaxial cable is selfshielded and has no external field except possibly near the terminations. For this reason it is widely used throughout the radio frequency range, and is used effectively at wavelengths as short as 10cm (3,000 Mc). This is well within the microwave region, which the name given to the radio spectrum at wavelengths below perhaps a half meter. Open-wire lines are normally balanced with respect to ground, but a coaxial cable is unsymmetrical and is not balanced with respect to ground. When the transmission-line problem is analyzed by means of electromagnetic field theory, it is found that the type of transmission studied here is not the only one that can exist on a set of parallel conductors. Our analysis will apply to the so-called principal mode in which the electric and magnetic fields are perpendicular to each other and to the direction of to the conductors, as shown in fig 1.1.. This type of traveling wave is often called the transverse electromagnetic, or TEM, wave, and is the only kind that can exist on a transmission line at the lower frequencies. When the frequency become so high that the wavelength is comparable with the distance between conductors, other type of waves, of the kind utilized in hollow wave guides, become possible1. Except in very special cases, these higher modes are considered undesirable on the transmission systems that we are studying; therefore, whenever possible, the spacing between conductors is kept much smaller than a quarter wavelength. Another reason for a small spacing is that, when the distance between the wire of an unshielded line approaches a quarter wavelength, the line acts as an antenna and radiates a considerable portion of the energy that it carries. In our analysis we shall assume a very small spacing and shall neglect radiation losses altogether. 1.2. The Distributed Constants of the Line. Transmission lines are most easily analyzed by an extension of lumped-constant theory. The same theory will apply to all the lines shown in fig. 1.1. The most important constants of the line are its distributed inductance and capacitance. When the current flows in the conductors of a transmission line, a magnetic flux is set up around the conductors. Any change in this flux will induce a voltage (the familiar L di/dt of lumped-circuit theory). The inductance of the transmission line conductors is smoothly distributed throughout their length. The distributed inductance, representing the net effect of all the line conductors, will be given the symbol L and will be expressed in henrys per unit length.

For an analysis of higher modes in coaxial cable, see A.B. Brownwell and R.E. Beam, Theory and Application of Microwaves, see. 16.08, McGraw-Hill Book Company, Inc., New York, 1947; and S. Ramo and J.R. Whinnery, Fields and Wave in Modern Radio, see. 9.02, John Wiley & Sons, Inc., New York, 1944.

Between the conductors of the line there exists a uniformly distributed capacitance C. this will be measured in farads per unit length of line. The distributed inductance and capacitance are illustrated in a rough schematic way in fig. 1.2. When the line is viewed in this way, it is not hard to see that the voltage and current can vary from point to point on the line, and that resonance may exist under certain conditions. In addition to inductance and capacitance, the conductors also have a resistance R ohms per unit length. This includes the effect of all the conductors. Finally, the insulation of the line may allow some current to leak from one conductor to the other. This is denoted by a conductance G, measured in mhos per unit length of line. The quantity R obviously represents the imperfection of the conductor, while G represents the imperfection of the insulator. The student should not lose sight of the fact that, in the notation of transmission-line theory, G does not denote the reciprocal of R. When solid insulation is used at very high frequencies, the electric loss may be considerable. This has the same affect on the line as true ohmic leakage and forms the mayor contribution to G at these frequencies. Although the line constants are uniformly distributed along the line, we can gain a rough idea of their effect by imagining the line to be made up of short section of length x, as shown in fig. 1.2. If L is the inductance per unit length, the inductance of the short section will be L . x henrys. Similarly, the resistance of the section will be R . x Iohms, the capacitance will be C . x farads, and the leakage conductance will be G . x mhos.

Although the inductance and resistance are shown lumped in one conductor in fig. 1.3, they actually represent the net effect of both conductor in the short section x. as the section lengths x are made smaller and smaller, the lumpy line of fig. 1.3 will approach nearer and nearer to the actual smooth line.

1.3. Notation and Unit. We shall visualize the basic transmission line problem in the manner shown by the schematic diagram of fig. 1.4. the subscripts S and R refer, respectively, to the sending and receiving ends of the line. The line is terminated by a receiving end impedance (load impedance) Z complex ohms and is fed by a generator which has an open circuit voltage and an internal impedance Z . The unit of length generally used in telephone line problems is the mile, while for radio frequency lines the meter is preferred. The line constants L,C,R, and G are expressed in terms of the chose unit of length;e.g., L is expressed henrys per mile or in henrys per meter. We shall denote instantaneous voltage and current by e and I, respectively, and shall use capital letters (E and I) to denote complex a-c quantities. The conventions of sign are shown in fig. 1.4. An instantaneous potential different between lines will be taken to be a positive number of volts if the upper wire in fig. 1.4 is positive with respect to the lower one, and will be taken to be a negative number of volts if polarity is the reverse of t

this. An instantaneous current which flows to the right in the top wire (and to the left in the bottom one) will be consider positive voltage and positive current, or of negative voltage and negative current, will correspond to a flow of power to the right. 1.4. The Differential Equation for the Uniform Line. Consider an infinitesimal section of a line as shown in fig. 1.5, and consider the instantaneous voltage e and the instantaneous current i. the series inductance of the section will be L . x henrys, and the series resistance will be R . x ohms. Similarly, the shunt capacitance will be C . x farads and the shunt conductance will be G . x mhos.following the conventions of calculus, the different between the instantaneous line to line voltages at two ends of the section will be (e/x) x, as indicated in fig. 1.5 (the partial derivative must be used because there are two independent variables, distance sx and time t). The voltage difference (e/x) x is caused by the current I flowing through the resistance R . x and changing at the rate i/t in the inductance L . x. thus, we can write

( = R . )I + (L .)

The negative sign is used here because positive values of I and of / cause e to decrease with increasing x. upon dividing through by , we have

= Ri + L


This is the differential equation that indicates the manner in which the instantaneous line to line voltage e changes along the line. In a similar manner, the diference in current between the two ends of the section, (i/x) x, will be made of two parts: (1) the current coused by the voltage e acting on the shunt conductance G . x and (2) the displacement current through the capacitance C . x caused by the voltage changing at the rate e/t. we can, therefore, write

( = G . )e + (C .)

Dividing by x, we obtain a differential equation that indicates the a manner in which the current I changes along the line:

= Ge + C

(1.3) We now have two partial differential equation with two dependent variables, e and I, and two independent variables, x and t. these equations, together with the boundary condition relating to the two ends, will in principle yield both the steady state and the transient solutions. We shall concentrate mainly on the steady state a-c problem an examine transients only in certain simplified cases 1.5. Traveling Waves on a Lossless Line. It is illuminating to consider the hypothetical case of a line without loss, for which R = G = 0. This approximation is reasonably good when the line losses are much smaller than the energy which travels along the line. Physically short radio frequency lines can often be solved satisfactorily by this method. Also, the approximation affords a simple and useful, although rather over idealized, method for calculating the propagation of surges such as those caused by lightning strokes on power line is most easily understood by using the lossless theory. For the lossless condition, eqs. (1.2) and (1.3) become and

= L

1.4 1.5

= L

We can eliminate I between two equations by taking the partial derivative of eq. (1.4) with respect to x and eq. (1.5) with respect to t. the order of differentiation is immaterial, and so i/xt = i/tx. Eliminating this quantity between the two equations, we obtain a differential equation for e: 1.6 If e, rather than I, is eliminated between eqs. (1.4) and (1.5), a relation similar to eqs. (1.6) is obtained for the current:


Equations (1.6) and (1.7) are one dimensional forms of the wave equation, the solutions of which are known to consist of waves can travel in either direction, without change of magnitude, at

the velocity 1/. To show this, we shall formulate a mathematical expression for such a traveling wave and then demonstrate that this expression satisfies the differential equation (1.6).

First we shall show that a wave traveling in the positive x direction with a velocity 1/ can be expressed mathematically as e = f( - t) Where f represents any single value function of the argument ( - t).


function f (-t) remains constant in value, which means that he must be moving so that the argument -t is constant for him. For the point P, then,

The following are specific illustrations of such functions: , sin ( - t), and K ( , where a, , and K are constants. Another example, which is intended to be more general and which might be difficult to expresse analytically, is illustrated in fig. 1.6. Suppose that an observer travels with the wave shown in Fig.1.6 in such a way that he stays with a particular point on the wave ; for example, the one marked P in the figure. So far as the observer is concerned, the

-t = a constant Taking the derivative term by term with respect to time, we obtain an equation containing the velocity dx/dt: -1=0 From which the velocity is found to be

length units per seconds

Similarly, a wave travelling in the negative x direction can be expressed as


E = Where is another single valued function.


is e = , which is again a parabolic function of x but shifted / distances units to the right along the x axis. Next, we shall show that the travelling wave (1.8) satisfies the differential equation for the lossless line. To simplify the notation, we write the argument of the function as s = - t And then write the supposed solution as e = f(s) (1.12) Now we take derivatives of e for substitution into the differential equation. From calculus we can write

= 0, this is a parabolic function of x: e = . At a given value of time sec later, the function

Example 1. As an example, consider the function e = , where K is a constant. At t


But from Eq. (1.11) we find that s/x = , and so

Taking the second derivative with respect to x, we obtain

= LC

In a similar fashion we can show that


1.14 If we now test the solution by substituting Eqs. (1.13) and (1.14) into the differential equation (1.6), we obtain

This is an identity, which verifies that the assumed solution (1.8) satisfies the differential equation.

Example 2. Consider the function e = , where K is a constant. Taking the partial derivatives with respect to x and t, we obtain

= 2 ,

= -2K ,

= 2LCK = 2K

Now, we test whether the function is a solution of the differential equation by substituting the foregoing second derivatives into / = LC / . The result is the identity 2LCK = 2LCK, which proves that the function is a solution. Ti may at first seem strange that quantity 1/ is a velocity, when L is expressed in henrys per unit length and C in farads per unit length. The product henrys X farads has the dimensions of second squared, as can be seen by recalling the expression for the resonant angular velocity of a simple series circuit: =

= dimensionless radians/second

Thus, for the transmission line we have

insulating medium. The numerical value of 1/ for air-insulated conductors is approximately 3 x 10 meters/sec, which checks with experimental determinations of the velocity of light in free space. Solid insulation, with its higher dielectric constant, causes the velocity to be smaller. Also, losses in the line tend to reduce the velocity somewhat. The differential equation for current is similar to that for voltage, and so we expert its solution to be a corresponding traveling wave. The solution for I that corresponds to eq. (1.8) for e is i=

Which are the dimensions of velocity. The expression 1/ gives the velocity in terms of the unit of length used for L and G. When we calculate in chap. 3 the inductance and capacitance of a parallel pair of conductors seoarated by an insulating medium, we shall find that the product LC is independent of the size and separation of the conductors and depends only on the dielectric contant and permeability of the

equations (1.4) and (1.5). Since the function f represents a voltage, the quantity / must have the dimensions of impedance. The quantities L and C are characteristic impedance of the lossless

(1.15) This can demonstrated by substituting the solution for e and I into the original differential


line. We shall denote it by the symbol . The characteristic of impedance of the lossless line is a real quantity; i.e., it is a resistance and is independents of frequency. For lines with loss, the characteristic impedance is generally complex and is not independent of frequency.

at the speed 1/ in the positive x direction, and that this voltage is accompanied by a similar wave of current, the two being related by the expression e = / at very point. Since the uniform line looks the same in either direction, we expert that the line can also support a wave traveling in the other direction, as given by e =

We have now shown that the uniform lossless line can support a wave of voltage which travels

(1.16) The truth of this can be verified by substituting eq. (1.16) into the differential equation (1.6). The wave of current corresponding to the backward moving voltage can be shown to be i= /

(1.17) The reason for the negative sign connecte with the backward moving wave of current can be visualized as in fig. (1.7), which shows a charged region moving along the line (a) in the positive direction, and (b) in the negative direction. Using the conventions of sign difined in fig. (1.4), we see that the voltage is positive in both cases, whereas the current is positive for the wave traveling to the right and negative for the one traveling to the left. For waves traveling to the right, the voltage and current agree in sign; for wave traveling to the left they are opposite in sign The differential equations of the system are linear, and therefore the sum of two separate solutions is also a solution. More generally, then we have e = + And i=



no longer have the simple ratio / because of the minus sign in eq. (1.19).

where = / in a region two oppositely traveling waves are superimposed, the total voltage and total current


the relation between the electric and magnetic energies on the line is of interst. If the instantaneous current at any point is I, the magnetic energy stored in a small length x is = 12 .

(1.20) On the other hand, the instantaneous voltage e carries with it an energy stored in the electric field, which, in a length x, is = 12 .

For a single wave on a lossless line, we have the relation e = / at every point and at every moment. Substituting this relation into eq. (1.21), we obtain = 12 . = 12 L . .


travels out along the line with a velocity v = 1/ , accompanied by current a equal to E/ . At a time t the entire portion of the line between the battery and the point x = vt is charge to the voltage E and carries a direct current E/ , while beyond this point there is no voltage or current whatever.

a region we no longer have the simple relation e = /. Example. Figure 1.8 shows a battery with a steady electromotive force E which is connected at t = 0 to one end of an infinitely long line. After t = 0, a rectangular wave of voltage with a magnitude E

These energies with the wave of e and I at the speed 1/ . The energies are not equal in aregion where two oppositely traveling waves slide by each order, for, as was mentioned previously, in such

Which is the same as (1.20) for the magnetic energy. Therefore, on a lossless line carrying a wave in only one direction, the energies associated with the electric and magnetic fields are equal.


Up to the point x = vt, every length of the line carries an energy

= + = C + L C

The total stored energy on the line is, therefore, = C And the rate at which this energy is increasing is

= =


This is, of course, equal to the power continuously supplied by the battery

1.6. Reflections. Figure 1.9 shows one end of a line terminated in an impedance . Because we do not wish to restrict ourselves to sinusoidal a-c waves, we shall temporarily direct our attention only to pure resistances which, like

/, are impedance of fre-quency. Imagine an incident wave of voltage, which we shall denote by , travelling to the right, accompanied by a current = / . At the termination, however, we must have

(1.22) Now, unless is numerically equal to , this does not satisfy the relation necessary for the line. Part of the incident wave, therefore, will be reflected. Call the reflected voltage and current and , the relation between them being = - / . At the termination, then, eq. (1.22) can be written as

= (1.23)

Where the subscript t refers to values at the point of termination.


Equation (1.23) can be rewritten in terms of as


= (1.24)

Solving eq. (1.24) for the ratio of reflected to incident voltage, we obtain

(1.25) The ratio k is called the reflection coefficient. Observe that k will be zero and there will be no reflection at the termination only when the terminating impedance is equal to the characteristic impedance of the line. Thus, a terminating impedance different from will give rise to a reflected wave which travels away from the termination. The reflection, upon reaching the other end, will itself be reflected if the terminating impedance is equal at that end is different from . As an exercise, the student should show that the reflection coefficient for current is the negative of that for voltage. Example 1. Consider, for example, a d-c generator or a battery with an emf E which is connected at t = 0 to one end of two parallel conductors which are terminated at the other end in a resistance R (see fig. 1.10). Losses in the line will be ignored. For the sake of definiteness, assume that R = 3 = three times the quantity / of the line. From t = 0 onward, a rectangular wave of voltage with a magnitude E will travel down the line at the velocity v = 1// , accompanied by a similar of current equal in magnitude to E/ . When the voltage wave reaches the receiving end, it will be reflected with a coefficient which can be obtain from eq. (1.25): =

Therefore, as shown in fig. (1.10), there will be a reflected wave of voltage with a magnitude E = E/2, accompanied by a current wave equal to E/2 . The firs reflected wave will in turn be reflected when it reaches the sending end. The terminating impedance is zero at this end, provided that the internal resistance of generator (or battery) is negligible; hence for the generator end =

= -1

The rereflected voltage will therefore be equal to (E/2) = -E/2 and, for this new forward traveling wave, the accompanying current will be E/2 . If the successive reflections are followed through, the result shown in fig. 1.10 will be obtained. At each moment the ratio receiving end voltage to receiving end current is equal to the terminal resistance R. as time goes on, the receiving


end voltage gradually settles down to the steady datate value E, and the current settles down to the value E/R = E/3 .

A space time diagram, as illustrated in fig. 1.11, is a convenient means of keeping track of the various reflections and their sums. Distance is plotted horizontally and time is plotted downward2. The time required for a wave to travel the length of the line is denoted by T, where T = l/v.

This method can be applied to the calculation of waves of arbitrary shape traveling on lossy lines and is particularly convenient when there are several discontinuities where reflection can occur. See L.V. Bewley, Traveling Waves on Transmission Systems, Chap.IV, John Wiley & sons. Inc., New York,19333


The zigzag lines are traces if the wave fronts of the various reflections. The numbers attached to the line indicate the magnitude of the individual waves. The magnitude of each reflection is obtained by multiplying the magnitude of the preceding wave by the reflection coefficient at the point where the reflection takes place. The number shown in each intervening space is the sum of the individual waves above that point, and represents the net current or

Voltage in that region of the chart. The voltage or current at any time and position can easily be obtain from the diagram. Example 2. Figure 1.12 shows an initially uncharged transmission line which is open circuited at the far end At t = 0, the switch S is closed, connecting the line to a battery a series ressistance equal to 3 . The sending end cannot known that the line is not infinite the arrival of the reflection from the receiving end; therefore, the line will initially look like an impedance at

the sending end. Using the voltage divider principle to calculate the initial sending end voltage, we find =


for 0 < t < 2l/v

We have of voltage this value travels to the receiving end, where it si reflected with the coefficient


= lim


The reflection travels back to the generator end, where it is reflected with the coefficient =

The successive reflections and rereflections are shown in the diagram of Fig.1.13, and a graph of sending end voltage is given in Fig.1.14. the build up of sending end voltage bears some resemblance to the voltage obtained across a condenser when charged from a battery through a resistance. Example 3. Figure 1.15 shows a travelling wave of a shape similar to that often caused on power lines by a lightning stroke. The wave is assumed to be travelling toward a resistive termination equal to 3 , and the problem is to find the manner in which the waves of current and voltage will be reflected at the termination. Although a reflection diagram similar to that of Fig.1.11 can be used, we shall employ another method which is often useful in simple cases. The reflection coefficient for voltage is 12, as can be verified by use of Eq. (1.25) with = 3 . The reflection coefficient for current is the negative of this, or -12. We shall calculate the reflection by imagining


That the line extends beyond its actual termination, as shown in Fig.1.15, and that this fictitious extension carries the reflections = 12 and = -12 The load resistance may be regarded as being replaced by a peculiar sort of mirror set normal to the line, and the fictitious waves to the right of this


may be regarded as the mirror reflections of the incident waves. As time goes on, the incident waves disappear into the reflected waves emerge, as shown in the successive pictures of Fig.1.15. The net result is obtained by superposing the two waves. Observe that on the line we always have = and =

The last picture shows the reflected wave travelling back up the line. Since and are, respectively, half as large as and , the reflected energy is one quarter of the incident energy, the remainder having been absorbed by the load resistance.

On the other hand the superposition of the waves causes the net voltage and current at the load to be in the ratio 3 , which was the assumed load impedance.