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Direct current (DC) can be expressed in terms of 2 variables

:

 

Direction (polarity

intensity (amplitude) Alternating current (AC) is more complicated... Period and Frequency

   

in AC, the polarity reverses at regular intervals

the instantaneous amplitude of AC (current or voltage at any instant) usually varies because of the repeating reversal of polarity The behavior of an AC wave depends largely on the rate of change: Frequency AC frequency used to be specified in cycles per second (cps) but now it is in Hertz 1Hz = 1cps 1kHz = 1000 Hz 1 MHz = 1000 kHz = 1,000,000 Hz = 10^6 Hz 1 GHz = 1000 MHz = 1,000,000,000 Hz = 10^9 Hz

(Hz)
o o o o

A sine wave. The period is the length of time it takes for 1 cycle to complete

thus the absolute amplitude is constant  half positive. and vice versa  Square Waves o there can be AC waves whose instantaneous amplitude remains constant.  Audio-frequency (AF) currents have frequency ranging from about 20 Hz to 20 kHz. in milliseconds. the same as the range of acoustic frequencies that humans can hear The frequency of an AC wave. 2. 1ms = . 2. in hertz is the reciprocal of the period in seconds.02 s = 20ms 2. of a wave with frequency 50 Hz? 1. o f = 1/T o T = 1/f  Some AC waves have only 1 frequency component. and are called "pure" o However there are often components at multiples of the main. Waveforms  Sine wave o sinusoidal o direction of current reverses at regular intervals. and shaped like a sine function o Any AC wave that concentrates all its energy at a single frequency has a perfectly sinusoidal shape. fundamental frequency o there can also be components at "odd" frequencies o some AC waves have hundreds/thousands of different component frequencies Example: 1. what is the period.005 = 200Hz T = 1/f 1/50 = 0. what is the frequency in HZ of a wave that has period 5ms? 1.001 s f =1/T 1/ . 3. half negative  when squared-off waves are lopsided (longer or shorter on either polarity) they are considered asymetrical square waves. even though polarity reverses o true square waves have equal pos/neg peaks. denoted f. or rectangular waves  Sawtooth wave .

o WHen this happens. The sawtooth is a Slow rise. straight line up)  Slow rise. it is AC. sloping lines o called sawtooth for appearance o generated electronically. and the polarity keeps switching back and forth from positive to negative. fast decay pattern. Complex AC Waves  As long as an electrical wave has a definable period. no matter how bizzare  Sometimes it is impossible to ascertain the period of the wave o this is because the wave has two or more components that are of nearly the same amplitude. These are known astriangle waves.o a wave that rises/ falls in straight. the frequency spectrum of the wave is multifaceted  means the wave energy is split up more or less equally among multiple frequencies  Electrical noise o if an electrical current varies in a manner so complex that no period exists or can be defined  Acoustic noise o if electrical noise is input to an amp and fed to a speaker and the result is audible Example: . Examples of all 4 waves. also by violin bows pulling across strings  Fast-rise. fast decay (slope up. straight line down)  Variable rise and decay: rise and decay times are both equal and nonzero. slow decay (slope down.

but much different shapes. in degrees or radians Divide up a period of a wave into 360 degrees The other method is to divide the cycle in 2pi equal parts . 240 Hz. the fundamental frequency o But most AC waves contain harmonic energy along with energy at the fundamental o A harmonic frequency is a whole-number multiple of the fundamental frequency  example: 60 Hz is fundamental  harmonics can exist at 120 Hz. how strong they are. rather than time? o Spectrum analyzer is needed. etc  Any wave that is not a perfect sine wave has harmonic energy in addition to energy at the fundamental frequency  Irregular AC waves can have any imaginable frequency distribution Fractions of a Cycle  o o Cycle fractions are divided up like angles. the instantaneous amplitude of the composite wave at each point in time is equal to the sum of the instantaneous amplitudes of the two waves at that point in time. o The exact shape of the composite wave depends on the shapes of the component waves. which has Frequency-domain display o horizontal axis shows frequency as the independent variable  An AC sine wave on a spectrum analyzer only appears as a single Pip. or a vertical line o this means all of the energy in the wave is concentrated on one frequency. 180 Hz. are combined? o when 2 AC waves are combined. and whether or not their cycles are "in sync" Frequency Spectrum  An oscilloscope is said to be a Time-domain instrument  But suppose you want to see the amplitude of a complex signal as a function of frequency.1. What happens when 2 waveforms that have the same frequency.

but has an altered waveform with infinite possibilities for shapes Examples 1. 2. 360/6 = 60 degrees of phase A complete cycle is 2pi. How many degrees of phase are represented by 1/6 of a cycle? 1. the composite signal has the same original frequency and amplitude equal to the difference between the two  if they are in phase. like 75 or 100 degrees. and if they differ in phase by 180 degrees. the composite has the same freq.Showing how degrees and radians are used to divide fractions of a cycle Phase Difference  Even if 2 AC waves have exactly the same frequency. 2. and the combined sum amplitude o if 2 pure AC sine waves have same frequency but differ by odd amounts. and they make no noise!! o If the 2 identical waves are in phase and added. they cancel each other out. they can produce different effects because they are "out of sync"  Especially true when 2 waves are added together to produce a 3rdcomposite wave o If 2 identical AC waves are added together while 180 degrees (a half cycle) out of phase. 1. they make the same frequency but with twice the amplitude of either alone o If 2 pure AC sine waves have same frequency but different amplitudes. 3. the result has the same frequency. A phase angle of pi/8 rad = 2pi/16 so it is 1/16 of a cycle What fraction of a wave cycle is represented by pi/8 radians of phase? .

4.54 rad/s. amperes o (for power) microwatts.707 times the peak current or voltage. 5. 2.5 Hz 6. What is the angular frequency. of a wave with a period of 80ms? Round to 2 sig figs 1. in radians per second. the amplitude reaches o Peak-to-peak (pk-pk)  the net difference between the positive and negative peak amplitude  when pos and neg are equal. milivolts.  That is 0. Rounds off to 79 rad/s Expressions of Amplitude  Amplitude is also called magnitude. approximately 6.080 s f = 1/T = 1/ 0. the rms current or voltage is equal to 0. 7.2832. 3.080 f = 12. level. or intensity  For AC wave. in order to get the angular frequency in radians per second. 8. volts o (for current) microamperes. we must multiply the frequency in hertz by 2pi.354 times the pk-pk current or voltage . or power that a DC source would have to produce in order to have the same general effect as a given AC wave  The most common expression for effective AC intensity is called rootmean-square (RMS)  the square root of the average of the square of all the AC wave's instantaneous amplitudes  For a perfect AC sine wave with no DC component. milliwatts. Convert the period in to frequency in hertz.5 Hz x 6. strength.2832 = 78. current. amplitude specified in: o (for voltage) microvolts. 12.3. miliamperes. positive or negative. watts  Several semantical ways which amplitude can be defined o Instantaneous  amplitude at a precise moment  constantly changes  manner of variation dependent on waveform o Peak (pk)  the maximum extent. the pk-pk= 2pk  polarity is irrelevant o Root-Mean-Square (RMS)  often necessary to express the effective amplitude of an AC wave  this is the voltage. 80 ms = 0.

For sawtooth and irregular waves.414 times the rms For a perfect square wave.354 V(pk-pk) = 0.0001 x 6 = 0. in seconds. a vertical line 4. but never with DC? power voltage frequency amplitude 2.5) = 10V pk-pk V (rms) = 0. of: o o 6.354 x 10 V = 3.5V. 2. What is the pk-pk voltage? 1. the angular frequency is about .5 V and a negative peak of -3. an AC signal having only 1 frequency component looks like: o a single pip. On the display of a spectrum analyzer. The length of time between a point in one cycle and the same point in the next cycle of an AC wave is: o The period 3. Conversly. The phase difference between these 2 waves is: o 360 / 20 = 18 degrees 8. o The period of an AC wave. the rms value is half the pk-pk value. Quiz 1. the peak current or voltage is 1. 1. Suppose a perfect sine wave has a positive peak voltage of +6. 2.54 V (rms) What is te rms voltage of the sine wave described above? Which of the following can vary with AC. o 7. 3.000 ms has a frequency = . Suppose an AC signal has a frequency of 1770 HZ.(-3.0001 Hz 0.5 . o o o o = +6. 2.006 Hz A degree of phase represents approximately: 1/360 = 0. Suppose 2 AC waves have the same frequency but differ in phase by 1/20 of a cycle.00278 cycle 5. is: equal to 1 divided by the frequency in hertz (T = 1/f) The sixth harmonic of an AC wave whose period is 1. it depends on the exact wave current or voltage   Examples 1.

the composite wave: o cancels out and has zero amplitude . o 1770 x 6.o in order to get the angular frequency in radians per second. we must multiply the frequency in hertz by 2pi. but are in opposite phase. If 2 perfect sine waves have the same frequency and the same amplitude.120 rad/s 9.2832. approximately 6.2832 = 11. o o o o A triangular wave exhibits zero rise time and nonzero decay time nonzero rise time and zero decay time nonzero rise time and nonzero decay time zero rise time and zero decay time 10.