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Network Theorems

A network is a combination of components, such as resistances and voltage sources,

interconnected to achieve a particular end result. However, networks generally need more than
the rules of series and parallel circuits for analysis. Kirchhoffs laws can always be applied for
any circuit connections. The network theorems, though, usually provide shorter methods for
solving a circuit.
Some theorems enable us to convert a network into a simpler circuit, equivalent to the
original. Then the equivalent circuit can be solved by the rules of series and parallel circuits.
Other theorems enable us to convert a given circuit into a form that permits easier solutions.
Here we will discuss only two of them;
a) Thevenins Theorem
b) Nortons Theorem

Thevenins Theorem

Named after M. L. Thevenin, a French engineer, Thevenins theorem is very useful in

simplifying the process of solving for the unknown values of voltage and current in a network.
By Thevenins theorem, many sources and components, no matter how they are interconnected,
can be represented by an equivalent series circuit with respect to any pair of terminals in the

Thevenins theorem for linear electrical networks states that any combination of voltage
sources, current sources and resistors with two terminals is electrically equivalent to a single
voltage source V and a single resistor R. For single frequency AC systems, the theorem can be
also applied to general impedances, not just resistors, Any complex network can be reduced to
a Thevenins equivalent circuit consist of a single voltage source and series resistance
connected to a load.

To calculate the equivalent circuit, one needs a resistance and some voltage - two
unknowns. Thus two equations are needed. These two equations are usually obtained by using
the following steps, but any condition places on the terminals of the circuit should also work;

1. Calculate the output voltage, VAB, in open circuit condition (Infinite resistance). This
is VTH.
2. Calculate the output current, IAB, when the output terminals are short circuited (Load
resistance is 0). RTH equals VTH Divided by IAB

Imagine that the block at the left contains a network connected to terminals A and B.
Thevenins theorem states that the entire network connected to A and B can be replaced by a
single voltage source VTH in series with a single resistance RTH, connected to the same two
Voltage VTH is the open-circuit voltage across terminals A and B. This means finding
the voltage that the network produces across the two terminals with an open circuit between A
and B. The polarity of VTH is such that it will produce current from A to B in the same direction
as in the original network.

Resistance RTH is the open-circuit resistance across terminals A and B, but with all
sources killed. This means finding the resistance looking back into the network from terminals
A and B. Although the terminals are open, an ohmmeter across AB.

For example, consider the following circuit;

Firstly, we have to remove the center 40 resistor and short out (not physically as this would
be dangerous) all the emfs connected to the circuit, or open circuit any current sources. The
value of resistor RTH is found by calculating the total resistance at the terminals A and B with
all the emfs removed, and the value of the voltage required Vs is the total voltage across
terminals A and B with an open circuit and no load resistor RTH connected. Then, we get the
following circuit;

Find the Equivalent Resistance (RTH):

10Resistor in parallel with the 20Resistor

Find the Equivalent Voltage (VTH):

We now need to reconnect the two voltages back into the circuit,

And as VTH = VAB the current flowing around the loop is calculated as:

So the voltage drop across the 20 resistor can be calculated as:

VAB = 20 - (20 x 0.33amps) = 13.33 volts.

Then the Thevenins Equivalent circuit is shown below with the 40 resistor connected.

And from this the current flowing in the circuit is given as:

Thevenins theorem can be used as a circuit analysis method and is particularly useful
if the load is to take a series of different values. It is not as powerful as Mesh or Nodal analysis
in larger networks because the use of Mesh or Nodal analysis is usually necessary in any
Thevenin exercise, so it might well be used from the start. However, Thevenins equivalent
circuits of Transistors, Voltage Sources such as batteries etc. are very useful in circuit design.

Nortons Theorem

Named after E. L. Norton, a scientist with Bell Telephone Laboratories, Nortons

theorem is used to simplify a network in terms of currents instead of voltages. In many cases,
analyzing the division of currents may be easier than voltage analysis. For current analysis,
therefore, Nortons theorem can be used to reduce a network to a simple parallel circuit with a
current source. The idea of a current source is that it supplies a total line current to be divided
among parallel branches, corresponding to a voltage source applying a total voltage to be
divided among series components.

General forms for a voltage source or current source connected to a load R L across
terminals A and B.
a) Voltage source V with series R.
b) Current source I with parallel R.
c) Current source I with parallel conductance G

A source of electric energy supplying voltage is often shown with a series resistance
that represents the internal resistance of the source, as in Fig. (a). This method corresponds to
showing an actual voltage source, such as a battery for dc circuits. However, the source may
also be represented as a current source with a parallel resistance, as in Fig. (b). Just as a voltage
source is rated at, say, 10 V, a current source may be rated at 2 A.
For the purpose of analyzing parallel branches, the concept of a current source may be
more convenient than the concept of a voltage source. I f the current I in Fig. (b) is a 2-A
source, it supplies 2 A no matter what is connected across the output terminals A and B.
Without anything connected across A and B, all 2 A flows through the shunt R. When a load
resistance RL is connected across A and B, then the 2-A I divides according to the current
division rules for parallel branches.

Remember that parallel currents divide inversely to branch resistances but directly with
conductance. For this reason it may be preferable to consider the current source shunted by the
conductance G, as shown in Fig. . We can always convert between resistance and
conductance because 1/R in ohms is equal to G in Siemens. The symbol for a current source
is a circle with an arrow inside, as shown in Fig. (b) and c , to show the direction of current.

This direction must be the same as the current produced by the polarity of the corresponding
voltage source. Remember that a source produces electron flow out from the negative terminal.
An important difference between voltage and current sources is that a current source is killed
by making it open, compared with short-circuiting a voltage source. Opening a current source
kills its ability to supply current without affecting any parallel branches. A voltage source is
short-circuited to kill its ability to supply voltage without affecting any series components.
The Norton Equivalent Circuit:

As illustrated in Fig. Nortons theorem states that the entire network connected to
terminals A and B can be replaced by a single current source IN in parallel with a single
resistance RN. The value of IN is equal to the short-circuit current through the AB terminals.
This means finding the current that the network would produce through A and B with a short
circuit across these two terminals. The value of RN is the resistance looking back from open
terminals A and B. These terminals are not short-circuited for RN but are open, as in calculating
RTH for Thevenins theorem. Actually, the single resistor is the same for both the Norton and
Thevenins equivalent circuits. In the Norton case, this value of RAB is RN in parallel with the
current source; in the Thevenins case, it is RTH in series with the voltage source.
We can also explain it as:

Norton's theorem states that a network consists of several voltage sources, current
sources and resistors with two terminals, is electrically equivalent to an ideal current source
INO" and a single parallel resistor, RNO. The theorem can be applied to both A.C and D.C cases.
The Norton equivalent of a circuit consists of an ideal current source in parallel with an ideal
impedance (or resistor for non-reactive circuits).
Consider the circuit.

To find the Nortons equivalent of the above circuit we firstly have to remove the center 40
load resistor and short out the terminals A and B to give us the following circuit.

When the terminals A and B are shorted together the two resistors are connected in
parallel across their two respective voltage sources and the currents flowing through each
resistor as well as the total short circuit current can now be calculated as:
With A-B Shorten:

If we short-out the two voltage sources and open circuit terminals A and B, the two
resistors are now effectively connected together in parallel. The value of the internal resistor
Rs is found by calculating the total resistance at the terminals A and B giving us the following

Find the Equivalent Resistance (Rs):

10 Resistor in parallel with the 20 Resistor

Having found both the short circuit current, Is and equivalent internal resistance, Rs this then
gives us the following Nortons equivalent circuit.
Nortons equivalent circuit.

Ok, so far so good, but we now have to solve with the original 40 load resistor connected
across terminals A and B as shown below.

Again, the two resistors are connected in parallel across the terminals A and B which gives us
a total resistance of:

The voltage across the terminals A and B with the load resistor connected is given as:

Then the current flowing in the 40 load resistor can be found as: