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Attribution Non-Commercial (BY-NC)

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Objective

The objectives of this lab were to compare resistor and capacitor voltages during the DC

charging cycle of a capacitor and to deduce the time constant of the circuit.

Procedure

The circuit shown in Figure 1 was constructed. The resistance values for each resistor and

inductor (Rw) were measured with a multimeter for accuracy. The capacitance for the capacitor was

also measured. A function generator was attached to the circuit set with a square wave, a peak to peak

voltage of 10V and a frequency of 12kHz. A oscilloscope was then attached at point A, to confirm the

correct construction of the circuit.

The oscilloscope was then attached to point B and the voltage across the capacitor was

measured at differing time intervals. The polarity of the circuit was then reversed, and the voltage

across the resistor was measured at the same time intervals.

Figure 1, Schematic

Data

These are the recorded values for the voltage across the 10kΩ resistor, as well as the nominal

and measured values for all the components used in the circuit.

Nominal 5 1 9.92

Measured 5.12 1.0379 9.92

0 0 9.92

2.5 3.84 6.16

5 5.92 4.24

7.5 7.36 2.64

10 8.4 1.84

15 9.28 .88

20 9.68 .56

25 9.92 .4

30 9.92 .32

40 9.92 .24

Calculated 5.13µs

From Vcapacitor 5.5µs

From Vresistor 7µs

Table 4 Calculated Voltages

0 0 9.92

2.5 3.82 6.1

5 6.17 3.75

7.5 7.62 2.3

10 8.5 1.42

15 9.38 .56

20 9.71 .21

25 9.84 .08

30 9.89 .03

40 9.91 .1

Analysis

The time constant is the product of the resistance and the capacitance. The time constant

represents the amount of time it takes for a capacitor in a RC circuit to reach 63% of it's maximum

voltage. This time constant can then be used to determine the voltages of the resistor and the capacitor

in the circuit, as shown done in the calculations below.

The time constant can be found in a multitude of ways. Because the time constant is the amount

of time it takes the capacitor to reach 63% of it's maximum voltage, it is also the amount of time it

takes for the resistor to reach 37% of it's maximum voltage. The time constant can be found by plotting

the voltages of the two components. Using the voltage of the capacitor produced an accurate number

for the time constant, however when the voltage of the resistor was used to compute the time constant,

a value was obtained that was far from the calculated value. This can be attributed to inaccurate

measurements and human error.

Appendix

Appendix 3: Calculations

Using the formula above the voltage for the capacitor can be found

The difference between the source voltage and the voltage of the capacitor indicates the voltage of the

resistor.

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