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DC & AC BRIDGES

Part 2 (AC Bridge)

Objectives
Ability to explain operation of ac
bridge circuit.
Ability to identify bridge by name
Ability to compute the values of
unknown impedance following ac
bridges.

AC Bridges

AC bridges are used to measure inductance and


capacitances and all ac bridge circuits are based on
the Wheatstone bridge. The general ac bridge circuit
consists of 4 impedances, an ac voltage source, and
detector as shown in Figure below. In ac bridge
circuit, the impedances can be either pure
resistance or complex impedances.
Z1 Z 2

Z3 Z4

Fig. 5-7: General ac bridge circuit

A simple bridge circuits are shown


below;
Inductance

Capacitance

Cont.
Applications - in many communication system and complex
electronic circuits. AC bridge circuits - are commonly used
for shifting phase, providing feedback paths for oscillators
and amplifiers, filtering out undesired signals, and
measuring the frequency of audio signals.
The operation of the bridge depends on the fact that when
certain specific circuit conditions apply, the detector
current becomes zero. This is known as the null or balanced
condition. Since zero current means that there is no voltage
difference across detector, the bridge circuit may be
redrawn as in Fig. 5-8. The voltages at point a and b and
from point a to c must be equal.

Definition of electrical impedance

The impedance of a circuit element is defined as the ratio of the


phasor voltage across the element to the phasor current through the
element:

ZR

Vr
Ir

It should be noted that although Z is the ratio of two phasors, Z is not


itself a phasor. That is, Z is not associated with some sinusoidal
function of time.
For DC circuits, the resistance is defined by Ohm's law to be the
ratio of the DC voltage across the resistor to the DC current through
the resistor:

VR
R
IR

where the VR and IR above are DC (constant real) values.

Definition of Reactance, X
Reactance is the imaginary part of impedance, and is caused by the presence of
inductors or capacitors in the circuit. Reactance is denoted by the symbol X
and is measured in ohms.

A resistor's impedance is R (its resistance) and


its reactance, XR is 0.
A capacitance impedance: XC = -1/C

= -1/(2fC)
An inductive impedance: XL = L = 2fL

Z and Y passive elements


Element

Impedance

Admittance

Z= R

Y= 1/R

Z= jL

Y=1/j L

Z=-j(1/c)

Y=j c

Cont.
Fig. 5-7: General ac bridge circuit

Fig. 5-8: Equivalent of balanced


ac bridge circuit

Cont.
I1Z1 = I2Z2

(1)

Similarly, the voltages from point d to point b and point


d to point c must also be equal, therefore
I1Z3 = I2Z4
equation (1) divided by equation (2)

Z1 Z 2

Z3 Z4

(2)

If impedance is written in the form Z Z


where Z represents magnitude and
the phase angle of complex impedance,
its can be written as,
( Z 11 )( Z 11 ) ( Z 2 2 )( Z 11 )
where
Z 1 Z 4 (1 4 ) Z 2 Z 3 ( 2 3 )

Example 5-5
The impedances of the AC bridge in Fig.
5-7 are given as follows:
0
Z 1 20030
0
Z 2 1500
Z 3 250 40 0

Z x Z 4 unknown
Determine the constants of the unknown arm.

Solution
The first condition for bridge balance
requires that
Z1Zx =Z2Z3
Zx = (Z2Z3/Z1) =[(150x250)/200]
= 187.5

Cont.
The second condition for balance requires
that the sums of the phase angles of
opposite arms be equal
1+ x = 2 + 3
x = 2 + 3 - 1
= 0 + (-40) 30
= -70o

Cont.
Hence, the unknown impedance Zx, can be
written as
Zx = 187.5 -700 = (64.13 j176.19)
Where

Zx = Zx cos + j Zx sin

Indicating that we are dealing with a


capacitive element, possibly consisting of a
series resistor and a capacitor

Example 5-6

Fig. 5-9: AC bridge in balance

Given the AC bridge of Fig. 5-8 in balance, find the


components of the unknown arms Zx.

Similar Angle Bridge


The similar angle bridge (refer figure below) is used to
measure the impedance of a capacitive circuit. This bridge is
sometimes called the capacitance comparison bridge of the
series resistance capacitance bridge.
Z1 = R1
Z2 = R2
Z3 = R3 jXc3
Zx = Rx jXcx
Rx

R2
R3
R1

Cx

R1
C3
R2

Maxwell Bridge
to determine an unknown inductance with capacitance standard
Z1

1
1
jC1
R1

Z 2 R2
Z 3 R3

Z x Rx jX Lx
R2 R3
Rx
R1

L x R2 R3 C1

X - reactance
Z = R + jX

Opposite Angle Bridge


The Opposite Angle Bridge or Hay Bridge (see Figure below) is
used to measure the resistance and inductance of coils in which
the resistance is small fraction of the reactance XL, that is a coil
having a high Q, meaning a Q greater than 10.

2 R1 R2 R3 C12
Rx
1 2 R12 C12
R2 R3 C1
Lx
1 2 R12 C12

Wein Bridge
The Wein Bridge shown in Figure below has a series RC combination in
one arm and a parallel combination in the adjoining arm. It is designed to
measure frequency (extensively as a feedback arrangement for a circuit).
It can also be used for the measurement of an unknown capacitor with
great accuracy.

Z1 R1

Z 2 R2

Z3

1
1
1

R3
jX c 3

Z 4 R4 jX c 4

Cont..
Equivalent
parallel
component

R1
1
R4 2
R3
R2
R4C42

R2
1
C3 (
)C4
2 2
2
R1 1 R4 C4
R1
1
C4 C3 2 2 2
R2
R3 C3

Equivalent series
component

R2
R3

R4
2 2 2
R1 1 R3 C3

Radio Frequency Bridge


The radio frequency bridge shown in figure below is often
used in laboratories to measure the impedance of both
capacitance and inductive circuits at higher frequencies.
Rx

R3 '
(C1 C1 )
C2

Xx

1 1
1
( '
)
C4 C4

C1 & C4 : new values of


C1 & C4 after rebalancing

Schering Bridge
used for measuring capacitors and their insulating properties
for phase angle of nearly 90o.
Zx =Rx j/Cx
Z2 = R2
Z3 = -j/C3
Z1 = 1/(R1 + jC1)

R2 C1
Rx
C3

R1C 3
Cx
R2

Summary
The Wheatstone Bridge most basic bridge
circuit. Widely used to measure instruments and
control circuits. Have high degree of accuracy.
Kelvin Bridge modification of Wheatstone Bridge
and widely used to measure very low resistance.
Thevenins theorem analytical tool to analyzing
an unbalance Wheatstone bridge.
AC bridge more general form of Wheatstone
bridge.
Different types of AC bridges differ in the types of
impedances in the arms