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An electrical network is an interconnection of electrical components (e.g., batteries, resistors, inductors, capacitors, switches, transistors) or a model of such an interconnection, consisting of electrical elements (e.g., voltage sources, current sources, resistances, inductances, capacitances). An electrical circuit is a network consisting of a closed loop, giving a return path for the current. Linear electrical networks, a special type consisting only of sources (voltage or current), linear lumped elements (resistors, capacitors, inductors), and linear distributed elements (transmission lines), have the property that signals are linearly superimposable. They are thus more easily analyzed, using powerful frequency domain methods such as Laplace transforms, to determine DC response, AC response, and transient response.
A resistive circuit is a circuit containing only resistors and ideal current and voltage sources. Analysis of resistive circuits is less complicated than analysis of circuits containing capacitors and inductors. If the sources are constant (DC) sources, the result is a DC circuit. The effective resistance and current distribution properties of arbitrary resistor networks can be modeled in terms of their graph measures and geometrical properties.
A network that contains active electronic components is known as an electronic circuit . Such networks are generally nonlinear and require more complex design and analysis tools.
An active network contains at least one voltage source or current source that can supply energy to the network indefinitely. A passive network does not contain an active source.
An active network contains one or more sources of electromotive force. Practical examples of such sources include a battery or a generator. Active elements can inject power to the circuit, provide power gain, and control the current flow within the circuit.
Passive networks do not contain any sources of electromotive force. They consist of passive elements like resistors and capacitors.
A network is linear if its signals obey the principle of superposition; otherwise it is non-linear. Passive networks are generally taken to be linear, but there are exceptions. For instance, an inductor with an iron core can be driven into saturation if driven with a large enough current. In this region, the behaviour of the inductor is very non-linear.
Discrete passive components (resistors, capacitors and inductors) are called lumped elements because all of their, respectively, resistance, capacitance and inductance is assumed to be located ("lumped") at one place. This design philosophy is called the lumped-element model and networks so designed are called lumped-element circuits. This is the conventional approach to circuit design. At high enough frequencies, or for long enough circuits (such as power transmission lines), the lumped assumption no longer holds because there is a significant fraction of a wavelength across the component dimensions. A new design model is needed for such cases called the distributed-element model. Networks designed to this model are called distributed-element circuits .
A distributed-element circuit that includes some lumped components is called a semi-lumped design. An example of a semi-lumped circuit is the combline filter.
Sources can be classified as independent sources and dependent sources.
An ideal independent source maintains the same voltage or current regardless of the other elements present in the circuit. Its value is either constant (DC) or sinusoidal (AC). The strength of voltage or current is not changed by any variation in the connected network.
Dependent sources depend upon a particular element of the circuit for delivering the power or voltage or current depending upon the type of source it is.
A number of electrical laws apply to all linear resistive networks. These include:
Applying these laws results in a set of simultaneous equations that can be solved either algebraically or numerically. The laws can generally be extended to networks containing reactances. They cannot be used in networks that contain nonlinear or time-varying components.
|Linear network analysis|
|Series and parallel circuits|
|Generator theorems||Network theorems|
|Network analysis methods|
To design any electrical circuit, either analog or digital, electrical engineers need to be able to predict the voltages and currents at all places within the circuit. Simple linear circuits can be analyzed by hand using complex number theory. In more complex cases the circuit may be analyzed with specialized computer programs or estimation techniques such as the piecewise-linear model.
Circuit simulation software, such as HSPICE (an analog circuit simulator),and languages such as VHDL-AMS and verilog-AMS allow engineers to design circuits without the time, cost and risk of error involved in building circuit prototypes.
More complex circuits can be analyzed numerically with software such as SPICE or GNUCAP, or symbolically using software such as SapWin.
When faced with a new circuit, the software first tries to find a steady state solution, that is, one where all nodes conform to Kirchhoff's current law and the voltages across and through each element of the circuit conform to the voltage/current equations governing that element.
Once the steady state solution is found, the operating points of each element in the circuit are known. For a small signal analysis, every non-linear element can be linearized around its operation point to obtain the small-signal estimate of the voltages and currents. This is an application of Ohm's Law. The resulting linear circuit matrix can be solved with Gaussian elimination.
Software such as the PLECS interface to Simulink uses piecewise-linear approximation of the equations governing the elements of a circuit. The circuit is treated as a completely linear network of ideal diodes. Every time a diode switches from on to off or vice versa, the configuration of the linear network changes. Adding more detail to the approximation of equations increases the accuracy of the simulation, but also increases its running time.
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Voltage, electric potential difference, electric pressure or electric tension is the difference in electric potential between two points, which is defined as the work needed per unit of charge to move a test charge between the two points. In the International System of Units, the derived unit for voltage is named volt. In SI units, work per unit charge is expressed as joules per coulomb, where 1 volt = 1 joule per 1 coulomb. The old SI definition for volt used power and current; starting in 1990, the quantum Hall and Josephson effect were used, and recently (2019) fundamental physical constants have been introduced for the definition of all SI units and derived units. Voltage or electric potential difference is denoted symbolically by ∆V, simplified V, or U, for instance in the context of Ohm's or Kirchhoff's circuit laws.
Electrical elements are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electrical components, such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, used in the analysis of electrical networks. All electrical networks can be analyzed as multiple electrical elements interconnected by wires. Where the elements roughly correspond to real components, the representation can be in the form of a schematic diagram or circuit diagram. This is called a lumped-element circuit model. In other cases, infinitesimal elements are used to model the network, in a distributed-element model.
A gyrator is a passive, linear, lossless, two-port electrical network element proposed in 1948 by Bernard D. H. Tellegen as a hypothetical fifth linear element after the resistor, capacitor, inductor and ideal transformer. Unlike the four conventional elements, the gyrator is non-reciprocal. Gyrators permit network realizations of two-(or-more)-port devices which cannot be realized with just the conventional four elements. In particular, gyrators make possible network realizations of isolators and circulators. Gyrators do not however change the range of one-port devices that can be realized. Although the gyrator was conceived as a fifth linear element, its adoption makes both the ideal transformer and either the capacitor or inductor redundant. Thus the number of necessary linear elements is in fact reduced to three. Circuits that function as gyrators can be built with transistors and op-amps using feedback.
Practical capacitors and inductors as used in electric circuits are not ideal components with only capacitance or inductance. However, they can be treated, to a very good degree of approximation, as being ideal capacitors and inductors in series with a resistance; this resistance is defined as the equivalent series resistance (ESR). If not otherwise specified, the ESR is always an AC resistance, which means it is measured at specified frequencies, 100 kHz for switched-mode power supply components, 120 Hz for linear power-supply components, and at its self-resonant frequency for general-application components. Additionally, audio components may report a "Q factor", incorporating ESR among other things, at 1000 Hz.
Kirchhoff's circuit laws are two equalities that deal with the current and potential difference in the lumped element model of electrical circuits. They were first described in 1845 by German physicist Gustav Kirchhoff. This generalized the work of Georg Ohm and preceded the work of James Clerk Maxwell. Widely used in electrical engineering, they are also called Kirchhoff's rules or simply Kirchhoff's laws. These laws can be applied in time and frequency domains and form the basis for network analysis.
A network, in the context of electrical engineering and electronics, is a collection of interconnected components. Network analysis is the process of finding the voltages across, and the currents through, all network components. There are many techniques for calculating these values. However, for the most part, the techniques assume linear components. Except where stated, the methods described in this article are applicable only to linear network analysis.
The electronic–hydraulic analogy is the most widely used analogy for "electron fluid" in a metal conductor. Since electric current is invisible and the processes in play in electronics are often difficult to demonstrate, the various electronic components are represented by hydraulic equivalents. Electricity was originally understood to be a kind of fluid, and the names of certain electric quantities are derived from hydraulic equivalents. As with all analogies, it demands an intuitive and competent understanding of the baseline paradigms.
Electronic filters are a type of signal processing filter in the form of electrical circuits. This article covers those filters consisting of lumped electronic components, as opposed to distributed-element filters. That is, using components and interconnections that, in analysis, can be considered to exist at a single point. These components can be in discrete packages or part of an integrated circuit.
An electronic component is any basic discrete device or physical entity in an electronic system used to affect electrons or their associated fields. Electronic components are mostly industrial products, available in a singular form and are not to be confused with electrical elements, which are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electronic components and elements.
Mathematical methods are integral to the study of electronics.
The superposition theorem is a derived result of the superposition principle suited to the network analysis of electrical circuits. The superposition theorem states that for a linear system the response in any branch of a bilateral linear circuit having more than one independent source equals the algebraic sum of the responses caused by each independent source acting alone, where all the other independent sources are replaced by their internal impedances.
A linear circuit is an electronic circuit which obeys the superposition principle. This means that the output of the circuit F(x) when a linear combination of signals ax1(t) + bx2(t) is applied to it is equal to the linear combination of the outputs due to the signals x1(t) and x2(t) applied separately:
An electronic circuit is composed of individual electronic components, such as resistors, transistors, capacitors, inductors and diodes, connected by conductive wires or traces through which electric current can flow. To be referred to as electronic, rather than electrical, generally at least one active component must be present. The combination of components and wires allows various simple and complex operations to be performed: signals can be amplified, computations can be performed, and data can be moved from one place to another.
An equivalent impedance is an equivalent circuit of an electrical network of impedance elements which presents the same impedance between all pairs of terminals as did the given network. This article describes mathematical transformations between some passive, linear impedance networks commonly found in electronic circuits.
The gyrator–capacitor model - sometimes also the capacitor-permeance model - is a lumped-element model for magnetic circuits, that can be used in place of the more common resistance–reluctance model. The model makes permeance elements analogous to electrical capacitance rather than electrical resistance. Windings are represented as gyrators, interfacing between the electrical circuit and the magnetic model.
In electrical networks, a parasitic element is a circuit element that is possessed by an electrical component but which it is not desirable for it to have for its intended purpose. For instance, a resistor is designed to possess resistance, but will also possess unwanted parasitic capacitance.
The impedance analogy is a method of representing a mechanical system by an analogous electrical system. The advantage of doing this is that there is a large body of theory and analysis techniques concerning complex electrical systems, especially in the field of filters. By converting to an electrical representation, these tools in the electrical domain can be directly applied to a mechanical system without modification. A further advantage occurs in electromechanical systems: Converting the mechanical part of such a system into the electrical domain allows the entire system to be analysed as a unified whole.
Passivity is a property of engineering systems, most commonly encountered in analog electronics and control systems. Typically, analog designers use passivity to refer to incrementally passive components and systems, which are incapable of power gain. In contrast, control systems engineers will use passivity to refer to thermodynamically passive ones, which consume, but do not produce, energy. As such, without context or a qualifier, the term passive is ambiguous.
Mechanical–electrical analogies are the representation of mechanical systems as electrical networks. At first, such analogies were used in reverse to help explain electrical phenomena in familiar mechanical terms. James Clerk Maxwell introduced analogies of this sort in the 19th century. However, as electrical network analysis matured it was found that certain mechanical problems could more easily be solved through an electrical analogy. Theoretical developments in the electrical domain that were particularly useful were the representation of an electrical network as an abstract topological diagram using the lumped element model and the ability of network analysis to synthesise a network to meet a prescribed frequency function.
The mobility analogy, also called admittance analogy or Firestone analogy, is a method of representing a mechanical system by an analogous electrical system. The advantage of doing this is that there is a large body of theory and analysis techniques concerning complex electrical systems, especially in the field of filters. By converting to an electrical representation, these tools in the electrical domain can be directly applied to a mechanical system without modification. A further advantage occurs in electromechanical systems: Converting the mechanical part of such a system into the electrical domain allows the entire system to be analysed as a unified whole.