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# AC FUNDAMENTALS

S I N U S I O D A L V O L T AG E A N D C U R R E N T

A sinusoidal current is usually referred to as alternating current (ac). Such a current reverses at
regular time intervals and has alternately positive and negative values. Circuits driven by sinusoidal
current or voltage sources are called ac circuits.
Sinusoids are characteristically sinusoidal in nature. Sinusoids are experienced in variation in
the motion of a pendulum, the vibration of a string, the ripples on the ocean surface, the political
events of a nation, the economic fluctuations of the stock market, and the natural response of under
damped second order systems. Sinusoidal signal is easy to generate and transmit. It is the form of
voltage generated throughout the world and supplied to homes, factories, laboratories, and so on. It is
the dominant form of signal in the communications and electric power industries. Any practical
periodic signal can be represented by a sum of sinusoids through Fourier analysis. Sinusoids, therefore,
play an important role in the analysis of periodic signals.
General Aspects of Direct and Alternating Current Systems. DIRECT CURRENT is electricity
flowing in a constant direction, and/or possessing a voltage with constant polarity. DC is a kind of
electricity made by a battery or the kind of charge generated by rubbing certain types of materials
against each other. ALTERNATING CURRENT is another kind of electricity source naturally produce
voltages alternating in polarity, reversing positive and negative over time.
Almost 90 percent of electric energy is generated by an ac machine. A great portion of ac
energy is converted to direct current for use in different applications such as electrochemical industry,
production of aluminum, manufacture of fertilizers, railway transportation, farm, communication
system, at home, dc motor applications (elevators, printing press, machine tools, steel-mill
equipment).
AC holds no practical advantage over DC. In applications where electricity is used to dissipate
energy in the form of heat, the polarity or direction of current is irrelevant, so long as there is enough
voltage and current to the load to produce the desired heat (power dissipation). However, with AC it is
possible to build electric generators, motors and power distribution systems that are far more efficient
than DC, and so we find AC used predominately across the world in high power applications. AC
generation is accomplished economically in large power plants that may be located where fuel and
water are abundant. In terms of cost per kw-hr, AC generation is more advantageous than DC.

Generation of Alternation Voltages and Currents. Alternating current electricity is the type of
electricity commonly used in homes and business throughout the world; while dc electricity flows in
one direction through a wire. AC electricity alternates its direction 50 or 60 times per seconds. If a
machine is constructed to rotate a magnetic field around a set of stationary wire coils with the turning
of shaft, AC voltage will be produced across the wire coils that shaft is rotated, in accordance with
Faraday’s law of electromagnetic induction. The value of the voltage generated depends upon the
number of turns in the coil, strength of the field and the speed at which the coil or magnetic field
rotates.
According to the Faraday’s Law of Electromagnetic Induction, the emf induced in the coil is
given by the rate of change of flux linkages of the coil.

𝚽
𝒆= 𝒙 𝟏𝟎−𝟖 volts
𝒕

## 𝒆 = 𝜷𝒍𝒗 𝒙 𝟏𝟎−𝟖 volts

The voltage generated (𝒆) changes when there is (1) a change in the flux through the coil; (2)
movement in the coil through a magnetic field so that flux cutting results; and (3) altering in the
direction of the flux with respect to the coil

## Figure 1. Equation of Alternating Voltages and Currents

DEFINITION OF TERMS

Cycle. One complete set of positive and negative values of alternating quantity. A cycle may also be
sometimes specified in terms of angular measure. In that case, one complete cycle is said to

Time period. The time taken by an alternating quantity to complete one cycle is called time period. For
example, 50-Hz alternating current has a time period of 1/50 seconds.

Frequency. The number of cycles/second is called the frequency of the alternating quantity. Its unit is
herts (Hz)

One cycle of alternating current is generated in one revolution of the rotating field. However, if
there were 4 poles, then two cycles would have been produced in each revolution. In fact, the
frequency of the alternating voltage produced is a function of the speed and the number of
poles of the generator. The equation connecting the above three quantities is given as
𝑷𝑵
𝒇=
𝟏𝟐𝟎

## Where N – number of revolutions in r.p.m.

P – number of poles
Frequency is given by the reciprocal of the time period of an alternating quantity

Amplitude. The maximum value, positive or negative, of an alternating quantity is known as its
amplitude

Phase. The phase of an alternating current means the fraction of the time period of that alternating
current which has elapsed since the current passed through the zero positive of reference.

Phase difference. Values of emfs are the same but their maximum or zero values are not reach
simultaneously but one after the other.
This deficiency is supplied by using the terms “lag” or “lead”
LEADING alternating quantity is one which reaches its maximum (or zero) value earlier as
compared to the other quantity
LAGGING alternating quantity is one which reached its maximum or zero value later than the
other quantity
Root-Mean-Square (R.M.S.) Value
The r.m.s value of an alternating current is given by the steady current which when flowing
through a given circuit for a given time produces the same heat as produced by the alternating current
when flowing though the same circuit for the same time.
It is also known as the effective or virtual value of the alternating current, the former term
being used more extensively.

Average value. The value of an alternating current is expresses by that steady current which transfers
across any circuit the same charge as is transferred by that alternating current at the same time.

## Vector representation of Alternating Quantities

Sinusoidal waveforms can be represented by vectors for easier manipulation of desired result.
Vector quantity is a physical quantity which has magnitude as well as direction. In fact, vectors are
shorthand for the representation of alternating voltages and currents.
LEADING alternating quantity is one which reaches its maximum (or zero) value earlier as
compared to the other quantity
LAGGING alternating quantity is one which reached its maximum or zero value later than the
other quantity

## Summation of in-phase Sinusoidal Waves

When two or more sinusoidal voltage or current waves are in phase and have the same
frequency they may be added to yield a sine wave of the same frequency. The resultant wave will then
have a maximum value that is equal to the arithmetical sum of the maximum values of the component
waves.

## Summation of out-of-phase Sinusoidal Waves

When two or more sinusoidal voltage or current waves are out of phase but have the same
frequency, they may be added to yield a sine wave of the same frequency. However, a point-by-point
summation will not yield a maximum value for the resultant wave that is the arithmetical sum of the
maximum of the individual waves; the reason is that the maximum values of the individual waves do
not occur at the same instants of time. This implies, therefore that the rms value of the resultant wave
is not equal to the sum of the effective values of the component waves. In fact, it is always less than
the arithmetical sum, and may be as little as the arithmetical difference where the waves are as much
as 180 out of phase.
SAMPLE PROBLEMS
1. The maximum value of the sinusoidal voltage wave generated in one coil of an alternator is 12
volts. How many electrical degrees from the zero point in the cycle (increasing positively) will the
voltage be (a) +8.5 volts; (b) -8.5 volts? Answer: 135; 315

2. An alternator has 6 poles. (a) At what speed must the machine be driven to develop 60 cycles? 25
cycles? (b) What frequency is developed if the speed is 1000 rpm? 1600 rpm? Answer: 50; 80

3. A 60-cycle current has a maximum value of 6.5 amp. What will be the instantaneous value of
current (a) 0.0025 sec after the wave passes through zero in a positive direction, (b) 0.01042 sec
after the wave passes through zero in a positive direction? Answer: 5.25; -4.6

4. What is the angular velocity for a 60-cycle circuit? A 25-cycle circuit? A 50-cycle circuit? Answer: 377;
5. The rms value of the voltage in a 60-cycle circuit is 115 volts. Write the equation for the sinusoidal
wave.

6. Write the equation of the resultant current, given the following phasor currents
I1 = 10.5 sin (t + /4)
I2 = 15.2 sin (t + /4)
I3 = -4.5 cos (t - /3)
I4 = -20.5 sin (t - /6)
I5 = 10.5 cos (t - /2)
EXERCISES
1. Three resistors having ohmic values that are, respectively, 9, 12.5, and 16 ohms are connected in
series to a sinusoidal source of emf whose effective voltage is 120. Calculate the current through
the circuit and the voltage drops across the individual resistors.

2. Four incandescent lamps (resistors) having ratings of 50, 60, 75 and 100 watts, respectively, are
connected in parallel and to a sinusoidal emf whose effective voltage is 120. Calculate the current
through each lamp and the total current.

3. The in-phase sinusoidal currents in the parallel branches of a circuit have the following equations: i1
= 17 sin 377t and i2 = 22.6 sin 377t. Write the equation for the summation (resultant) of the two
waves.

4. Two loads are connected in parallel to an ac source and take currents of 10 and 40 amp,
respectively. If the sinusoidal waves of the component currents are out of phase by 30 elec deg,

5. Two equal voltages are out of phase with respect to each other by 90 elec deg. If their geometric
sum is 311 volts, calculate the rms value of each one. Answer: 220v

7. Write the equation of the resultant voltage, given the following phasor currents
e1 = 5 sin (t +30)

## e 5 = 7 cos (t - 30)

RESISTANCE, INDUCTANCE AND CAPACITANCE
(R – L – C) CIRCUITS

The application of phasor voltage or current may legitimately apply to circuits involving the
passive elements R, L, and C.
The resistance R of an element denotes its ability to resist the flow of electric current. It is the
material properties which can change if the internal or external conditions of the element are altered,
e.g., if there are changes in the temperature.
When induction occurs in an electrical circuit and affects the flow of electricity it is called
inductance, L. Self-inductance, or simply inductance, is the property of a circuit whereby a change in
current causes a change in voltage in the same circuit. When one circuit induces current flow in a
second nearby circuit, it is known as mutual-inductance.
Capacitance is the ability of a body to store an electrical charge. Any object that can be
electrically charged exhibits capacitance. A common form of energy storage device is a parallel-plate
capacitor. In a parallel plate capacitor, capacitance is directly proportional to the surface area of the
conductor plates and inversely proportional to the separation distance between the plates. If the
charges on the plates are +q and −q, and V gives the voltage between the plates, then the capacitance
C is given by
There are three generalizations to be considered concerning the actions of ideals circuits. This
are as follows:
1. The behavior of a pure resistor in an ac circuit is exactly similar to that in a dc circuit. The laws
governing resistors in dc systems may therefore be applied to ac circuits, assuming that the rms
values of voltage and current are used. Also, current and voltage phasor are always in phase in
resistor circuit.

2. A pure inductor in an ac circuit takes a current that lags behind the impressed emf by exactly 90
electrical degrees. Storing and releasing equal amounts of electromagnetic energy during
successive quarter cycles, the average energy per cycle involved in such a circuit is zero; this
means that the average power delivered to an inductor is zero.

3. A pure capacitor in an ac circuit takes a current that leads the impressed emf by exactly 90
electrical degrees. Storing and releasing equal amounts of electrostatic energy during
successive quarter cycles, the average energy per cycle involved in such a circuit is zero; this
means that the average power delivered to an inductor is zero.
RESISTANCE CIRCUIT
If the current through a resistor R is
i = Im cos(ωt + φ), the voltage across it is given by Ohm’s law as
v = iR = R Im cos(ωt + φ)
The phasor form of this voltage is
V = RIm φ

I = Im φ.

Hence, V = RI

## INDUCTA NCE CI RCUIT

When a sinusoidal voltage is impressed across a pure inductance, the current wave will also be
sinusoidal. However, unlike the pure resistance circuit in which the voltage and current are in phase,
the current will lag behind the voltage by /2 radians or 90 electrical degrees. The following analysis
will verify this statement:

Example:

1. An inductance of 0.106 henry is connected to a 120-volt 60-cycle source. Calculate (a) the inductive
reactance, (b) the current in the circuit
Energy in an Inductive Circuit. The power in a pure inductive circuit changes not only in magnitude
from instance to instance but also in direction once every half cycle. During the positive half of the
double frequency power wave, energy is delivered by the source to the inductor and stored in the
magnetic field; then during the negative half of the power cycle, the stored energy is released and
returned to the source. The net exchange between source and inductor is, therefore, zero over the
complete cycle.

To determine the energy in joules that is stored in the inductor, it is important to understand
that this storage takes place in continually changing increments of p dt as the current rises from zero
to a maximum.

𝑑(𝜔𝑡)
and 𝑑𝑡 = 𝜔

## it follows that the differential energy delivered to the inductor in time dt is

𝑑(𝜔𝑡)
𝑑𝑊 = 𝑝 𝑑𝑡 = −𝐸𝐼 sin 2𝜔𝑡 𝑥 𝜔

## Integrating this equation, the total energy

𝐸𝐼 𝜋 𝐸𝐼
𝑊= − ∫ (sin 2𝜔𝑡)𝑑(2𝜔𝑡) = [cos 2𝜔𝑡]
2𝜔 𝜋⁄ 2𝜔
2

𝐸𝐼
𝑊= = 𝐿𝐼2 Joules
𝜔

CAPACITANCE CIRCUIT

When the capacitor is connected to a sinusoidal source of emf, it will continually go through
periods of charge and discharge and will moreover, undergo periodic polarity changes. Also, the
current variations will be sinusoidal but, unlike the pure resistance circuit in which e and I are in phase,
the current will lead the voltage by /2 radians of 90 elec deg. The following analysis will verify this
statement.
EXERCISES

1. An inductance of 0.106 henry is connected to a 120-volt 60-cycle source. Calculate (a) the inductive
reactance, (b) the current in the circuit

2. A series circuit with R = 10 ohms and C = 50 microrafarad has an applied voltage with a frequency such that
the current leads by 30. What change in frequency would be necessary to cause the current to lead by 70?

3. A resistance R is connected in series with an iron-cored choke coil (r in series with the L). the circuit draws a
current of 5A at 240V, 50 Hz. The voltages across the resistance and the coil are 120V and 200V respectively.
Calculate,
a.) The resistance, reactance and impedance of the coil
b.) The power factor of the input power
Answers: a) Rcoil = 2.67 ohms; XLcoil = 39.9 ohms Z = 48 ohms; b) pfcoil = 0.067 (lag)

4. An inductive coil, having resistance of 8 ohms and inductance of 80 mH, is connected in series with a
capacitance of 100F across 150V, 50Hz supply. Calculate (a) the current, (b) the power factor and (c) the
voltages drops in the coil and capacitance respectively. Answers: a) 14.375A; b) pf = 0.767 (lead); (c ) Vcoil =
379.14 V,  = 72.34,Vc = 457.58v
5. At a frequency for which = 796, an emf of 6V sends a current of 100mA through a certain circuit. When the
frequency is raised so that  = 2866 the same voltage sends only 50mA through the same circuit. Of what
elements does the circuit contains?

6. A circuit takes a current of 8A at 100V, the current is lagging by 30 behind the applied voltage. Calculate the
value of equivalent resistance and reactance of the circuit.

7. Four circuits A, B, C and D are connected in series across a 240 V, 50 Hz supply. The voltage across the
circuits and their phase angles relative to the current through them are VA, 80V at 50 leading , VB, 120V at
65 lagging, VC, 135V at 80 leading. If the supply voltage leads the current by 15, find the voltage across D
and its phase angles.

8. An AC electric motor operating under loaded conditions draws a current of 11 amps (RMS) from the 120 volt
(RMS) 60 Hz power lines. The measured phase shift between voltage and current for this motor is 340, with
voltage leading current. Determine the equivalent parallel combination of resistance (R) and inductance (L)
that is electrically equivalent to this operating motor.

9. Calculate the impedance of a 145 mH inductor connected in series with 750 resistor at a frequency of 1 kHz,
then determine the necessary resistor and inductor values to create the exact same total impedance in a
parallel configuration.
10. An inductive reactance of 8 ohms is connected in parallel with a capacitive reactance of 18 ohms; this
combination is then connected in series with a variable resistance. For what value of resistance will the
power factor be 0.5, and what current will the circuit take if the impressed emf is 118 volts?

11. An impedance equal to 4.460 is connected across a 220-volt source. What should be the value of a
second impedance, in parallel with the first, if the total power delivered to the circuit is to be 16.5kW and
the overall power factor is to be unity?

12. When a small ac motor is operating at rated load from a 115-volt 60-cycle source it takes 287 watts at a
lagging power factor of 0.6. What should be the capacitance of a capacitor connected in parallel with the
motor that will make the power factor unity?

13. A voltage (t) = 678.8 cos (t + 45) is applied to a load consisting of a 10 resistor in parallel with a
capacitive reactance XC = 25. Calculate the (a) real power absorbed by the resistor, and (b) the load power
factor.

14. A resistance of 5 ohms is connected in series with a capacitor of 442.1 microfarad. The combination is then
connected in parallel with an inductance is 21.22 mH. Solve for the resultant current if the circuit is
connected across a 120V, 60Hz AC source.

15. A sinusoidal current source, 10 cos 1000t, is in parallel both with a 20-ohm resistor and series combination
of a 10-ohm resistor and a 10-mH inductor. Find the equation of the voltage across the 10-ohm resistor.