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Although a capacitor is basically an open circuit, there is an rms current in a circuit with an AC voltage applied to a capacitor. This is because the voltage is continually reversing, charging and discharging the capacitor. If the frequency goes to zero (DC), X C size 12{X rSub { size 8{C} } } {} tends to infinity, and the current is zero once the capacitor is charged. At very high frequencies, the capacitor’s reactance tends to zero—it has a negligible reactance and does not impede the current (it acts like a simple wire). Capacitors have the opposite effect on AC circuits that inductors have .

Resistors in an ac circuit

Just as a reminder, consider [link] , which shows an AC voltage applied to a resistor and a graph of voltage and current versus time. The voltage and current are exactly in phase in a resistor. There is no frequency dependence to the behavior of plain resistance in a circuit:

Part a of the diagram shows a resistor R connected across an A C voltage source V. The voltage drop across the resistor R is given by V R.Part b of the diagram shows a graph showing the variation of voltage V R and current I R with time t. the V R and current I R are plotted along Y axis and time t is along the X axis. Both I and V are progressive cosine waves. The amplitude of I wave is more than V wave.
(a) An AC voltage source in series with a resistor. (b) Graph of current and voltage across the resistor as functions of time, showing them to be exactly in phase.

Ac voltage in a resistor

When a sinusoidal voltage is applied to a resistor, the voltage is exactly in phase with the current—they have a phase angle.

Section summary

  • For inductors in AC circuits, we find that when a sinusoidal voltage is applied to an inductor, the voltage leads the current by one-fourth of a cycle, or by a 90º phase angle.
  • The opposition of an inductor to a change in current is expressed as a type of AC resistance.
  • Ohm’s law for an inductor is
    I = V X L , size 12{I= { {V} over {X rSub { size 8{L} } } } } {}
    where V size 12{V} {} is the rms voltage across the inductor.
  • X L size 12{X rSub { size 8{L} } } {} is defined to be the inductive reactance, given by
    X L = fL , size 12{X rSub { size 8{L} } =2π ital "fL"} {}
    with f size 12{f} {} the frequency of the AC voltage source in hertz.
  • Inductive reactance X L size 12{X rSub { size 8{L} } } {} has units of ohms and is greatest at high frequencies.
  • For capacitors, we find that when a sinusoidal voltage is applied to a capacitor, the voltage follows the current by one-fourth of a cycle, or by a 90º phase angle.
  • Since a capacitor can stop current when fully charged, it limits current and offers another form of AC resistance; Ohm’s law for a capacitor is
    I = V X C , size 12{I= { {V} over {X rSub { size 8{C} } } } } {}
    where V size 12{V} {} is the rms voltage across the capacitor.
  • X C size 12{X rSub { size 8{C} } } {} is defined to be the capacitive reactance, given by
    X C = 1 fC . size 12{X rSub { size 8{C} } = { {1} over {2π ital "fC"} } } {}
  • X C size 12{X rSub { size 8{C} } } {} has units of ohms and is greatest at low frequencies.

Conceptual questions

Presbycusis is a hearing loss due to age that progressively affects higher frequencies. A hearing aid amplifier is designed to amplify all frequencies equally. To adjust its output for presbycusis, would you put a capacitor in series or parallel with the hearing aid’s speaker? Explain.

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Would you use a large inductance or a large capacitance in series with a system to filter out low frequencies, such as the 100 Hz hum in a sound system? Explain.

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High-frequency noise in AC power can damage computers. Does the plug-in unit designed to prevent this damage use a large inductance or a large capacitance (in series with the computer) to filter out such high frequencies? Explain.

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Does inductance depend on current, frequency, or both? What about inductive reactance?

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Explain why the capacitor in [link] (a) acts as a low-frequency filter between the two circuits, whereas that in [link] (b) acts as a high-frequency filter.

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The figure describes two circuits with two different connections. The first part of the diagram shows circuit one and circuit two connected in series and a capacitor C is connected between them. Both the circuits are shown as grounded. The second part of the diagram shows two circuits circuit one and circuit two connected to each other. At the point of connection one end of the capacitor is connected and the other end of the capacitor is grounded. Both the circuits are shown as grounded.
Capacitors and inductors. Capacitor with high frequency and low frequency.

If the capacitors in [link] are replaced by inductors, which acts as a low-frequency filter and which as a high-frequency filter?

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Problems&Exercises

At what frequency will a 30.0 mH inductor have a reactance of 100 Ω ?

531 Hz

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What value of inductance should be used if a 20.0 kΩ reactance is needed at a frequency of 500 Hz?

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What capacitance should be used to produce a 2.00 MΩ reactance at 60.0 Hz?

1.33 nF

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At what frequency will an 80.0 mF capacitor have a reactance of 0.250 Ω ?

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(a) Find the current through a 0.500 H inductor connected to a 60.0 Hz, 480 V AC source. (b) What would the current be at 100 kHz?

(a) 2.55 A

(b) 1.53 mA

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(a) What current flows when a 60.0 Hz, 480 V AC source is connected to a 0.250 μF capacitor? (b) What would the current be at 25.0 kHz?

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A 20.0 kHz, 16.0 V source connected to an inductor produces a 2.00 A current. What is the inductance?

63.7 µH

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A 20.0 Hz, 16.0 V source produces a 2.00 mA current when connected to a capacitor. What is the capacitance?

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(a) An inductor designed to filter high-frequency noise from power supplied to a personal computer is placed in series with the computer. What minimum inductance should it have to produce a 2.00 kΩ reactance for 15.0 kHz noise? (b) What is its reactance at 60.0 Hz?

(a) 21.2 mH

(b) 8.00 Ω

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The capacitor in [link] (a) is designed to filter low-frequency signals, impeding their transmission between circuits. (a) What capacitance is needed to produce a 100 kΩ reactance at a frequency of 120 Hz? (b) What would its reactance be at 1.00 MHz? (c) Discuss the implications of your answers to (a) and (b).

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The capacitor in [link] (b) will filter high-frequency signals by shorting them to earth/ground. (a) What capacitance is needed to produce a reactance of 10.0 mΩ for a 5.00 kHz signal? (b) What would its reactance be at 3.00 Hz? (c) Discuss the implications of your answers to (a) and (b).

(a) 3.18 mF

(b) 16.7 Ω

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Unreasonable Results

In a recording of voltages due to brain activity (an EEG), a 10.0 mV signal with a 0.500 Hz frequency is applied to a capacitor, producing a current of 100 mA. Resistance is negligible. (a) What is the capacitance? (b) What is unreasonable about this result? (c) Which assumption or premise is responsible?

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Construct Your Own Problem

Consider the use of an inductor in series with a computer operating on 60 Hz electricity. Construct a problem in which you calculate the relative reduction in voltage of incoming high frequency noise compared to 60 Hz voltage. Among the things to consider are the acceptable series reactance of the inductor for 60 Hz power and the likely frequencies of noise coming through the power lines.

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Questions & Answers

Prove that 1/d+1/v=1/f
James Reply
What interference
Moyinoluwa Reply
What is a polarized light called?
Moyinoluwa
what is a half life
Mama Reply
the time taken for a radioactive element to decay by half of its original mass
ken
what is radioactive element
mohammed
Half of the total time required by a radioactive nuclear atom to totally disintegrate
Justice
radioactive elements are those with unstable nuclei(ie have protons more than neutrons, or neutrons more than protons
Justice
in other words, the radioactive atom or elements have unequal number of protons to neutrons.
Justice
state the laws of refraction
Fabian
state laws of reflection
Fabian
Why does a bicycle rider bends towards the corner when is turning?
Mac
When do we say that the stone thrown vertically up wards accelerate negatively?
Mac
Give two importance of insulator placed between plates of a capacitor.
Mac
Macho had a shoe with a big sole moving in mudy Road, shanitah had a shoe with a small sole. Give reasons for those two cases.
Mac
when was the name taken from
Biola Reply
retardation of a car
Biola
when was the name retardation taken
Biola
did you mean a motion with velocity decreases uniformly by the time? then, the vector acceleration is opposite direction with vector velocity
Sphere
Atomic transmutation
Basirat Reply
An atom is the smallest indivisible particular of an element
mosco Reply
what is an atomic
Awene Reply
reference on periodic table
Titus Reply
what Is resonance?
Mozam Reply
phenomena of increasing amplitude from normal position of a substance due to some external source.
akif
What is a black body
Amey Reply
Black body is the ideal body can absorb and emit all radiation
Ahmed
the emissivity of black body is 1. it is a perfect absorber and emitter of heat.
Busayo
Why is null measurement accurate than standard voltmeter
Neemat Reply
that is photoelectric effect ?
Sabir Reply
It is the emission of electrons when light hits a material
Anita
Yeah
yusuf
is not just a material
Neemat
it is the surface of a metal
Neemat
what is the formula for time of flight ,maxjmum height and range
agangan Reply
what is an atom
Awene
an atom is the smallest particle of a element which can take part in chemical reaction.
Israel
how does a lightning rod protect a building from damage due to lightning ?
Faith Reply
due to its surface lustre but due to some factors it can corrode but not easily as it lightning surface
babels
pls what is mirage
babels
light rays bend to produce a displaced image of distant objects; it's an natural & optical phenomenon......
Deepika
what is the dimensional formula for torque
Otto Reply
L2MT-2
Jolly
same units of energy
Baber
what is same units of energy?
Baber
Nm
Sphere
Ws
Sphere
CV
Sphere
M L2 T -2
Dokku
it is like checking the dimension of force. which is ML2T-2
Busayo
ML2T-2
Joshua
M L2 T-2
Samuel
what is the significance of moment of inertia?
study
Practice Key Terms 2

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Source:  OpenStax, College physics. OpenStax CNX. Jul 27, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11406/1.9
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