L08_rlc4 - RLC Circuit Name: Teammates: Introduction Recall...

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RLC Circuit Name: Teammates: Introduction Recall the concept of a simple harmonic oscillator, a device whose oscillation when disturbed from equilibrium can be described by a as a sine function. As it moves from one extreme to another, the energy of the simple harmonic system constantly changes from potential to kinetic and back. Examples of simple harmonic motion are a pendulum and a mass on a spring. The electrical version of a harmonic oscillator is the RLC circuit. A circuit consisting of a resistor (R), an inductor (L), and a capacitor (C). To see how an RLC circuit works, consider the circuit in Figure 1 with the capacitor initially charged. Since there is a conducting wire connecting the negative side of the capacitor to the positive, a current will begin to flow in the counterclockwise direction. As it does, several things happen. The first is that the resistor will begin to strip energy from the current and convert it to thermal energy. The second is that the current through the inductor will result in a magnetic field. However, since the current is transient (not constant), the magnetic flux through the inductor is not constant, resulting in an emf across the inductor, pointing in the opposite direction of the voltage across the capacitor. Once the capacitor is discharged, the emf in the inductor, in trying to prevent the change in magnetic flux, will result in a current in the opposite direction. This causes an opposite charge to start building up on the capacitor. The negative charge will be on the upper plate. This transient current will continue to flow until the capacitor is charges and the magnetic flux through the inductor becomes zero. At this point, the capacitor current starts discharging and the current flowing in the clockwise direction. This process would continue forever if it were not for the resistor. Each time the current flows through the resistor, some of the electrical energy changes into thermal energy. Eventually, all of the electrical energy changes into thermal energy and the charges will stop from flowing. To visualize some of what was discussed in the previous paragraphs consider running this simulation:
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L08_rlc4 - RLC Circuit Name: Teammates: Introduction Recall...

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