fra0600 Basic Electroincs

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In an AC circuit, an inductor alternately absorbs and returns power to the circuit.  AC power that is used for building up the magnetic lines of  force is subsequently returned to the circuit as the magnetic lines of force collapse. 

The shaded green areas in this diagram show how power is absorbed and returned to the circuit. 
  • The green areas above the baseline ( + levels) represent power that is absorbed by the inductor. 
  • The green areas below the baseline (- levels) represent power that is returned to the circuit.


In a purely inductive circuit, the amount of power absorbed by building up the inductor's magnet field is exactly equal to the amount of power returned to the circuit when the field collapses.  

The average power dissipation in a purely inductive circuit is zero. 

The inductor absorbs power for one-quarter of the applied AC cycle and returns it to the circuit during the next quarter cycle.


David L. Heiserman, Editor

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Revised: June 06, 2015