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No.5) THEORY OF OSCILLATING CURRENTS. 335
NOTES ON THE THEORY OF OSCILLATING
CURRENTS.
By Cuasias Proves Srensitere,
§ 1. Introduction.
HE object of the following article is to present a short out-
line sketch of a modification of the method of complex
imaginary quantities, applied to oscillating currents, Such oscil-
lating currents have frequently been considered as ordinary alter-
nating currents of very high frequency, and treated as such,
while the essential differences between alternating and oscillating
currents have been overlooked. An electric current varying
periodically between constant maximum and minimum values,
that is, in equal time intervals repeating the same values, ig called
an alternating current if the arithmetic mean value equals zer0
and is called a pulsating current if the arithmetic mean value
differs from zero, Alternating currents have found very exten-
sive application for light and power. Pulsating currents are the
currents given by open coil arclight machines, or by the super-
Position of alternating and continuous currents, etc.
‘Assuming the wave as a sine curve, or replacing it by the
‘equivalent sine wave, the alternating current is characterized by
the period or the time of one complete cyclic change, and the
amplitude or the maximum value of the current, Period and
amplitude are constant in the alternating current
‘A very important class are the currents of constant period, but
geometrically varying amplitude, that is, currents in which the
amplitude of each following wave bears to that of the preceding
‘wave a constant ratio, Such currents consist of a series of waves
of constant length, decreasing in amplitude, that is in strength,
in constant proportion. They are called oscillating currents in336 © P, STEINMETZ, (vou. 1
analogy with mechanical oscillations, for instance of the pendulum,
in which the amplitude of the vibration decreases in constant
proportion.
Since the amplitude of the oscillating current varies, constantly
decreasing, the oscillating current differs from the alternating
current in so far that it starts at a definite time, and gradually
dies out, reaching zero value theoretically at infinite time, practi-
cally in avery short time, short even in comparison with the time
of one alternating half-wave. Characteristic constants of the
1, the
P
first amplitude and the ratio of any two successive amplitudes,
the latter being called the decrement of the wave. The oscillat:
ing current will thus be represented by the product of a periodic
oscillating current are the period 7 or frequency
Fig.
function, and a function decreasing in geometric proportion with
the time, ‘The latter is the exponential function A”.
Thus, the general expression of the oscillating current is
C=Ar* 008 (2 Nt~8),
since AAA ace,
Where ¢:
expressed
sis of natural logarithms, the current may be
C= ce cos (2 Ne cos (g—
2aNt; that is, the period is represented by a complete
revolution,No.5] THEORY OF OSCILLATING CURRENTS. 337
In the same way, an oscillating electromotive force will be
represented by
E=ce* cos (6-8).
Such an oscillating electromotive force for the values
, an1435 oF Ce, SHO,
is represented in rectangular co-ordinates in Fig. 1, and in polar
coordinates in Fig. 2, As seen from Fig, 1, the oscillating wave
in rectangular co-ordinates
osculates the two expo-
nential curves
yokes,
In polar co-ordinates, the
oscillating wave is repre-
sented in Fig. 2 by a spiral
curve passing the zero
point twice per period,
and osculating the expo-
ential spiral
yokes, Fig. 2
The latter is called the envelope of the oscillating wave, and is
shown separately, with the same constants as Figs. 1 and 2, in
mgs
Fig. 3. Its characteristic feature is: The angle, which any con-
centric circle makes with the curve y=ce-*, is

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