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Series RLC Circuits

The second-order differential equation,


has a solution that can take three different
forms, each form depending on the circuit
elements. In order to visualize the three
possibilities, a second-order mechanical
system is shown in following figure.

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The mass M is suspended by a spring with a
constant k. A damping device D is attached to
the mass M. If the mass is displaced from its
rest position and then released at t = 0, its
resulting motion will be overdamped, critically
damped, or underdamped (oscillatory).
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The figure below shows the graph of the
resulting motions of the mass after its release
from the displaced position z1 (at t = 0).

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Damping
Damping is caused by the resistance in
the circuit. In physics, damping is any
effect that tends to reduce the amplitude
of oscillations in any oscillatory system. In
mechanics, friction is one such damping
effect. In physics and engineering,
damping may be mathematically modeled
as a force synchronous with the velocity
of the object but opposite in direction to it.

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Oscillatory
A mechanical analog is a weight suspended on a spring
which will oscillate up and down when released.

Friction will slowly bring any oscillation to a halt if there is


no external force driving it. Likewise, the resistance in an
RLC circuit will damp the oscillation, diminishing it with
time if there is no driving AC power source in the circuit.
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Critical Damping

Example: Door closer seen on many


hinged doors in public buildings; the recoil
mechanism in most guns are also
critically damped so that they return to
their original position, after the recoil due
to firing, in the least possible time.

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Overdamping
An over-damped door-closer will take
longer to close than a critically damped
door would.

Under-damping
An underdamped door-closer would close
quickly, but would hit the door frame with
significant velocity, or would oscillate in
the case of a swinging door.

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Given a series RLC circuit, the
application of KVL results in the integro-
differential equation:

di 1
Ri L
dt

c idt V

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The solution to the equation is then
overdamped, critically damped or overdamped
(oscillatory).
CASE 1: OVERDAMPED CASE
The roots of the auxiliary equation are
REAL and DISTINCT.
ic c1e m1t
c2 e m2 t

The system returns (exponentially decays)


to equilibrium without oscillating.

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CASE 2: CRITICALLY DAMPED CASE
The roots of the auxiliary equation are
REPEATED.
The system returns to equilibrium as quickly
as possible without oscillating.
ic (c1 c2 x )e mt

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CASE 3: UNDERDAMPED CASE (or
OSCILLATORY)
The roots of the auxiliary equation contains REAL
and IMAGINARY.
The system oscillates (at reduced frequency) with
the amplitude gradually decreasing to zero.
ic e at (c1 cos bt c2 sin bt )

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