Electrical Impedance

Electrical impedance is the measure of the opposition that a circuit presents to the passage of a current when a voltage is applied. In quantitative terms, it is the complex ratio of the voltage to the current in an alternating current (AC) circuit. Impedance extends the concept of resistance to AC circuits, and possesses both magnitude and phase, unlike resistance, which has only magnitude. When a circuit is driven with direct current (DC), there is no distinction between impedance and resistance; the latter can be thought of as impedance with zero phase angle.

It is necessary to introduce the concept of impedance in AC circuits because there are other mechanisms impeding the flow of current besides the normal resistance of DC circuits. There are an additional two impeding mechanisms to be taken into account in AC circuits: the induction of voltages in conductors self-induced by the magnetic fields of currents (inductance), and the electrostatic storage of charge induced by voltages between conductors (capacitance). The impedance caused by these two effects is collectively referred to as reactance and forms the imaginary part of complex impedance whereas resistance forms the real part.

The symbol for impedance is usually and it may be represented by writing its magnitude and phase in the form . However, complex number representation is often more powerful for circuit analysis purposes. The term impedance was coined by Oliver Heaviside in July 1886. Arthur Kennelly was the first to represent impedance with complex numbers in 1893.

Impedance is defined as the frequency domain ratio of the voltage to the current. In other words, it is the voltage–current ratio for a single complex exponential at a particular frequency ω. In general, impedance will be a complex number, with the same units as resistance, for which the SI unit is the ohm (Ω). For a sinusoidal current or voltage input, the polar form of the complex impedance relates the amplitude and phase of the voltage and current. In particular,

  • The magnitude of the complex impedance is the ratio of the voltage amplitude to the current amplitude.
  • The phase of the complex impedance is the phase shift by which the current is ahead of the voltage.

The reciprocal of impedance is admittance (i.e., admittance is the current-to-voltage ratio, and it conventionally carries units of siemens, formerly called mhos).

Read more about Electrical Impedance:  Complex Impedance, Ohm's Law, Complex Voltage and Current, Device Examples, Generalised S-plane Impedance, Resistance Vs Reactance, Combining Impedances, Measurement, Variable Impedance

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