Damping in Electrical Circuits

In summary, critical damping is a state in which a system is damped just enough to reduce most of the amplitude of oscillation, but the oscillation still continues. Over damping results in a smooth return to equilibrium with no bouncing, while under damping causes a succession of peaks and valleys with decreasing amplitude. These concepts can be better understood by thinking of a shock absorber system in a car.
  • #1
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Could someone please give me a QUALITATIVE description of:

-critical damping
-over damping
-under damping

So I can understand the physics behind the oscillatios in a circuit. I know the mathematical explanations (ie. over damping is when the characteristic polynomial solutions are both negative real numbers etc).

Thanks :tongue:
 
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  • #2
It might be clearer to think of this in terms of a "shock absorber" system in a car: a spring with a damping force.

"under damped" means you - bounce, bounce, bounce with each bounce less than the one before. If you graph the motion (or the current in a circuit) you see a succession of peaks and valleys with the height between peak and valley getting smaller. If you put an ammeter into an "under damped" circuit, you see the needle swinging back and forth between positive and negative- a little less on each side with each swing, until it settles at 0.

"over damped" is no bouncing at all. There is a smooth return from the height to 0. If you graph that, you see a smooth curve dropping to 0 but not going below 0. If you put an ammeter in an over damped circuit, you see the needle swinging steadily down to 0.

"critically damped" looks exactly like "over damping"- there is no swing below and then back above 0. The only difference between "over damped" and "critically damped" is that if you reduce the damping at all, you get "under damped".
 
  • #3
ok thanks that really helps. So is basically critical damping sort of mid-way between under damped and over damped in the sense that it provides just enough damping to reduce most of the amplitude of oscillation, but the oscillation still actually continues?
 

What is damping in electrical circuits?

Damping in electrical circuits refers to the process of reducing or controlling the amplitude of oscillations or fluctuations in an electrical system. This is important for maintaining stability and preventing excessive voltage or current in the circuit.

Why is damping important in electrical circuits?

Damping is important in electrical circuits because it helps to prevent the system from becoming unstable or oscillating at dangerous levels. It also helps to control the flow of energy and maintain the desired performance of the circuit.

What are the different types of damping in electrical circuits?

There are three main types of damping in electrical circuits: resistive, inductive, and capacitive damping. Resistive damping involves the dissipation of energy through a resistor, while inductive damping uses an inductor to absorb energy. Capacitive damping uses a capacitor to store and release energy, reducing the amplitude of oscillations.

How is damping measured in electrical circuits?

Damping is typically measured using a damping factor or damping ratio. The damping factor is the ratio of the actual damping in a circuit to the critical damping, which is the minimum amount of damping required to prevent oscillations. The damping ratio is the ratio of the actual damping to the critical damping.

How can damping be increased in electrical circuits?

Damping can be increased in electrical circuits by adding components such as resistors, inductors, or capacitors to the circuit. These components can help to dissipate or absorb energy, reducing the amplitude of oscillations and increasing the overall damping of the circuit. Additionally, increasing the resistance or impedance in the circuit can also increase damping.

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