# What does negative impedance mean?

• nomisme
In summary: On the other hand, the coil has a positive reactance because coil current is lags the coil voltage by 90 degree. As for impedance vs admittance, sometimes the math is easier when we use admittance instead of impedance. I assume you are talking about something such as, -jXc or -jXL? the negative is attached to the 'j'. j is a place holder which rotates a vector by ninety degrees, a negative j means that the vector is at negative ninety degrees with respect to some reference phasor (most usually the voltage).*off topic* Negative resistance is actually a different phenomenon where a increase in current can actually cause a decrease in voltage across
nomisme
I could see that capacitor impedance is mostly negative.

Does the negative sign has any significant meaning?

Also why do people convert impedance to admittance for circuit calculation?

The capacitor has a negative reactance. Why? Because capacitor voltage lags capacitor current by 90 degrees.
On the other hand the coil has a positive reactance because coil current is lags the coil voltage by 90 degree.
As for impedance vs admittance, sometimes the math is easier when we use admittance instead of impedance.

I assume you are talking about something such as, -jXc or -jXL? the negative is attached to the 'j'. j is a place holder which rotates a vector by ninety degrees, a negative j means that the vector is at negative ninety degrees with respect to some reference phasor (most usually the voltage).

*off topic* Negative resistance is actually a different phenomenon where a increase in current can actually cause a decrease in voltage across an element. This occurs in some types of gases and is a common reason for ballasts in lighting fixtures.

To follow up, the negative in this case simply means the opposite just like in math.

If you are just talking about the negative, you are talking about 180 degrees off its non negative vector.

Inductive KVARS are in the positive part of the y axis.
However, inductive current lags the voltage in the negative part of the y axis. They are complex conjugates.

Capacitive KVARS are in the negative part of the y axis.
However, capacitive current leads the voltage in the positive part of y axis. Also complex conjugates.

Imedance in general is defined as R + Jx
R= 0 in each ideal case below. x is defined as the reactance if memory serves.

Impedance of inductor is JwL. wL equals x in this case.
V=IR...so when finding current you divide by that J putting you in the negative y-axis as stated above.
So R(0) + JwL is impedance of inductor. (wL) is the reactance.

Impedence of capacitor is 1/(JwC)...or you could say -J/(1/wC)...or J*(-1/wC)
So when finding current, you end up in positive side of y.
So R(0) + J*(-1/wC) is the impedance of the capacitor. -1/(wC) is the reactance.

Keep in mind also, that in simple terms J= 1>90. A vector with magnitude of 1 sitting at 90 degrees.
-J would then mean 1>-90. A vector with magnitude of 1 sitting at -90 degrees.

Hope that helps a bit.

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Let's try a gross oversimplification:::

Think for a moment of a compass rose - North, East, South and West.

One could think of South as Negative North, and West as Negative East.

So the negative sign just helps us define something about the capacitor's particular type of impedance.
I know, that sounds crazy - but bear with me-----

What's impedance?
Opposition to current flow.
Impedance comes in three flavors:
Resistive, which converts the energy of the flowing current into heat which leaves the circuit;
Inductive, which stores the energy of the flowing current in a magnetic field for later release back into the circuit;
Capacitive, which stores the energy of the flowing current in an electric field for later release back into the circuit.

Now, Inductive and Capacitive impedance are both called Reactive because they both keep the energy in electromagnetic form where it can be recovered, unlike resistive which turns it into heat. In other words there'll be a RE-coverable-ACTIon.

It so happens that when you start dealing with sine waves, you can graph impedances as if on a map- Resistive points North-South, reactive points East-West. So inductive and capacitive have opposite sign, one is east the other west.
Resistive can also have a negative sign, but negative resistance is so rare we don't often think of it except in odd devices like tunnel diodes and thyratrons..
But capacitive and inductive are very real in everyday life.

Earlier posts gave good descriptions of the arithmetic, i tried to go back another step, for my pea-brain has to 'feel' something before it'll believe the math..

It is VERY IMPORTANT that you work all your homework problems and become fluent in vector notation, rotating phasors and that complex operator-j arithmetic.

old jim

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hi nomisme!
nomisme said:
I could see that capacitor impedance is mostly negative.

Does the negative sign has any significant meaning?

in AC, you find the impedance by replacing d/dt by jω

so for a capacitor dV/dt = I/C becomes jωV = I/C, or V = -jωI/C …

voltage lags current

(for an inductor V = LdI/dt becomes V = jωLI … the "j" was on the other side of the equation)

## 1. What is impedance?

Impedance is a measure of the opposition that an electrical circuit presents to the flow of an alternating current. It is a combination of resistance, inductance, and capacitance, and is measured in ohms.

## 2. How is negative impedance different from regular impedance?

Negative impedance is the opposite of regular impedance. While regular impedance resists the flow of current, negative impedance amplifies the current in a circuit. It is often seen as an unstable or undesirable characteristic in electronic systems.

## 3. What causes negative impedance?

Negative impedance can be caused by various factors, such as a malfunctioning component in a circuit or an improper design. It can also occur in certain types of devices, such as negative impedance converters, which are specifically designed to create negative impedance.

## 4. What are the practical applications of negative impedance?

Negative impedance can be used in certain electronic systems to improve stability, increase efficiency, and reduce noise. It can also be utilized in specialized devices, such as negative impedance converters, to create specific electrical characteristics.

## 5. How is negative impedance measured?

Negative impedance is typically measured in terms of its magnitude and phase. The magnitude is measured in ohms, just like regular impedance, and the phase is measured in degrees. Specialized equipment, such as a vector network analyzer, is often used to measure negative impedance accurately.

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