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RC Circuits

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Points of Emphasis

Prerequisites

Lab Activities

Students observe the response of an RC circuit to a square wave and a sine wave driving voltage and compare the data to the predictions of RC circuit theory.

Specifically, for the square wave driving voltage, they are asked to:

1. take voltage across the resistor vs time measurements, plot the data and compare it to the theoretically predicted curve for square waves with period of 10RC, 2RC, and 0.2RC; and

2. take voltage across the capacitor vs time measurements, plot the data and compare it to the theoretically predicted curve for square waves with periods of 10RC, 2RC, and 0.2RC;

For the sine wave driving voltage, they are asked to:

1. take voltage across the resistor vs driving frequency measurements, plot the data and compare it to the theoretically predicted curves;

2. take voltage across the capacitor vs driving frequency measurements, plot the data and compare it to the theoretically predicted curves;

3. measure the phase difference between the driving voltage and the current vs driving frequency, plot the data and compare it to the theoretically predicted curve.

Quantitative results tend to be within 5-10% of the predicted values.

Course Level

Introductory: P4, P14, P16

Student Handouts

Equipment

Number of set-ups available: 20

Per lab station:

1 oscilloscope
1 function generator
1 frequency counter/BNC cable
1 multimeter
1 resistance substitution box
1 capacitance substitution box
1 BNC to banana adaptor
8 banana leads

Apparatus

Notes


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