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8: Mixed-Frequency AC Signals

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    • 8.1: Introduction to Mixed-Frequency AC Signals
      In our study of AC circuits thus far, we’ve explored circuits powered by a single-frequency sine voltage waveform. In many applications of electronics, though, single-frequency signals are the exception rather than the rule. Quite often we may encounter circuits where multiple frequencies of voltage coexist simultaneously. Also, circuit waveforms may be something other than sine-wave shaped, in which case we call them non-sinusoidal waveforms.
    • 8.2: Square Wave Signals
      It has been found that any repeating, non-sinusoidal waveform can be equated to a combination of DC voltage, sine waves, and/or cosine waves (sine waves with a 90 degree phase shift) at various amplitudes and frequencies. This is true no matter how strange or convoluted the waveform in question may be. So long as it repeats itself regularly over time, it is reducible to this series of sinusoidal waves.
    • 8.3: Other Waveshapes
      As strange as it may seem, any repeating, non-sinusoidal waveform is actually equivalent to a series of sinusoidal waveforms of different amplitudes and frequencies added together. Square waves are a very common and well-understood case, but not the only one.
    • 8.4: More on Spectrum Analysis
      Computerized Fourier analysis, particularly in the form of the FFT algorithm, is a powerful tool for furthering our understanding of waveforms and their related spectral components. This same mathematical routine programmed into the SPICE simulator as the .fourier option is also programmed into a variety of electronic test instruments to perform real-time Fourier analysis on measured signals.
    • 8.5: Circuit Effects
      The principle of non-sinusoidal, repeating waveforms being equivalent to a series of sine waves at different frequencies is a fundamental property of waves in general and it has great practical import in the study of AC circuits. It means that any time we have a waveform that isn’t perfectly sine-wave-shaped, the circuit in question will react as though its having an array of different frequency voltages imposed on it at once.

    This page titled 8: Mixed-Frequency AC Signals is shared under a GNU Free Documentation License 1.3 license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Tony R. Kuphaldt (All About Circuits) via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.