Electrical Engineering/tank circuit work


tank circuit
tank circuit  
in the lc tank circuit(with no resistance of wires or components),assuming that capacitor is fully charged initially and the process of that circuit is,the capacitor then start discharging. .Now I have two questions
1)why capacitor start discharging?
then after it completely discharged,it charges with opposite polarity ,so question 2 is:
Why it charge with opposite polarity or even how current pass through inductor,the basic work of inductor is to oppose current,so why or how current go through it,so as to charge capacitor oppositely?

The LC tank circuit is like an electrical equivalent of a tuning fork: it will continue to oscillate at its resonant frequency.  Here's something I paraphrased from Wikipedia:

A capacitor in a parallel LC tank circuit stores energy in the electric field (E) between its plates, depending on the voltage across it, and an inductor stores energy in its magnetic field (B), depending on the current through it.

If an inductor is connected across a charged capacitor, current will start to flow through the inductor (since it is electrically conductive, usually being a coil of wire wound around a ferromagnetic core), building up a magnetic field around the inductor and thereby reducing the voltage across the capacitor. Eventually all the charge on the capacitor will be gone and the voltage across it will reach zero, with the energy being stored in the magnetic field of the inductor. However, the current will continue, because inductors resist changes in current due to their building up of their magnetic field. A current will then begin to charge the capacitor with a voltage of opposite polarity to its original charge, because the inductor is now discharging its energy, and that means the current is in reverse of when the inductor was charging. Due to Faraday's law, the EMF that drives the current is caused by a decrease in the magnetic field, thus the energy required to charge the capacitor is extracted from the magnetic field of the inductor. When the magnetic field of the inductor is completely dissipated, the charge will again have been stored in the capacitor, with the opposite polarity as before. Then the cycle will begin again, with the current flowing in the opposite direction through the inductor.

The charge flows back and forth between the plates of the capacitor, through the inductor. The energy oscillates back and forth between the capacitor and the inductor until (if not replenished from an external circuit) internal resistance makes the oscillations die out. In most applications the tuned circuit is part of a larger circuit that applies alternating current to it, driving continuous oscillations at the LC resonant frequency. The tuned circuit's action, known mathematically as a harmonic oscillator, is also similar to a pendulum swinging back and forth, or water sloshing back and forth in a tank; for this reason the circuit is also called a tank circuit. The natural frequency (that is, the frequency at which it will oscillate when isolated from any other system, as described above) is determined by the capacitance and inductance values.

Hope this helps!


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Dave Nyce


I have been an electronics engineer for many years. I can answer questions on analog and digital circuits and my specialty is sensors.


I am the inventor on 27 US patents, and also some foreign ones. Developed sensors for many years. Licensed private pilot (airplane and rotorcraft), have HAM radio license. I'm not an expert in computer networking.

AAAS, Certified Control Engineer, (former UL Advisor for Intrinsic Safety), Benefactor member of NRA. Life member of the following: Experimental Aircraft Assoc., US Parachute Assoc., National Trapper's Assoc., Apex Masonic Lodge #584, Scottish Rite of Raleigh, NC, Academy of Model Aeronautics, Grass Roots North Carolina, NC Rifle & Pistol Assoc. Member of the following: Aircraft Owners & Pilots Assoc., US Hang Gliding & Paragliding Assoc., Tripoli Rocketry Assoc., Apex Historical Society, The Planetary Society, USA Volleyball, Shriners of North America, York Rite Masons, National Space Society, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, and the Precision Aerobatics Model Pilots' Assoc.

Books: "Magnetic Displacement Sensors" section in: Measurement, Instrumentation, and Sensors Handbook, CRC Press, 1999. ISBN 0-8493-8347-1; "Magnetostrictive Sensors", "Hall Effect Position Transducers", & "Strain Gage Accelerometers" in: Instrumentation and Control, a Mechatronics Handbook, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. NYP; “Magnetic Level Gauges” chapter in: Instrument Engineers’ Handbook - Measurement & Analysis, 4’th Edition, CRC Press, 2003; Author of the book “Linear Position Sensors, Theory & Application”, John Wiley & Sons, 2004; “Electronic Transmitters”, “Linear & Angular Positioning of Machinery”, and “Inerting Systems” sections in: “Instrumentation Engineers’ Handbook – Process Control, 4’th edition, (2005); “Hazardous area classification and management”, and “HART Networks” sections in the book: “Instrumentation Engineers’ Handbook – Digital Process Networks and Software, 4’th edition, publication in 2011 Magazines: Magnetostriction-Based Linear Position Sensors, SENSORS magazine, April, 1994: Tank Gauging Advances, Fuel Technology & Management, January, 1997: Magnetostrictive Position Sensors, Measurements and Control, September, 1998; A Moment in Positioning, PTDesign, February, 1999; Magnetostrictive Position Sensors (update), Measurements & Control, September, 1999; Position Sensors for Hydraulic Cylinders, Hydraulics & Pneumatics, November, 2000; Magnetostrictive Linear Position Sensors, Fluid Power Journal, April, 1999; Sizing & Applying Magnetostrictive Linear Position Sensors, Motion Systems, Feb., 2002; Position Sensors in Medical Applications, ECN, May 15, 2002; Featured in “Level Sensors Go Floatless”, Machine Design, May 8, 2003; "Guitar Man" feature article, The Pelican Post, Oak Island Press, Oak Is., NC, Winter 2005; The LVDT: A Simple and Accurate Position Sensor, SENSORS magazine, August, 2005; "Model Airplane Day!", FLYING MODELS magazine, September, 2006; “Kids Having Fun!”, Half-A Flyer magazine, January, 2012

BSEE, MBA, Management by Objectives - Honeywell, Total Quality Management - MTS Systems Corporation, Looking Glass Management Workshop - Center for Creative Leadership, Motion Control Systems - Western Michigan University, College of Engineering, Organizational Excellence - University of Cleveland, Finance for Executives - Sloan School of Business, MIT.

Awards and Honors
Vaaler award, EDN magazine, "Inerting for Safety", 1987 Listed in Who's Who in Engineering, in the South, in the World. "Total Quality Management" medal awarded by MTS Systems Corporation 1991 "Best Sequel" award for the video production: "For Engineers Only" at the MTS national sales meeting, Las Vegas, 1998 (written and directed by David S. Nyce) Voted "Most Effective Leader" at Center for Creative Leadership: Looking Glass, Greensboro, NC 1995 Silver Award for New Technology at SENSORS EXPO, in Chicago, 2001 for SEF Liquid Level sensor MTS Circle of Innovators award, 2003 Elected Master of Masonic Lodge #584 , Apex, NC, 2005 "Gold Honour Award" for outstanding service in York Rite Masonry, by the York Rite Sovereign College of North America, August 22. 2007 Board of Directors: WaaRev Sensors, and the Apex Historical Society Maynard Pearson House Plaque hanging in the Masonic Fellowship Hall, for Outstanding Service and Dedication to Apex Masonic Lodge #584, Apex, NC

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