# Phase Relationships in an LRC Circuit

79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 1 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
Phase Relationships in an LRC Circuit

Equipment
1 Resistor/Capacitor/Inductor Network UI-5210
4 Voltage Sensors UI-5100
1 BNC-to-Banana Cord for 850 Output UI-5119
1 Patch Cords (Set of 5) SE-7123

Introduction
The phase differences between the output voltage, the voltage across the inductor, the voltage
across the capacitor, and the voltage across the resistor will be examined at resonant frequency,
and the half-power frequencies above and below resonance.
Analysis verifies that the voltage lags the current in a capacitor by 90⁰, and voltage leads current
by 90⁰ in an inductor, and that by using phasor math one can understand how the internal
resistance of the components prevents the angles from being exactly 90⁰. Phasor math is also
used to show that the maximum voltages add correctly only if one uses phasor math. The
instantaneous voltages are also added to show that Kirchhoff’s Loop Theorem is correct for this
circuit. The formulas for the reactance are also verified.
Figure 1: LRC Series Circuit Diagram
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 2 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
Theory
An inductor, a capacitor, and a resistor are connected in series with a sine wave generator. Since
it is a series circuit, the current will be common to all the components and given by
I = Imax cos(ωt) (1)
The voltage across the resistor will be in phase with the current, but the voltage across the
inductor leads the current by 90⁰ and the voltage across the capacitor lags by 90⁰. Adding the
three EMF voltages, E, results in a total voltage that varies sinusoidally, but has a phase shift φ
with respect to the current and is given by
E = Emax cos(ωt + φ) (2)
The three components obey the AC analogs of Ohm’s Law: VR = IR, VL max= ImaxXL, VC max=
ImaxXC, where XL and XC are the AC analogs of resistance called the inductive reactance and the
capacitive reactance. Since the voltage across the resistor is in phase with the current, the phase
of the current can be measured by measuring the phase of the voltage across the resistor. The
capacitive reactance and the inductive reactance are given by:
XC =
1
ωC
(3)
XL = ωL (4)
In terms of the measured variables:
VC
VR
=
1
𝜔𝐶𝑅
(5)
VL
VR
=
𝜔𝐿
𝑅
(6)
At resonance, XL = XC and ϕ=0. Setting Equation 3 equal to Equation 4 yields the resonant
angular frequency:
𝜔𝑟𝑒𝑠 =
1
√𝐿𝐶
(7)
Figure 2: LRC Series Circuit
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 3 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
Phasors
A convenient way to summarize the information on the Theory page is to use phasors. Recall
that circuit current is in phase with VRo. At resonance, VC = VL and they cancel each other. So
the total voltage (Emax) equals the voltage across the resistor (VRo) and the phase shift is zero.
Below resonance (the case shown), VC > VL , the capacitor dominates, total voltage lags total
current and the phase shift is negative. Above resonance the inductor dominates.
The magnitudes of the phasors are related through phasor math where Emax is the sum of the
other three as indicated in Figure 3 where the phasors are added like vectors.
Measuring the Phase Angle:
We will measure the time Δt by which a signal leads or lags the circuit current (actually VR).
Since 360⁰ of phase shift is equivalent to one cycle, we have:
ϕ = 360⁰ (Δt/T) = 360⁰ (Δt) f (8)
where T is the period and f is the frequency.
Figure 3: Phasors
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 4 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
Setup
1. Construct the circuit shown at right using the following values (see Figure 4):
L = 6.8 mH
C = 3900 pF
R = 1.0 kΩ
Connect to Output #2 on the 850 Universal Interface using the BNC to banana cord. Note
that it is important to connect the left hand side of the inductor to the right hand side of
the capacitor and the left hand side of the capacitor to the right hand side of the resistor as
shown. A voltage sensor is connected to the D analog input on the 850 Universal
Interface and connected so that it measures the total voltage (VD = Vo) as shown in Figure
4.
2. Now connect the other three voltage sensors as shown in Figure 6. Input A is connected
across the resistor. Input B is connected across the inductor. Input C is connected across
the capacitor. Note that the black side of each voltage sensor is attached on the left side of
the circuit board.
Figure 4: Circuit Diagram with Voltage Sensors
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 5 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
Figure 5: LRC Circuit without Sensors
Figure 6: Circuit with Sensors
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 6 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
Procedure
1. In PASCO Capstone, create an Oscilloscope display and put the voltage measurements
from all four voltage sensors on a single vertical axis of the oscilloscope. You do this by
adding similar measurements on the measurement selector on the axis. Set the time units
to μs.
2. Set the sample rate to 1 MHz and set the Sampling Mode to Fast Monitor.
3. Click open the Signal Generator. Signal Generator #2 should be set to a frequency of
30,000 Hz and an amplitude of 6 V. Also, the Auto button should be selected.
4. Click Monitor. If the scope trace is rolling left or right, click the trigger button in the
scope toolbar. Adjust the vertical scale so the signals are as large as possible without
going off screen. Adjust the horizontal scale so you see about two cycles.
5. Adjust the Signal Generator Frequency (to the nearest 100 Hz) to make the phase φ=0 by
making V,D (=Vo) and V,A (=VR) cross the V=0 axis at the same point. Adjust the Signal
Generator Amplitude so that the maximum VR voltage is exactly 6 V. Click Stop. VR<Vo
because the coil has a resistance of ~60 Ω. Record the frequency for resonance in Table I
as shown in step 6.
6. Create Table I as shown below:
System frequency
(Hz)
Δt VL
(μs)
Δt VC
(μs)
Δt Vo
(μs)
φL
(deg)
φC
(deg)
φTOTAL
(deg)
Resonance
Below Res.
Above Res.
The first five columns are all user-entered data sets. The last three columns are
calculations:
φL = 360*[Δt VL (s)]*[frequency (Hz)]
φC = 360*[Δt VC (s)]*[frequency (Hz)]
φTOTAL = 360*[Δt Vo (s)]*[frequency (Hz)]
7. Click Data Summary to open it. Highlight all four data sets in the scope Legend box.
Click the Create a data set in the scope toolbar. Monitor Run Snapshots should appear for
each voltage in the Data Summary box. Re-label each of the four as “Resonance”. Click
Data Summary closed.
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 7 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
8. Click Monitor. Adjust the Signal Generator Frequency below resonance to a point where
VR = 4 V. Adjust the horizontal scale for two cycles. Click Stop. Repeat step 7 above;
this time re-label as “Below Res”. Record the frequency in Table I.
9. Repeat for the VR = 4 V above resonance. The signal will be a little jagged since at 1
MHz there are only about 20 points per cycle.
Phase Analysis
1. Create a graph and put the voltage measurements from all four voltage sensors on a
single vertical axis. You do this by adding similar measurements on the measurement
selector on the axis. On the horizontal axis, set the time units to μs.
2. Select the four “Resonance” data sets. Expand the horizontal scale so about 1 cycle
shows. The vertical scale should be set so that the range is from -0.5 V to 2.5 V. This will
make the V=0 crossings easy to see.
3. The Coordinate tool should show 3 significant figures, have the delta tool turned on, and
the Snap to Pixels disabled by setting the “snap distance” = 1. If not, right click on the
Coordinate tool and adjust Tool Properties.
4. To find the phase shift of a voltage, use the delta tool on the coordinates tool to measure
the difference in time between the first two points where the two signal cross the x axis
(V=0) with a negative slope. First, position the delta tool on the first place this happens
for VR (V,A). Now position the cross-hairs on the VL crossing of V=0. Record this phase
shift time (Δt VL) in Table I (with any sign). Leave the delta tool on the VR crossing and
use the cross-hairs to measure the times for VC and Vo. The phase shifts are calculated
using Equation 8.
5. Repeat for the “Below Res” and “Above Res” data.
Voltage Analysis
1. Select the four “resonance” data sets.
2. The Coordinate tool should show 3 significant figures and the Snap to Pixels disabled by
setting the “snap distance” = 1. If not, right click on the Coordinate tool and adjust Tool
Properties.
3. Use the Coordinate tool to determine the maximum voltages: VR, VL, VC, Vo and enter
them in the Table II as shown in Step 4.
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 8 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt
4. Create Table II as shown below:
System frequency
(Hz)
VR
(V)
VL
(V)
VC
(V)
Vo
(V) VL/VR VC/VR)
VL/VR
Theory
VC/VR
Theory
Resonance
Below Res.
Above Res.
The first two columns are identical to the ones in Table I. The next four columns are userentered data sets and the last four columns are calculations:
VL/VR = [VL (V)]/[VR (V)]
VC/VR = [VC (V)]/[VR (V)]
VL/VR theory = 2*π*[frequency (Hz)]*[L (H)]/[R (Ω)]
VC/VR theory = 1/(2*π*[frequency (Hz)]*[C (F)]*[R (Ω)])
[L] = 0.0068 H
[C] = 3.9e-9 F
[R] = 1000 Ω
5. Select the four “below res” data sets and repeat.
6. Select the four “above res” data sets and repeat.
Conclusions
1. Using Equation 7, calculate the resonant angular frequency and the resonant frequency
and compare to experiment.
2. Examine these equations in the Calculator:
VL/VR = [VL (V)]/[VR (V)]
VC/VR = [VC (V)]/[VR (V)]
VL/VR theory = 2*π*[frequency (Hz)]*[L (H)]/[R (Ω)]
VC/VR theory = 1/(2*π*[frequency (Hz)]*[C (F)]*[R (Ω)])
Do the first two equations represent Equations 5&6? What do the VC/VR, VC/VR theory,
VL/VR, and VL/VR theory ratios imply about Equations 3 & 4?
3. Does XC=XL at resonance (when φ=0)? How do you know?
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 9 of 10

Written by Chuck Hunt

4. Which reactance (XC or XL) is larger above resonance? Below resonance? How do you
know?

5. Considering the total phase shift, “φTOTAL”, does the circuit behave more like a capacitor
or more like an inductor below resonance? How do you know? Considering the voltages,
why is this true?

6. We expected that the voltage across the capacitor should lag current by 90⁰ and the
voltage across the inductor should lead by 90⁰. While this is approximately true, your
data should show both shifts to be less than 90⁰. This occurs because each component has
some small internal resistance (heating the component) that behaves like a series resistor
(and is frequency dependent). As shown in Figure 7, the voltage across the inductor is
then the phasor sum of the current times the inductive reactance and the current times the
internal resistance rL. This results in a phase angle less than 90⁰. Use Figure 7 to calculate
rL for the resonance case. Draw a similar diagram for the capacitor and use it to calculate
rC at resonance.

7. At resonance the total voltage is dropped across the total resistance = R+rL+rC since the
internal resistance may be treated as being in series. Use the values you found in step 6 to
calculate the value you would expect to measure across R and compare to what you
actually observed at resonance.
Figure 7: Effect of Inductor Resistance
79A LRC Circuit 79A – Page 10 of 10
Written by Chuck Hunt

Phasor Analysis

1. Do the voltages at a given frequency obey scalor math? That is, does VR+VC+VL=Vo?
For any of the three cases?

2. Does the phasor math implied by Figure 3 give the correct answer? That is, is Vo the
phasor sum of VR, VC, & VL? Before trying this, recall that the VR values are too small
since they do not include the voltage drops across the internal resistances of the capacitor
and inductor. We really want VR+VrL+VrC = [(R+rL+rC)/R]VR. We can get the value of
the resistance ratio (in the square brackets) by noting that for the resonance case the Vo
=VR+VrL+VrC, so [(R+rL+rC)/R] = (Vo /VR)res. Use the resonance data to find the ratio and
then correct the value of VR for the other two cases. Note that this isn’t quite correct since
the internal resistances are frequency dependent and the Vr’s do affect VL and VC a little,
but it is a good first approximation.

3. Using the corrected values for VR verify that phasor math gives the correct value for Vo
within a reasonable uncertainty for both the below and above resonance cases.

4. On the graph, select the four “Below Res” cases. Pick any vertical line (for example 10
µs) and use the Coordinate tool to measure the voltage for each of the four voltages at
that instant. Enter the values in line 4 of Table II including sign. Do these values obey
scalor math? Do you see why scalor math fails for the max values used in step 1 above?
Figure 3: Phasors

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