AC Power
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AC Power

Instantaneous Power

As in the case with DC power, the instantaneous electric power in an AC circuit is given by P = VI, but these quantities are continuously varying.

In a purely resistive circuit all of the power is consumed and none is returned to the source. When an alternating voltage is impressed across a capacitor, power is taken from the source and stored in the capacitor as the voltage increases from zero to its maximum value. Then, as the impressed voltage decreases from its maximum value to zero, the capacitor discharges and returns the power to the source. Likewise, as the current through an inductor increases from its zero value to its maximum value the field around the inductor builds up to a maximum, and when the current decreases from maximum to zero the field collapses and returns the power to the source. You can see therefore that no power is used up in either case, since the power alternately flows to and from the source. This power that is returned to the source by the reactive components in the circuit is called REACTIVE POWER.

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