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X is for X (Electrical Reactance)

X is for X (Electrical Reactance)
Welcome to a regular feature on the Powertecnique blog. Every Monday we talk you through an A-Z of the terms you hear associated with critical power supplies. In this latest post we’ve reached the letter X. X is used to denote Electrical Reactance, so this week X is for X (Electrical Reactance).
Reactance is measured against an element within an electrical circuit and - simply put - is the force put out by the element in opposition to a change of electric AC current or voltage. This comes about due to the element’s inductance or capacitance.

The electronics glossary tells us that:
“When alternating current passes through a component that contains reactance, energy is alternately stored in, and released from, a magnetic field or an electric field. In the case of a magnetic field, the reactance is inductive.  In the case of an electric field, the reactance is capacitive.” (Source: http://whatis.techtarget.com/definition/reactance)

Reactance is inversely related to frequency within a circuit and it also combines with resistance to calculate the impedance of a circuit.

Don’t get confused by its relation to resistance though. Where the goal of an ideal resistor would be to have zero reactance, ideal capacitors consist entirely of reactance.

Hopefully this has given you a bit more of an idea as to what reactance is. If there’s a topic you’d like covered in our A-Z why not get in touch via twitter. Our handle is @powertecnique. 

Author: Owen McIntyre

18/02/2014 10:30:00
Listed in : A-Z of Critical Power  
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