What are integrated gas spacer cables and circuit interruptors?

Over 10,000 tons of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) are produced annually, most for use as a gaseous dielectric material. It is a high-value alternative to oil and air in…

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and circuit interruptors?
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Basics of induction

Building on the work of others, particularly Humphry Davy, Hans Christian Ørsted and Alessandro Volta, English researcher Michael Faraday formulated his Law of Electromagnetic Induction. This most basic…

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Basics of metal detectors

The sensor assembly of a metal detector consists of one or more coils, usually two. An oscillator outputs an alternating current that passes through the send coil, producing…

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Basics of cloud chambers

A tabletop cloud chamber is a simple home project that can be built, and can detect and display condensation trails that develop in the presence of ionizing radiation….

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Basics of the Global Positioning System

The Global Positioning System (GPS) evolved from earlier relatively primitive systems that were originally developed primarily for military uses. Before long these systems became available worldwide for civilians…

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The Doppler effect in EM and cellular phones

Prior to 1800 the Doppler Effect was unknown because there weren’t speeding railroad trains or motorized fire trucks with blaring sirens, so the phenomenon was outside of human…

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Basics of aircraft electrical systems

Electrical design in aircraft is influenced by two basic requirements: The equipment must be light weight and highly reliable. These needs may be met in a variety of…

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Basics of setting up electrical service in buildings

Any building or electrical installation must have an electrical service unless it has an onsite power supply or connects via feeder to some other installation that itself has…

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Where does the noise floor come from?

In an audio or video receiver or in any type of measuring instrument, noise may be defined as any signal other than the one of interest. In the…

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Sizing up networks with pinging

Pinging is the process whereby we send an exploratory probe or packet consisting of 64 bytes or more to a network node. It contains a return request and…

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Particle spin and energy efficient electronics

We all know that the earth, like many spherical bodies, turns on its axis. It is said to have angular momentum. The spin velocity does not change, slow…

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Basics of varible-frequency motor drives

DC motors have historically had advantages in that their speed and direction of rotation could be easily controlled by adjusting or switching the supply voltage. This has made…

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Difference between the scanning electron microscope and scanning tunneling microscope

The scanning electron microscope (SEM) is capable of imaging an object with a resolution of better than one nanometer. To put that in perspective, a meter is to…

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and scanning tunneling microscope
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The basics of photomultiplier tubes

The obvious superiority of solid-state devices has rendered vacuum tubes obsolete in most applications. But an important exception is the photomultiplier tube. It is an elegant assembly of…

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Changes coming in electrical grid systems

The technology behind the world’s electrical grids is likely to change dramatically in the future with the spread of renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power….

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Resistivity, conductivity, and Kirchhoff’s laws

Electrical resistivity (specific electrical resistance) and electrical conductivity (specific electrical conductance) are not at all the same as resistance and conductance. They are intrinsic properties that quantify the…

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Differences between satellite radio, TV, and internet

For the many homes and businesses beyond the reach of cable, satellite internet is a viable alternative. Two big players in this arena are HughesNet and WildBlue. The…

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The inverse-square law and radar

Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation — as well as a number of other relations in such diverse fields as electric, magnetic, light, sound and radiation propagation — conforms…

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Gauss and his demagnetization circuit

Carl Friedrich Gauss was a brilliant mathematician whose insights and writings laid the groundwork for much of what is known today concerning number theory, algebra, differential geometry, orbital…

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Gravitational waves and their measurement

According to Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity, gravity as a phenomenon is strikingly different from electromagnetic radiation. Gravity can be completely described as a distortion of time/space in…

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Calculating pi

Pi (the Greek character is π) is the symbol we use to designate the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter. Ancient people, among whom there were…

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Schrödinger’s equation and the half-dead cat

Erwin Schrödinger was born around the time of the Michelson-Morley Experiment, but he was pre-eminently a twentieth-century theoretician. He lived until 1961, witnessing during his life gigantic upheavals…

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Basics of lasers

Optical lasers all operate according to the same fundamental principles despite the fact that there is considerable variation in the details, particularly in regard to scaling. Small, hand-held…

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What does antimatter matter?

There are two types of quantum mechanical particles, fermions and bosons. Bosons comprise what is commonly called energy, and fermions are matter. Einstein theorized, and it was later…

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Cold fusion and the conversion of mass to energy

Albert Einstein’s famous equation, E = MC2, was contained in his 1905 Special Theory of Relativity, presented in a paper succinctly titled On the Electrodynamics of Moving Bodies….

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