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AUTHOR: Huong Vu

DATE PERFORMED: October 15, 2007


CLASS: PHYS 227
SECTION: 11:10 AM Monday

LAB TITLE: RC Time Constant

GROUP MEMBERS:
Khoa Le
Tinh Nguyen
Tung Phan
Paula Perez

ABSTRACT:
In this experiment, the RC circuit, the basis for most electronic timing circuits,
was examined by using an oscilloscope. Moreover, the behavior of the capacitor
responded to the RC circuit was investigated. The capacitor was charged and discharged
through a programmable power supply. The graph of voltage of the capacitor was
displayed. It followed the exponential function with the time constant RC. Moreover, the
average time constant RC was plotted against the resistance of different resistors. The
graph is a straight line with the slope C. The result from the graph is nearly equal to the
theoretical value of C. The lab was successful with small error.

INTRODUCTION:
The RC circuit is a simply circuit, containing both capacitor and resistor. This
combination is certainly useful in studying electric circuit. The time required for charging
a capacitor to 63% of full charge or for discharging a capacitor to 37% is called time
constant RC. The RC circuit is often used in electronic timing circuit. Moreover, it plays
an important role in everyday equipment, such as traffic light, pacemaker, and audio
equipment.

THEORY:

APPARATUS LIST:
4.039 33 0.0065
4.287 48 0.0069
4.474 63 0.0072
4.66 78 0.0075
4.722 93 0.0076
4.846 108 0.0078
# 12

RC vs R
y = 91.483x - 341.6

120

100

80
R( )

60

40

20

0
3.8 4 4.2 4.4 4.6 4.8 5
RC (ms)

% error =

The slope calculated (m=R/RC=C) is 91.483 compared to the theoretical value of


C, which is 100. The percentage of error is 8.5 %. This is an acceptable error (<10%).
CONCLUSION:
The lab was successfully finished. The charge and discharge of a combination of
RC was measured. The graph of the voltage of the charged and discharged capacitor is a
exponential function as expected. Experimenters also presented the graph of time
constant RC vs. resistance R. Through the graph, the capacitance C was calculated and
was compared to the actual values of C. The error is less than 10%, i.e. it is acceptable.
Through this experiment, experimenters have a chance to investigate the RC circuit, one
of the most important electronic circuits.

QUESTIONS:
1)