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NODAL ANALYSIS

DESCRIPTION
EXAMPLES WITH INDEPENDENT SOURCES
SUPERNODE
EXAMPLES WITH DEPENDENT SOURCES
SUMMARY
DESCRIPTION
Nodal analysis is more commonly used than mesh or loop analysis for analysing
networks. It can be used to determine the unknown node voltages of both planar
and non-planar circuits. Nodal equations are usually formed by applying
Kirchoffs Current Law to the nodes with unknown voltages, whereas equations
based on Kirchoffs Voltage Law are used to form the mesh equations. In order to
apply nodal analysis to a circuit, the first step is to select a reference node or
datum node and then assign a voltage at each of the other nodes with respect to
the reference node. In a circuit with dc sources, the node that has the lowest
voltage is usually selected as the reference node and then the other node voltages
would be positive. Often the node that has the maximum elements connected to
it in a circuit tends to be the reference node. Many electronic circuits have a
metallic chassis and the reference node, usually the negative terminal of the dc
source present in the circuit, happens to be connected to the chassis. It is common
practice to connect the chassis to earth terminal of the utility supply. Then the
reference node is at earth or ground potential and hence the reference terminal is
referred to as the ground terminal, even if it is not earthed. In a power system, the
casing of power appliances is usually earthed and the neutral of the utility supply
remains connected to earth at the source. The reference node in such a power
system is then at zero potential.
In nodal analysis, the voltage at the reference node is assumed to be zero. The
voltages at other nodes are expressed with reference to the datum node. Since the
unknown node voltages are determined by nodal analysis, it is logical to write the
KCL equations at nodes. The procedure can be summarized as follows.
! Select a reference node and treat it to be at zero or ground potential.
! Label the nodes with unknown voltages.
! At each of these nodes, mark currents in the elements as flowing away from
the node.
! Form KCL equations and solve the set of simultaneous equations for the
unknown voltages.
The voltage across an element can be expressed as the difference of voltages at
nodes to which it is connected. Use the passive sign convention and mark the
currents to be flowing away from the node at which the KCL is applied. Then the
mutual conductance term would have a negative sign whereas the self-conductance
at a node would be a positive value. This aspect should become clear after a few
examples. It is worth stressing that labelling the nodes and assigning current
direction properly are really important. The practice of this technique would
enable one to write the KCL equations and the matrix equations by inspection.
Nodal analysis is the ideal technique for analysis when all the sources in a circuit
are independent current sources and the first example shows how to analyse such
a circuit.
EXAMPLES WITH INDEPENDENT SOURCES
Worked Example 1
1 2
Obtain the unknown node voltages V and V of the circuit in Fig. 1.
Solution:

The circuit shown in Fig. 1 is presented again in Fig. 2 to show that there are only
three nodes in this circuit and that it is appropriate to select the reference node as
shown. It is seen that the node that has the highest number of elements connected
to it is the reference or datum node. It turns out that the potential at the datum
node is lowest. Let it be assumed that the voltage at the datum node is zero volt.
The datum node has been marked and the unknown node voltages have also been
labelled. The next task is to form the KCL equations at these nodes.
1
For the node with the voltage V , the circuit in Fig. 3 is used. The two nodes with
unknown voltages are marked A and B in the circuit shown in Fig. 3.
At node A, the sum of currents entering it should equal the sum of currents
leaving it. Then
It is seen from the circuit in Fig. 3 that
a b
Substituting for I and I from equation (2) into equation (1), we get that
On grouping terms, equation (3) becomes:
That is,
1 11
It is seen that the coefficient of V is G , the sum of conductances connected to
11
node A. This term, G , reflects the self-conductance connected to node A,
12
whereas the term, G , is the mutual conductance linking nodes A and B. Note
that it has a negative sign.
The KCL equation at node B is obtained from the circuit in Fig. 4.
It is seen from the circuit in Fig. 4 that
c d
Substituting for I and I from equation (7) into equation (6), we get that
On grouping terms, equation (8) becomes:
That is,
2 22
It is seen that the coefficient of V is G , the sum of conductances connected to
22
node B. This term, G , reflects the self-conductance connected to node B,
21
whereas the term, G , is the mutual conductance linking nodes A and B. Note
that it has a negative sign. Equations (5) and (10) can be combined in the form of
a matrix equation. We get that
12 21
The square matrix in equation (11) is symmetric, since G = G and this matrix
is known as the nodal conductance matrix. All the terms of this matrix are
conductance terms. The solution of equation (11) can be obtained using either
1 2
Cramers rule or Gaussian elimination method. We obtain that V = 12 V and V
= 8 V.
The solution can be verified easily. For the node voltages defined above, the
current through the 6 W resistor is 2 A, the current through the 4 W resistor is 1
A, and the current through the 2 W resistor is 4 A. It is seen that the KCL
equations at nodes A and B are satisfied.
Worked Example 2
1 2
Obtain the unknown node voltages V and V of the circuit in Fig. 5.
Solution:
The KCL equation at node A is:
The KCL equation at node B is:

These two equations, (12) and (13), can be expressed in the form of a matrix
equation.
1 2
On solving, we obtain that V = 12 Volts and V = 8 Volts.
Worked Example 3
Find the current through the 8 W resistor in the circuit shown in Fig. 8.
Solution:
The only unknown node voltage to be solved for is the voltage at node a. At
this node,
a
Then V = 64 V.
It is not appropriate to use the mesh analysis for this problem, because there are
four unknowns and the solution would not be as simple as that presented now.
Worked Example 4
a b c
Find V , V and V marked in the circuit shown in Fig. 9.
Solution:
Since three unknown node voltages have to be determined, three independent
equations are required to be formed. By applying KCL to those nodes, three
equations can be formed.
KCL equation at node a:

KCL equation at node b:

KCL equation at node c:

From equations (15), (16) and (17), we get that
a b c
The solution is: V = 10 V, V = 8 V, and V = 2 V.
The set of simultaneous equations can also be solved by elimination. This
technique is illustrated below. Equations (15), (16) and (17) can be represented
as follows:

Then

Worked Example 5
1 2 3
Find V , V and V marked in the circuit shown in Fig. 10.
Solution:

Since three unknown node voltages have to be determined, three independent
equations are required to be formed. By applying KCL to node 2, one equation
can be formed. Since the voltage source is connected to two nodes, the second
equation can be formed. The current through the voltage source has been marked
as I. Two expressions for I can be formed, one from the KCL applied to node 1
and the other from node 3. By equating these two expressions, the third equation
can be formed.
Current I through the voltage source flows away from node 1 to node 3, as shown
in Figs. 11 and 12. Then
That is,

KCL at node 2:
Since the voltage source is connected to nodes 1 and 3,
From equations (27), (28) and (29), we get that

This example is used again next to illustrate what a supernode is and how a
circuit can be analysed using a supernode.
SUPERNODE
By forming a supernode, it may be possible to reduce the number of unknowns by
one and the solution thus can become simpler. The circuit diagram used in
worked example 5 is re-presented in Fig. 14 with the box enclosed by broken lines
forming a supernode. As can be seen, the use of a supernode is appropriate when
the circuit contains a floating voltage source. A floating voltage source has neither
of its terminals to the datum node. We can apply Kirchoffs current law to
supernode. Then
That is,
The above equation can be simplified as shown next.

KCL at node 2:

From equations (30) and (31), we obtain that

To form a supernode, we enclose a region and that region becomes a supernode.
The algebraic sum of currents incident at the supernode is also to be zero. The use
of supernode is useful for circuits containing floating voltage sources . If the
floating voltage source is a dependent source, there may be no reduction in the
number of equations required to be solved for, but nonetheless the formation of
one of the equations may be slightly easier.
EXAMPLES WITH DEPENDENT SOURCES
Worked Example 7
2 3
Obtain voltages V and V of the circuit in Fig. 15.
Solution:
Two unknown node voltages have to be determined. One KCL equation can be
formed by equating the two expressions for current marked in Fig. 15. The second
equation is obtained from the expression for the dependent source.
The KCL equations obtained at nodes 2 and 3 are presented below.
KCL Equation at node 2:

KCL Equation at node 3:
From equations (32) and (33), we obtain that
From the circuit in Fig. 15,

On solving equations (34) and (35), we obtain that
Worked Example 8
1 2 3
Find V , V and V marked in the circuit shown in Fig. 16.
Solution:
Since three unknown node voltages have to be determined, three independent
equations are required to be formed. By applying KCL to node 2, one equation
can be formed. Using dependency of the floating voltage source connected to
nodes 1 and 3, the second equation can be formed. The current through the
y y
voltage source has been marked as I in Fig. 16. Two expressions for I can be
formed, one from the KCL applied to node 1 and the other from node 3. By
equating these two expressions, the third equation can be formed.
KCL at node 2:

a
Since the voltage source connected to nodes 1 and 3 is dependent on I ,
y
Current I through the voltage source flows away from node 1 to node 3. Then
That is,
From equations (36), (37) and (38), we get that
It is possible to solve this problem using a supernode. All that is necessary is to
obtain equation (8) using a supernode. For this purpose, the circuit in Fig. 16 is
re-presented below.
Worked Example 9
1 2 3
Find V , V and V marked in the circuit shown in Fig. 17.

Solution:
Three unknown node voltages have to be determined and hence three equations
have to be formed.
KCL Equation at node 1:
KCL Equation at node 2:

On simplifying, we get that
KCL equation at node 3:
a b
After substituting appropriate expressions for V and V and simplifying, we get
that
1 2 3
From equations (39), (40) and (41), we can obtain the values of V , V and V .
Worked Example 10
The task is to find the ratio of output voltage to input voltage, given that the op
amp is not ideal. It has a finite gain, a finite input resistance and a finite output
resistance.
Solution:
The first step is to draw the equivalent circuit, using the voltage amplifier model,
as shown in Fig. 19.
As shown in Fig. 19, the input resistance is the internal resistance of the op amp
between its two input terminals. The voltage across the input resistance is
amplified by the op amp with a gain of -A, and the output resistance is in series
with the dependent voltage source. In order to solve using nodal analysis, it is
A B
necessary to mark the nodes. The voltages at these nodes are marked as V , V ,
C
and V .
We need to form KCL equations at the nodes at which the voltages are not
A
known. The KCL equation at node with voltage V is shown below.
C
The voltage output V of the dependent source can be expressed in terms of the
A A
node voltage V and the source voltage V , as shown below.
The KCL equation at the output node can be obtained, and it is presented below.
Since there can be a load connected to the output terminals, it has been included
in the circuit in Fig. 21. When the op amp has a non-zero output resistance, the
output voltage is a function that has the output resistance, and the load resistance
as two of its parameters. . When the op amp has zero output resistance, the output
voltage is independent of load resistance.
Equations (43), (44) and (45) can be combined into one matrix equation, and it
is expressed below.
Given numerical values, it is not difficult to get the ratio of output voltage to
source voltage. Since it turns out to be a long expression, it is not derived here.
Next it is shown how we can simplify the ratio of output voltage to source
voltage progressively, as we drop the non-ideal parameters of the op amp one by
one.
Let the output resistance be zero. Then the matrix simplifies to 2 by 2 matrix, as
the output of the dependent source is the output voltage of the circuit, as shown
in Fig. 22.

In addition, if the input resistance is infinite, the equivalent circuit can be drawn,
as shown by the circuit in Fig. 23. In this case, the matrix equation, gets
simplified, as shown below.
As input resistance tends to infinity and output resistance tends to zero, we get
that
Now we can get the ratio of output voltage to source voltage, as shown below.

Given that the gain of the op amp is a finite value, the gain of the noninverting
amplifier circuit can be expressed by the expression shown above. The same
expression was derived in the chapter on devices. This example shows the
usefulness of nodal analysis. If this technique is not used, it is much more difficult
to obtain the gain of the circuit, if the op amp has a finite gain, a finite input
resistance and a finite output resistance.
SUMMARY
This chapter has shown nodal analysis can be applied to simple circuits and to
circuits with dependent sources. The next chapter describes the sources or signals
used for exciting an electrical circuit and their properties.