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A Lecture On Accurate Inductive Voltage Dividers

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2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Instrumentation Poster Session

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.55.1 - 7.55.10



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Paper Authors

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Andrew Koffman

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Bryan Waltrip

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George Piper

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Svetlana Avramov-Zamurovic

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Session 2559

A Lecture on Accurate Inductive Voltage Dividers Svetlana Avramov-Zamurovic1, Bryan Waltrip 2, Andrew Koffman 2 and George Piper1 1 United States Naval Academy, Weapons and Systems Engineering Department Annapolis, MD 21402, Telephone: 410 293 6124 Email: 2 National Institute of Standards and Technology, Electricity Division Gaithersburg, MD 21899. Telephone: 401 975 2438, Email:


The United States Naval Academy is an undergraduate school with a successful engineering program. An underlying philosophy in the Systems Engineering Department is to emphasize hands-on experience while maintaining a solid theoretical background. To realize this principle, both teachers and students face many challenges. In this paper an attempt is made to teach students how to build a very accurate ac voltage divider with an uncertainty better than a part- per-million. This implies building a transformer-based divider. The idea is to bridge the gap between the state-of-the-art achievements in modern research and the undergraduate level of expertise. Several years ago a group of midshipmen built a voltage divider for a critical point experiment that was conducted in collaboration with a National Institute of Standards and Technology and NASA space shuttle program. In order for the students to be able to build a good transformer lots of coaching took place. This lecture is intended t o introduce an engineering student into the art of precise voltage-ratio measurements.

There are a number of applications that use very precise voltage-ratio devices, but one of the most common is in impedance bridges. Measurement bridges are constructed in such a way that they allow comparison of a standard unit and a unit under test. The standard and the device under test are connected in series and the impedance of a device under test is calibrated by finding the voltage ratio of the serial connection (see Figure 1.). Impedance of resistors, capacitors, and inductors is tested using alternating current. Very often experiments in physics use the same concept to determine the properties of materials. The capacitance seems to be the most often measured quantity. In this paper we will concentrate on presentation of voltage-ratio devices. From Figure 1 it can be seen that the voltage ratio is obtained using an inductive voltage divider.

There are a number of references that give technical details on inductive voltage divider design [1] [2]. But they are written by engineers deeply involved in research, for engineers doing the same. Our goal is to present a straightforward and comprehensible lecture on voltage divider design.

“Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright Ó 2002, American Society for Engineering Education”

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Koffman, A., & Waltrip, B., & Piper, G., & Avramov-Zamurovic, S. (2002, June), A Lecture On Accurate Inductive Voltage Dividers Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--11360

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