June 18, 2006
June 18, 2006
June 21, 2006
Computers in Education
11.217.1 - 11.217.12
Animation Software for the Teaching of Electrical Transmission Lines
Electrical transmission lines are conduits for the transport of both information and electrical energy. As such, they are an important subject for undergraduate students in electrical engineering to master. With pressure to include more topics in the curriculum, most electrical and computer engineering curricula have limited the required coverage of electromagnetics to a single three or four semester hour course. With this development, the allotted space in the single course must be used wisely and many topics formerly covered in a multi-course sequence must be omitted. This forces some difficult curricular decisions as some pet topics of various faculty cannot be covered in the allotted time. At many institutions, the topic of transmission lines was in itself a separate course which has long ago been deleted from the required curriculum. With new emphasis on communication systems and integrated circuits, the topic of transmission lines is more important than ever, although the context has changed. In many cases, the topic of transmission lines has become part of the remaining required electromagnetics course.1 Usually this coverage is limited to sinusoidally driven lossless lines and propagation of suddenly applied D.C. signals on lossless lines.
Since transmission lines are distributed parameter systems, it is difficult to visualize the voltage and current on the line from analytical solutions. Many of our students are graphical learners and thus computer graphics may provide enhanced student learning. The authors have developed MATLAB-based animation software to handle the following cases:
• sinusoidally driven lossy lines (both resistance and conductance are present), • sinusoidally driven lossless lines (no series resistance or shunt conductance), • propagation of suddenly applied d.c signals on a lossless line, and • propagation of a rectangular pulse on a lossless line.
The software discussed here may employed for educational purposes in two distinct ways. The first is use by the instructor in the classroom to illustrate the concepts as they are discussed. The second is use by students in the computer lab to solve problems assigned by the instructor. This may require careful design of problem sets by the instructor to ensure that some hand calculations are required. A typical problem for the application of the lossless transmission line simulator is given in Appendix A. The software is not intended as a substitute for the understanding gained early in the process by solution of problems using a hand calculator. The concepts of load and source impedance matching, wave reflection, and standing wave ratio can be explored experimentally by students in the setting of the computer keyboard.
The concept of using MATLAB for the animation of lumped parameter dynamic systems was demonstrated by Watkins et al.2 Recently there have been a number of papers describing the graphical interpretation of partial differential equations. The transport of pollutants in groundwater has been described using web-based graphics3 and another paper reports a virtual laboratory for teaching quasistationary electromagnetics.4 Another recent paper discusses the solution of groundwater problems using a spreadsheet.5 Still another paper employs a
Jacquot, R., & Wright, C., & Kubichek, R. (2006, June), Animation Software For The Teaching Of Electrical Transmission Lines Paper presented at 2006 Annual Conference & Exposition, Chicago, Illinois. 10.18260/1-2--116
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