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4.3.1: Theory Overview

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    In order to achieve the maximum load power in a DC circuit, the load resistance must equal the driving resistance, that is, the internal resistance of the source. Any load resistance value above or below this will produce a smaller load power. System efficiency (\(\eta\)) is 50% at the maximum power case. This is because the load and the internal resistance form a basic series loop, and as they have the same value, they must exhibit equal currents and voltages, and hence equal powers. As the load increases in resistance beyond the maximizing value the load voltage will rise, however, the load current will drop by a greater amount yielding a lower load power. Although this is not the maximum load power, this will represent a larger percentage of total power produced, and thus a greater efficiency (the ratio of load power to total power).

    This page titled 4.3.1: Theory Overview is shared under a CC BY-NC-SA license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by James M. Fiore.

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