Single-Phase Rectifier Fed from an Inductive AC Source

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This Demonstration shows the current waveform of a single-phase rectifier when fed with a purely inductive sinusoidal voltage source. You can vary the source's short-circuit power through its equivalent series inductance. You can also vary the DC bus voltage to see different load states of the rectifier.

Contributed by: Diego M. Ferreyra (October 2012)
Open content licensed under CC BY-NC-SA



Single-phase rectifier bridges are built into the power supplies of several appliances. They are used to turn the AC power from the mains into DC power, which is typically fed into a capacitor or group of capacitors. A capacitor (or capacitor group) is typically known as the rectifier's DC bus.

The DC voltage available in the DC bus is then used to feed a load via some sort of switching device. For instance, it can be used as the internal supply voltage for any electronic home appliance. In industrial applications, DC voltage can be used to synthesize an AC voltage, as in uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) and also in variable frequency drives, devised to operate AC motors with an AC voltage of adjustable frequency.

The steady-state voltage level in the DC bus, which you can vary in this Demonstration, depends largely on the rectifier load level. At heavy loads, the DC voltage stays low enough to allow large currents through the rectifier bridge; lower rectifier loads imply higher DC voltages and consequently lower currents.

The magnitude of the rectifier current, which is determined by the difference between the AC voltage and the DC bus voltage, is limited by the source's impedance, which you can adjust by varying the inductance.

The waveform of the rectifier current depends mostly on the resistive or reactive nature of the mains source impedance. This Demonstration considers a purely inductive power source.

The source's short-circuit power is varied roughly between 0.1 and 0.3 MVA, depending on the choice of frequency and inductance values.


[1] N. Mohan, T. M. Undeland, and W. P. Robbins, Power Electronics: Converters, Applications, and Design, 3rd. ed., New York: John Wiley & Sons, 2003.

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