Electronic – Application of Complex Numbers

capacitorcircuit analysiselectricityinductorresistors

I was just wondering how complex numbers can be applied in electrical engineering and why we use complex numbers over regular, real numbers for this application (e.g what capabilities does the complex number have that real numbers do not in electrical engineering)?

I have done some research concerning impedances and understand how they are written in complex form, however I am still confused why complex numbers are necessary in this field over regular numbers.

Best Answer

If you consider Real Power and Imaginary Power we are talking about resistive power and reactive power with energy stored in inductors, and capacitors. The vector sum of both is called "apparent power"

Even in mechanical systems there are complex reciprocal devices with stored energy in flywheels or springs. Inductors and Capacitors are similar in that they can store energy , in math called imaginary value.

But when an inductor opens current and arcs, it turns in to real energy similar to shorting out a capacitor into some resistance. Although this is a crude example like putting a crowbar brake across a flywheel.