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# Bridge Circuit

## Bridge Circuit is a null method, operates on the principle of

comparison. That is a known (standard) value is adjusted until it is
equal to the unknown value.

Bridge Circuit

DC Bridge AC Bridge
(Resistance)
Inductance Capacitance Frequency

## Wheatstone Bridge Maxwell Bridge Schering Bridge Wien Bridge

Kelvin Bridge Hay Bridge
Megaohm Bridge Owen Bridge
Etc.
Wheatstone Bridge and Balance Condition

## Suitable for moderate resistance values: 1  to 10 M

A Balance condition:
No potential difference across the
R1 R2 galvanometer (there is no current through
the galvanometer)
I1 I2
Under this condition: VAD = VAB
V D B
I3 I4 I1R1  I2R2
And also VDC = VBC
R3 R4
I3R3  I4R4
where I1, I2, I3, and I4 are current in resistance
arms respectively, since I1 = I3 and I2 = I4
C
R1 R2 or R2
 Rx  R4  R3
R3 R4 R1
Example
   

12 V 12 V

   

     

12 V 12 V

     

## (c) Proportional resistance (d) 2-Volt unbalance

Measurement Errors
 R R 2 
1. Limiting error of the known resistors Rx  R3  R3  2 
 R1 R1 
Using 1st order approximation: R2  R1 R2 R3 
Rx  R3 1   
A R1  R1 R2 R3 

## 3. Changes in resistance of the bridge

arms due to the heating effect (I2R) or
V D B temperatures

## 4. Thermal emf or contact potential in the

bridge circuit
R3
Rx 5. Error due to the lead connection
C 3, 4 and 5 play the important role in the
measurement of low value resistance
Example In the Wheatstone bridge circuit, R3 is a decade resistance with a specified in
accuracy ±0.2% and R1 and R2 = 500  ± 0.1%. If the value of R3 at the null position is
520.4  determine the possible minimum and maximum value of RX

## R2  R1 R2 R3 

SOLUTION Apply the error equation Rx  R3 1   
R1  R1 R2 R3 

## 520.4500  0.1 0.1 0.2 

Rx  1     520.4( 1 0.004)  520.4 0.4%
500  100 100 100 
Therefore the possible values of R3 are 518.32 to 522.48 

Example A Wheatstone bridge has a ratio arm of 1/100 (R2/R1). At first balance, R3 is
adjusted to 1000.3  The value of Rx is then changed by the temperature change, the new
value of R3 to achieve the balance condition again is 1002.1  Find the change of Rx due to
the temperature change.
R2 1
SOLUTION At first balance: Rx old  R3 1000.3 10.003 
R1 100
R2 1
After the temperature change: Rx new  R3 1002.1 10.021 
R1 100
Therefore, the change of Rx due to the temperature change is 0.018 
Application of Wheatstone Bridge

Unbalance bridge
Consider a bridge circuit which have identical
A resistors, R in three arms, and the last arm has the
resistance of R +R. if R/R << 1
R R
Thévenin Voltage (VTH)
V
C G D
R
VTH  VCD  V
R R+R 4R

## B Thévenin Resistance (RTH)

Small unbalance
occur by the external RTH  R
environment
RTH = R
C

## This kind of bridge circuit can be found in sensor

R applications, where the resistance in one arm is
VTH=V G
4R sensitive to a physical quantity such as pressure,
D
temperature, strain etc.
Example Circuit in Figure (a) below consists of a resistor Rv which is sensitive to the
temperature change. The plot of R VS Temp. is also shown in Figure (b). Find (a) the
temperature at which the bridge is balance and (b) The output signal at Temperature of
60oC.
6
5 k 5 k 5

R v (k 
4
6V
3
2 4.5 k
1
0
Rv Output 0 20 40 60 80 100 120
5 k signal o
Temp ( C)

(b)
(a)
R3  R2 5 k5 k
SOLUTION (a) at bridge balance, we have Rv    5 k
R1 5 k
The value of Rv = 5 k corresponding to the temperature of 80oC in the given plot.
(b) at temperature of 60oC, Rv is read as 4.5 k thus R = 5 - 4.5 = 0.5 k We will
use Thévenin equivalent circuit to solve the above problem.
R 0.5 k
VTH  V  6 V  0.15V
4R 45 k
AC Bridge: Balance Condition
B
all four arms are considered as impedance
Z1 Z2 (frequency dependent components)
The detector is an ac responding device:
I1 I2
V A D C Source: an ac voltage at desired frequency

## Z1, Z2, Z3 and Z4 are the impedance of bridge arms

Z3 Z4
At balance point: EBA = E BC or I1 Z1 = I 2Z 2
D
V V
I1 = and I 2 =
General Form of the ac Bridge Z1 + Z3 Z2 + Z 4

## Polar Form: Z1Z4 =Z2Z3

Magnitude balance:
Z1Z4 1   4 =Z2 Z3  2   3 
Phase balance: 1  4 =2  3
Example The impedance of the basic ac bridge are given as follows:
Z1 100  80o (inductive impedance) Z3  400 30o (inductiveimpedance)
Z2  250  (pure resistance) Z4  unknown
Determine the constants of the unknown arm.

## SOLUTION The first condition for bridge balance requires that

Z 2 Z 3 250 400
Z4    1,000 
Z1 100

The second condition for bridge balance requires that the sum of the phase angles of
opposite arms be equal, therefore
4 =2  3  1  0  30  80  50 o

## Hence the unknown impedance Z4 can be written in polar form as

Z4  1,000    50 o

## Indicating that we are dealing with a capacitive element, possibly consisting of a

series combination of at resistor and a capacitor.
Example an ac bridge is in balance with the following constants: arm AB, R = 200 
in series with L = 15.9 mH R; arm BC, R = 300  in series with C = 0.265 F; arm CD,
unknown; arm DA, = 450 . The oscillator frequency is 1 kHz. Find the constants of
arm CD. B
SOLUTION
Z1 Z2

I1 I2 Z1  R  j L  200  j100 
V
D C Z 2  R 1/ jC  300  j600 
A
Z3  R  450 
Z4  unknown
Z3 Z4

D
The general equation for bridge balance states that Z1Z4 = Z2 Z3

## Z2 Z3 450 (200  j100)

Z4 =   j150 
Z1 (300  j600)

This result indicates that Z4 is a pure inductance with an inductive reactance of 150
 at at frequency of 1kHz. Since the inductive reactance XL = 2fL, we solve for L
and obtain L = 23.9 mH
Comparison Bridge: Capacitance

## Measure an unknown inductance or

R1 capacitance by comparing with it with a known
R2
inductance or capacitance.

Vs D At balance point: Z1 Zx = Z2 Z 3
C3 Rx 1
where Z =R 1; Z 2 = R2; and Z3  R3 
jC3
1
R3 Cx Unknown
capacitance  1   1 
R1  Rx    R2 3
R  
Diagram of Capacitance  j C x  j C 3
Comparison Bridge
R2 R3 R1
Separation of the real and imaginary terms yields: Rx  and Cx  C3
R1 R2

Frequency independent
To satisfy both balance conditions, the bridge must contain two variable
elements in its configuration.
Comparison Bridge: Inductance

## Measure an unknown inductance or

R1 R2 capacitance by comparing with it with a known
inductance or capacitance.

Vs D At balance point: Z1 Zx = Z2 Z 3
L3 Lx where Z =R 1; Z 2 = R2; and Z3  R3  j L3
1
R3 Rx Unknown
inductance
R1  Rx  j Lx   R2  RS  jLS 
Diagram of Inductance
Comparison Bridge
R2 R3 R2
Separation of the real and imaginary terms yields: Rx  and Lx  L3
R1 R1

Frequency independent
To satisfy both balance conditions, the bridge must contain two variable
elements in its configuration.