module specification

CT4003 - Electrical Principles (2017/18)

Module specification Module approved to run in 2017/18
Module title Electrical Principles
Module level Certificate (04)
Credit rating for module 30
School School of Computing and Digital Media
Total study hours 300
81 hours Scheduled learning & teaching activities
219 hours Guided independent study
Assessment components
Type Weighting Qualifying mark Description
Coursework 25%   Problem Solving and Simulations-1 (1000 words)
Coursework 25%   Problem Solving and Simulations-2 (1000 words)
Unseen Examination 50%   2-Hours Unseen Examination
Running in 2017/18
Period Campus Day Time Module Leader
Year North Tuesday Morning

Module summary

The module introduces students to the analysis of DC (including both steady state and transient behaviour) for resistors, capacitors and inductors. Techniques for the analysis of DC resistive circuits will be introduced including serial and parallel networks, mesh and node analysis and the principle of superposition. Equations for the response of a switched voltage across a capacitor and inductor will be developed considering an R-C and R-L circuits
The module then develops the analysis of AC circuits, introducing the more powerful methods associated with the use of complex numbers.

Module aims

1. To introduce students to the basic principles governing the behaviour of electrical circuits;
2. To develop the ability to analyse more complex circuits by using techniques of network analysis;
3. To introduce students to the applications of complex numbers in AC analysis;
4. To develop the ability to design circuits to meet a given specification within agreed tolerances;
5. To develop an awareness of different modes of analysis; e.g. time-domain, frequency domain, time-averaged and Fourier analysis.


Basic Concepts: charge, current, potential difference, power, resistance; ideal and real voltage and current sources; the basic circuit laws: Ohm’s Law and Kirchhoff’s Current and Voltage Laws; application to simple DC series, parallel and series-parallel circuits.
Network Analysis: mesh (loop) analysis; nodal analysis; network theorems: Superposition Theorem, Thévenin’s Theorem, Norton’s Theorem, and Maximum Power Transfer Theorem.
Circuit Transients: capacitance; capacitor charge and discharge; inductance; inductive transients; LCR transients; differentiating and integrating circuits.
AC Basics: period and frequency, RMS values; phase; current-voltage relations for R, L and C; voltage phasor diagrams; application to RL and RC circuits; reactance and impedance; frequency-domain analysis and Bode plots.
Complex analysis of AC circuits using the j operator; Cartesian and polar representation of current, voltage and impedance; application to RC, RL and RLC series circuits; resonance, bandwidth and Q factor; power in AC circuits; parallel AC circuits and admittance; transformers.
AC Network Analysis: network theorems: Superposition Theorem, Thévenin’s Theorem, Norton’s Theorem, and Maximum Power Transfer Theorem.
Non-sinusoidal Waveforms: Fourier series; representation of common non-sinusoidal waveforms; frequency spectrum; circuit response to non-sinusoidal waveforms; use of spreadsheets in Fourier analysis.

Students will be introduced to a suitable simulation such as Matlab in order to provide a platform by which more complex networks may be analysed and designed.

Learning and teaching

The electrical principles and network analysis techniques are introduced by way of the lecture programme. Small group tutorial classes are used to give students experience of problem solving under supervision, and to develop approaches to designing a circuit to meet a specification. In the tutorials, students can also discuss the results of the simulation exercises. These exercises support the problem solving and design aspects of the course. The module is supported via a web home page.

Learning outcomes

On successful completing this module, students will be able to:
LO1. Distinguish between voltage and current sources, and between the behaviour of resistors;
LO2. Capacitors and inductors in both DC and AC circuits;
LO3. Apply basic circuit laws to the analysis of simple DC circuits;
LO4. Apply techniques of network analysis to more complex DC circuits;
LO5. Demonstrate an appreciation of the role of DC transients;
LO6. Use complex numbers in the analysis of series, parallel and series-parallel AC circuits;
LO7. Apply techniques of network analysis to AC circuits to meet a given specification;

Assessment strategy

The summative assessment will be in the form of an end of module exam for which the students will be prepared through on-going problem sheets.  Initially, the problem sheets will be in the form of simple questions, but will gradually develop to more complex specimen exam questions.  Students will be introduced to a simulation tool (e.g. Matlab) in order to carry out in-depth analysis of electrical networks.  Students will be expected to use the simulator to verify their results in the problems sheets.
Students will submit the above problem sheets / workshops in weeks 12 and 24.  Each piece will be assessed and students will be provided with a comprehensive report from the tutor on their performance and how to improve.  The assessments will provide 50% of the module’s mark covering the learning outcomes LO1 to LO7.  A final unseen examination in week 30 provides the remaining 50% of the module’s mark designed to assess the understanding of the students in LO1 to LO7.



1. Robbins and Miller (2004), “Circuit Analysis: Theory and Practice”, Thomson, ISBN 1401811566
2. Bird J (2004), “Electrical Circuit Theory & Technology”, Newnes, ISBN 750657847