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CircuitViz: a new method for visualizing the dynamic behavior of electric circuits

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1 Author(s)
Doering, Edward R. ; Dept. of Electr. & Comput. Eng., Rose-Hulman Inst. of Technol., Terre Haute, IN, USA

Visualizing the dynamic behavior of electric circuits constitutes an important part of the learning process for students studying circuits. Circuit variables (voltage, current, power, and stored energy) are traditionally displayed separately from the circuit schematic as a Cartesian plot, but advances in scientific visualization indicate that merging all relevant data into a single visualization object, or graphic metaphor, improves the viewer's ability to perceive global relationships and thereby enhances understanding of the system under study. CircuitViz places the two-dimensional circuit diagram into a three-dimensional coordinate system and displays the circuit variables directly on the circuit diagram along the third spatial variable, and the display is animated to show time-dependent behavior. The visual cues are motivated by mechanical analogies (primarily the water-flow analogy) so as to draw upon the student's existing knowledge base. Examples of first-order circuits are presented in the paper. Initial classroom tests indicate that CircuitViz can motivate discussions of circuit operation by effectively illustrating qualitative circuit behavior, and most students report that the technique improved their understanding of transient circuit behavior

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Education, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:39 ,  Issue: 3 )