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Characteristic Impedance and the Infinite Line Several short sections, as shown in figure 315, can be combined to form a large transmission line, as shown in figure 316. Current will flow if voltage is applied across points K and L. In fact, any circuit, such as that represented in figure 316, view A, has a certain current flow for each value of applied voltage. The ratio of the voltage to the current is the impedance (Z). Recall that:
Figure 316.  Characteristic impedance.
The impedance presented to the input terminals of the transmission line is not merely the resistance of the wire in series with the impedance of the load. The effects of series inductance and shunt capacitance of the line itself may overshadow the resistance, and even the load, as far as the input terminals are concerned. To find the input impedance of a transmission line, determine the impedance of a single section of line. The impedance between points K and L, in view B of figure 316, can be calculated by the use of seriesparallel impedance formulas, provided the impedance across points M and N is known. But since this section is merely one small part of a longer line, another similar section is connected to points M and N. Again, the impedance across points K and L of the two sections can be calculated, provided the impedance of the third section is known. This process of adding one section to another can be repeated endlessly. The addition of each section produces an impedance across points K and L of a new and lower value. However, after many sections have been added, each successive added section has less and less effect on the impedance across points K and L. If sections are added to the line endlessly, the line is infinitely long, and a certain finite value of impedance across points K and L is finally reached. In this discussion of transmission lines, the effect of conductance (G) is minor compared to that of inductance (L) and capacitance (C), and is frequently neglected. In figure 316, view C, G is omitted and the inductance and resistance of each line can be considered as one line. Let us assume that the sections of view C continue to the right with an infinite number of sections. When an infinite number of sections extends to the right, the impedance appearing across K and L is Z_{0}. If the line is cut at R and S, an infinite number of sections still extends to the right since the line is endless in that direction. Therefore, the impedance now appearing across points R and S is also Z_{0}, as illustrated in view D. You can see that if only the first three sections are taken and a load impedance of Z_{0} is connected across points R and S, the impedance across the input terminals K and L is still Z_{0}. The line continues to act as an infinite line. This is illustrated in view E. Figure 317, view A, illustrates how the characteristic impedance of an infinite line can be calculated. Resistors are added in seriesparallel across terminals K and L in eight steps, and the resultant impedances are noted. In step 1 the impedance is infinite; in step 2 the impedance is 110 ohms. In step 3 the impedance becomes 62.1 ohms, a change of 47.9 ohms. In step 4 the impedance is 48.5 ohms, a change of only 13.6 ohms. The resultant changes in impedance from each additional increment become progressively smaller. Eventually, practically no change in impedance results from further additions to the line. The total impedance of the line at this point is said to be at its characteristic impedance; which, in this case, is 37 ohms. This means that an infinite line constructed as indicated in step 8 could be effectively replaced by a 37ohm resistor. View B shows a 37ohm resistor placed in the line at various points to replace the infinite line of step 8 in view A. There is no change in total impedance. Figure 317.  Termination of a line.
In figure 317, resistors were used to show impedance characteristics for the sake of simplicity. Figuring the actual impedance of a line having reactance is very similar, with inductance taking the place of the series resistors and capacitance taking the place of the shunt resistors. The characteristic impedance of lines in actual use normally lies between 50 and 600 ohms. When a transmission line is "short"compared to the length of the radiofrequency waves it carries, the opposition presented to the input terminals is determined primarily by the load impedance. A small amount of power is dissipated in overcoming the resistance of the line. However, when the line is "long"and the load is an incorrect impedance, the voltages necessary to drive a given amount of current through the line cannot be accounted for by considering just the impedance of the load in series with the impedance of the line. The line has properties other than resistance that affect input impedance. These properties are inductance in series with the line, capacitance across the line, resistance leakage paths across the line, and certain radiation losses. Q.22 What is the range of the characteristic impedance of lines used in actual practice? 
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