Wave Equation for a TEM Transmission Line
Consider a TEM transmission line aligned along the
axis. The phasor form of the Telegrapher’s Equations (Section 3.5) relate the potential phasor
and the current phasor
to each other and to the lumped-element model equivalent circuit parameters
. These equations are
An obstacle to using these equations is that we require both equations to solve for either the potential or the current. In this section, we reduce these equations to a single equation – a wave equation – that is more convenient to use and provides some additional physical insight.
We begin by differentiating both sides of Equation 3.6.1 with respect to
Then using Equation 3.6.2 to eliminate
, we obtain
This equation is normally written as follows:
where we have made the substitution:
The principal square root of
is known as the propagation constant:
The propagation constant
(units of m−1) captures the effect of materials, geometry, and frequency in determining the variation in potential and current with distance on a TEM transmission line.
Following essentially the same procedure but beginning with Equation 3.6.2, we obtain
Note that both
satisfy the same linear homogeneous differential equation. This does not mean that
are equal. Rather, it means that
can differ by no more than a multiplicative constant. Since
is potential and
is current, that constant must be an impedance. This impedance is known as the characteristic impedance and is determined in Section 3.7.
directions along the length of the line. The constants may represent sources, loads, or simply discontinuities in the materials and/or geometry of the line. The values of the constants are determined by boundary conditions; i.e., constraints on
at some position(s) along the line.
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