AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: Physics in a Biological Context II
  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Two Examples on How to Make AC Circuits Relevant to Pre-health and Life Science Students
  Meeting: 2014 Summer Meeting: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Location: N/A
  Time: 1:50PM
  Author: Ralf Widenhorn, Portland State University
5037253898, ralfw@pdx.edu
  Co-Author(s): Elliot Mylott, Justin Dunlap, Ellynne Kutschera
  Abstract: AC circuits are included in all standard introductory general physics textbooks. However, while engineers taking this course may easily see the relevance to their field, life science and pre-health students often struggle to see how AC circuits are relevant to their future study. We will present two lab activities that teach AC circuits in a biomedically relevant context. A circuit lab on the electrocardiogram (EKG) shows how an EKG sensor acts as a band pass filter and removes high and low frequency signals. Students then observe how a RLC circuit can be used to build a simple band pass filter. A second lab on biomedical impedance analysis (BIA) explores the concepts of AC currents, AC voltages, phase shifts, phasor diagrams, and impedance measurements. In this lab students can calculate a person's body composition using measurements of impedance and phase angle from a small current injected into the human body. They can compare these results to measurements of RC circuits that model the resistive and capacitive characteristics of the human body.
  Footnotes: None
  Presentation: Widenhorn-EKG_BIA_AAPTMeeting07_28_2014.pdf

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