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What are real, reactive, and apparent power?

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What are real, reactive, and apparent power? What units are they measured in? How are they related?

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Real power is just what it says, power as in work done per unit of time. In electrical systems, the real power is calculated as

Preal = V*I*cos(phi)

where

V = voltage

I = current

phi = phase angle between current and voltage

Reactive power is

Preact = V*I*sin(phi)

I've never heard the term "apparent power" but I suspect what you mean is what I know as Volt-Amperes = V*I

The real power is the in-phase part of the volt-ampere product while the reactive power is the out-of-phase part of that product.

DrD

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