A passive component is an electric component that does not need electrical power to work. However, it is connected to an AC or alternating current. It is an essential element for inductors, resistors, transformers, and capacitors. As it’s “passive” and not an energy source, it does not amplify or gain power. A passive device stores, absorbs, or disperses the energy it receives in a magnetic or electric field. Passive components can be connected together within an electrical circuit. It can also be utilized individually.
Common Elements of Passive Components
This passive device is not intended to generate energy but is capable of storing and delivering it. Inductors are lossless, which means energy is not lost and converted to heat. As such, inductors can keep the energy stored for as long as needed. Electromagnets, solenoids, and chokes are examples inductors.
A resistor is not capable of transferring energy to circuits. What it does is receive and dissipate electrical energy as heat. It is a two-terminal component that reduces current flow and lowers circuit voltage levels.
Transformers are passive electrical devices that have constant power. As such, they are capable only of increasing and decreasing voltage. They cannot supply and amplify energy. Transformers work mainly by using electromagnetic induction to move energy from one to two or more circuits. Like inductors, they are also lossless.
Also called a condenser, a capacitor uses an electric field to store energy electrostatically. In other words, it does not supply energy but sets it aside for future use. A capacitor is a two-terminal passive component that is made up of two electrical conductors with a dielectric as a separator.
Two Types of Passive Components
- Lossless passive components are not equipped with an output or input power flow. Capacitors, inductors, and transformers fall under this category.
- Dissipative or lossy passive components are not capable of absorbing power coming from an external circuit. Resistors are classified as dissipative.