What Is the Difference Between Resistive & Inductive Loads?

Hanging lights.
••• Design Pics/Design Pics/Getty Images

When electricity flows through a circuit, there are points on the circuit, called loads, where energy is drawn away. Loads, in essence, are objects that use electricity--such as light bulbs. There are a variety of classification systems, but one way you can divide loads is into resistive, capacative, inductive or a combination of these types.

Power Factor Differentiation

The outlets on your wall channel alternating current, or AC, which means that the flow of the current is reversed periodically. This reversal can be graphed as a wave and both the voltage and the current have a specific wave. The type of load depends on how the wave for the voltage and the wave for the current line up. In resistive loads, such as light bulbs, the voltage and current waves match, or the two are in phase. As you might guess from the name, resistive loads only resist the current and are the simplest type of load. In inductive loads, such as an electric motor, the voltage wave is ahead of the current wave. The difference between the two waves creates a secondary voltage that moves in opposition to the voltage from your energy source, known as inductance. Because of this property, inductive loads tend to experience power surges when they are turned on and off, a phenomenon not seen with resistive loads.

Related Articles

Types of Electrical Loads
How to Calculate Motor Inrush Current
How to Convert Hertz to Motor Rpm
How to Calculate Current Amplitude
How to Read Oscilloscopes
How to Figure kW Rating of a 3 Phase Electric Motor
How to Calculate the Short Circuit Rating
How to Convert KVA to KW 3-Phase
How to Use a Magnet to Create Electricity
What Is DC & AC Resistance?
What Is a Step Up Transformer?
AC Vs. DC Solenoids & How They Work
How it Works: Voltage Relay
What Is a Flyback Diode?
How to Convert 240 Single Phase to 480 3 Phase
How to Calculate a KVA Rating
How to Calculate 3-Phase Line-To-Ground Voltage
How to Calculate DC Voltage

Dont Go!

We Have More Great Sciencing Articles!