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What is apparent power?

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Apparent power is a term used in electrical engineering to describe the total power consumed by an electrical system or device. It is represented by the symbol "S" and is measured in units of volt-amperes (VA).

In an alternating current (AC) circuit, the total power consumption consists of two components: real power (P) and reactive power (Q). Real power is the actual power that performs useful work and is measured in watts (W). It is responsible for the active energy transfer and is the power that powers electrical devices.

On the other hand, reactive power is the power that flows back and forth between inductive and capacitive elements in the circuit. It does not perform any useful work but is necessary to maintain the magnetic and electric fields in the system. Reactive power is measured in volt-amperes reactive (VAR).

Apparent power is the vector sum of real power and reactive power:

|S| = √(P^2 + Q^2)

In other words, it is the combination of both real and reactive power and represents the total power that needs to be supplied to the circuit for it to function correctly. Apparent power is crucial in power systems as it determines the sizing of equipment like transformers, generators, and power lines to handle the total power demands effectively.
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