Abstract:
The Mathematica 3.0.1 alternating current circuit analysis tutorial creative project consists of a brief text file (this project summary) and three Mathematica 3.0.1 notebook files that are stored on three 3.5 inch floppy disks. The notebook files are entitled Part 1 AC Tutorial.nb, Part 2 AC Tutorial.nb, and Part 3 AC Tutorial.nb with each notebook file being stored on a separate disk. The project summary is stored as a Windows 3.11 Write file on the same disk as Part 1 AC Tutorial.nb. The notebooks must be used in conjunction with Mathematica 3.0.1 software operating in a Windows 95 environment, and it is assumed that the student has previously studied direct current (DC) electricity, resistance, capacitance, and inductance.The series of tutorials allows the student to interactively investigate the theoretical behavior of simple alternating current (AC) circuits that include various combinations of resistance, capacitance, and inductance. The notebook series progresses from purely resistive circuits to resistive, inductive, and capacitive (RLC) circuits, building gradually upon previous concepts in an interactive fashion. Generally, background AC circuit theory is provided, and then simple circuits are analyzed as examples. Mathematica 3.0.1 is often employed in the example analyses, thereby additionally providing the student with complementary instruction in Mathematica. For example, the math software is used to solve for particular variables, calculate, differentiate, and integrate. Also, plots and graphics are emphasized throughout the tutorial to enhance student assimilation of the most important concepts.After the tutorial presents terminology, background theory, and worked examples, the student may then be asked to provide answers to simple calculations, conceptual queries, or more involved problems before advancing to the next complexity or topic. The student is encouraged to use Mathematica 3.0.1 to perform these tasks although other methods are certainly acceptable. Upon producing a response, the student will then check his or her answer by examining the postceding cells that usually obscure the problem solution until the cells are manually opened by the student. Additionally, the student may be encouraged to manipulate the input data to particular problems to observe how the outcomes respond to the student's parameter changes. This practice helps to provide the student with a conceptual understanding of the relationships between different variables, quantities, or concepts.The notebooks were developed during the fall of 1997 and the spring of 1998. A great deal of additional effort was put into obtaining the Mathematica 3.0.1 software, installing it, and achieving proper functioning. The circuit diagrams and the impedance diagrams were developed by using Windows 3.11 Paintbrush, saving the Paintbrush file, and then importing the file into Windows 95 Paint where additional alterations may have been made. The "Insert Object" command of the Mathematica 3.0.1 "Edit" drop-down menu was then selected. This command brings up a Paint window. The graphic was then copied from the first Windows 95 Paint window to the Windows 95 Paint palette that was activated by the "Insert Object" command. Additional alterations may then have been made. Finally, the object was updated and placed in the appropriate .Mathematica notebook.In the following printouts of the three notebooks, some of the features found in the computer tutorial software are lacking. Certainly the interactivity available to the user of the notebook is lost in the printed version. Additionally, coordinated colored graphics, colored text, and colored cell brackets disappear in the translation to print. Furthermore, the notebooks are displayed with all cells and subcells open so that the work found in the answer cells may be observed by the reader.