So far, the phenomenon of resonance appears to be a useless curiosity, or at most a nuisance to be avoided (especially if series resonance makes for a short-circuit across our AC voltage source!). However, this is not the case. Resonance is a very valuable property of reactive AC circuits, employed in a variety of applications.
One use for resonance is to establish a condition of stable frequency in circuits designed to produce AC signals. Usually, a parallel (tank) circuit is used for this purpose, with the capacitor and inductor directly connected together, exchanging energy between each other. Just as a pendulum can be used to stabilize the frequency of a clock mechanism’s oscillations, so can a tank circuit be used to stabilize the electrical frequency of an AC oscillator circuit. As was noted before, the frequency set by the tank circuit is solely dependent upon the values of L and C, and not on the magnitudes of voltage or current present in the oscillations:
Resonant circuit serves as stable frequency source.
Another use for resonance is in applications where the effects of greatly increased or decreased impedance at a particular frequency is desired. A resonant circuit can be used to “block” (present high impedance toward) a frequency or range of frequencies, thus acting as a sort of frequency “filter” to strain certain frequencies out of a mix of others. In fact, these particular circuits are called filters, and their design constitutes a discipline of study all by itself:
Resonant circuit serves as filter.
In essence, this is how analog radio receiver tuner circuits work to filter, or select, one station frequency out of the mix of different radio station frequency signals intercepted by the antenna.
- Resonance can be employed to maintain AC circuit oscillations at a constant frequency, just as a pendulum can be used to maintain constant oscillation speed in a timekeeping mechanism.
- Resonance can be exploited for its impedance properties: either dramatically increasing or decreasing impedance for certain frequencies. Circuits designed to screen certain frequencies out of a mix of different frequencies are called filters.