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Dictionary of Electrical Engineering

Commonly used terms in the Electrical industry.

impedance
(1) electrical property of a network that measures its ability to conduct electrical AC current for a given AC voltage. Impedance is defined as the ratio of the AC voltage divided by the AC current at a given point in the network. In general, impedance has two parts: a real (resistive) part and an imaginary (inductive or capacitive "reactive") part. Unless the circuit is purely resistive (made up of resistors only), the value of impedance will change with frequency.

(2) in an antenna, usually defined at the input to an antenna, the impedance is the ratio of the applied (or induced) voltage to the current flowing into (or out of) the antenna input. More generally, it is defined as the ratio of the electric field to the magnetic field.
impedance relay
a protective relay that senses the operational impedance at a location, i.e., the ratio of voltage to current at any given time. During fault conditions on the protected line, the impedance relay will sense the impedance (distance in ohms) between the location of the relay and the fault.

Typical impedance relay characteristics are mho and reactance. Impedance relays are widely used in sensing phase faults on transmission lines. Ground impedance relays are available that measure the distance to a single phase to ground fault using a modified technique.
See distance relay