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Dictionary of Electrical Engineering

Commonly used terms in the Electrical industry.

asynchronous machine
See induction machine
asynchronous operation
a term to indicate that a circuit can operate or a communication system can transmit information when ready without having to wait for a synchronizing clock pulse.
asynchronous system
a (computer, circuit, device) system in which events are not executed in a regular time relationship, that is, they are timing-independent. Each event or operation is performed upon receipt of a signal generated by the completion of a previous event or operation, or upon availability of the system resources required by the event or operation.
asynchronous transfer mode (ATM)
method of multiplexing messages onto a channel in which channel time is divided into small, fixed-length slots or cells. In ATM systems the binding of messages to slots is done dynamically, allowing dynamic bandwidth allocation. ATM is asynchronous in the sense that the recurrence of cells containing information from an individual user is not necessarily periodic.
See asynchronous transfer mode
a convenient measure of pressure. 1 std atm = 14.696 psia (pounds per square inch absolute).

atmospheric attenuation
decrease in the amplitude of a signal propagating through the atmosphere, due primarily to absorption and scatter.

a particle of matter indivisible by chemical means, which is chemically neutral. It is the fundamental building block of the chemical elements.
the exponential decrease with distance, in the amplitude of an electric signal traveling along a very long transmission line due to losses in the supporting medium. In electromagnetic systems attenuation is due to conductor and dielectric losses. In fiber optic systems attenuation arises from intrinsic material properties (absorption and Rayleigh scattering) and from waveguide properties such as bending, microbending, splices, and connectors.
attenuation constant
the real part of the complex propagation constant for an electromagnetic wave.

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