4-31 COMPOSITION OF NONSINUSOIDAL WAVES Pure sine waves are basic wave shapes from which other wave shapes can be constructed. Any waveform that is not a pure sine wave consists of two or more sine waves. Adding the correct frequencies at the proper phase and amplitude will form square waves, sawtooth waves, and other nonsinusoidal waveforms. A waveform other than a sine wave is called a COMPLEX WAVE. You will see that a complex wave consists of a fundamental frequency plus one or more HARMONIC frequencies. The shape of a nonsinusoidal waveform is dependent upon the type of harmonics present as part of the waveform, their relative amplitudes, and their relative phase relationships. In general, the steeper the sides of a waveform, that is, the more rapid its rise and fall, the more harmonics it contains. The sine wave which has the lowest frequency in the complex periodic wave is referred to as the FUNDAMENTAL FREQUENCY. The type and number of harmonics included in the waveform are dependent upon the shape of the waveform. Harmonics have two classifications — EVEN numbered and ODD numbered. Harmonics are always a whole number of times higher than the fundamental frequency and are designated by an integer (whole number). For example, the frequency twice as high as the fundamental frequency is the SECOND HARMONIC (or the first even harmonic). View (A) of figure 4-25 compares a square wave with sine waves. Sine wave K is the same frequency as the square wave (its fundamental frequency). If another sine wave (L) of smaller amplitude but three times the frequency (referred to as the third harmonic) is added to sine wave K, curve M is produced. The addition of these two waveforms is accomplished by adding the instantaneous values of both sine waves algebraically. Curve M is called the resultant. Notice that curve M begins to assume the shape of a square wave. Curve M is shown again in view (B).

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