10 Differences Between impedance and resistance

Impedance vs Resistance

Impedance vs Resistance

Impedance and resistance are two important concepts in the field of electrical engineering. Understanding the difference between them is crucial for designing and analyzing electronic circuits. In this article, we will explore the definitions, examples, uses, and differences between impedance and resistance.

What is Impedance?

Impedance refers to the total opposition that a circuit offers to the flow of alternating current (AC). It combines both resistive and reactive elements, including resistance, inductance, and capacitance. Impedance is represented by the symbol Z and is measured in ohms (Ω).

Examples of Impedance:

Some common examples where impedance plays a significant role are:

  • Audio systems
  • Antennas
  • Transmission lines

What is Resistance?

Resistance is the opposition to the flow of electrical current in a circuit. It is denoted by the symbol R and is measured in ohms (Ω). Resistance occurs due to the collisions of electrons with atoms and molecules within a material.

Examples of Resistance:

Here are a few examples that illustrate the presence of resistance:

  • Heating elements
  • Incandescent lamps
  • Electric wires

Differences Between Impedance and Resistance

Difference Area Impedance Resistance
Definition Opposition to the flow of alternating current (AC) comprising resistance, inductance, and capacitance. Opposition to the flow of electrical current in a circuit.
Measurement Unit Ohms (Ω) Ohms (Ω)
Elements Involved Resistive, inductive, and capacitive elements Resistive element only
Effect on DC Current No effect Significantly impacts DC current flow
Change with Frequency Varies with frequency Remains constant with frequency
Phase Relationship Impedance may have both magnitude and phase angle No phase relationship
Complex Impedance Impedance can be complex (real + imaginary components) Resistance is always real
AC Circuit Analysis Essential for AC circuit analysis Not applicable for AC circuit analysis
Power Dissipation Power can be dissipated as heat Power is dissipated as heat
Reactance Component Impedance has both resistance and reactance No reactance component


In summary, impedance and resistance are both measures of electrical opposition. Impedance encompasses resistance as well as inductive and capacitive elements, while resistance solely refers to the opposition of electrical current. Impedance varies with frequency and can have both magnitude and phase angle, whereas resistance remains constant and has no phase relationship. Understanding these differences is essential for electrical engineers and circuit designers.

People Also Ask:

Q: What is the difference between impedance and resistance?

A: Impedance includes both resistive and reactive elements, while resistance only represents the opposition to electrical current.

Q: How is impedance measured?

A: Impedance is measured in ohms (Ω) using specialized instruments such as an impedance analyzer or a multimeter with an impedance setting.

Q: Can impedance exist in DC circuits?

A: Impedance is mainly associated with AC circuits, so in DC circuits, where frequencies are zero, the concept of impedance is not applicable.

Q: What are some practical applications of impedance?

A: Impedance is crucial in various applications such as audio systems, antennas, and transmission lines for efficient signal transmission and impedance matching.

Q: Are resistance and impedance the same in all circuits?

A: No, resistance and impedance can be different in circuits containing inductors and capacitors, where impedance includes both resistance and reactance.

Leave a Comment

content of this page is protected

Scroll to Top