Concept

# Electrical element

Summary
In electrical engineering, electrical elements are conceptual abstractions representing idealized electrical components, such as resistors, capacitors, and inductors, used in the analysis of electrical networks. All electrical networks can be analyzed as multiple electrical elements interconnected by wires. Where the elements roughly correspond to real components, the representation can be in the form of a schematic diagram or circuit diagram. This is called a lumped-element circuit model. In other cases, infinitesimal elements are used to model the network in a distributed-element model. These ideal electrical elements represent actual, physical electrical or electronic components. Still, they do not exist physically and are assumed to have ideal properties. In contrast, actual electrical components have less than ideal properties, a degree of uncertainty in their values, and some degree of nonlinearity. To model the nonideal behavior of a real circuit component may require a combination of multiple ideal electrical elements to approximate its function. For example, an inductor circuit element is assumed to have inductance but no resistance or capacitance, while a real inductor, a coil of wire, has some resistance in addition to its inductance. This may be modeled by an ideal inductance element in series with a resistance. Circuit analysis using electric elements is useful for understanding practical networks of electrical components. Analyzing how a network is affected by its individual elements makes it possible to estimate how a real network will behave. Circuit elements can be classified into different categories. One is how many terminals they have to connect them to other components: One-port elements - represent the simplest components, with only two terminals to connect to. Examples are resistances, capacitances, inductances, and diodes. Multiport elements - these have more than two terminals. They connect to the external circuit through multiple pairs of terminals called ports.