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Radio frequency (RF) is a frequency or rate of oscillation within the range of about 3 Hz to 300 GHz. This range corresponds to frequency of alternating current electrical signals used to produce and detect radio waves. Since most of this range is beyond the vibration rate that most mechanical systems can respond to, RF usually refers to oscillations in electrical circuits or electromagnetic radiation.
Special properties of RF electrical signals
Electrical currents that oscillate at RF have special properties not shared by direct current signals. One such property is the ease with which it can ionize air to create a conductive path through air. This property is exploited by 'high frequency' units used in electric arc welding. Another special property is an electromagnetic force that drives the RF current to the surface of conductors, known as the skin effect. Another property is the ability to appear to flow through paths that contain insulating material, like the dielectric insulator of a capacitor. The degree of effect of these properties depend on the frequency of the signals.
|This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Radio_frequency". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.|