Convolution Integral: How a Graphical Type of Solution Can Help Minimize Misconceptions

Hendra J. Tarigan


A physical system, Low Pass Filter (LPF) RC Circuit, which serves as an impulse response and a square wave input signal are utilized to derive the continuous time convolution (convolution integrals). How to set up the limits of integration correctly and how the excitation source convolves with the impulse response are explained using a graphical type of solution. This in turn, help minimize the students’ misconceptions about the convolution integral. Further, the effect of varying the circuit elements on the shape of the convolution output plot is presented allowing students to see the connection between a convolution integral and a physical system. PSpice simulation and experiment results are incorporated and are compared with those of the analytical solution associated with the convolution integral.

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