# Complex Numbers

In our analysis of dc networks, we found it necessary to determine the algebraic sum of voltages and currents. Since the same will also be true for ac networks, the question arises, How do we determine the algebraic sum of two or more voltages (or currents) that are varying sinusoidally? Although one solution would be to find the algebraic sum on a point-to-point basis, this would be a long and tedious process in which accuracy would be directly related to the scale employed.
It is the purpose of this chapter to introduce a system of complex numbers that, when related to the sinusoidal ac waveform, will result in a technique for finding the algebraic sum of sinusoidal waveforms that is quick, direct, and accurate. In the following chapters, the technique will be extended to permit the analysis of sinusoidal ac networks in a manner very similar to that applied to dc networks. The methods and theorems as described for dc networks can then be applied to sinusoidal ac networks with little difficulty. Fig. 1: Defining the real and imaginary axes of a complex plane.
Both are labeled in Fig. 1. Every number from zero to $\infty$ can be represented by some point along the real axis. Prior to the development of this system of complex numbers, it was believed that any number not on the real axis would not exist-hence the term imaginary for the vertical axis.