The duty cycle is defined as the ratio between the pulse duration () and the period () of a rectangular waveform
A duty cycle is the percentage of one period in which a signal is active. A period is the time it takes for a signal to complete an on-and-off cycle. As a formula, a duty cycle may be expressed as:
where is the duty cycle, is the time the signal is active, and is the total period of the signal. Thus, a 60% duty cycle means the signal is on 60% of the time but off 40% of the time. The "on time" for a 60% duty cycle could be a fraction of a second, a day, or even a week, depending on the length of the period.
In the printer / copier industry, the duty cycle specification refers to the rated throughput (that is, printed pages) of a device per month.
In a welding power supply, the maximum duty cycle is defined as the percentage of time in a 10 minute period that it can be operated continuously before overheating.
The concept of duty cycles is also used to describe the activity of neurons and muscle fibers. In a neural network for example, a duty cycle specifically refers to the proportion of a cycle period in which a neuron remains active.
^Barrett, Steven Frank; Pack, Daniel J. (2006). "Timing subsystem". Microcontrollers Fundamentals for Engineers and Scientists. Morgan and Claypool Publishers. pp. 51–64. ISBN1-598-29058-4.
^ abCox, James F.; Chartrand, Leo (June 26, 2001). "Nonsinusoidal oscillators". Fundamentals of Linear Electronics: Integrated and Discrete (2 ed.). Cengage Learning. pp. 511–584. ISBN0-766-83018-7.
^"Definition: duty cycle". Federal Standard 1037C, "Telecommunications: Glossary of Telecommunication Terms". Boulder, Colorado: Institute for Telecommunication Sciences. 1996. Retrieved March 3, 2011.
^Brown, Martin (1990). "How a switching power supply works". Practical Switching Power Supply Design (Motorola Series in Solid State Electronics). San Diego, CA: Academic Press. pp. 87–139. ISBN0-121-37030-5.
^ abHarris-Warrick, Ronald; Nagy, Frédéric; Nusbaum, Michael (1992). Harris-Warrick, Ronald; Marder, Eve; Silverston, Alan et al., eds. Dynamic biological networks: the stomatogastric nervous system. Massachusetts: MIT Press. pp. 87–139. ISBN0-262-08214-4.|displayeditors= suggested (help)