Definition: Element

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Any electrical device with terminals that may be connected to other electrical devices such as a generator, transformer, circuit breaker, bus section, or transmission line. An element may be comprised of one or more components.[1]

Wikipedia Definition

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 real, physical electrical or electronic components but they do not exist physically and they are assumed to have ideal properties, while 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 in order 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 many practical electrical networks using components. By analyzing the way a network is affected by its individual elements it is possible to estimate how a real network will behave.

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  1. Glossary of Terms Used in Reliability Standards

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