Why is -180° taken as a reference or phase margin in Bode plots? If the phase plot (grid impedance and inverter impedance versus frequency) exceeds -180° at the gain crossover frequency, then the system will be unstable in a grid-tied inverter system. So why is -180° taken as a critical point?

  • $\begingroup$ Welcome to engineering.SE! Please refrain from all caps questions (thank you PProteus for the edit).Regarding your question I'm lacking the time (and possibly) understanding to give you a satysfying answer. However have a look at the Nyquist Stability Criterion. I recall that one was able to determine the phase margin from the nyquist plot / criterion. $\endgroup$
    – idkfa
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 14:57
  • $\begingroup$ It's not clear to me what you mean by reference or phase margin. Whether or not there is something "special" about -180° depends on your specific application... $\endgroup$
    – PProteus
    Commented Jul 28, 2017 at 15:36
  • $\begingroup$ Are you familiar with the Nyquist stability criterion? $\endgroup$
    – fibonatic
    Commented Jul 29, 2017 at 12:56

1 Answer 1


As already stated in the comments taking a closer look at the Nyquist stability criterion should provide the necessary explanation and details.

In short: using the Nyquist stability criterion it is possible to determine the stability of a closed loop system based on the open loop transfer function. Assuming a system consisting of a plant $P$, a controller $C$ and negative feedback the open loop transfer equals $PC$ while the closed loop transfer equals $(I + PC)^{-1}PC$. The closed loop response blows up (i.e. becomes unstable) as $PC$ approaches $-1$. An open loop transfer $PC$ equal to $-1$ implies a magnitude of $1$ and a phase equal to $-180$ degrees.


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