# Pulse width modulation and textual expression of resulting stimulus level

So we have been using pulse width modulation (PWM) as a means to digitally change the driving voltage of vibration motors. Usually, afaik, the resulting voltage from PWM is expressed as %duty cycle and not as a voltage (i.e., some % duty cycle, instead of Volts). We have used the expression %PWM in our manuscript.

Now one of the referees of our manuscript (indeed reviewer #2), is confused by this notation. Perhaps because they would like to call it % duty cycle (which is a valid argument). For technical reasons, I would like to replace the % notation entirely and call it voltage instead. So instead of saying 50%PWM (or 50% duty cycle), I'd like to simply say 2.5V (assuming the input was 5V).

Is it valid to use voltage as a unit (V) in scientific papers, while in fact PWM was used to emulate the voltage?

• I have a feeling this is better suited to academia.stackexchange.com as it's about the peer review process for academic papers, not about electronic design. – Brian Drummond Jan 8 '18 at 10:59
• @BrianDrummond - I disagree - the question is on terminology in electrical engineering. Academia will close it for sure. I'm just trying to explain why I am making such a fuss of terminology, so that folks here understand why I a masking this question (motivation). I can remove the motivation (peer review) if you like? If terminology questions are off topic then feel free to close it. In that case the question cannot be answered within the SE network I guess. – AliceD Jan 8 '18 at 11:11
• @BrianDrummond but yes, I agree it is not about electronic design per se, it's about the terminology around it. – AliceD Jan 8 '18 at 13:01
• I agree simply using V could be misleading and dangerous (say, if you limited PWM to 50% to avoid exceeding some device rating, that wouldn't work). Perhaps Vmean=2.5V or Vavg=2.5V would work, (with a footnote that Vavg is Vin * duty cycle). HOWEVER I am not in academia, so cannot judge if a reviewer would think that appropriate. – Brian Drummond Jan 8 '18 at 13:09