How do you solve a capacitor problem?

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Similar to a miniature rechargeable battery, the capacitor is a component with the "capacity" to store energy in the form of an electrical charge that creates a potential difference (Static Voltage) across its plates.

1. Capacitors come in a wide variety of sizes and shapes, from huge power factor correction capacitors to tiny capacitor beads used in resonance circuits, but all of them retain a charge.

2. A capacitor is a device that, in its most basic form, consists of two or more parallel conductive (metal) plates that are not connected to or touching one another but are electrically separated from one another by either air or suitable insulating material, such as waxed paper, mica, ceramic, plastic, or a liquid gel, as is the case with electrolytic capacitors. The term "dielectric" refers to the insulating layer that lies between a capacitor's plates.

3. This insulating layer prevents DC current from passing through the capacitor because it blocks it, therefore an electrical charge instead exists across the plates of the capacitor in the form of a voltage.

4. The overall shape, size, and construction of a parallel plate capacitor depend on the application and voltage rating of the capacitor and can be either square, round, or rectangular in shape, or they can be cylindrical or spherical.

5. Most often, we will be asked to determine the overall capacitance of a certain capacitor circuit the total capacitance, the voltage across the capacitor or the energy stored.

The capacitance of the capacitor is C=ε0Ad.

6. The ratio of the charge stored on the plates of a capacitor to the potential difference (voltage) across it is called capacitance.


7. When capacitors are connected in series, then total capacitance is

1C=1C1+1C2+, where

When capacitors are connected in parallel, the total capacitance is given by, C=C1+C2+

Thus, using the above formulas, the capacitor problems can be solved.

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