1.12 Capacitors

Capacitors hold charge.  Capacitors do not conduct.

We measure capacitance in farads and charge in coulombs (equivalent to the charge 6×10^18 electrons).

a capacitor with 1 farad of capacity will charge 1 coulomb of charge after 1 volt has been applied across its terminals for 1 second.


The capacitor is basically plates of two conductors separated by a non-conductor.  When a voltage is applied, the charge accumulates.  And when the voltage has been removed, then it can release that charge.

I found this really cute video that explains a capacitor:

The total capacitance of capacitors in parallel is the sum of the capacitors.

Ctotal = C1+C2+C3…

Capacitors in parallel will always result in a BIG capacitance.

However capacitors in series will always result in a smaller capacitance.  Two capacitors in series have the capacitance of:

Ctotal = (C1C2)/(C1+C2)

Capacitors in series will always result in a capacitance smaller than the smaller capacitor.

Since capacitors do not conduct current, they do not dissipate power.

<iframe src=”http://prezi.com/embed/i1psv7u6nfbl/?bgcolor=ffffff&amp;lock_to_path=0&amp;autoplay=0&amp;autohide_ctrls=0&amp;features=undefined&amp;token=undefined&amp;disabled_features=undefined” width=”550″ height=”400″ frameBorder=”0″ webkitAllowFullScreen mozAllowFullscreen allowfullscreen></iframe>

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *