# CAPACITANCE. Capacitor. Because of the effect of capacitance, an electrical circuit can store energy, even after being de-energized.

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1 D ircuits APAITANE APAITANE Because of the effect of capacitance, an electrical circuit can store energy, even after being de-energized. EO 1.5 EO 1.6 EO 1.7 EO 1.8 EO 1.9 DESRIBE the construction of a capacitor. DESRIBE how a capacitor stores energy. DESRIBE how a capacitor opposes a change in voltage. Given a circuit containing capacitors, ALULATE total capacitance for series and parallel circuits. Given a circuit containing capacitors and resistors, ALULATE the time constant of the circuit. apacitor Electrical devices that are constructed of two metal plates separated by an insulating material, called a dielectric, are known as capacitors (Figure 10a). Schematic symbols shown in Figures 10b and 10c apply to all capacitors. Figure 10 apacitor and Symbols Rev. 0 Page 9 ES-03

2 APAITANE D ircuits The two conductor plates of the capacitor, shown in Figure 11a, are electrically neutral, because there are as many positive as negative charges on each plate. The capacitor, therefore, has no charge. Now, we connect a battery across the plates (Figure 11b). When the switch is closed (Figure 11c), the negative charges on Plate A are attracted to the positive side of the battery, while the positive charges on Plate B are attracted to the negative side of the battery. This movement of charges will continue until the difference in charge between Plate A and Plate B is equal to the voltage of Figure 11 harging a apacitor the battery. This is now a "charged capacitor." apacitors store energy as an electric field between the two plates. Because very few of the charges can cross between the plates, the capacitor will remain in the charged state even if the battery is removed. Because the charges on the opposing plates are attracted by one another, they will tend to oppose any changes in charge. In this manner, a capacitor will oppose any change in voltage felt across it. If we place a conductor across the plates, electrons will find a path back to Plate A, and the charges will be neutralized again. This is now a "discharged" capacitor (Figure ). Figure Discharging a apacitor ES-03 Page 10 Rev. 0

3 D ircuits APAITANE apacitance apacitance is the ability to store an electrical charge. apacitance is equal to the amount of charge that can be stored divided by the applied voltage, as shown in Equation (3-7). where Q = (3-7) V = capacitance (F) Q = amount of charge () V = voltage (V) The unit of capacitance is the farad (F). A farad is the capacitance that will store one coulomb of charge when one volt is applied across the plates of the capacitor. The dielectric constant (K) describes the ability of the dielectric to store electrical energy. Air is used as a reference and is given a dielectric constant of 1. Therefore, the dielectric constant is unitless. Some other dielectric materials are paper, teflon, bakelite, mica, and ceramic. The capacitance of a capacitor depends on three things. 1. Area of conductor plates 2. Separation between the plates 3. Dielectric constant of insulation material Equation (3-8) illustrates the formula to find the capacitance of a capacitor with two parallel plates. = K A (8.85 x 10 ) (3-8) d where = capacitance K = dielectric constant A = area d = distance between the plates 8.85 x 10 - = constant of proportionality Rev. 0 Page 11 ES-03

4 APAITANE D ircuits Example 1: Find the capacitance of a capacitor that stores 8 of charge at 4 V. Q V 8 4 2F Example 2: What is the charge taken on by a 5F capacitor at 2 volts? Q Q Q V (5F) (2V) 10 Example 3: What is the capacitance if the area of a two plate mica capacitor is m 2 and the separation between the plates is 0.04 m? The dielectric constant for mica is 7. K A d (8.85 x 10 ) (8.85 x 10 ) 7.74 x 10 F 7.74 pf Types of apacitors All commercial capacitors are named according to their dielectrics. The most common are air, mica, paper, and ceramic capacitors, plus the electrolytic type. These types of capacitors are compared in Table 1. ES-03 Page Rev. 0

5 D ircuits APAITANE TABLE 1 Types of apacitors Dielectric onstruction apacitance Range Air Meshed plates pf Mica Stacked Sheets pf Paper Rolled foil µf eramic Tubular pf Disk Tubular µf Electrolytic Aluminum µf Tantalum Aluminum µf apacitors in Series and Parallel apacitors in series are combined like resistors in parallel. The total capacitance, T, of capacitors connected in series (Figure 13), is shown in Equation (3-9). Figure 13 apacitors onnected in Series T N (3-9) Rev. 0 Page 13 ES-03

6 APAITANE D ircuits When only two capacitors are in series, Equation (3-9) may be simplified as given in Equation (3-10). As shown in Equation (3-10), this is valid when there are only two capacitors in series. T = 1 2 (3-10) 1 2 When all the capacitors in series are the same value, the total capacitance can be found by dividing the capacitor s value by the number of capacitors in series as given in Equation (3-11). where T = (3-11) N = value of any capacitor in series N = the number of capacitors in series with the same value. apacitors in parallel are combined like resistors in series. When capacitors are connected in parallel (Figure 14), the total capacitance, T, is the sum of the individual capacitances as given in Equation (3-). T = N (3-) Figure 14 apacitors onnected in Parallel ES-03 Page 14 Rev. 0

7 D ircuits APAITANE Example 1: Find the total capacitance of 3µF, 6µF, and µf capacitors connected in series (Figure 15) T T 7 1.7µ f Figure 15 Example 1 - apacitors onnected in Series Example 2: Find the total capacitance and working voltage of two capacitors in series, when both have a value of 150 µf, 0 V (Figure 16). T N T 75µ f Total voltage that can be applied across a group of capacitors in series is equal to the sum of the working voltages of the individual capacitors. working voltage = 0 V + 0 V = 240 volts Figure 16 Example 2 - apacitors onnected in Series Rev. 0 Page 15 ES-03

8 APAITANE D ircuits Example 3: Find the total capacitance of three capacitors in parallel, if the values are 15 µf-50 V, 10 µf-100 V, and 3 µf-150 V (Figure 17). What would be the working voltage? T µ F 10µ F 3µ F T 28µ F The working voltage of a group of capacitors in parallel is only as high as the lowest working voltage of an individual capacitor. Therefore, the working voltage of this combination is only 50 volts. apacitive Time onstant Figure 17 Example 3 - apacitors onnected in Parallel When a capacitor is connected to a D voltage source, it charges very rapidly. If no resistance was present in the charging circuit, the capacitor would become charged almost instantaneously. Resistance in a circuit will cause a delay in the time for charging a capacitor. The exact time required to charge a capacitor depends on the resistance (R) and the capacitance () in the charging circuit. Equation (3-13) illustrates this relationship. where T = R (3-13) T = capacitive time constant (sec) R = resistance (ohms) = capacitance (farad) The capacitive time constant is the time required for the capacitor to charge to 63.2 percent of its fully charged voltage. In the following time constants, the capacitor will charge an additional 63.2 percent of the remaining voltage. The capacitor is considered fully charged after a period of five time constants (Figure 18). ES-03 Page 16 Rev. 0

9 D ircuits APAITANE Figure 18 apacitive Time onstant for harging apacitor The capacitive time constant also shows that it requires five time constants for the voltage across a discharging capacitor to drop to its minimum value (Figure 19). Figure 19 apacitive Time onstant for Discharging apacitor Rev. 0 Page 17 ES-03

10 APAITANE D ircuits Example: Find the time constant of a 100 µf capacitor in series with a 100Ω resistor (Figure 20). T T T R (100Ω)(100µF) 0.01 seconds Figure 20 Example - apacitive Time onstant Summary The important information on capacitors is summarized below. apacitance Summary A capacitor is constructed of two conductors (plates) separated by a dielectric. A capacitor will store energy in the form of an electric field caused by the attraction of the positively-charged particles in one plate to the negativelycharged particles in the other plate. The attraction of charges in the opposite plates of a capacitor opposes a change in voltage across the capacitor. apacitors in series are combined like resistors in parallel. apacitors in parallel are combined like resistors in series. The capacitive time constant is the time required for the capacitor to charge (or discharge) to 63.2 percent of its fully charged voltage. ES-03 Page 18 Rev. 0

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