What is a Capacitor ?

This article explains very basic definition of What is a Capacitor ?, its main application and technologies.

Capacitor Definition

Capacitors are passive electrical components to store electric energy

A capacitor is made from electrical conductive electrodes that are separated by an insulator. The insulating layer is called a dielectric. Although all capacitors share the same basic principle components, the material choice, configurations and features can vary widely.

Overview of common capacitors symbols can be find in related article here.

A capacitor is able to store energy in an electrostatic field that is generated by a potential difference across the conducting electrodes. So when an electrode is subject to a voltage, one plate of the capacitor will collect positive charge while the other will be negatively charged. The ratio of this electric charge and the potential difference (voltage) is called the capacitance and it is expressed in farads. The leaking current through the dielectric is called the leakage current.

Applications – What is it good for ?

Capacitors are common elements in electrical circuits with number of applications and different requirements such as:

Fig.1. capacitor typical applications overview table

Here are further links with more insights about the capacitor circuit function and its selection guide:

Capacitor Technologies

There are wide capacitor technologies that differ in features, behaviour, range of electrical parameters covered. The most common capacitor technologies include:

Fig. 2. The most common mass volume capacitor technologies capacitance vs voltage range; source: EPCI

The amazing fact about capacitors today is that they cover over 17 ranges ! of its main parameter – CAPACITANCE this hardly achieved by any other components technology.

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