Capacitor: How Capacitor Works and How to Use


In a sense it’s a similar to batteries. While they function in totally different ways, both batteries and capacitors are both storage devices for electrical energy. If you’ve gone through the How Batteries Work you will already know that a battery has two terminals. Within batteries, reactions create electrons at one terminal, and the second terminal absorbs them as you build the circuit. A capacitor is a lot simpler than a battery in that it doesn’t generate new electrons – it simply holds the electrons. It is called a capacitor because it is a “capacity” of storing energy.

This article will discover the meaning of a capacitor in terms of its function, and how it’s utilized in electronic devices. In addition, we’ll look at the background of capacitors and how a number of people have played a role in shaping its evolution.

Capacitors are made to meet any need starting from the smallest capacitor that you use in your calculator or an extremely capacitor that could provide power to an electric bus. Here are the various kinds of capacitors and the ways they’re utilized.

  • Air: It is often used in circuits for tuning radios
  • Mylar is the most commonly employed for timer circuits such as counters, clocks, counters, alarms and other alarms.
  • Glass is suitable for applications requiring high voltage.
  • Ceramic is used to make high-frequency devices such as antennas and X-ray as well as machines such as MRI machines
  • Super capacitor is what powers the electric or hybrid vehicles


In a capacitor, the contacts join two plates made of metal that are separated with a nonconductive element such as Dielectric. It is easy to build capacitors using two pieces of aluminum foil and white paper (and some clips for electrical use). It’s not a excellent capacitor, in terms of its capacity for storage, however it’s a good idea.

In theory, the dielectric could be any non-conductive material. For practical purposes certain materials are employed which best fit the purpose of the capacitor. Mica ceramic, cellulose porcelain Mylar, Teflon and even air are among the materials that are not conductive used. The dielectric determines the type the capacitor is, and to what purpose it is for. Based on the dimensions and dielectric type certain capacitors are best for high-frequency use, whereas certain ones are best suited for high voltage applications.

Capacitor Circuit

When you connect an electric capacitor to a battery, the following happens:

  • The capacitor’s plate which is attached on the positive terminals of the battery takes in electrons produced by the battery.
  • The capacitor’s plate that is connected with the battery’s positive end, loses electrons from the battery.

After it’s been charged, the capacitor will have exactly the same voltage that the battery. 1.5 volts for the battery equals 1.5 voltages on the capacitor. In the case of a tiny capacitor, the capacity is minimal. However, larger capacitors can store quite a charge. There are capacitors that are as large as soda bottles that can contain enough energy to power an lightbulb for 30 seconds or longer.

The nature also illustrates the role of the capacitor through lightning. A plate acts as cloud, the other plate is cloud while the other is the ground, and it is the lightning is the release of charge between the two “plates.” Evidently, a capacitor that big can hold a massive charge!

Let’s say you connect the capacitor as follows:

This is the battery, the lighting bulb and capacitor. In the event that the capacitor’s large, what you’ll observe is that, once connecting the battery to it, the light bulb will start to light up as the current flows through the battery into the capacitor to charge it. The light bulb will become gradually dimming until it will disappear when the capacitor is at its capacity. If you remove your battery, and then replace it using a wire the current flows between the plates in the capacitor the next. The bulb will first light and slowly dim as the capacitor drains and discharges until it’s completely gone.

In the next part we’ll discuss capacitance as well as take a thorough. Review of the various ways that capacitors can be used.

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