# Capacitors & Capacitance – Types, derivation, advantages & Application

In this article, we will learn about capacitors, capacitance, types of capacitors, the derivation of capacitance, the advantages, and disadvantages of capacitors, and the application of capacitors in various fields. So let’s start with the definition of a capacitor.

Also Read: What is VRLA Battery?

## Definition of capacitor

• A capacitor is a passive electronic component that stores electrical charge. It is made up of two conductive plates separated by an insulating material called the dielectric. The plates can be made of various materials, such as metal, aluminum, or copper, and the dielectric can be a solid, liquid, or gas.
• When a voltage is applied across the plates of a capacitor, the plate that is connected to the positive terminal of the voltage source becomes positively charged and the plate connected to the negative terminal becomes negatively charged. This creates an electrical field within the capacitor that can store energy.
• Capacitors are used in a wide variety of electronic circuits for a number of different purposes. They can be used to store charge, smooth out voltage fluctuations, filter noise, and much more. They are commonly found in power supplies, signal processing circuits, and in many other types of electronic devices.

## What is Capacitance?

• Capacitance is a measure of the ability of a capacitor to store electrical charge. It is expressed in units of farads (F). The capacitance of a capacitor is determined by the size of its plates and the type of material used for the dielectric. A capacitor with larger plates or a dielectric with a higher dielectric constant will have a higher capacitance.

## Derivation of the capacitance of Capacitor

• The capacitance of a capacitor can be calculated using the following formula:

Capacitance (C) = Charge (Q) / Voltage (V)

Where C is the capacitance in farads (F), Q is the charge in coulombs (C), and V is the voltage in volts (V).

• This equation is based on the definition of capacitance, which states that the capacitance of a capacitor is the ratio of the charge stored on the capacitor to the voltage applied across its plates.
• For example, consider a capacitor with a charge of 2 coulombs and a voltage of 1 volt. The capacitance of this capacitor would be calculated as follows:

C = Q / V = 2 C / 1 V = 2 F

This means that the capacitance of the capacitor is 2 farads.

• You can also use the following formula to calculate the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor:

Capacitance (C) = ε0 * εr * A / d

• Where C is the capacitance in farads (F), ε0 is the vacuum permittivity (8.854 x 10-12 F/m), εr is the relative permittivity of the dielectric material, A is the area of the plates in square meters (m2), and d is the distance between the plates in meters (m).
• This formula shows that the capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor is directly proportional to the area of the plates and inversely proportional to the distance between the plates. It also depends on the permittivity of the dielectric material, which is a measure of its ability to store electrical charge.

## Types of Capacitors

• There are many different types of capacitors, each with its own unique characteristics and applications. Some of the most common types of capacitors include:
• Electrolytic capacitors: These are polarized capacitors that use an electrolyte to store charge. They are available in a wide range of sizes and capacitance values and are commonly used in power supplies and audio circuits.
• Ceramic capacitors: These are non-polarized capacitors made from ceramic material. They are small, lightweight, and have a high capacitance-to-size ratio. They are commonly used in high-frequency circuits and in applications where space is limited.
• Film capacitors: These capacitors use a thin film of material as the dielectric, and are available in both polarized and non-polarized versions. They are stable over a wide temperature range and have low levels of noise and distortion, making them suitable for use in audio and signal processing circuits.
• Tantalum capacitors: These are polarized capacitors that use tantalum as the conductive material. They have a high capacitance-to-size ratio and are resistant to corrosion, making them suitable for use in harsh environments.
• Supercapacitors: Also known as ultracapacitors, these are high-capacity capacitors that can store much more charge than traditional capacitors. They are used in applications where high levels of power are required, such as in electric vehicles and renewable energy systems.
• Variable capacitors: These are capacitors that can be adjusted to change their capacitance value. They are commonly used in tuning circuits and in variable frequency oscillators.
• Multilayer ceramic capacitors (MLCCs): These are small, surface-mount capacitors made from layers of ceramic material. They are widely used in consumer electronics and other high-density circuits.
• Paper capacitors: These are old-style capacitors that use a thin layer of paper as the dielectric material. They are no longer widely used due to their large size and relatively low capacitance values.
• Mica capacitors: These are high-quality capacitors that use a thin layer of mica as the dielectric. They are stable over a wide temperature range and have low levels of noise and distortion, making them suitable for use in precision circuits.
• Glass capacitors: These are capacitors that use a thin layer of glass as the dielectric. They are stable over a wide temperature range and have low levels of leakage, making them suitable for use in high-voltage circuits.
• Plastic film capacitors: These are capacitors that use a thin film of plastic as the dielectric. They are available in both polarized and non-polarized versions and are widely used in consumer electronics and other high-density circuits.
• Air-gap capacitors: These are capacitors that use a gap of air as the dielectric. They have a very high breakdown voltage and are commonly used in high-voltage applications, such as in power transmission and distribution systems.
• Light-emitting capacitors (LECs): These are capacitors that use a thin film of electroluminescent material as the dielectric. When a voltage is applied to the capacitor, it emits light. LECs are used in displays and other lighting applications.
• MEMS capacitors: These are capacitors that use microelectromechanical systems (MEMS) technology to create tiny capacitors with very high capacitance-to-size ratios. They are used in a wide variety of applications, including in smartphones, tablets, and other consumer electronics.

• Capacitors have several advantages that make them useful in a wide variety of electronic circuits and applications. Some of the main advantages of capacitors include:
• High capacitance-to-size ratio: Capacitors have a high capacitance-to-size ratio, which means that they can store a large amount of charge in a small package. This makes them useful in high-density circuits and in applications where space is limited.
• Good frequency response: Capacitors have a good frequency response, which means that they can pass signals with a wide range of frequencies with minimal loss. This makes them useful in filter circuits, oscillators, and other applications that require good frequency response.
• Low cost: Capacitors are generally inexpensive compared to other electronic components, which makes them a cost-effective solution in many applications.
• High reliability: Capacitors are generally very reliable and have a long lifespan, which makes them suitable for use in critical circuits and applications.
• Easy to use: Capacitors are easy to use and can be incorporated into circuits using simple connections, such as parallel or series connections.
• Versatility: Capacitors are used in a wide variety of circuits and applications, including in power supplies, filters, oscillators, and many other types of circuits. This versatility makes them an essential component in many electronic systems.
• Non-inductive: Capacitors are generally non-inductive, which means that they do not produce a magnetic field when a current is flowing through them. This makes them suitable for use in circuits where inductive effects can cause problems, such as in high-frequency circuits.
• Good temperature stability: Many types of capacitors have good temperature stability, which means that their capacitance value remains relatively constant over a wide temperature range. This makes them suitable for use in precision circuits and in applications where temperature changes can cause problems.
• Low power loss: Capacitors have low power loss, which means that they do not dissipate much power when they are storing charge. This makes them suitable for use in high-power circuits and in applications where power efficiency is important.
• High voltage rating: Some types of capacitors, such as air-gap capacitors, have a very high voltage rating and can withstand very high voltages. This makes them suitable for use in high-voltage circuits and in applications where high-voltage levels are encountered.
• Good dielectric strength: Capacitors have good dielectric strength, which means that they can withstand high electric fields without breaking down. This makes them suitable for use in high-voltage circuits and in applications where high electric fields are encountered.
• Fast charging and discharging: Capacitors can charge and discharge very quickly, which makes them suitable for use in applications where fast charging and discharging are required, such as in energy harvesting and storage systems.

• Although capacitors have many advantages, they also have some limitations and disadvantages that should be considered when selecting them for a particular application. Some of the main disadvantages of capacitors include:
• Limited energy storage: Capacitors have a limited energy storage capacity, which means that they can store only a small amount of energy compared to batteries and other energy storage devices. This limits their use in applications where a large amount of energy is required.
• Voltage sensitivity: Many types of capacitors are sensitive to the applied voltage and can be damaged if the voltage exceeds their rating. This can be a problem in circuits where high voltage spikes or transients are encountered.
• Polarization: Some types of capacitors, such as electrolytic capacitors, are polarized, which means that they have a positive and a negative terminal and must be connected to the circuit in the correct orientation. If they are connected backward, they can be damaged or destroyed.
• Aging: Capacitors can age over time and may lose some of their capacitance or become leaky. This can be a problem in circuits where long-term stability is required.
• Temperature sensitivity: Some types of capacitors are sensitive to temperature and may experience changes in their capacitance value as the temperature changes. This can be a problem in circuits where temperature changes are encountered.
• Limited frequency range: Capacitors have a limited frequency range and may not be suitable for use in very high or very low-frequency circuits. This can be a problem in some applications.
• Limited life span: Some types of capacitors, such as electrolytic capacitors, have a limited lifespan and may need to be replaced after a certain number of years or cycles.
• Limited tolerance: Capacitors often have a limited tolerance, which means that their actual capacitance value may be different from their nominal value by a certain percentage. This can be a problem in circuits where precise capacitance values are required.
• Limited voltage rating: Some types of capacitors have a relatively low voltage rating, which limits their use in high-voltage circuits.
• Limited temperature range: Some types of capacitors are not suitable for use over a wide temperature range and may be damaged if they are exposed to extreme temperatures.
• Limited current handling: Capacitors have a limited current handling capability and may be damaged if they are subjected to high levels of current for extended periods of time.
• Limited power handling: Capacitors have a limited power handling capability and may be damaged if they are subjected to high levels of power for extended periods of time.

## Application of Capacitor

Capacitors are widely used in a variety of electronic circuits and applications. Some common applications of capacitors include:

• Power supplies: Capacitors are commonly used in power supplies to smooth out voltage fluctuations, filter noise, and store charge. They are used in both linear and switching power supplies and can help to improve the performance and reliability of the power supply.
• Filtering: Capacitors are used in filter circuits to block or pass signals at certain frequencies. They are used in low-pass filters, high-pass filters, band-pass filters, and other types of filters to remove noise and other unwanted signals from a circuit.
• Oscillators: Capacitors are used in oscillator circuits to produce a continuous waveform. They are used in LC oscillators, RC oscillators, and other types of oscillators to generate signals at a variety of frequencies.
• Coupling and decoupling: Capacitors are used in coupling circuits to transfer signals between different parts of a circuit, and in decoupling circuits to isolate one part of a circuit from another.
• Signal processing: Capacitors are used in a variety of signal-processing circuits, including in amplifiers, mixers, and other types of circuits. They can help to improve the performance and reliability of these circuits.
• Energy storage: Capacitors are used in energy storage systems, such as supercapacitors and electrochemical double-layer capacitors, to store large amounts of energy for later use. They are used in a variety of applications, including in renewable energy systems and electric vehicles.
• Other applications: Capacitors are also used in a wide variety of other applications, including in clocks, timers, and other types of circuits. They are an essential component in many electronic systems.
• Timing: Capacitors are used in timing circuits to control the duration of an electrical signal or event. They are used in monostable circuits, astable circuits, and other types of timing circuits to generate signals with a specific duration or frequency.
• Memory: Capacitors are used in memory circuits to store charge and retain information. They are used in DRAM (dynamic random access memory) and other types of memory circuits to store data and other information.
• Motor start: Capacitors are used in motor start circuits to provide an initial burst of current to a motor to help it start up. They are commonly used in electric motors, air conditioning systems, and other types of motors to improve their starting performance.
• Voltage stabilization: Capacitors are used in voltage stabilization circuits to maintain a stable voltage level in a circuit. They are used in voltage regulators and other types of circuits to ensure that the voltage remains within a certain range.
• Noise reduction: Capacitors are used in noise reduction circuits to filter out unwanted noise and other signals. They are used in a variety of applications, including in audio systems, power supplies, and other types of circuits where noise can cause problems.
• High-voltage DC-DC conversion: Capacitors are used in high-voltage DC-DC conversion circuits to convert a high-voltage DC signal to a lower-voltage DC signal. They are used in a variety of applications, including in power transmission and distribution systems.
• Voltage multiplier: Capacitors are used in voltage multiplier circuits to multiply the voltage of a DC signal. They are used in a variety of applications, including in high-voltage power supplies and other types of circuits where a high voltage is required.

## Frequently Asked Questions on Capacitors & Capacitance

### What is called capacitor?

capacitor, a device for storing electrical energy, consisting of two conductors in close proximity and insulated from each other. A simple example of such a storage device is the parallel-plate capacitor.

### What is capacitance?

Capacitance is the ability of a component or circuit to collect and store energy in the form of an electrical charge. Capacitors are energy-storing devices available in many sizes and shapes.

### Write the types of capacitors?

Ceramic Capacitors, Film Capacitors, Power Film Capacitors, Electrolytic Capacitors, Ceramic capacitors, Film capacitors, Paper Capacitors, Electrolytic capacitors.

### What are the main applications of capacitors?

The most common capacitor use is energy storage, power conditioning, electronic noise filtering, remote sensing, and signal coupling/decoupling. Due to the fact that capacitors are an essential and versatile function in varied applications, they are used in a wide range of industries.

### What is a capacitor and its advantages?

The advantages of using a capacitor are listed below. Capacitors get charged and the energy is accumulated quickly. The stored energy is delivered quickly. Compared to other devices losses are less. Maintenance is less and has a long service life.

Hello friends, my name is Trupal Bhavsar, I am the Writer and Founder of this blog. I am Electronics Engineer(2014 pass out), Currently working as Junior Telecom Officer(B.S.N.L.) also I do Project Development, PCB designing and Teaching of Electronics Subjects.

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