Capacitor Charging

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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Capacitor charging occurs when energy is stored in a controlled field. This is done via the internal accumulation of electrical charges. The term "capacitor" can refer to numerous natural or synthetic units, from thunderclouds to automobiles. However, the most common usage is related to synthetic electrostatic devices.

A capacitor typically contains two electrodes, also known as "plates." These two plates hold equal opposite charges at their surface, and are aligned with each other, separated by an insulator, or "dielectric." The right plate is negatively charged, and the left plate positively charged. Because the plates are equal and opposite, the device always contains a total charge of zero. However, the interaction of these plates in relation to each other and the dielectric become the foundation for capacitor charging.

Variables in Capacitor Charging

Several factors dictate the nature of the charge contained by the device, with the prime variables being the size of the plates and the variety of dielectric used. The dielectric is responsible for the breakdown strength of the device, which is measured in energy capacity per unit. This is known as permitivity.

The permitivity of the device directly affects the overall capacitance. As a result, the greater the integrity and strength of the plates and the dielectric, the greater the overall reliability of the device. Reliability refers to the consistency of the device's successful operation, combined with the efficiency of the device's dissipation prevention.


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