High Voltage Capacitor

Written by Kevin Tavolaro
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A high voltage capacitor functions much like a standard capacitor, with the only distinction being the amount of energy that runs through the device. However, there are no specific guidelines dictating exactly what constitutes "high voltage," as the term can be applied to an array of situations. The definition of high voltage is dependent on the means and the field in which the term is being used. In general, the term high voltage is applied to voltages that are capable of creating sparks, or shocking humans, while low voltage refers to those that cannot.

The surface of a high voltage capacitor contains two electrode plates. The plates are divided by an insulator, known as a dielectric. The plates contain equal and opposite charges, positive and negative. Because the plates are oppositely charged, the entire device maintains an overall charge of zero. The reactions of these plates, across the insulation, when the energy flow is introduced, provides the foundation of capacitor charging.

Energy Flow in a High Voltage Capacitor

In a high voltage capacitor, the energy is stored in a regulated field, and then contained by the inversely charged plates. The dielectric breaks down the energy flow, and divides it into various parts. This is why the strength of the device is directly related to the strength, size, and function of the dielectric insulating barrier. Another factor is the size and design of the plates used.

In a high voltage situation, a capacitor must be fortified to tolerate the additional heat that might arise from the larger voltage. A high voltage capacitor then differs from a standard capacitor in the increased size and strength of its plates and insulation.

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