What is a capacitor and how does it work?


What is a capacitor and how does it work?

Do you understand what a capacitor is? Condensers, sometimes known as capacitors, are energy-storing components frequently found in radios, televisions, and other electronic devices.

We employ capacitors effectively in all of these situations, whether it’s to change the channel on your HDTV, flash a snapshot taken with a digital camera, or tune your radio to a certain station.

What is a capacitor and how does it work?

As I previously stated, clouds function similarly to the capacitors used in electrical circuits; the only difference is that clouds are far larger than electronic capacitors. Let’s continue reading this post to learn everything there is to know about capacitors. So without further ado, let’s define a capacitor.

What is Capacitor ?

Such passive electrical components that store electric energy include capacitors. They were once referred as as condenser. Electrical conductors and an insulator are used to create capacitors.

The term “dielectric” refers to this insulating layer. Even though all capacitors employ the same fundamental parts, the choice and configuration of the material vary from one another.

These are components that are found in virtually all electrical and electronic circuits. For instance, they only permit AC current and block DC current, although in other applications a smooth power supply is necessary for output.

Capacitor Work

Due to the potential difference that is established across the conductors, a capacitor has the ability to store energy in electrostatic fields. Thus, when a conductor is exposed to voltage.

The capacitor’s plates are then filled with positive charge on one side and negative charge on the other. Because of this, scientists think that a capacitor functions by electrostatically storing energy in an electric field.

Capacitance is defined as the relationship between electric charge and potential difference (voltage). The units are farads (unit). The most crucial factor in describing a capacitor is this one.

When the surface of the conductors is at its largest and the distance between them is at its smallest, capacitance is at its highest. Real-world capacitors have some restrictions; ideal capacitors, which are entirely characterised by capacitance, only exist in theory.

For instance, lead wires and conductors generate parasitic resistance and inductance. The breakdown voltage, which describes the static electric field’s maximum strength limit, coupled with the current that escapes from the dielectric, known as leakage current, have different upper limits.

Types of Capacitor

Although there are many different types of capacitors, I’ve included some of the more significant ones below:

Ceramic Capacitor

Whether it be for RF or audio applications, this type of capacitor is employed often. Picofarads to 0.1 microfarads is the range of their values. These ceramic capacitors are often used because they are affordable, dependable, and have a very low loss factor.

Electrolytic Capacitor

These capacitors are frequently polarised. They are frequently employed in low frequency applications, such as power supply, decoupling, and audio coupling since they have a frequency limit of about 100 kHz, and they may offer very high capacitance values that are generally above 1F.

Tantalum Capacitor

Tantalum capacitors are polarised and offer extremely high and high capacitance levels in their volume, much like electrolytic capacitors do. However, this kind of capacitor is particularly sensitive to reverse bias and frequently blows up under pressure.

Additionally, they shouldn’t be used in high ripple voltages and currents. These are offered in surface mount and led forms.

Silver Mica Capacitor

Although they are rarely used nowadays, silver mica capacitors offer extremely high levels of stability, low loss, and precision in applications where size is not a concern. They only have a maximum value of 1000 pF and are mostly employed in RF applications.

Polystyrene Film Capacitor

Polystyrene capacitors are a relatively affordable type of capacitor that, when required, provide tight tolerance. The dielectric is rolled and sandwiched between the two plates in these tubular devices.

However, this enables them to restrict the inductance’s frequency response to a range of a few hundred kHz. These are only accessible through electronics parts that contain lead.

Polyester Film Capacitor

Since they do not give a great degree of tolerance, polyester film capacitors are employed in situations where cost is an issue.

For the majority of applications, tolerance values of 5% or 10% are common in polyester film capacitors. These are only accessible through electronics parts that contain lead.

Glass Capacitor

This capacitor uses glass as its dielectric, as implied by its name. These capacitors provide very high levels of performance in terms of extremely little loss despite being highly pricey.

They are perfect for many performance RF applications due to their high RF current capabilities, lack of piezoelectric noise, and other properties.


Because these capacitors have an extremely high capacitance value that can reach several thousand Farads, they are also known as supercapacitors or ultracapacitors. They are mostly utilised in automotive and memory hold-up supply applications.

What is Capacitance and How to increase it ?

Capacitance is the measure of how much electrical energy a capacitor can hold. The capacitance of a capacitor may be compared to the capacity of a bucket of water. Just as a larger bucket can carry more water, so can a larger capacitor store more charge.

The capacitance of the capacitor may be raised primarily in three ways.

Surface Area – Surface area is denoted by the letter A, and the larger the area of the two conducting plates that make up the capacitor, the greater the capacitance.

Distance –Distance is represented by the symbol d, which signifies that the capacitance will increase as the distance between two conducting plates decreases.

Dielectric Substance -This material, also known as a dielectric, is what separates the two plates. The higher the permittivity of this dielectric, the higher the capacitance.

How is Capacitance measured ?

Farads (F), named after English electrical pioneer Michael Faraday, are used to quantify capacitor size (1791–1867).

Since a farad is a very large unit of capacitance, most capacitors only employ fractions of a farad, commonly microfarads, nanofarads, and picofarads (written as millionsths of a farad, F, nF, and picofarads, respectively) (million-millionths of a farad, written pF).

Standard Units of Capacitance

  • Microfarad (μF) 1μF = 1/1,000,000 = 0.000001 = 10-6 F
  • Nanofarad (nF) 1nF = 1/1,000,000,000 = 0.000000001 = 10-9 F
  • Picofarad (pF) 1pF = 1/1,000,000,000,000 = 0.000000000001 = 10-12 F

What is function of Capacitor?

Do you know what the capacitor reduction is? Capacitors have a variety of uses. Let’s find out more about them.

  1. The charge is stored in capacitors, which allows the device to function as a flash in a camera. Additionally, Big lasers also employ this method to produce extremely brilliant and fast flashes.
  2. To eliminate waves, capacitors are utilised. If a wire carrying DC voltage has ripples or spikes, it is simple to eliminate these peaks by employing a big capacitor.
  3. A capacitor may suppress DC voltage. Therefore, after a tiny capacitor is charged and placed in a battery, there won’t be any current flowing between the battery’s two poles.


What is the capacitor’s primary purpose?
A capacitor’s primary job is to store electrical energy and subsequently release it into the circuit.

DC or AC capacitors?
DC and AC capacitors both exist. In a DC circuit, capacitors charge, while in an AC circuit, they discharge.

What did you learn today?

I hope I was able to explain what a capacitor is to you. I hope I gave you all the information you needed to understand what a capacitor is.

If you have any questions about this post or would like to see it improved, feel free to leave a negative remark. We will get the opportunity to learn something new and grow better thanks to these ideas of yours.

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