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Scott Starks, PhD, PE Department of Electrical & Computer Engineering UTEP

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A capacitor is an electrical component that stores energy in an electric field. It consists of two conductors separated by a dielectric material. Capacitors are widely used as parts of circuits in many common electrical devices. Energy is stored in the electrostatic field.

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ExplanationFunctional Diagram When a voltage is placed across a capacitor, an electric field develops across the dielectric. This causes positive charge to collect on one plate and negative charge on the other plate. As the voltage is varied, so too does the amount of charge on each plate. The change in charge constitutes and electric current.

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+ v - i Current/Voltage Law Current and voltage obey the following law, where i is current (Amps), v is voltage (Volts), and C is capacitance (Farads). Schematic Diagram

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Plot of VoltagePlot of Current i (A) t (s) 0 2 4 6 8 5 -5

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