Capacitors – types and operation of these universal capacitive components
Capacitors differ from each other, but essentially every device consists of two conductors separated by a non-conductive dielectric. The separating element can be a vacuum or any insulator. Popular examples of dielectric materials mounted in capacitors are glass, air, paper, high-quality plastic and ceramics.
How does a capacitor work? According to Coulomb's law, a load on one cover exerts a force on the load carriers in the other cover, attracting the opposite charge and pushing back carriers with the same load. In this way, an opposite charge will be induced on the second cover. The conductors therefore keep charges on their surfaces equal in value and opposite to the sign. The presence of the dielectric prevents the charge from flowing and maintains the electric field.
As we have mentioned above, the forms and designs of the capacitors vary widely. The earliest forms of capacitors were created in the 1840s, when European experimenters discovered that electric charge could be stored in glass jars filled with water (such elements are now called Leiden jars). Today, there are many types of these types of components, all of which are widely used in high-tech and consumer electronics. Most capacitors contain two or more electrical conductors - often in the form of metal plates or foils separated by a dielectric.
The most important parameters of capacitors
The available capacitors differ mainly in the type of dielectric, the structure of the covers and the type of housing. All these parameters have a significant impact on the general characteristics of the capacitor and its intended use. The main parameter of a capacitor is its capacity. It is a value expressed in farads, and it tells us on how much electric charge can fit in a given element. The capacity is selected for the specific application of a given capacitor. The second parameter is the maximum operating voltage. Each capacitor can only operate up to an acceptable voltage level, so it is important to carefully check dielectrics and capacitor plate short-circuit levels.
There are small and large capacitors - the values range from very low (in the range of single picofarads) to supercapacitors with a capacity of up to about 5 kF. A popular type are electrolytic capacitors, which are used above 1 microfarad due to their small size and low operating costs. Such products are characterized by very good quality and durability. Of course, you can also buy such products in Botland!
When you should buy a capacitor and what is it for?
Capacitors are used in electronic circuits to block direct current, but it is not the only kind of use. In analog circuits, capacitors are part of filters, and in resonant circuits, such components tune the circuits to specific frequencies. Capacitors are used to store energy in dynamic memory computer systems. If you are building an advanced electronic project, you will definitely need a capacitor!