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Energy stored in a capacitor

Consider a capacitor of capacitance C, completely uncharged in the begning.


Charhing process of capacitor requires expanditure of energy because while charging
a capacitor charge is transferred from plate at lower potential to plate at higher
potential.
Now if we start charging capacitor by transporting a charge dQ from negative plate ti
the positive plate then work is done against the potential difference across the plate.
If q is the amount of charge on the capacitor at any stage of charging process and
is the potential difference across the plates of capacitor then magnitude of potential
difference is !q"C.
Now work d# required to transfer dq is
d#!dq!qdq"C
$o charge the capacitor starting from the uncharged state to some final charge Q
work required is
Integrating from % to Q
#!&'"C()qdq
!&Q
*
("*C &'+a(
!&C,
*
("*
!Q,"*
#hich is the energy stored in the capacitor and can also be written as
-!&C,
*
("* ...&'/(
0rom equation '+c,we see that the total work done is equal to the average potential
,"* during the charging process ,multiplied by the total charge transferred
If C is measured in 0arads ,Q in coulumbs and , in volts the energy stored would in
1oules
2 parallel plate capacitor of area 2 and seperation d has capacitance
C!3%2"d
electric field in the space between the plates is
4!,"d or ,!4d
5utting above values of , and C in equation '+b we find
#!-!&'"*(&3%2"d(&4d(
*
!&'"*(3%4
*
&2d(
!&'"*(3%4
*
., ...&'6(
If u denotes the energy per unit volume or energy density then
u!&'"*(3%4
*
x volume
$he result for above equation is generally valid even for electrostatic field that is not
constant in space.
. Effect of Dielectric

7ielectric are non conducting materials for ex. 8lass,mica,wood etc.

#hat happened when space between the two plates of the capacitor is filled by a
dielectric was first discovered by faraday.

0araday discovered that if the space between conductors of the capacitor is occupied
by the dielectric,the capacitance of capacitor is increased.

If the dielectric completely fills the space between the conductors of the capacitor
,the capacitance is increased by an factor 9 which is characterstics of the dielectric
and $his factor is known as the dielectric constan.

7ielectric constant of vaccum is unity.

Consider a capacitor of capacitance C% is being charged by the connecting it to


a battery.

If Q% is the amount of charged on the capacitor at the end of the charging and ,% is
potental diffrence across the plates of the capacitor then
C%!Q% ",% ....&':(
$hus charge being placed on the capacitor is
Q%!C%,%

If the battery is diconnected and space between the capacitor is filled by a dielectric
the 5.7 decrease to a new value
,!,%"9.

;ince the original charge is still on the capacitor,the new capacitance will be
C!Q%",!9Q%",%!9C%....&'<(

0rom equation '< it follows that C is greater then C%.

2gain if the dielectric is inserted while the battery is still connected


then battery would have to supply some amount of charge to maintain the 5.7
between the plates and then total charge on the plates would be Q!9Q%.

In either of the cases ,capacitance of the capacitor is increase by the amount 9.

0or a parallel plate capacitor with dielectric of dielectric constant 9 between its plates
its capacitance becomes
C!32"7 ....&*%(
where 3!93%

#hen a sufficiently strong electric field is applied to any dielectric material it


becomes a conductor and this phenomenon is known as dielectric breakdown.

$he maximun electric field a material can withstand without the occurence of
breakdown is called dielectric strength of that material.

$hus field across the capacitor should never exceed breakdown limits in order to
store charge on capacitor without leaking.