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# Chapter 9

Capacitors

Basics of a Capacitor
• In its simplest form, a capacitor is an electrical
device constructed of two parallel plates separated
by an insulating material called the dielectric
• In the neutral state, both plates have an equal
number of free electrons
• When a voltage source is connected to the
capacitor, electrons are removed from one plate and
an equal number are deposited on the other plate
• No electrons flow through the dielectric (insulator)

FIGURE 9-1 The basic capacitor.

Thomas L. Floyd
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458

Upper Saddle River. Inc. 6e All rights reserved. . Thomas L. Equivalent circuit for a no ideal capacitor No Current flows through a capacitor except for undesired leakage current. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education.

How a Capacitor Stores Energy • A capacitor stores energy in the form of an electric field that is established by the opposite charges on the two plates • A capacitor obeys Coulomb’s law: A force exists between two point-source charges that is directly proportional to the product of the two charges and inversely proportional to the square of the distance between the charges .

New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. . The beige area indicates the dielectric. 6e All rights reserved. The electric field stores energy in a capacitor. Upper Saddle River. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Inc. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Thomas L.

Lines of force are created by opposite charges The unit for Capacitance is the Farad (F) 1 Farad = 1 Coloumb/1V Usually specified un Micro-Farads (uF) Thomas L. . Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. 6e All rights reserved. Inc. Upper Saddle River.

. • Most capacitors have a very thin dielectric and a very large plate area (often stacked or rolled up). All capacitors specify a safe voltage at which to operate the capacitor. Characteristics of a Capacitor • Capacitance is directly proportional to the physical size of the plates as determined by the plate area • Capacitance is inversely proportional to the distance between the plates • The measure of the dielectric material’s ability to establish an electric field is called the dielectric constant. Capacitance is directly proportional to the dielectric constant • The measure of how much voltage a capacitor can handle across it’s plates is called dielectric strength or breakdown voltage.

Inc. Capacitance is directly proportional to plate area (A) Less plate area = Less Capacitance Thomas L. 6e All rights reserved. Upper Saddle River. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. .

New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Inc. 6e All rights reserved. Upper Saddle River. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. . Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Capacitance is inversely proportional to the distance d between the plates More distance between plates = Less Capacitance Thomas L.

Inc. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Charging a capacitor Uncharged Cap Charging Cap Charged Cap No current except for Appears as a short Current drops and Appears as an open leakage current and the instant the switch voltage across cap All current stops and capacitor stores the is closed rises VC = VS charge Thomas L. . 6e All rights reserved.

Inc. Discharging a Capacitor Current reverses: Back to where it High at first then started drops as voltage drops •This phenomenon often makes it appear that current is passing through the cap •It does not •The reversing current goes back to the supply Thomas L. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. . 6e All rights reserved. Upper Saddle River.

1 uF @ 2500V Low Capacitance @ High Voltage . Fixed Capacitors • Stacked-foil mica capacitors are made of alternate layers of metal foil and thin sheets of mica • Silver mica are formed by stacking mica sheets with silver electrode material screened on them • Range from 1pF to 0.

2µF @ 2500V Medium Capacitance @ High Voltage . Fixed Capacitors • Ceramic capacitors provide very high dielectric constants. and relatively large capacitance in a small physical size • Capacitance ranges are from 1pF to 2.

Electronics Fundamentals. (b) Construction view Up to 2. .2uF @ 6kV Thomas L. Floyd Medium Capacitance @ Very High Voltage Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Inc. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. (a) Typical ceramic capacitors with radial leads. 6e All rights reserved. 6e Upper Saddle River.

as reversal of polarity will usually result in complete destruction of the capacitor . Electrolytic Capacitors • Two common types of electrolytic capacitors are Aluminum and Tantalum electrolytics • Safety Warning: The voltage polarity of these devices must be observed.

000 µF. with voltage ratings to 350 V High Capacitance @ Low (Polarized) Voltage . Electrolytic Capacitors • Electrolytic capacitors have higher capacitance but lower voltage ratings and higher leakage current • They come in capacitance values from 1µF to 200.

6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Inc. Upper Saddle River. Construction view of a typical “tear drop” shaped tantalum electrolytic capacitor “Tear Drop” shaped tantalum electrolytic capacitor. 6e All rights reserved. Thomas L. . Floyd Electronics Fundamentals.

Variable Capacitors • Variable capacitors are used in circuits when there is a need to adjust the capacitance value • Ceramic or mica is a common dielectric • Capacitance is changed by plate separation .

FIGURE 9-16 Schematic symbol for a variable capacitor. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Schematic symbol for a variable capacitor. Inc. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e All rights reserved. Thomas L. . Upper Saddle River. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals.

Variable Air Capacitor •Air Capacitors are used in high frequency (RF) applications •The space between the plates (air) is the dielectric •This is an example of a variable air capacitor probably used in a radio tuner .

the total capacitance is less than the smallest capacitance value • This is because the effective plate separation increases 1 1/C1 + 1/C2 + 1/C3 + … + 1/Cn . Series Capacitors • When capacitors are connected in series.

Upper Saddle River. Inc. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. . 6e All rights reserved. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education.7pF Thomas L. Capacitors in series produce a total capacitance that is less than the smallest value CT = 76.

6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. current stops flowing when the smallest cap is charged •Vs = VC1 + VC2 Thomas L. 6e All rights reserved. Inc. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River.•In a DC Circuit. .

6e All rights reserved. Upper Saddle River. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. . Capacitor Voltages – The smallest cap holds the largest voltage And versa visa (The smallest cap charges first halting all current flow) FIGURE 9-22 P 406 V x = (CT/Cx)VS Thomas L. Inc.

Parallel Capacitors • The total parallel capacitance is the sum of all capacitors in parallel CT = C1 + C2 + C3 + … + Cn • This is because the effective plate area increases .

•Current doesn’t stop until all caps are charged •VC1 = VC2 Thomas L.FIGURE 9-23 P 407 Capacitors in parallel produce a total capacitance that is the sum of the individual capacitances. Inc. Upper Saddle River. . New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e All rights reserved. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education.

RC Time Constant • The voltage across a capacitor cannot change instantaneously because a finite time is required to move charge from one point to another (limited by circuit resistance) • The time constant of a series RC circuit is a time interval that equals the product of the resistance and the capacitance τ = RC .

Current and voltage in a charging and discharging capacitor Thomas L. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Inc. 6e All rights reserved. . Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River.

this is called the transient time . Charging and Discharging • The charging curve is an increasing exponential • The discharging curve is a decreasing exponential • It takes 5 time constants to change the voltage by 99% (charging or discharging).

Charge and discharge curves shown together Charge v Charge i Discharge v & i .

Upper Saddle River. Inc. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. 6e All rights reserved. . 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Formulas for instantaneous charging and discharge voltages and currents * = On Quiz General Instantaneous Charging Voltage Formula: (Determine Instantaneous Voltage Charging From an Initial Instantaneous Value) Determine Instantaneous Voltages Charging From 0V * Determine Instantaneous Voltages Discharging to 0V * Thomas L.

New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. . Determining the instantaneous voltage during capacitor charge Determine the Instantaneous Voltage across the capacitor at 50 uS Thomas L. Inc. 6e All rights reserved.

Floyd The capacitor is charged Electronics Fundamentals. 6e All rights reserved. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Determining the instantaneous voltage during capacitor discharge Determine the capacitor voltage 6 ms after the switch is closed Thomas L. Inc. Upper Saddle River. .

expressed in ohms • The rate of change of voltage is directly related to frequency • As the frequency increases. the rate of change of voltage increases. and thus current ( i ) increases • An increase in i means that there is less opposition to current (XC is less) • XC is inversely proportional to i and to frequency . XC • Capacitive reactance (XC) is the opposition to sinusoidal current. Capacitive Reactance.

Upper Saddle River. Inc. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. The current in a capacitive circuit varies directly with the frequency of the source voltage Because the voltage rate of change is higher at higher frequencies. . Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e All rights reserved. the capacitive current increases proportionately with the frequency Thomas L. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education.

New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Inc. 6e All rights reserved. . the current varies directly with the capacitance value Relationship of Capacitance and Current Thomas L. For a fixed voltage and frequency. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education.

6e All rights reserved. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Rate of change of a sine wave increases when frequency increases Formula for XC Thomas L. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. . Inc. Upper Saddle River.

New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Upper Saddle River. Determine XC in the circuit below FIGURE 9-41 P 418 1 kHz Thomas L. . Inc. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e All rights reserved. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education.

Ohm’s Law for Capacitors Vrms = I XC Irms = Vrms/Xc Xc = VrmsI .

Upper Saddle River. 6e All rights reserved. . Equivalent Circuit Thomas L. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Inc. Determine the RMS Current in the circuit below Approx. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals.

Capacitors in ac Circuits • When a sine wave signal is applied to a capacitor. the instantaneous capacitor current is equal to the capacitance times the instantaneous rate of change of the voltage across the capacitor • This rate of change is a maximum positive when the rising sine wave crosses zero • This rate of change is a maximum negative when the falling sine wave crosses zero • The rate of change is zero at the maximum and minimum of the sine wave .

The rates of change of a sine wave

The higher the rate of voltage change, the higher the capacitor current

Thomas L. Floyd
Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458

Analysis of Capacitive ac Circuit
VC ≈ VS
• The current leads the voltage by 90° in
a purely capacitive ac circuit (ICE)
• This is because:
– Current in a capacitor is dependent
upon the rate of voltage change
– The highest rate of change in
voltage is when it crosses zero
volts.
• This is also when the
capacitor is closer to being
discharged and easily accepts
higher current change.
– The least rate of change in voltage
is near the peak voltage
– There is zero rate of change in
voltage at peak.
• This is also when the
capacitor is closest to being
Close Close Close Close
charged and doesn’t easily to to to to
accept much current change. Discharged Charged Discharged Charged

Current is always leading the capacitor voltage by 90°

IC

VS, VC
o
0 (Reference)

Vector Diagram

Close Close Close Close
to to to to
Discharged Charged Discharged Charged

Unit: (VAR) • Instantaneous power (p) is the instantaneous product of v and i at any given time. Power in a Capacitor (Purely Capacitive Circuit) • Energy is stored by the capacitor during a portion of the voltage cycle. It just shifts back and forth between the cap and the source. • Reactive Power (Pr)The overall rate at which a capacitor stores and returns energy. . since no energy is consumed by the capacitor. then the stored energy is returned to the source during another portion of the cycle • True power (Ptrue) is zero.

Upper Saddle River. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. 6e All rights reserved. Inc. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. just energy transfer (Except for leakage current) •The current just shifts back and forth between the cap and the source FIGURE 9-45 Power curve for a capacitor. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. True Power (Ptrue) = 0 •There is no energy dissipation. . (Reactive) Reactive Power Formulas Instantaneous Power: Instantaneous Values •Power is 0 when either V or I are 0 •Power is maximum when V or I are equal (positive or negative) •Power Frequency is 2X the source frequency Thomas L.

Upper Saddle River. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Inc. 6e All rights reserved. . Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Determine FIGURE 9-46 the true power and reactive power for the circuit below Ptrue = 0 Thomas L.

Capacitor Applications • Since capacitors “pass” ac (Signals) and do not pass DC. they are used for DC blocking and ac signal coupling between circuit stages • Capacitors are used for filtering in power supplies • Capacitors are used to eliminate unwanted ac signals .

An application of a capacitor used to block DC and couple ac in an amplifier Un-Biased Signal Biased Signal Capacitors “Pass AC and Block DC” (Pass Signals/Changing Current and Block DC) Thomas L. 6e All rights reserved. Inc. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. . Upper Saddle River. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals.

Inc. 6e Copyright ©2004 by Pearson Education. Upper Saddle River. New Jersey 07458 Electric Circuit Fundamentals. Floyd Electronics Fundamentals. Basic block diagram and operation of a dc power supply Capacitors can also be used to filter out unwanted signals or ripple Thomas L. 6e All rights reserved. .