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Can current flow through a capacitor? How is current through a capacitor different from current through other circuit components?

What is the potential difference of a capacitor?

Charging:

Discharging:

Equations: 1. Q = CV. (C is capacitance, measured in farads; what does it mean when capacitance is large or small?) 2. E = ½QV = ½CV2. (Why the ½?) 3. Charging and discharging time equations: Charging Q(t) = Q0 (1 exp (-t/RC)) I(t) = I0 exp (-t/RC) Q0 = final charge = CV I0 = initial current = V/R = Q0/RC V = final pd of capacitor (= emf of battery) Discharging Q(t) = Q0 exp (-t/RC) I(t) = I0 exp (-t/RC) Q0 = initial charge = CV I0 = initial current = V/R = Q0/RC V = initial pd of capacitor

Charge: Current: Symbols:

What about the pd of the capacitor with time? RC is the time constant of the circuit. What does it tell you? What is the effect of increasing R? Increasing C?

(a) What is the final charge Q0 on a capacitor plate? (b) What is the time constant of the circuit? (c) How long does it take the charge on a capacitor plate to reach 0. a student charges a 2-µF capacitor by placing it across a 1. When the device is shut off.90Q0? 27. the capacitor is discharged for safety reasons by a bleeder resistor of 1M placed across its terminals. (a) What is the magnitude of the final charge Q0 on the capacitor? (b) How long after the capacitor is connected to the battery will it be charged to ½Q0? (c) How long will it take for the capacitor to be charged to 0. (b) Smooth out the non-uniform emf output of an electrical power source (for example. what is the time constant of the series circuit composed by the capacitor and the student s body? How long does it take for the charge on the capacitor to drop to 1/e (37%) of its original value? What about to 1% of its original value? 27.145 A 50-µF capacitor initially uncharged is connected through a 300.resistor to a 40-V battery.142 In the lab.144 A 400-µF capacitor is connected through a resistor to a battery.8Q0? Explain. with circuit diagrams.5V battery.5s and the maximum charge on the capacitor is 0. While disconnecting it. 27. a 10-µF capacitor is charged to 2000V.143 In a certain electronic device.Questions (numbering from Schaum s worked problems) 27. Assuming that the resistance of the body between the hands is 60k .01 of its original value? Explain in detail why the capacitor needs to be discharged.024C. . how a capacitor can be used to: (a) Make a circuit in which a car s inner lights remain on while the car door is open and gradually dim after the car door is closed. when converting AC electricity to DC electricity).146 A 150-µF capacitor is connected through a 500. Find (a) the resistance R and (b) the emf of the battery if the time constant of the circuit is 0. the student holds its two lead wires in two hands.resistor to a 12-V battery. How long does it take for the charge on the capacitor to decrease to 0. 27.

demonstrate the following properties of capacitors: 1. stopwatch. Key your data into a table such as the following: t (s) I (mA) V (V) Q (mC) Qtotal (mC) ln I You will need to plot the following graphs: Potential difference against charge (this graph will be inaccurate why?) Current against time ln I against time . two 1-2k resistors. 2.Capacitor Lab Apparatus: 10. connecting leads. The time constant of such a circuit is given by RC. During charging and discharging. the contact resistance from the leads is enough to prevent the current from becoming too high. 2 digital multimeters. inform your lecturer immediately. and must always be connected to the negative terminal of your battery holder. If your capacitor heats up. (Why shouldn t a capacitor heat up?) You can quickly discharge the capacitor by short-circuiting its terminals. Construct the following circuit: Safety notes: Electrolytic capacitors maintain an insulating layer between aluminum electrodes via electrochemical processes.000µF capacitor. where R is the resistance of the resistor and C is the capacitance of the capacitor. and assume that the capacitor is damaged (and therefore needs replacing) unless told otherwise. The charge stored on a capacitor is proportional to the potential difference across it. Similarly. since the capacitance is quite high. and thus have a definite polarity: the negative end has a shorter lead and a prominent gray stripe. you can quickly charge the capacitor by bypassing the resistor be careful not to short-circuit the batteries though! Using the circuit. 3. the current in a resistor-capacitor circuit (RC circuit) decays exponentially with time.

students should also start with the values from this run. Every 10 seconds. Care must be taken to ensure that the flying leads are quickly and accurately clipped to their terminals. The measured values could be used with a more accurate method.6. For a charging run: with the capacitor completely discharged. students should plot ln I against t. but for the reason given in step 6 RC will be overestimated. To arrive at point 3 ( = RC). The change in charge and accumulated charge columns should only be filled in after the run. connect the flying lead to the negative terminal of the capacitor and start the stopwatch. The graph of I against Q can also be plotted to yield a graph with gradient RC. To arrive at point 2 (I(t) decays exponentially). To arrive at point 1 (Q = CV). record the current and potential difference shown on the multimeters. When the change between multimeter readings is less than 1% of the original readings. The first run undertaken should involve the largest potential difference (6.01 = -4. 8. the negative terminal of the capacitor should constantly connect directly to the negative terminal of the battery holder to avoid any accidental reverse current. Students are to construct the circuit shown to measure the current and potential difference across a charging / discharging capacitor. the durations of these runs should be about 4. record the current and potential difference shown on the multimeters. and so the accumulated charge will be underestimated. The gradient of the graph should be 1/RC. disconnect the flying lead and stop the stopwatch. such as trapezoidal integration with the initial current being calculated as I0 = V0/R. so students should select a scale that allows the gradient to be measured with maximum accuracy. as any change in the contact resistance over the course of a run will affect the results. Only the gradients (not the xintercepts) will be needed. When graphing. 3.) 7. students should plot I against t. Since the electrolytic capacitors have a definite polarity. The gradient will give an underestimation of C (see previous note). while the accumulated charge is simply the running total of the previous column. the origin need not be shown. so that the axes will take into account the largest values generated throughout the experiment. 2. For a discharging run: with the capacitor completely charged (or immediately after finishing a charging run). connect the flying lead to the positive terminal of the battery holder and start the stopwatch.) 4. Their knowledge of this graph is mostly qualitative (but see the next point). disconnect the flying lead and stop the stopwatch. 9. students should plot Q against V to yield a straight-line graph through the origin. 5. The change in charge can be calculated from the current multiplied by time. 6. When the change between multimeter readings is less than 1% of the previous reading. (Since ln 0. .0 V) and the smallest resistance.6RC. Every 10 seconds. the time constant can be read off the graph of I against t as the time where the current falls to 37% of its maximum.Instructor guide: 1. (Note that this is a numerical integration using a right end-point rectangular rule. As supporting evidence.

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