Charging and Discharging | Capacitor | Series And Parallel Circuits


ON : 15th –MAY-2012


To study the charge and discharge of a condenser and hence determine time constant (both current and voltage graphs are to be plotted ).

Resistances of variable values, condensers of different capacities , milliammeter (in which zero is in the middle so as to read current in both the directions), voltmeter, keys, battery, stop watch etc.

When resistance R and condenser C are connected in series with a battery of constant e.m.f. through a key K 1 , then on closing key K1 the battery gets connected to the circuit . Charging of the condenser takes place. But if K1 is released and K 2 is pressed, then the battery gets disconnected and discharging of the condenser starts through the resistance R. Both these processes depend upon time.

When key K is closed then resistance R , condenser C and battery E get connected in series and a current flows for a short interval of time which charges the condenser. Let at any instant of time t, a current I flowing through resistance R accumulates a charge Q on the condenser. Due to this a potential difference Q/C appears across the condenser.
Hence at time t :.Total Potential difference E= VR+ VC

= RI + Q/C

When the capacitor is connected across a battery, the pd across it increases from zero to a pd equal to the emf of the battery. When a small amount of charge ΔQ, is transferred from one plate of the capacitor and removed from the other, the battery does work, equal to the area of the shaded strip in the diagram. ΔE = VoΔQ = the area of the shaded strip in the diagram.

The total energy transferred to a capacitor, E = total area under graph. E = ½ QV
As Q = CV, we also have E = ½ CV2 and E = ½ Q2 / C

If key K is released and key K is pressed then battery is disconnected from the circuit and the charged condenser tarts discharging through 1 2 resistance R.
Initially VC=E and charge on the condenser Q 0 Q =Ec. = After full discharge E=0. Thus during discharge at time t=0,

Q= Q0= EC

•This circuit opposite can be used to show the discharge of a capacitor. •It is charged by connecting the switch to A. It discharges through the resistor when the switch is at B. •Io is approx 80 μA. •Discharge time is approx 4 mins. •Plot graphs of I, V and Q Against t.

Variation of current with discharging of condenser.

Variation of charge with discharging of condenser.

Variation of voltage with discharging of condenser.

During charging of condenser, current decreases exponentially and during an interval equal to time 0 constant the value of current falls to 1/e of its maximum value I , i.e. it falls to 37% of its maximum value .This is known as DECAY OF CURRENT.

The value of charge and voltage on the condenser at any time ‘t’ is given by Q= Q (1-e-t/RC ) V =V (1-e-t/RC ) C C 0 The current flowing through the condenser is : I=I e -t/RC 0

The value of charge and voltage on the condenser at any time ‘t’ is given by Q= Q e -t/RC V =V e C0 The current flowing through the condenser is :-t/RC I=I 0 e

• Resistance R, condenser C , two key K & K, milliammeter and battery E are

connected .
• The value of resistance R and condenser C are selected such that the value of

time constant RC is large. By connecting various resistances in series proper value of resistance can be selected. Similarly connecting capacitors in parallel we can increase the value of capacitance. It is convinient to choose proper value of time constant RC=100 sec. so that proper number of observations can be taken.
• Keep the key K open , now close the key K and simultaneously start the stop

• The reading of the voltmeter and ammeter are noted every 10 seconds till the

reading becomes constant.
• Now the condenser is allowed to discharge by releasing key K and pressing key

K . Simultaneously start the stop watch and note the readings of ammeter and voltmeter after every 10 seconds.

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