The Physlets website will be unavailable Friday evening through Saturday afternoon as electrical work occurs in the American Center of Physics server room. Down time will begin at 6PM Eastern Time on Friday. Service is expected to resume by 6PM on Saturday, July 30.

Physlets run in a Java-enabled browser, except Chrome, on the latest Windows & Mac operating systems. If Physlets do not run, click here for help updating Java & setting Java security.

Chapter 26: Capacitance and Dielectrics

Now that you have developed an understanding of electric fields and electric potentials, you have the tools needed to understand a capacitor. A parallel-plate capacitor consists of two conducting sheets close enough together so that they can store equal and opposite charge with a potential difference between them. The amount of charge a parallel-plate capacitor stores at a particular voltage depends on its geometry and is characterized as its capacity or capacitance (measured in farads = 1 coulomb/volt). A common way to increase the capacitance of a capacitor is to put a dielectric (non-conductor) between the conducting plates. The charges in the dielectric are bound charges (not free to move away from a particular site within the material) in comparison with the free electrons of a conductor (that move in the presence of an electric field).

Table of Contents

Illustrations

Explorations

Problems

Electromagnetism TOC

Overview TOC

The OSP Network:
Open Source Physics - Tracker - EJS Modeling
Physlet Physics
Physlet Quantum Physics