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Announcements
- Physics 24 spreadsheets for all sections, with Exam 1 scores, are
now posted on the Physics 24 web site. You need your PIN to find
your grade.
-Physics 24 Exam 1 will be returned in recitation Thursday. When
you get the exam back, please check that points were added
correctly. Review the course handbook and be sure to follow
proper procedures before requesting a regrade. Get your
regrade requests in on time! (They are due by next Tuesdays
recitation.)
On a separate sheet of paper, briefly explain why you believe the work actually shown on paper deserves more credit.
Attach to the exam and turn in by the end of your next Tuesdays recitation.
- Preliminary exam average is about 68.6%. Not horrible, but
could use improvement. Scores ranged from a low of 32 to a high
of 200 (5 students).

Todays agenda:

Energy Storage in Capacitors.
You must be able to calculate the energy stored in a capacitor, and apply the energy
storage equations to situations where capacitor configurations are altered.

Dielectrics.
You must understand why dielectrics are used, and be able include dielectric constants in
capacitor calculations.

Energy Storage in Capacitors
Lets calculate how much work it takes to charge a capacitor.
The work required for an external force to move a charge dq
through a potential difference AV is dW = dq AV.
AV
+ -
+q -q
+
dq
From Q=CAV ( AV = q/C):
q
dW dq
C
=
q is the amount of charge on
the capacitor at the time the
charge dq is being moved.
We start with zero charge on the capacitor,
and end up with Q, so
Q
2 2
Q Q
0 0
0
q q Q
W dW dq .
C 2C 2C
= = = =
} }
The work required to charge the capacitor is the amount of
energy you get back when you discharge the capacitor
(because the electric force is conservative).
Thus, the work required to charge the capacitor is equal to the
potential energy stored in the capacitor.
2
Q
U .
2C
=
Because C, Q, and V are related through Q=CV, there are three
equivalent ways to write the potential energy.
2 2
Q CV QV
U .
2C 2 2
= = =
2 2
Q CV QV
U .
2C 2 2
= = =
All three equations are valid; use the one most convenient for
the problem at hand.
It is no accident that we use the symbol U for the energy
stored in a capacitor. It is just another version of electrical
potential energy. You can use it in your energy conservation
equations just like any other form of potential energy!
There are now four parameters you can determine for a
capacitor: C, Q, V, and U. If you know any two of them, you
can calculate the other two.
Example: a camera flash unit stores energy in a 150 F
capacitor at 200 V. How much electric energy can be stored?
2
CV
U
2
=
( )( )
6 2
150 10 200
U
2

=
U 3 J =
If you keep everything in SI (mks) units, the result is automatically in SI units.
Example: compare the amount of energy stored in a capacitor
with the amount of energy stored in a battery.
A 12 V car battery rated at 100 ampere-hours stores 3.6x10
5
C
of charge and can deliver at least 4.3x10
6
joules of energy
(well learn how to calculate that later in the course).
If a battery stores so much more energy, why use capacitors?
Application #1: short pulse magnets at the National Magnet
Laboratory, plus a little movie of a short pulse magnet at work.
10
6
joules of energy are stored at high voltage in capacitor
banks, and released during a period of a few milliseconds. The
enormous current produces incredibly high magnetic fields.
A 100 F capacitor that stores 3.6x10
5
C can deliver an
amount of energy U=CV
2
/2=7.2x10
-3
joules.
If you want your capacitor
to store lots of energy, store
it at a high voltage.
Application #2: quarter shrinker.
Application #3: can crusher.
Energy Stored in Electric Fields
AV
+ -
+Q -Q
E
2
1
U C V
2
= A
d
area A
( )
2
0
A 1
U Ed
2 d
c
| |
=
|
\ .
( )
2
0
1
U Ad E
2
= c
Energy is stored in the
capacitor:
The volume of the capacitor is Volume=Ad
Energy stored per unit volume (u):
AV
+ -
+Q -Q
E
d
area A
( )
2
0
2
0
1
Ad E
1
2
u E
Ad 2
c
= = c
The energy is stored in the electric
field!
2
0
1
u E
2
= c
AV
+ -
+Q -Q
E
f
area A
This is not a new kind of energy. Its the
electric potential energy resulting from the
coulomb force between charged particles.
Or you can think of it as the electric energy
due to the field created by the charges.
Same thing.
The energy in electromagnetic phenomena is the same as mechanical
energy. The only question is, Where does it reside? In the old theories, it
resides in electrified bodies. In our theory, it resides in the electromagnetic
field, in the space surrounding the electrified bodies.James Maxwell
This is on your OSE sheet.
Do not use until later!
(Unless you really know what
you are doing.)

Todays agenda:

Energy Storage in Capacitors.
You must be able to calculate the energy stored in a capacitor, and apply the energy
storage equations to situations where capacitor configurations are altered.

Dielectrics.
You must understand why dielectrics are used, and be able include dielectric constants in
capacitor calculations.

If an insulating sheet (dielectric) is
placed between the plates of a
capacitor, the capacitance increases by
a factor k, which depends on the
material in the sheet. k is the
dielectric constant of the material.
dielectric
In general, C = kc
0
A / d. k is 1
for a vacuum, and ~ 1 for air.
(You can also define c = kc
0

and write C = c A / d).
Dielectrics
0
kc A
C = .
d
The dielectric is the thin insulating sheet
in between the plates of a capacitor.
dielectric
Any reasons to use a dielectric in a capacitor?
-Lets you apply higher voltages (so more charge).
-Lets you place the plates closer together (make d
smaller).
-Increases the value of C because k>1.
Q=CV
0
kc A
C =
d
-Makes your life as a physics student more complicated.
Gives you a bigger kick when
you discharge the capacitor
through your tongue!
Gives you a bigger kick when
you discharge the capacitor
through your tongue!
Gives you a bigger kick when
you discharge the capacitor
through your tongue!
dielectric
This is equivalent to two capacitors in parallel. Each of the
two has half the plate area. The two share the total
charge, and have the same potential difference
Homework hint: what if the
dielectric fills only half the
space between the plates?
C
1
C
2
Q
2
Q
1
C

Q

Homework hint: if you charge a capacitor and then remove
the battery and manipulate the capacitor, Q must stay the
same but C, V, and U may change. (What about E?)
Homework hint: if you charge a capacitor, keep the battery
connected, and manipulate the capacitor, V must stay the
same but C, Q, and U may change. (What about E?)
Homework hint: if exactly two capacitors are connected
such that they have the same voltage across them, they are
probably in parallel (but check the circuit diagram).
Homework hint: if you charge two capacitors, then remove
the battery and reconnect the capacitors with oppositely-
charged plates connected together

draw a circuit diagram before and after, and use
conservation of charge to determine the total charge on
each plate before and after.
Example: a parallel plate capacitor has an area of 10 cm
2
and
plate separation 5 mm. 300 V is applied between its plates. If
neoprene is inserted between its plates, how much charge
does the capacitor hold.
AV=300 V
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
k=6.7
( )
( )( )
-12 -4
-3
6.7 8.8510 1010
C =
510
Q=CV

-11
C=1.19 10 F
( )
( )
=
-11 -9
Q= 1.19 10 300 3.56 10 C =3.56 nC
0
kc A
C =
d
Example: how much charge would the capacitor on the
previous slide hold if the dielectric were air?
The calculation is the
same, except replace 6.7
by 1.
Or just divide the charge on the
previous page by 6.7 to get.
Q=0.53 nC
AV=300 V
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
k=1
Visit howstuffworks to read about capacitors and learn their
advantages/disadvantages compared to batteries!
A capacitor connected as shown
acquires a charge Q.
V
While the capacitor is still connected
to the battery, a dielectric material is
inserted.
Will Q increase, decrease, or stay the same?
Why?
V
V=0
Conceptual Example
Example: find the energy stored in the capacitor in slide 19.
AV=300 V
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
k=6.7

-11
C=1.19 10 F
( )
1
2
A
2
U= C V
( )
( )
1
2

2
-11
U= 1.19 10 300

-7
U=5.36 10 J
Example: the battery is now disconnected. What are the
charge, capacitance, and energy stored in the capacitor?
AV=300 V
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
k=6.7
The charge and capacitance are
unchanged, so the voltage drop
and energy stored are unchanged.
Q =3.56 nC

-11
C=1.19 10 F

-7
U=5.36 10 J
Example: the dielectric is removed without changing the plate
separation. What are the capacitance, charge, potential
difference, and energy stored in the capacitor?
AV=300 V
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
k=6.7 ( )( )
-12 -4
-3
8.8510 1010
C =
510

-12
C=1.78 10 F
0
c A
C =
d
AV=?
d=5 mm
AV=?
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
Q =3.56 nC
Example: the dielectric is removed without changing the plate
separation. What are the capacitance, charge, potential
difference, and energy stored in the capacitor?
The charge remains unchanged,
because there is nowhere for it
to go.
AV=?
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
( )
( )

-9
-12
3.56 10
Q
V = =
C
1.78 10
AV = 2020 V
Example: the dielectric is removed without changing the plate
separation. What are the capacitance, charge, potential
difference, and energy stored in the capacitor?
Knowing C and Q we can
calculate the new potential
difference.
AV=2020 V
d=5 mm
A=10 cm
2
( )
1
2
A
2
U= C V
( )
( )
1
2

2
-12
U= 1.78 10 2020

-6
U=3.63 10 J
Example: the dielectric is removed without changing the plate
separation. What are the capacitance, charge, potential
difference, and energy stored in the capacitor?

-7
before
U =5.36 10 J

-6
after
U =3.63 10 J
after
before
U
=6.7
U
Huh?? The energy stored increases by a factor of k??
Sure. It took work to remove the dielectric. The stored energy
increased by the amount of work done.
A
external
U=W
A toy to play with
http://phet.colorado.edu/en/simulation/capacitor-lab
(You might even learn something.)