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5

- Capacitors in series and parallel (sec. 24.2)

C 2009 J. F. Becker

3.1.5

- - R-C /

. , a b, (-Q) (+Q).

Q = C V where C = eo A / d for a parallel plate capacitor, where eo is the permittivity of the insulating material (dielectric) between plates. Recall that we used Gauss's Law to calculate the electric field (E) between the plates of a charged capacitor: E = s / eo where there is a vacuum between the plates.

Vab = E d, so E = Vab /d

1 / Ceq = 1 / C1 + 1 / C2

(a) Two capacitors in series, (b) the equivalent capacitor.

Ceq = C1 + C2

(a) Two capacitors in parallel, (b) the equivalent circuit.

Capacitors can store charge and ENERGY dU = q dV, and the potential V increases as the charge is placed on the plates (V = Q / C). Since the V changes as the Q is increased, we have to integrate over all the little charges dq being added to a plate: dU = q dV gives U = V dq = q/c dq = 1/C q dq = Q2 / 2C. And using Q = C V, we get So the energy stored in a capacitor can be thought of as the potential energy stored in the system of positive charges that are separated from the negative charges, much like a stretched spring has potential energy.

U = Q2 / 2C = C V2 / 2 = Q V / 2

Here's another way to think of the energy stored in a charged capacitor: If we consider the space between the plates to contain the energy (equal to 1/2 C V2) we can calculate an energy DENSITY (Joules per volume). The volume between the plates is area x plate separation, or A d. Then the energy density u is

u = 1/2 C V2 / A d = eo E2 / 2

Recall C = eo A / d and V =E d.

C 2009 J. F. Becker

Energy density:

u =

eo E2 / 2

This is an important result because it tells us that empty space contains energy if there is an electric field (E) in the "empty" space.

If we can get an electric field to travel (or propagate) we can send or transmit energy and information through empty space!!!

C 2009 J. F. Becker

V = Vo / K

Effect of a dielectric between the plates of a parallel plate capacitor. Note the charge is constant !

A dielectric is added between the plates of a charged capacitor (battery not connected): Q = Q, therefore Q = C V and Q = Co Vo Co Vo = C V, and if Vo decreases to V, Co must increase to C to keep equation balanced, and V = Vo Co/C Definition of DIELECTRIC CONSTANT:

V = Vo / K

C 2009 J. F. Becker

The charges induced on the surface of the dielectric reduce the electric field.

Polarization of a dielectric in an electric field E gives rise to thin layers of bound charges on the dielectrics surfaces, creating surface charge densities +si and si.

A neutral sphere B in the electric field of a charged sphere A is attracted to the charged sphere because of polarization.

DISCHARGING:

CHARGING:

An RC circuit that can be used to charge and discharge a capacitor (through a resistor).

Review

See www.physics.edu/becker/physics51

C 2009 J. F. Becker

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