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Capacitors

# Capacitors - Capacitors and calculus Capacitors do not have...

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Capacitors and calculus Capacitors do not have a stable "resistance" as conductors do. However, there is a definite mathematical relationship between voltage and current for a capacitor, as follows: The lower-case letter "i" symbolizes instantaneous current, which means the amount of current at a specific point in time. This stands in contrast to constant current or average current (capital letter "I") over an unspecified period of time. The expression "dv/dt" is one borrowed from calculus, meaning the instantaneous rate of voltage change over time, or the rate of change of voltage (volts per second increase or decrease) at a specific point in time, the same specific point in time that the instantaneous current is referenced at. For whatever reason, the letter v is usually used to represent instantaneous voltage rather than the letter e . However, it would not be incorrect to express the instantaneous voltage rate-of-change as "de/dt" instead. In this equation we see something novel to our experience thusfar with electric circuits: the variable of time . When relating the quantities of voltage, current, and resistance to a resistor, it doesn't matter if we're

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dealing with measurements taken over an unspecified period of time (E=IR; V=IR), or at a specific moment in time (e=ir; v=ir). The same basic formula holds true, because time is irrelevant to voltage, current, and resistance in a component like a resistor. In a capacitor, however, time is an essential variable, because current is related to how rapidly voltage changes over time. To fully understand this, a few illustrations may be necessary. Suppose we were to connect a capacitor to a variable-voltage source, constructed with a potentiometer and a battery: If the potentiometer mechanism remains in a single position (wiper is stationary), the voltmeter connected across the capacitor will register a constant (unchanging) voltage, and the ammeter will register 0 amps. In this scenario, the instantaneous rate of voltage change (dv/dt) is equal to zero, because the voltage is unchanging. The equation tells us that with 0 volts per second change for a dv/dt, there must be zero instantaneous current (i). From a physical perspective, with no change
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Capacitors - Capacitors and calculus Capacitors do not have...

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