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LAB 2 Capacitors and RC Circuits

# LAB 2 Capacitors and RC Circuits - Capacitors and RC...

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Capacitors and RC Circuits Abstract: In this lab we performed experiments to observe how the RC time constant affects the charging and discharging of capacitors. We first set up an RC circuit and measured the time it took for a capacitor to charge with varies resistances. We then used the capacitor charging equation to verify that our results were correct. Also, through the experiment we realized the relationship between the speed of charging a capacitor and the amount of resistance in the circuit. As the resistance increase so did the time it took to charge the capacitor. We then repeated the experiment with a discharging capacitance and observed the same relationship. While discharging the capacitor we also examined the relationship between the RC time constant and the resistances used and were able to come up with the capacitors capacitance. In another part of the experiment, we charged a capacitor and then placed it in parallel with another capacitor and observed the charges on each capacitor. After performing the experiment we concluded that charge was in fact conserved. In the last part of the experiment we set up a circuit with an LED and capacitor in parallel. By doing this we were able to calculate the LEDs turn on voltage and compare it to the times we recorded with our stop watches. These experiments also tested our knowledge of basic circuit laws like Kirchoff’s voltage and current law, ohm’s law, and the relationship between elements in series and parallel. Part 1: Charging a Capacitor In the first part of the experiment we created the RC circuit shown in figure 1 and used it to measure the time it took a capacitor to charge to a certain voltage. The capacitor was 2200 microfarads and the resistor box was set to 10k ohms. The voltage source was then set to 3V and we measured that the maximum voltage the capacitor reached was 2.99V. We then changed the voltage source to 5V and the capacitor charged up to 4.99V. The voltage difference is very slight, so it can be negligible due to the human and machine error. Through this experiment we can conclude that the capacitor can only charge to the voltage of the power supply.

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LAB 2 Capacitors and RC Circuits - Capacitors and RC...

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