Capacitors A capacitor is an electrical circuit element made out of two conductive surfaces placed very close together without touching. A voltage difference is applied across them and equal but opposite charges develop on the opposing surfaces. The idealized version of this element is the parallel plate capacitor. It is depicted to the right as a pair of identical metal plates of area Awith a non-conducting dielectricsandwiched in between of width d. The dielectric improves the capacitor because of its high electrostatic permittivity. Often, this permittivity is represented as the product of a dielectric constant, κ, and the permittivity of free space, ε₀. The capacitor’s parameters come together in a single physics quantity called the capacitance, which simply measures how much charge the capacitor can hold at a given voltage. The equation for the capacitance is C=εA/d(or C=κε₀A/d), where Cis measured in farads(F).
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