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Aug 26

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The mechanism of operation in a capacitor

The DC doesnt flow through capacitor. I thought it was because the electrons jus get saturated on one side and are lost on other side, such that it can’t take or give up anymore or plausibly due to voltage developed across it whereas in AC as directions keep changing, saturation doesnt occur. But it if it were so then AC would flow through two plates seperated by large distances or switches which can be considered capacitors.So please guide me as to what’s actually happening during current flow through capacitor and how it happens? (The question was posted by Thushar Misra)

Answer:

Your logic is almost correct. A capacitor is a passive electronic component consisting of a pair of conductors separated by a dielectric (insulator). When there is a potential difference (voltage) across the conductors, a static electric field develops across the dielectric, causing positive charge to collect on one plate and negative charge on the other plate. Energy is stored in the electrostatic field.

A current is not “flowing” through a capacitor, the “current” that exists between the plates of a capacitor is called “Displacement current” which is actually caused by the time varying electric flux. This causes the circuit to be continuous though there is no electrical contact or flow of charges between the plates of the capacitor.

When a capacitor is connected to DC, there exists a change in electric flux when the switch is just turned on but soon it reaches steady state and there is no “current”. A capacitor can “conduct” only when there is a “change” in electric flux, which is continuously taking place in an AC.

 

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