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Capacitors and Resistors

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You get to learn the basics of electronics with an introduction to capacitors, resistors, and Ohm’s law. Find out how to measure current and voltage in different types of circuits.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Define capacitor.
  • Define capacitance as the ratio of stored charge to electric potential difference.
  • State the unit of capacitance.

Everything You'll Have Covered

Who invented the Leyden Jar?

~ The Leyden Jar was invented by Dutch scientist Pieter van Musschenbroek.

How is a simple capacitor made?

~ A simple capacitor can be made by taking two parallel plates and connecting one to the positive terminal of a battery and the other to the negative terminal. The distance between the plates is then filled in with an insulator known as a dielectric. The dielectric can be air, but for short distances, solid materials such as paper, plastic, or mica are better because they prevent the plates from touching.

What is a capacitor's capacitance?

~ Capacitance is the amount of charge stored by the plates of a capacitor under a certain potential difference. It is measured in a unit called the Farad.

How can energy be released from a simple capacitor?

~ Energy can be released from a simple capacitor by providing a conductive path between the parallel plates.

What are the two main factors that influence how much charge can be stored on the plates of a capacitor?

~ The two main factors that affect how much charge can be stored on the plates of a capacitor are the size of the plates, and the distance between them. Increasing the area of the plates allows the capacitor to hold more charge. Likewise, decreasing the space between the plates also increases the amount of charge that can be stored.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define capacitance, capacitor, and charge storage.
Course Physics
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary capacitance, capacitor, charge storage