What is capacitor (capacitance)? - Definition from WhatIs.com

Definition

capacitor (capacitance)

Part of the Electronics glossary:

A capacitor is a passive electronic component that stores energy in the form of an electrostatic field. In its simplest form, a capacitor consists of two conducting plates separated by an insulating material called thedielectric. The capacitance is directly proportional to the surface areas of the plates, and is inversely proportional to the separation between the plates. Capacitance also depends on the dielectric constant of the substance separating the plates.

The standard unit of capacitance is the farad, abbreviated. This is a large unit; more common units are the microfarad, abbreviated µF (1 µF =10-6F) and the picofarad, abbreviated pF (1 pF = 10-12 F).

Capacitors can be fabricated onto integrated circuit (IC)chips. They are commonly used in conjunction with transistors in dynamic random access memory (DRAM). The capacitors help maintain the contents of memory. Because of their tiny physical size, these components have low capacitance. They must be recharged thousands of times per second or the DRAM will lose its data.

Large capacitors are used in the power supplies of electronic equipment o fall types, including computers and their peripherals. In these systems,the capacitors smooth out the rectified utility AC, providing pure, battery-likeDC.

This was last updated in November 2010
Posted by: Margaret Rouse

Related Terms

Definitions

  • bioprinting

    - Although bioprinting is still in the experimental stage and is currently used primarily in scientific study rather than applied science, the possibility of creating functional replacement tissues o... (WhatIs.com)

  • flash storage

    - Flash storage, based on flash memory, is used for data repositories, storage systems and consumer devices, such as USB drives, smartphones and solid-state drives. Flash-based storage is faster than... (WhatIs.com)

  • digital assistant

    - A digital assistant is an application program that can understand natural human language and complete electronic tasks for the end user. (WhatIs.com)

Glossaries

  • Electronics

    - Terms related to electronics, including definitions about electrical components and words and phrases about computers, laptops parts, digital cameras, televisions and home appliances.

  • Internet applications

    - This WhatIs.com glossary contains terms related to Internet applications, including definitions about Software as a Service (SaaS) delivery models and words and phrases about web sites, e-commerce ...

Ask a Question About capacitor (capacitance)Powered by ITKnowledgeExchange.com

Get answers from your peers on your most technical challenges

Tech TalkComment

Share
Comments

    Results

    Contribute to the conversation

    All fields are required. Comments will appear at the bottom of the article.