Selasa, 20 September 2011

practical capacitor

A practical capacitor is not limited to two plates. As shown to the right, it is quite possible to place a number of plates in parallel and then connect alternate plates together. In addition, it is not necessary for the insulating material between plates to be air. Any insulating material will work, and some insulators have the effect of massively increasing the capacity of the resulting device to hold an electric charge. This ability is known generally as capacitance, and capacitors are rated according to their capacitance.

It is also unnecessary for the capacitor plates to be flat. Consider the figure below, which shows two "plates" of metal foil, interleaved with pieces of waxed paper (shown in yellow). This assembly can be rolled up to form a cylinder, with the edges of the foil extending from either end so they can be connected to the actual capacitor leads. The resulting package is small, light, rugged, and easy to use. It is also typically large enough to have its capacitance value printed on it numerically, although some small ones do still use color codes.

The schematic symbol for a capacitor, shown below and to the right of the rolled foil illustration, represents the two plates. The curved line specifically represents the outer foil when the capacitor is rolled into a cylinder as most of them are. This can become important when we start dealing with stray signals which might interfere with the desired behavior of a circuit (such as the "buzz" or "hum" you often hear in an AM radio when it is placed near fluorescent lighting). In these cases, the outer foil can sometimes act as a shield against such interference.

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