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Home Capacitors Capacitors In Series and Parallel Combinations

Capacitors In Series and Parallel Combinations Switches


Sasmita October 12, 2015 Capacitors
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Capacitors in Series and Parallel Combinations switchChina
Capacitors are one of the standard components in electronic and electrical circuits. manufacturer&exporter
However, complicated combinations of capacitors mostly occur in practical circuits.
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It is, therefore, useful to have a set of rules for finding the equivalent capacitance of
some general capacitors arrangements.

The equivalent capacitance of any complicated arrangement can be determined by the


repeated application of two simple rules and these rules are related to capacitors
connected in series and in parallel.

Capacitors in Series
Capacitors are said to be connected in series, when they are effectively daisy chained
together in a single line.

Consider two capacitors connected in series: i.e.in a line such that the positive plate of
one is attached to the negative plate of the other as shown in the fig. above.

In fact, let us suppose that the positive plate of capacitor 1 is connected to the input
wire, the negative plate of capacitor 1 is connected to the positive plate of capacitor 2,
and the negative plate of capacitor 2 is connected to the output wire.

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Now the question arises, what is the equivalent capacitance between the input and
output wires?

In this connection, it is important to realize that the charge Q stored in the two
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This can be explained as follows : switchChina
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Let us consider the internal plates i.e., the negative plate of capacitor 1, and the
positive plate of capacitor 2. switchchina.com

These plates are physically disconnected from the rest of the circuit, so the total charge
on them must remain constant.

Assuming, that these plates carry zero charge when zero potential difference is
applied across the two capacitors, it follows that in the presence of a non-zero
potential difference the charge Q on the positive plate of capacitor 2 must be balanced
by an equal and opposite charge -Q on the negative plate of capacitor 1.

Since the negative plate of capacitor 1 carries a charge -Q , the positive plate of
capacitor 2 carries a charge + Q to balance it.

As a result,both capacitors possess the same stored charge .

The potential drops, and , across the two capacitors different.

However, the sum of these drops equals the total potential drop applied across the
input and output wires:

i.e.

The equivalent capacitance of the pair of capacitors is again . Thus,

Hence,

Hence, we can conclude that :

The reciprocal of the equivalent capacitance of two capacitors connected in series is


the sum of the reciprocals of the individual capacitances.

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For capacitors connected in series, the equivalent capacitance equation can be


generalized to :

Example
Find the overall capacitance and the individual rms voltage drops across the two
capacitors each with 47 nF ,in series when connected to a 12V a.c. supply.

Solution :

Total Capacitance,

Voltage drop across the two identical 47 nF capacitors,

Capacitors in Parallel
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Capacitors in Parallel
Capacitors are said to be connected in parallel when both of their terminals are
respectively connected to each terminal of the other capacitor or capacitors.

Consider two capacitors connected in parallel: i.e., with the positively charged plates
connected to a common input wire, and the negatively charged plates attached to a
common output wire as shown in the above fig.

What is the equivalent capacitance between the input and output wires?

In this case, the potential difference across the two capacitors is the same, and is
equal to the potential differnce between the input and output wires.

However, the total stored charge Q is divided between the two capacitors, since it must
distribute itselfsuch that the voltage across them is same.

Since, the capacitors may have different capacitances, and ,the charges

and may also be different.

The equivalent capacitance of the pair of capacitors is simply the ratio ,

where is the total stored charge.

It follows that :

17

Hence,

18

In general for we can say that :

The equivalent capacitance of two capacitors connected in parallel is the sum of the
individual capacitances.

For capacitors connected in parallel, the equation for equivalent capacitance can
begeneralizes to :

Example :

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Calculate the combined capacitance of the following capacitors each with a
capacitance of 47 nF, when they are connected together in a parallel combination .

Solution :

Total Capacitance,

19

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About The Author


Sasmita
Hi! I am Sasmita . At ElectronicsPost.com I pursue my love for teaching.
I am an M.Tech in Electronics & Telecommunication Engineering. And,
if you really want to know more about me, please visit my "About"
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