How to Construct a Capacitor
Thomas Reddy Shyamala Meadow Creek High School
Problem:
How to construct a capacitor and what affect does a capacitor have on a circuit?
Abstract: A paralell plate is constructed and and its capacitance is measured. The RC time constant of a circuit is measured experimentally using different resistors and capacitors. These results are compared with the spice simulator results.
National and State Standards:
Inquiry, Process and Problem Solving
Uses science process skills in laboratory or field investigations, including observation, classification, communication, metric measurement, and prediction, inference, collecting and analyzing data.
1.1 Designs and conducts a scientific experiment that identifies the problem,
distinguishes manipulated, responding and controlled variables, collects, analyzes and communicates data, and makes valid inferences and conclusions.
1.2 Evaluates procedures, data and conclusions to determine the scientific validity of
research. Learns and uses on a regular basis standard safety practices for laboratory or field investigations.
3.1 Learns and uses safety procedures specific to an investigation or research activity.
Describes the nature of potential energy in an electrical system.
21.1 
Describes a capacitor. Explain how a capacitor works 
21.2 
Defines capacitance. 
21.7 
Describes the relationship between work and electrical energy. 
21.8 
Measures electrical energy stored in a capacitor. 
Objectives:
• To verify the dependence of capacitance on plate size and spacing for a parallel plate capacitor.
• To measure the dielectric constant of a paper.
• To investigate how quickly the charge enters and leaves the capacitor.
• Verify the results with a spice simulator.
Learner Outcomes:
Students will achieve the knowledge of capacitors such as
•
• Operation principle
Function
•
• Effect of dielectric
Construction
1
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
• Measurement of capacitance
• Charge and discharge
• Time constant
• Usage of simulators
Capacitor Lab Rubrics
Name:
Grade:
Date:
Categories 
Criteria 
Value 

Process skills 
0 
1 
2 
3 
4 

Analysis 
No judgment can be made 
Cannot perform the Process skills 
Accomplishment of Process skills with significant errors 
Accomplishment of Process skills without significant errors 
Accomplishment of Process skills fully with minimum insignificant errors 

Investigation 
No judgment can be made 
Doesn’t address the content knowledge 
Addresses some features of the content knowledge 
Addresses main features of the content knowledge 
Addressee all features of the content knowledge 

Deduction 
No judgment can be made 
Does not generate a unsupported prediction 
Generates a partially supported prediction 
Generates a valid prediction that mismatch conclusion 
Generates a valid prediction that matches conclusion 

Classification 
No judgment can be made 
Organizes elements 
Organizes elements 
Organizes elements logically with no description 
Organizes elements logically with complete description 

Illogically 
partially logic 

Induction 
No judgment can be made 
Does not construct a valid generalization 
Constructs a partially valid generalization 
Constructs a valid generalization with no logic 
Constructs a valid generalization with logic 

Decision making 
No judgment can be made 
Uses criteria that are unrelated to the situation 
Uses criteria that are partially related to the situation 
Uses criteria that are related to the situation with no explanation 
Uses criteria that are related to the situation with complete explanation 

Compare and 
No judgment can be made 
Uses trivial 
Uses some critical characteristic elements 
Uses most critical characteristic elements 
Uses all critical characteristic elements 

contrast 
characteristic 

elements 

Assignments 
No judgment can be made 
Does not meet the specified requirements 
Meets few specified requirements 
Meets most of the specified requirements 
Meets all the specified requirements 

Total 
Section I
Parallel Plate Capacitor
Theory:
A capacitor is a device that stores energy in the electric field created between a pair of
conductors on which electric charges of equal magnitude, but opposite sign, have been placed.So a capacitor can be made up of two metal surfaces separated by a certain distance. They are used to isolate one voltage from another, trigger timely electrical
events, voltage ripple filter, etc. In electric circuits it is symbolized by a pair of vertical lines of same size with two leads. The capacitance is measured in farads or submultiples
of farad.
A parallel plate capacitor is the simplest one to verify the dependence of capacitance on
plate size and spacing between the plates. When a capacitor is connected across the battery terminals, charge flows until its potential difference becomes equal to that of the battery.
2
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
When electric charge accumulates on the plates, an electric field is created in the region between the plates that is proportional to the amount of accumulated charge. This electric field creates a potential difference V = E·d between the plates of this simple parallelplate capacitor.
The electrons within dielectric molecules are influenced by the electric field, causing the molecules to rotate slightly from their equilibrium positions.This effect accomdate extra charge on the plates than usual.The air gap is shown for clarity; in a real capacitor, the dielectric is in direct contact with the plates.
The amount of charge needed to produce a potential difference in the capacitor depends on
1. Area (A) of the plates.
2. Distance (d) between the plates and
3. Non conducting material between the plates.
The capacitance of a parallel plate capacitor with Non conducting material between its plates is given by
3
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
C = k ε _{0}
A
d
Where ‘k’is the Dielectric constant for the non conducting material and
‘ε _{0} ’ is the permittivity of free space which is equal to 8.8542 X 10 ^{}^{1}^{2} C ^{2} / (Nm ^{2} ).
Apparatus:
1. Parallel plate capacitor (need to make seven different capacitors with Aluminum foil for each part of the experiment).
2. Card stock paper.
3. Clothes pins.
4. Digital multimeter.
5. Ruler.
Procedure:
Part I:
To verify of the dependence of capacitance on plate size for a parallel plate capacitor.
• Take the aluminum foil cut it in rectangular shape (as shown in the figure) in pairs and place required number of Card stock paper between them. This arrangement now acts like a capacitor.
• Make seven such capacitors of different sizes .The thickness must be uniform and constant for all capacitors.
• Then measure the area of each capacitor and corresponding capacitance for all capacitors. Now record the data in table1.
• Graph Capacitance versus Area.
• Find the dielectric constant of the material in each case.
4
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
Table 1
Spacing (Thickness) between the plates = 
meter. 

Area (A) of the plate ( meter ) 
Capacitance (C) (Farad) 
K = (C d ) / (ε _{0} A) 
Part II:
To verify the dependence of capacitance on spacing between the plates for a parallel plate capacitor:
• Follow the first step of part I to make a capacitor.
• Make seven capacitors of same area with different thicknesses. The number of Card stock paper between the plates changes the thickness of the capacitor.
• Then measure the thickness of each capacitor and corresponding capacitance for all capacitors. Now record the data in table2.
• Graph Capacitance versus Thickness.
• Find the dielectric constant of the material in each case.
Table 2
5
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
Assessment:
1. What is the function that describes the relationship between Capacitance and Area of the capacitor?
2. What is the function that describes the relationship between Capacitance and Spacing (thickness) of the capacitor?
3. Graph Capacitance versus the reciprocal of the plate Spacing and find out the slope.
4. Determine the dielectric constant ‘k’ of the material using the measured value of the slope (Capacitance versus the reciprocal of the plate Spacing), the measured plate area in part II and the known value of the permittivity of free space (ε _{0}_{=} 8.8542 X 10 ^{}^{1}^{2} C ^{2} / (Nm ^{2} )).
5. Find the percentage error in ‘k’ with respect to experimental average.
6. Describe the sources of error in the experiment?
Section II
RC Time Constant:
Capacitor:
It is a twoterminal electrical component that stores energy in the electric field created between a pair of conductors on which electric charges of equal magnitude, but opposite sign, have been placed.
Charge
When a battery is connected to a series resistor and capacitor, the initial current is high as the battery transports charge from one plate of the capacitor to the other. The charging current exponentially approaches zero as the capacitor becomes charged up to the battery voltage. Charging the capacitor stores energy in the electric field between the capacitor plates. The rate of charging is typically described in terms of a time constant RC.
Here the voltage (V) across the capacitor is given by
V = V _{o} (1–e ^{–}^{t} ^{/} ^{τ} )
……… (1)
Where V _{o} is the battery voltage and τ is the product RC.
When t is equal to infinity the above equation yields V=V _{0} .
6
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
Discharge
While discharging the voltage (V) across the capacitor is given by
V = V _{o} e ^{–}^{t} ^{/} ^{τ}
……… (2)
When t is equal to infinity the above equation yields V= 0.thus the voltage decreases by a
factor 1/e every τ seconds.
Equations 1 and 2 reveal that the larger the time constant, the slower the charging or discharging
Resistor:
It is a twoterminal electrical component that resists an electric current by producing a voltage drop between its terminals in accordance with Ohm's law (V= I R ).Hence it dissipates energy.In series with a capacitor,it delay the charge or discharge when a switch is opend or closed.,producing(for charge) an exponential variation of the voltage acroos the capacitor.
Procedure:
Construct the circuit as shown below. Case 1:
When the switch S is placed in position A, the charge flows from the battery into the capacitor until the capacitor is fully charged. Case 2:
When the switch is placed in B, the capacitor discharges through the resistor.
7
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
Record at least 10 values of voltage (v) and corresponding time (t) in each case. Battery Voltage =
1. How much time (approximately) does it take the capacitor to charge and discharge?
2. Double the resistance and measure the time to charge and discharge.
3. Double the battery voltage. How much time does it take to charge and discharge?
4. Double the capacitance and measure the time to charge and discharge.
5. Compare your measurements to the values found from the equations (1 & 2) and SPICE simulator (download the Evaluation Version simulator form http://www.spectrumsoft.com/download.shtm . It is a free limited version. )
6. Graph voltage versus time in both cases.
7. Fit the discharge curve to obtain _{τ} value _{(}_{τ} _{f}_{i}_{t} _{)}_{.}
8. Calculate τ using R and C values.
9. Find the percentage error of τ.
10. What is the maximum current while the capacitor is charging?
11. What is the minimum current while the capacitor is discharging?
12. Calculate the maximum energy stored in the capacitor.
13. Calculate the energy supplied by the battery for maximum charging?
8
Thomas Shyamala MHS 7/16/2006
Molto più che documenti.
Scopri tutto ciò che Scribd ha da offrire, inclusi libri e audiolibri dei maggiori editori.
Annulla in qualsiasi momento.