Electronic components such as capacitors and inductors can store energy supplied by a voltage source. The main difference between them is that an inductor stores energy in a magnetic field, whereas a capacitor stores it in an electric field.
The capacitor and inductor both are very important circuitries. Though they both store energy, the applications and characteristics are quite different from each other. From physical design to storage field, from frequencies to operation, these two elements are specified.
Physical Design | Capacitor vs Inductor
Two conducting plates are separated by a dielectric substance that functions as an insulator in capacitors. An air gap can theoretically separate the plates, however, due to energy loss, this design is exceedingly inefficient.
An inductor is essentially a wire with two terminals, which is almost always coiled. Within the coil, inductors can be connected, have specific housing, and have different core materials.
Because the coiled wire takes up much more area than the tiny layers of the capacitor’s plates, the tiniest inductors are substantially larger than the smallest capacitors. Surface mount inductors, on the other hand, have shrunk in size to fit into small devices like cell phones.
Capacitor and Inductor in Parallel
When both of a capacitor’s terminals are connected to each terminal of another capacitor, it is said to be connected in parallel. If two or more capacitors are linked in parallel, the result is a single equivalent capacitor with the total of the individual capacitors’ plate surfaces.
Whereas The total of the reciprocals of the individual inductances is equal to the reciprocal of the equivalent inductance of the inductors connected in parallel. The effect of mutual inductance fluctuates the total inductance when the magnetic fields of one interface with the other, depending on the level of magnetic coupling between the coils.
Capacitor and Inductor in Series
Capacitors are said to be in series when they are connected one after the other. When capacitors are connected in series, the overall capacitance is less than the particular capacitances of the series capacitors. The total capacitance of capacitors in series can be calculated by summing the inverses of the individual capacitances and taking the inverse of the sum.
On the other hand, the overall inductance of a series of inductors is equivalent to the total of the individual inductors’ inductances. It is because the voltage level dropped across an inductor for a set rate of current change through is the definitive measure of inductance.
When inductors are wired in series, they share the same current and experience the same rate of current change. As a result, the total voltage reduced as a result of a change in current will be additive with each inductor, resulting in a higher total voltage than either inductor alone.
Capacitor in DC Circuit
The voltage of a DC source is constant, therefore when we attach a DC supply, the capacitor begins to charge. As stated, once it is fully charged, it will wait for the appropriate time to discharge the charge stored in it.
In a DC source, however, this will never happen because the voltage is constant. So it’s an open circuit after it’s fully charged. As a result, the capacitor acts as an open circuit element of a DC circuit.
Inductor in DC Circuit
The inductor works as a short circuit in the DC circuit. By the principle of inductor when needed, it stores energy in the form of a magnetic field and releases it to the circuit. The sudden change of current produces a self-induced EMF in the inductor which opposes the change of current in it.
However, in a DC circuit no change in current happens, more specifically no magnetic flux change happens due to no frequency. As a result, there is no resistance or opposition to the flow of current through the inductor. Thus, the inductor works as a conductor.
Capacitor in AC Circuit
When an alternating voltage is provided to a capacitor, it will charge and discharge at the same time. The frequency of the supply AC voltage will determine the rate of frequency. As a result, the capacitance of a capacitor that is constantly charged or discharged in an AC circuit is determined by the frequency of the input signal.
A capacitor charges and discharges to modify the supply voltage in an AC circuit. They are used to generate a voltage that is higher than the input voltage. It contributes to the smoothing of currency fluctuations.
Capacitors are most commonly employed in rectifier circuits to level current fluctuations. They are also used to block DC static voltage while allowing AC signals to travel from one circuit to the next. Coupling capacitors are the name for these types of capacitors.
The inductor in AC Circuit
In an AC circuit, the resistance to current flowing through the coil windings of the inductor is determined not only by the coil’s inductance but also by the frequency of the applied voltage waveform as it fluctuates from positive to negative values.
The AC resistance of a coil in an AC circuit determines the real opposition to the current passing through it, and this AC resistance is indicated by a complex number. However, the term Reactance is used to differentiate a DC resistance value from an AC resistance value, which is also referred to as Impedance.
When alternating current travels through an inductor, a magnetic field forms around it, which produces flux. To equalize the current traveling through the inductor, this current across it fluctuates. The amount of electromotive force (EMF) created for a change in current can be used to calculate the voltage in an inductor.
Both capacitors and inductors are significant in their outputs. They mostly show opposite results when used in series, parallel, or DC circuits. Also, inductors work well at lower frequencies, while capacitors work best at higher frequencies.