What Does Capacitor Mean?

A capacitor is a small piece of electrical hardware that can hold electrical energy within a circuit or field. Experts sometimes refer to capacitors as a type of internal battery or energy holder, although capacitors and batteries work differently. The dielectric or non-conducting substance in a capacitor separates two metal plates. The capacitor is often linked to a battery to take in the incoming electrons it produces. One way of saying this is that the capacitor slows down the amount of current and then distributes it according to what the circuit can handle. Manufacturers use materials including electrical conductors and insulating materials like glass or ceramics as capacitors.


Techopedia Explains Capacitor

The capacity of a capacitor is measured in farads. Engineers might also call this amps/second. The ability of the capacitor has to be coordinated to the ability of the battery in order to provide consistent electrical results.

As a common part of a circuit, capacitors are familiar elements in all kinds of hardware devices. Like other kinds of electrical hardware, capacitors have gotten smaller over time as manufacturers advanced in creating more compact devices and products.


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Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.