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Homework Help: Capacitor discharge

  1. Apr 22, 2015 #1
    Could someone explain to me how a capacitor discharges through another capacitor of different capacitance. Why does the voltage on the second capacitor have to equal the voltage on the first capacitor after the discharge.
    Please explain the concept to me in simple terms, do not go into university physics as I wont be able to understand it.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 22, 2015 #2

    phinds

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    Gold Member

    Let's start with the end state. You ask why the voltages on the two caps has to be the same after settling. Do you understand that two capacitors in parallel is exactly the same as a single larger capacitor? That being the case, how could they possibly have different voltages?

    In terms of discharging the one with higher voltage onto the one with lower voltage to make the voltages equal, that's really due to the same concept. You basically have one larger cap but with an unequal distribution across the plates so the charge evens itself out and the voltages become the same.
     
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