• riseofphoenix
In summary, the conversation revolves around the confusion and lack of understanding when it comes to solving problems involving capacitors. The individual is unsure of what questions to ask themselves, what the symbols in the diagram mean, and how to distinguish between series and parallel capacitors. They are seeking help in understanding the concepts and equations involved in solving these types of problems.
riseofphoenix
How do I go about solving this?

Whenever I see a capacitor diagram/an image like this i always freak about because
1) I don't know what to ask myself when I see it
2) I'm not sure I know what's going on - other than the fact the the | | means: +| |-
I don't know what the squiggly lines /\/\/ mean either :(
3) I don't know how to solve this particular problem or how the pieces fit together.
4) I don't know how to distinguish a capacitor in series and a capacitor in parallel - especially in this problem

Please help! I've studied for the physics test I am about to take tonight at 7 pm and I've understood all the plug and chug problems.
It's this stuff in particular I just don't get.

You should hold in your head the picture of two plates with charge on them like you did in class ... these are just two conductors like any other conductor.
(It sounds like you need to revise the circuit diagram symbols too.)

You need to understand how charges move about on conductors.
You need to know the equations for combining capacitors.
You need to know the relationship between the voltage across a capacitor and it's charge.

Thing is, this sort of problem is about understanding things, not sticking numbers into equations.

## 1. What is a capacitor and how does it work?

A capacitor is an electronic component that stores electrical charge. It consists of two conductive plates separated by a non-conductive material called a dielectric. When a voltage is applied to the capacitor, it stores energy in the form of an electric field between the plates.

## 2. What is the unit of capacitance and how is it measured?

The unit of capacitance is the Farad (F). It is commonly measured in microfarads (μF) or picofarads (pF). Capacitance can be measured using a special type of meter called a capacitance meter.

## 3. What is current and how is it related to voltage and resistance?

Current is the flow of electric charge through a conductor. It is measured in Amperes (A). According to Ohm's Law, current is directly proportional to voltage and inversely proportional to resistance. This means that as voltage increases, current will also increase, and as resistance increases, current will decrease.

## 4. How does Ohm's Law relate to capacitors?

Ohm's Law states that the current through a conductor is directly proportional to the voltage and inversely proportional to the resistance. In the case of a capacitor, the voltage across the plates is directly proportional to the charge stored on the plates, and the resistance is replaced by the capacitance. This means that as the capacitance increases, the current will decrease and vice versa.

## 5. Can a capacitor store an infinite amount of charge?

No, a capacitor has a maximum amount of charge it can hold, known as its capacitance. This is determined by the size of the plates and the type of dielectric material used. Once the capacitor reaches its maximum charge, it cannot store any more and will start to discharge.

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