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Capacitors, energy storage and energy release

  1. Mar 22, 2010 #1
    Just a short concept question for understanding...

    I understand that a capacitor stores a charge,

    However I'm told that capacitors can be used to store up a charge and release it very quickly.
    How does this energy get released is what I don't understand.

    To my understanding of a capacitor it stores a charge and if it gets too much charge there's a dielectric breakdown.

    How is this useful in a circuit?

    Thank you.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 23, 2010 #2
    Re: Capacitors

    Dielectric breakdown is not useful in a circuit as far as I know. The way to quickly release the energy is to connect a small resistance to it. You could connect an inductor to get a large magnetic field, or make an oscillator, use it for a flashlight, or use it in a power supply to smooth out the 50/60Hz ripple.
     
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