Capacitors (Series And Parallel)

  • Thread starter lozoot93
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Main Question or Discussion Point

how exactly can you tell if multiple capacitors are in series or parallel with each other?

i know that if the negative plate of first is connected to the positive of the second and the negative of the second is connected to the positive of the 3rd and so on, it means that the capacitors are connected in series.

But i've come across many questions in which the sign(negative or positive) of the plate is not given. In that case how do i deduce whether they are connected in parallel or in series?

thank you.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
sophiecentaur
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There is no real answer to this one except to say that the words 'series' and 'parallel' can only be applied when there is an emf involved. Mostly, this would be in the form of a battery or PSU, connected somewhere.
If the two capacitors are just sitting there, uncharged then there is no emf and no current can flow. If you charge them 'in parallel' then there is an emf but no current (because the fields balance). If you charge them 'in series' (having broken the circuit for that purpose) then a current will flow when the loop is completed and the capacitors will discharge through each other (followed, if there is no resistance involved, by a series of AC oscillations, due to the necessary inductance of the loop and conservation of energy considerations).
 

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