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Homework Help: Is time constant, for capacitors, changed by series/parallel connection?

  1. Mar 8, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    If you were given an enclosed box, containing two 2000uF capacitors, which were either joined in series or in parallel, suggest, with a reason, how you would determine which way they were connected.

    2. Relevant equations
    C = C1 + C2 in parallel

    1/C = 1/C1 + 1/C2 in series

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I have calculated (using above equations) that in series the total capacitance is 1000uF, and in parallel the total capacitance is is 4000uF.

    Therefore in series the total capacitance is double one of the capacitors and in parallel the total capacitance is half one of the capacitors. So this is how I have answered the question.

    Though I'm wondering if I should mention about the time constant and how it is affected for both series and parallel?

    Thanks very much
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 8, 2010 #2


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    Your calculations are correct, but they alone don't answer the question of how you would determine the way the two are connected. You need to explain how you'd figure out what's inside: what kind of circuit you'd use, what you'd measure, etc. Your time constant idea is a good place to start.
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