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Homework Help: Symbols of circuit elements

  1. Dec 15, 2014 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    I wanted to ask why the symbols of capacitor , resistor and inductor is such which they have..?? Why are we denoting capacitor by 2 parallel plates why not 2 zig-zag plates..and same for inductor??

    2. Relevant equations

    3. The attempt at a solution
    As much I got , resistor has such symbol as it acts as a barrir to flow of electrons..
    Last edited by a moderator: Dec 15, 2014
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 15, 2014 #2


    Staff: Mentor

    The simplest capacitor would be two parallel plates at a fixed distance from each other, so the || symbol makes more sense than two zigzag shapes. An inductor is essentially a coil of wire, so the symbol for an inductor captures that idea. I'm not sure why they chose a sawtooth symbol for resistors, although its rough shape does suggest an obstacle.
  4. Dec 17, 2014 #3


    User Avatar
    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper
    Gold Member

    The ISO/European and US symbols for a resistor are different. The US uses the "zigzag" symbol. The ISO/European symbol is a rectangular box.
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