Applications of Capacitors
A capacitor is a primary storage device widely used to store electric charges in an electric field and release them whenever required. Nearly every electronic device needs Capacitors as it serves various quintessential purposes in an electric circuit. It provides different filter prospects, noise reduction, flexible power storage, and sensing abilities, among other applications.
Capacitors are designed and developed to perform several operations, unlike smoothing, separating, bypassing, etc. However, different electric circuits may require a different kind of capacitor-based on their application type.
Applications of Capacitor
In today's era, capacitors are used in various ways in electrical circuits. Though all the capacitors cater to the same essential requirement, there are still different capacitor forms used to produce various circuit functions.
Different circuits require different capacitors with particular states and hold other properties like electric current capacity, value range, value efficiency, temperature stability, and several other aspects. There are various capacitor types available in the market that consists of different values or may have large value ranges, and others may have smaller values.
Other capacitors may have significant current capabilities, others may have significant stability levels, and others still are available with superficial temperature coefficient states. By choosing the appropriate capacitor for any specific use or application, the electric circuit can be made to operate to best of its abilities.
Following are the various applications of capacitor used in different electrical industries:
1. Energy storage
The primary application of a capacitor is to store electric energy when it is connected to an electric circuit. And even if it gets disconnected from the electric circuit, it can consume that stored energy, and it can work as a temporary battery. Capacitors are usually used in electric devices to control the power supply while batteries are being changed. Therefore it helps in preventing the loss of data in volatile memory.
2. Pulsed power and weapons
Capacitors are specially constructed with low-inductance and high-voltage functionalities to fulfill massive electric current levels for many pulsed power devices. These devices may hold electromagnetic gadgets, generators (especially Marx generators), pulsed lasers, and particle accelerators.
3. Power conditioning
One of the applications of Capacitors is power conditioning. It is widely used in power supplies to ease the outcome of a complete or half-wave rectifier. Capacitors also assist in charging pump circles as it generates higher voltages and therefore assists in storing energy elements.
DC power circuits of electronic devices are often connected in parallel with the Capacitors as it generates smooth current fluctuations for signal or control circuits. For instance, the electrical audio applications implement several capacitors to put down the power line before it gets into the electric circuit.
The capacitors work as a local store for the DC (Direct Current) power supply and bypass the AC (Alternative Current) from the power source. Therefore the capacitors are also used in car audio equipment when a stiffening capacitor meets the resistance of the car engine battery.
4. Power factor correction Capacitors
Capacitors are used for power factor correction in various electrical power supply distribution. Usually, the units of these capacitors are calculated as reactive power in VAr unit (volt-amperes reactive) instead of farads. The objective is to prevent inductive loading from appliances like motors (Induction or electric) and transmission lines to get the load to appear to be essentially resistive.
You may notice significant sets of capacitors installed at various load centers (usually in big buildings or societies) that require high electrical power consumption. In high-voltage DC transmission connections, power factor correction capacitors have pre-installed tuning inductors to overcome the flow of harmonic currents that could otherwise be added to the AC power system and damage the equipment.
5. Capacitor Safety
Capacitors are designed and developed to store massive amounts of energy that could be dangerous if not controlled or handled correctly with precautious measures. This tremendous energy level can induce disastrous electrical shocks and even destroy the equipment if the capacitor gets disengaged from the power source for a significant amount of time. Therefore to prevent this, it is always advised to discharge the capacitors before operating any electrical device.
Electrolytic capacitors are likely to break abruptly under specific conditions, significantly if the voltage on a polarized capacitor is changed. However, Capacitors used in high-power or high-voltage devices may also break abruptly as the dielectric materials split down and volatize.
6. Hold-up capacitor applications
With this capacitor, the charge enclosed by the capacitor usually gives a power supply to an electric circuit for a short time.
Earlier, small rechargeable power batteries were used to restore the charges. The disadvantage with the batteries was that they underwent memory consequences and life restrictions so that capacitors can give a viable alternative.
Today, supercapacitors contribute massive capacitance levels, and therefore it is adequately significant to allow many circuits to remain powered during times where the mains power is unavailable. They are comparatively economical and contribute an outstanding level of performance.
7. RF coupling and decoupling applications
The concepts of RF coupling and decoupling are designed and developed on the same fundamental laws as those required for regular coupling and decoupling capacitors. However, the capacitors used for RF applications should have their appropriate RF performance. However, the performance may vary for the capacitors operating at lower frequencies.
Typically people don't prefer to use electrolytic capacitors as their performance usually drops if the frequency is increased, and they are often used for devices that operate above about 100 kHz. Ceramic capacitors are used to prevent performance declination as they deliver an excellent RF performance, particularly the surface mount MLCC capacitors.
The other reason why ceramic capacitors are so popular and are most widely used because they have an extraordinary self-resonant frequency, particularly the surface mount capacitors that are too small and have no channels to add any type of inductance.
8. Smoothing capacitor applications
Smoothing capacitors are effectively equivalent to decoupling capacitors, but people often use this term is typically used in conjunction with a power supply.
While receiving the line signal from a transformer and a rectifier, the incoming waveform is not always smooth. It ranges between zero (starting point) to the peak voltage (end point). If it is connected to an electric circuit, it can operate as a DC voltage. A capacitor comes into place to prevent the above scenario and decouple or smooth the DC voltage.