Part Family: Electronics
Functionality of Capacitors:
A capacitor is a device that stores electrical energy in the middle of an electric field. It is a dual-terminal passive electronic component, meaning it consumes/stores energy but does not produce it. The effect of a capacitor is known as capacitance. This is the ratio of the change in an electric charge in a system to the corresponding change in its electrical potential. Because capacitors are capable of consuming energy by not producing it, they exhibit a type of capacitance called ‘self capacitance.’ Construction of capacitors varies greatly but most contain two electrical conductors or more, usually in the form of metallic plates or surfaces separated by a non-conductive piece. When a voltage moves through the terminals of a capacitor, an electric field develops over the non-conductive piece, resulting in one conductor having a positive charge and the other having a negative.
FSG: Capacitors are categorized under FSG 59: Electrical and Electronic Equipment Components.
FSC: Capacitors are categorized under FSC 5910: Capacitors.
Capacitors have a vast array of uses in electrical systems. Chief of these is energy storage. Capacitors are often used in electronic devices to maintain power supply while batteries are charging. In aircraft capacitors can be used to measure the fuel level. This is done by monitoring the circuit capacitance. As fuel levels decrease, so too does the power of the circuit. Capacitors are also used in pulsed power applications. Pulsed power is the accumulation of power over time and the release of it all at once. Large collections of capacitors, called reservoirs, are used as energy for detonators in nuclear weapons and other specialized weapons.
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