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Experiment 9 - Capacitors in Series

This time you add a 100 μF capacitor in series to the experiment 4. For this build the shown circuit.

Circuit with two series-connected electrolytic capacitors. (Enlarge)

Circuit diagram of the circuit with two series-connected electrolytic capacitors.

Observe again the time it is required to load and to discharge the two capacitors. You notice that the LEDs light up half as long as only a 100 μF capacitor.

For two in series-connected capacitors, the total capacity Ctotal calculates with...

1 / Ctotal = 1 / C1 + 1 / C2

Series Circuit

If the components are connected such that there is only one path for the current through the components, it is called a series circuit.

From Kirchhoff's Current Law (KCL) follows that the same amount of current flows through all the components.

You can rewrite the formula to get...

Ctotal = ( C1 * C2 ) / ( C1 + C2 ) = ( 100 μF * 100 μF ) / ( 100 μF + 100 μF ) = 50 μF

The total capacity of a series circuit is therefore smaller than any of the individual capacities.