Difference Between Capacitor vs Inductor

Difference Between Capacitor vs Inductor

As a physics student, you will have to deal with many electrical units. In today’s discussion, we will dissect the difference between capacitor and inductor. While the two elements are electrical components that alter the charges that pass through them, they do so in different ways. They can best be described as passive elements that are capable of drawing power from many different sources.

Afterward, the power is discharged. Regarding use, the two components are often seen in an alternate circuit and signal filtering applications. As a student, you have to know the distinction between them, and this guide will give you the detailed explanation.

Definition of Capacitor

A capacitor is an electrical component that stores energy in the form of electric field. The energy that this element stores can be calculated using the formula: 1/2 CV2. When it is used in a DC circuit, it acts as an insulator. On the other hand, when used in an AC circuit, current leads by 90 degrees. It all goes without saying that the SI unit of this component is Farad.

It will interest you to know that it has 3 major types: ceramic, electrolytic, and tantalum. This element primarily opposes the current, thus leading to changes in voltage. Hence, it is calculated in voltage.

More often than not, it comes with two conducting plates that are separated by a dielectric material. They are usually used in environments where high-powered voltages are critical. It is crucial to many electronics companies.

Definition of Inductor

An inductor is an electrical component that leverages magnetic field principle to store energy. For a physicist to calculate the energy stored, the formula is 1/2 LI2. In such a circuit, current passes through the coil of an electric device.

In simple terms, one can say that this element acts as the conductor of a DC circuit. Additionally, when current passes through a circuit containing the element, it lags behind voltage by 90 degrees.

It is noteworthy that when this element is added to a DC circuit in series, the value of current drops significantly and increases afterward with time. Before delving into the difference between inductor and capacitor, it is good to know more about the former.

The 3 major types of an inductor are coupled, multilayer, ceramic core, and molded inductors. Regarding application, they are often used in spark plugs, transformers, TV, radio, etc. The SI unit used to represent values in it is Henry.

Main Differences Between Capacitor vs Inductor

Basis of ComparisonCapacitorInductor
MeaningThis is an electric unit that stores energy by leveraging the electric field principleThis is an electric unit that stores energy using the magnetic field principle
Calculating energyThe formula for calculating here in terms of voltage is ½ CV2The formula for calculating here in terms of current is ½ LI2
CurrentCurrent does not flow through its plates  Current goes through the coils
Reaction in DC circuitThis acts of an insulator for a DC circuitThis acts as a conductor for a DC circuit
Reaction of current with elementsThe current usually goes up and drops to zero when it is added in series with a resistorThe current is usually infinitesimal when it is added in series with a resistor but rises with time
TypesCeramic, electrolytic, and tantalumCoupled, multilayer, ceramic core, and molded
ApplicationsIt is used in environments where high-capacity values are criticalIt is used in spark plugs, transformers, TV, radio, etc.

Difference Between Capacitor and Inductor: Conclusion

Having come thus far, it is safe to say that we have achieved a milestone in the inductor vs capacitor subject. In truth, it is important to point out that while the former resists the change in voltage, the latter changes the flow of current in devices.

This is the most significant disparity between the two elements. The capacitor vs inductor discussion will be incomplete without mentioning that the latter is a coiled wire while the former has two conducting plates separated by dielectric materials. It is another feature that helps you to spot the disparity.