Difference between Capacitor and Battery

Key Difference: Capacitor is a device that is used to store an electric charge. It is basically an arrangement of conductors. A capacitor stores electrical energy directly due to the creation of an electrostatic field which is created between two metal "plates". Battery is a device that consists of electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy.

A capacitor consists of two conductors which are separated by a dielectric medium. It stores electrical charge and is capable of discharging it whenever required. It blocks Direct Current (DC) and allows Alternating Current () to pass through it. Therefore, they are widely used to extract AC components from DC + AC components. It is basically an arrangement of conductors. Capacitors are widely used in electrical circuits as energy-storage devices. 

Capacitors are capable of storing electrical energy directly as an electrostatic field is created between two metal "plates". A capacitor is generally constructed using two metal plates or metal foils separated by an insulator called a dielectric material. This insulator prevents charges to move across the plates. Any non-conducting substance can be used as a dielectric material. However, porcelain, mylar, teflon, mica, cellulose are generally preferred. Thus, a capacitor can be defined as an arrangement of two conducting surfaces separated by a dielectric medium. One of the common applications of a capacitor can be found in a flash camera. A capacitor in a flash camera charges up and stores the electric charge. It releases the charge to a light bulb, and thus flash is created whenever the picture is taken.

Battery is a device that consists of electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy. The battery was created in 1799. Originally, it was called the Voltaic battery. The first battery was created by using copper and zinc rings. The set up was placed in an acid solution that is known as the electrolyte. A battery has evolved since then. However, the basic mechanism remains the same till now. A battery consists of two ends namely cathode and anode. In a battery, the positive terminal is referred to as a cathode. On the other hand, anode is the negative terminal. The two terminals are connected in order to form a circuit. Electrons move through the wire and electricity is produced.

A modern battery zinc carbon is packaged in zinc that serves as a container as well as an anode. A carbon rod is used as a positive terminal. An electrolyte is used as a paste of zinc chloride and ammonium chloride dissolved in water. The electrons that move from anode are collected by the carbon and then are returned to cathode portion of the battery. A battery can also be explained as an assembly comprising of 2 or more cells connected in series to generate a voltage which is equivalent to the sum of the voltages of the cells.

Comparison between Capacitor and Battery:

 

Capacitor

Battery

Definition

In capacitors, energy is stored in their electric field.

Battery is a device that consists of electrochemical cells that convert stored chemical energy into electrical energy.

Types

Three major types of capacitors are ceramic, electrolytic, and tantalum :

  • Electrolytic capacitors - They resemble small cylinders and range in value from 1 µF to several Farads.
  • Ceramic capacitors - They are quite smaller in size and value, ranging from a few Pico Farads to 1 µF.
  • Tantalum capacitors – They are quite similar in size to ceramic. However, they can hold more charge, up to several hundred µF. They tend to be accurate and stable.
  • Alkaline battery
  • Lead-acid battery
  • Lithium battery
  • Lithium-ion battery
  • Nickel-cadmium or NiCad battery
  • Zinc-carbon battery or standard carbon battery

Uses

  • High Voltage Electrolytic used in power supplies.
  • Axial Electrolytic - lower voltage smaller size for general purpose where large capacitance values are needed.
  • High Voltage disk ceramic - small size and capacitance value, excellent tolerance characteristics.
  • Metalised Polypropylene; small size for values up to around 2µF good reliability.
  • Sub−miniature Multi layer ceramic chip (surface mount) capacitor. Relatively high capacitance for size achieved by multiple layers. Effectively several capacitors in parallel.
  • Wet-cell - Lead acid batteries to power vehicles; also used by industry.
  • Dry-cell non-rechargeable - these are the most common types of household battery.
  • Dry-cell rechargeable batteries - these are widely used in power tools, cordless appliances, mobile phones etc.

Charging & Discharging

Quickly

Comparatively slow

Size (Equivalent charge)

Comparatively large

Comparatively small

Composition

Thin metal sheets held very close together but separated by an insulator

Chemicals and metals

Image Courtesy: electronics.howstuffworks.com, oocities.org

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