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Capacitor Lab: Basics

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PhET Interactive Simulations
University of Colorado Boulder


  • Parallel Plate Capacitor
  • Capacitance
  • RC Circuit
  • Circuits


Explore how a capacitor works! Change the size of the plates and the distance between them. Change the voltage and see charges build up on the plates. View the electric field, and measure the voltage. Connect a charged capacitor to a light bulb and observe a discharging RC circuit.

Sample Learning Goals

  • Explain the relationships between voltage, charge, stored energy, and capacitance
  • Predict how capacitance changes when the plate area or plate separation changes
  • Describe how charge drains away from a capacitor into a light bulb
Version 1.5.1