## Site Search

# Series and Parallel Connection of Capacitors

**Parallel Connection of Capacitors:**

The diagram below shows an example of capacitors connected in parallel. In this case, the same voltage *U* is present across all capacitors.

The capacitors carry the following charges:

The total charge *Q* that is generated by a direct current source is equal to the sum of the individual charges:

Summing the values in parentheses gives the total capacitance *C *for a parallel circuit:

In other words:

The total capacitance of capacitors connected in parallel is equal to the sum of the individual capacitances. |

Connecting capacitors in parallel is equivalent to increasing the plate area.

**Series Connection of Capacitors:**

Connecting several capacitors in series to a voltage source as shown in the diagram below causes a charge *Q* to be transported through the entire circuit.

The effect of this is that each of the capacitors must have this same charge Q induced across it. The voltage *U*_{i} across each of the components is then dependent on the corresponding capacitances:

The total potential is equal to the sum of the individual potentials:

Consequently, the total capacitance of a series-connection is given by the following:

In other words:

For capacitors connected in series, the inverse of the total capacitance is equal to the sum of the inverses of the individual capacitances. |

In this case, the total capacitance is less than the smallest individual capacitance. Connecting capacitors in series is equivalent to increasing the plate spacing.

What is the total capacitance C of the following circuit comprising four capacitors?