Galleria
License Info
Image Use
Custom Photos
Partners
Site Info
Contact Us
Publications
Home

Visit Science,
Optics, & You


The Galleries:

Photo Gallery
Silicon Zoo
Pharmaceuticals
Chip Shots
Phytochemicals
DNA Gallery
Microscapes
Vitamins
Amino Acids
Birthstones
Religion Collection
Pesticides
BeerShots
Cocktail Collection
Screen Savers
Win Wallpaper
Mac Wallpaper
Movie Gallery

RC Time Constant

The resistive-capacitive (RC) time constant is the time required to charge a capacitor to 63.2 percent of its maximum voltage.

Interactive Java Tutorial
ATTENTION
Our servers have detected that your web browser does not have the Java Virtual Machine installed or it is not functioning properly. Please install this software in order to view our interactive Java tutorials. You may download the necessary software by clicking on the "Get It Now" button below.

 

Click on the arrows to select various values of resistance and capacitance. Note resulting changes in the RC time constant.

The amount time required to charge and discharge a capacitor is a very important factor in the design of circuits. Resistors are often used in combination with capacitors in order to control the charge and discharge time necessary for the intended application. Resistance directly affects the time required to charge a capacitor. As resistance increases, it takes more time to charge a capacitor. The amount of time for the capacitor to become fully charged in a RC circuit depends on the values of the capacitor and resistor in the circuit.

As you adjust the values of resistance and capacitance, note how the rate of charge greatly decreases over time. The latter part of the charging time is many times longer than the first part. In fact, a capacitor reaches 63.2% of its charge in one fifth of the time it takes to become fully charged. Because of this, capacitors in actual applications are generally not fully charged. Capacitors in circuits are generally charged to just 63.2% of full capacity. The time required for a capacitor to charge to 63.2% of its full capacity is referred as its RC time constant.

BACK TO ELECTRICITY & MAGNETISM TUTORIALS

Questions or comments? Send us an email.
© 1998-2013 by Michael W. Davidson and The Florida State University. All Rights Reserved. No images, graphics, scripts, or applets may be reproduced or used in any manner without permission from the copyright holders. Use of this website means you agree to all of the Legal Terms and Conditions set forth by the owners.
This website is maintained by our
Graphics & Web Programming Team
in collaboration with Optical Microscopy at the
National High Magnetic Field Laboratory.
Last Modification: Friday, Feb 28, 2014 at 05:17 PM
Access Count Since May 03, 1999: 144959