how do you calculate resonant frequency if you only have a capacitor? i know the formula fr = (6.28 x the square of LC), but what if there is no inductor?
A capacitor and a resistor don't have a resonant frequency, they do have a cutoff frequency when used as a filter. Same is true for an inductor and resistor. In some cases of spiral wound capacitors, there is some self inductance, but having the inductance at a high enough value to self resonate with the capacitance is unlikely. It is taken into consideration in some cases, if parasitic inductance of capacitor is listed.
do you find the cutoff frequency by trial and error? and what really is the difference between a high pass and low pass filter?
High pass lets frequencies above the cutoff point through Low pass lets frequencies below the cutoff point through Click on the impedance graph paper in my sigline and you'll see it with some examples.
it's as simple as calculating a formula? in the lab, we're hooking up simple LC and RC circuits and supposed to keep adjusting the function generator and oscilloscope trying to determine the cutoff. one of the instructors said we need to look for the resonant frequency, but one of the responses to my initial question was that there isn't a resonant frequency in an RC or LC circuit. also, i keep adjusting the time of the oscilloscope as i change frequency and i always can find a sine wave. how can i determine the cutoff by making adjustments on the equipment?
Assuming in all cases, you start your signal generator at 20Hz or less: For a Capacitor, set the scope so the waveform covers 4 divisions. Increase the frequency until the waveform covers 8 divisions, and that is the 3dB point. For an inductor, set the scope so the waveform covers 8 divisions, increase the frequency until it covers 4 divisions, that is the 3dB cutoff for that LR pair. Similar with series LC circuits, except there will be a peak, so start out with the wave covering 2 divisions, sweep the frequency until you find the peak, and that is the resonant frequency. For parallel LC circuits, it's the reverse, start so the waveform fills 8 divisions, and adjust the frequency until the waveform is at minimum, then read the frequency. You'll have a good idea of what the resonant frequency will be using the impedance cheat sheet in my sigline.
LC circuits can resonate: in practice, barring the use of superconductors any such circuit is really LCR, but providing that the R is not completely dominant there will still be evidence of resonance. Circuits containing RC or LR only cannot resonate, unless parasitic effects supply the missing element. In practice, self-resonance can and does occur. In capacitors, this is most usually a series resonance caused by parasitic series inductance, giving an impedance minimum. Self-resonance in inductors can be even more evident, with parallel parasitic capacitance leading to a parallel resonance (impedance maximum).