Why does a capacitor discharge all at once when you short it but a batter does not?

Thread Starter

Lablastuvin

Joined Sep 25, 2016
2
Hey all, super basic question.

Batteries and capacitors seem very similar to me. Both are two conductive materials with a potential difference, separated by an insulator. But why does a capacitor completely discharge when shorted but a battery takes time?

Also, will a capacitor act as a battery if it's discharged into a circuit with a load on it?
 

nsaspook

Joined Aug 27, 2009
8,280
Hey all, super basic question.

Batteries and capacitors seem very similar to me. Both are two conductive materials with a potential difference, separated by an insulator. But why does a capacitor completely discharge when shorted but a battery takes time?

Also, will a capacitor act as a battery if it's discharged into a circuit with a load on it?
Do a little reading about batteries and capacitors to discover their major differences.
http://machinedesign.com/batteriespower-supplies/what-s-difference-between-batteries-and-capacitors

More technical:
http://physics.bu.edu/~duffy/py106/Capacitors.html
 

Thread Starter

Lablastuvin

Joined Sep 25, 2016
2
Thanks! This gave me a better understanding.

"However, when a battery is discharging it can be slower than a capacitor ability to discharge because there is a latency associated with the chemical reaction to transfer the chemical energy into electrical energy. A capacitor is storing the electrical energy directly on the plates so discharging rate for capacitors are directly related to the conduction capabilities of the capacitors plates."
 

Kermit2

Joined Feb 5, 2010
4,162
A capacitor will have a constant decrease of voltage while discharging, whereas a battery can maintain a level voltage throughout most of its discharge.
 

WBahn

Joined Mar 31, 2012
26,398
Top