Home / Comparisons / Inductor Vs Capacitor | Difference Between Inductor and Capacitor

Inductor Vs Capacitor | Difference Between Inductor and Capacitor

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Capacitor and inductor fall under the category of passive components which store and release the energy but do not consume it. Both of the components are extensively used in several applications related to AC systems, especially in signal filtering.

The main difference between the capacitor and the inductor is that capacitor opposes an abrupt change in voltage (dV/dt) whereas inductor opposes an abrupt change in current (dI/dt). Furthermore, capacitor stores energy in the form of an electric field (voltage-dependent:$\frac{1}{2}C{{V}^{2}}$) whereas an inductor stores energy in the form of a magnetic field (current dependent: $\frac{1}{2}L{{I}^{2}}$ ).

This article is intended to cover the main differences between Capacitor and Inductor on the basis of  Units, Types, Energy Storage and Calculation, DC Behavior, Current Flow, Reactance Calculation, Phasor Diagram, Series & Parallel Connections, and Applications.This following table conveys the main Differences between Capacitor and Inductor.

Difference Between Capacitor and Inductor

CharacteristicsCapacitorInductor
UnitFarad (F) (most commonly used units are μF, pF )Henry (H) (most commonly used unit is mH)
TypesCeramic, tantalum type, electrolyte, micaMultilayer, ceramic core, coupled inductor
Voltage Vs CurrentVoltage lags behind Current by 90 o for pure capacitorCurrent lags behind Voltage by 90 o for pure inductor
Energy storageIn the form of Electric FieldIn the form of Magnetic field
DC Behavior (frequency = 0 Hz)Open circuit for DC Component (${{X}_{C}}=\frac{1}{2\pi fC}$ ) because of Infinite reactanceShort Circuit for DC Component (${{X}_{C}}=2\pi fL$ ) because of Zero reactance
Energy CalculationEnergy is calculated as: $\frac{1}{2}C{{V}^{2}}$Energy is calculated as: $\frac{1}{2}L{{I}^{2}}$
Use as a FilterDominant element in high pass filtersDominant element in low pass filters
Current flowNo current flows through the platesCurrent flows through the coil
Reactance Calculation${{X}_{C}}=\frac{1}{2\pi fC}$${{X}_{C}}=2\pi fL$
Resistance to change in Voltage & CurrentIt opposes abrupt change in voltage (${}^{dV}/{}_{dt}$ )It opposes abrupt change in voltage (${}^{dI}/{}_{dt}$ )
Phasor DiagramCapacitor Phasor DiagramInductor Phasor Diagram
Series/Parallel ConnectionSumming up capacitors in parallel is same as resistors addition in series &
Summing up capacitors in series is same as resistors addition in parallel
Summing up inductors in parallel is same as resistors addition in parallel &
Summing up inductors in series is same as resistors addition in series
ApplicationsExtensively used in power supplies to smooth the output of a rectifier, and for power factor correction in electrical power systemsExtensively used in TV, Radio, Transformers, and as a current limiter

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About Ahmad Faizan

Mr. Ahmed Faizan Sheikh, M.Sc. (USA), Research Fellow (USA), a member of IEEE & CIGRE, is a Fulbright Alumnus and earned his Master’s Degree in Electrical and Power Engineering from Kansas State University, USA.