Difference Between Capacitor vs Battery

Difference Between Capacitor vs Battery

Physics is a branch of science that deals with matter and energy in different forms. To better understand the intricacies of how electric energy can be stored and released, you need to have a good grasp of the difference between capacitor and battery. Both of these devices have quite a number of things in common and a lot of differences as well.

In this post, we will discuss the differences between them concerning their functions, what type of component they are, how they are used, charging time, polarity, and so on.

Definition of Capacitor

A capacitor is an electronic device made of two terminals and two or more parallel layers of plates of electrical conductors separated by insulators designed to draw charge from the circuit, store it, and release it when required. When energy is applied to this device, it allows electrical current to flow through it increasingly until there is a balance between the applied power source and the cathode or anode.

As you can see from the definition, this device contains two or more electrical conductors separated by insulators, also known as dielectrics. The function of these insulators is to stop the flow of electric field developed across the insulator to allow electric charge buildup on the plates.

Interestingly, when you compare battery vs capacitor, you will understand that the latter is a passive component in an electrical circuit, unlike the former that is an active component. More often than not, this device is used for AC applications because of its ability to block the DC component of the circuit.

Definition of Battery

A battery is an electronic device made of at least one cell that’s designed to convert energy from its chemical form to electrical that can consistently sustain electrical charge. The process that results in the production of electrical charge in a battery is called electrochemical reaction, which simply involves the transfer of electrons via an electronic unit.

A standard device can supply electricity constantly in the form of direct current. As mentioned earlier, every type of this sort of power source comes with at least one cell, which is the basic power unit. This device consists of electrodes, which, when connected to a circuit, allows electrons to flow across from the negative to positive terminals to create a sustainable electrical charge.

One outstanding difference between battery and capacitor is that the former is used as a DC component to produce a relatively constant electric voltage. Also, it does not take a lot of time for the latter to charge or discharge, unlike the latter which takes quite some time to do so.

Main Differences Between Capacitor vs Battery

There are a number of things that make these devices different from each other ranging from their definition to a bunch of unique properties. The table below sheds some light on some of these differences.

Basis of ComparisonCapacitorBattery
DefinitionAn electronic device made of two terminals, and two or more parallel layers of plates of electrical conductors separated by insulators designed to draw energy from the circuit, store it, and release it when requiredAn electronic device made of, at least, one cell, designed to convert energy from its chemical form to electrical energy that can consistently sustain electrical charge
FunctionDraws power from a circuit, stores it, and then releases it. it is used for AC applications and can block DC components of a circuitProvides power to the circuit. It is an active component of a circuit, and it used for DC applications
VoltageDecreases rapidlyDecreases at a much slower rate
Life cycleAnywhere between 30,000 and one million hours.500 hours or more
Energy storageStored in an electric fieldStored in a chemical form
Energy natureHigher and more durable energy densityRapid charge and discharge capabilities

Difference Between Capacitor and Battery: Conclusion

Comparing capacitor vs battery does not bring up confusion, especially if you know what they look like, how they function, and their respective properties as mentioned above. They both have different types, and knowing about these types can help you understand how each of these components work and how they differ from each other.