Examples of various types of capacitors.
A comparatively small 1 farad capacitor, for low voltages and current transfers.

The farad (symbol: F) is the SI unit of capacitance. The unit is named after the English physicist Michael Faraday.



A farad is the charge in coulombs which a capacitor will accept for the potential across it to change 1 volt. A coulomb is 1 ampere second. Example: A capacitor with capacitance of 47,000 µF (47,000 microfarads)[1] will increase by 1 volt per second with a 47 mA input current.

1 microfarad (μF) = one millionth of a farad, or 1,000,000 pF, or 1,000 nF; 1 nanofarad (nF) = one billionth of a farad, or 1,000 pF; 1 picofarad (pF) = one trillionth of a farad


A farad has the base SI representation of: s4 × A2 × m-2 × kg-1

It can further be expressed as:

= \,\mathrm \frac{A \cdot s}{V}
= \dfrac{\mbox{J}}{\mbox{V}^2}
= \dfrac{\mbox{W} \cdot \mbox{s}}{\mbox{V}^2}
= \dfrac{\mbox{C}}{\mbox{V}}
= \dfrac{\mbox{C}^2}{\mbox{J}}
= \dfrac{\mbox{C}^2}{\mbox{N} \cdot \mbox{m}}
= \dfrac{\mbox{s}^2 \cdot \mbox{C}^2}{\mbox{m}^{2} \cdot \mbox{kg}}
= \dfrac{\mbox{s}^4 \cdot \mbox{A}^2}{\mbox{m}^{2} \cdot \mbox{kg}}
= \dfrac{\mbox{s}}{\Omega}

A=ampere, V=volt, C=coulomb, J=joule, m=meter, N=newton, s=second, W=watt, kg=kilogram, Ω=ohm

For electronics, one farad is a fairly large amount of capacitance. The most commonly used submultiples in electrical and electronic usage are the microfarad and picofarad.


The farad was coined by Josiah Latimer Clark in the year of 1861, in honor of Michael Faraday, but it was for a unit of quantity of charge.


Values of capacitors are usually specified in ranges of farads (F), microfarads (μF or MFD, one millionth or 10-6 of a farad), nanofarads (nF, 10-9 farad), or picofarads (pF, 10-12 farad).[2]

The size of commercially available capacitors ranges from around 100 fF (femtofarads, 10-15) to 5 kF (kilofarads, 103) ultracapacitors.

When speaking of capacitor values a picofarad is sometimes referred to as a "puff" or "pic", as in "a ten puff capacitor".[3] If the Greek letter μ is not available, the notation uF is often used as a substitute for μF in electronics literature. A micro-microfarad (μμF), an obsolete unit sometimes found in older texts, is the equivalent of a picofarad. The millifarad is less used in practice, so that a capacitance of 4.7×10−3 F, for example, is sometimes written as 4,700 µF. North American usage also avoids nanofarads: a capacitance of 1×10−9 F will frequently be indicated as 1000 pF; and a capacitance of 1×10−7 F as 0.1 μF. Very small capacitance values, such as those used in integrated circuits, may also be expressed in femtofarads (fF), one femtofarad being equal to 1×10−15 F.

The 'farad' should not be confused with the faraday, which is the electric charge carried by one mole of singly charged ions.

The reciprocal of capacitance is called electrical elastance, the (non-standard, non-SI) unit of which is the daraf.[4]

A capacitor consists of two conducting surfaces, frequently referred to as plates, separated by an insulating layer usually referred to as a dielectric. The original capacitor was the Leyden jar developed in the 18th century. It is the accumulation of electric charge on the plates that results in capacitance. Modern capacitors are constructed using a range of manufacturing techniques and materials to provide the extraordinarily wide range of capacitance values used in electronics applications from femtofarads to farads, with voltage withstand capabilities ranging from a few volts to several kilovolts.

One picofarad is about the smallest value of capacitor available for general use in electronic design, since smaller capacitors would be dominated by the parasitic capacitances (stray capacitance) of other components, wiring or printed circuit boards. When capacitance values of 1 pF or lower are required, engineers sometimes create their own capacitors by twisting two short lengths of insulated wire together.[5][6]

The capacitance of the Earth's ionosphere with respect to the ground is calculated to be about 1.8 F.[citation needed]

Abfarads in medicine

An abfarad is an obsolete electromagnetic (CGS) unit of capacitance equal to 109 farads (1,000,000,000 F or 1 GF). This very large unit is used in medical terminology only.

The statfarad was the comparable obsolete electrostatic (CGS) unit of capacitance, and was equal to 1 microfarad.

See also

  • Ultracapacitor


  1. ^ in texts prior to 1960, mf rather than the modern µF frequently represented microfarads (10-6 F). Similarly, mmf represented picofarads (10-12 F).
  2. ^ Newton C. Braga (2001). Robotics, Mechatronics, and Artificial Intelligence. Google Books. pp. 336 pages. http://books.google.com/books?id=yqb-f-HKem0C&pg=PA21&lpg=PA21&dq=microfarad+%22common+measurement&source=web&ots=XKiRXY4zeQ&sig=RrHw5Zbb0ymkDh9dRRul_qjsvcw&hl=en&sa=X&oi=book_result&resnum=1&ct=result. Retrieved 2008-09-17. "page 21: Common measurement units are the Farad, microFarad (uF), representing 0.000,001 F; the nanoFarad (nF), representing 0.000,000001 F; and the picoFarad (pF)" 
  3. ^ http://scienceworld.wolfram.com/physics/Puff.html
  4. ^ http://www.websters-dictionary-online.com/definitions/daraf
  5. ^ What's All This Femtoampere Stuff, Anyhow?
  6. ^ Electronic Design Welcome


External links

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • farad — farad …   Dictionnaire des rimes

  • farad — [ farad ] n. m. • 1874; du nom du physicien Faraday ♦ Unité de mesure de capacité électrique (symb. F). Un condensateur d un millionième de farad (1 μ F). ● farad nom masculin (de Faraday, nom propre) Unité SI de capacité électrique (symbole F)… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Farad — ist die kohärente SI Einheit für die elektrische Kapazität. Sie wurde nach Michael Faraday benannt. Einheit Norm SI Einheit Einheitenname Farad Einheitenzeichen F Beschriebene Größe(n) …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Farad'n — Corrino Farad n Corrino Personnage de Dune …   Wikipédia en Français

  • farad — FARÁD, farazi, s.m. Unitate de măsură a capacităţii electrice (în sistemul de unităţi de măsură metru kilogram secundă amper), egală cu capacitatea unui condensator electric care acumulează o sarcină de un coulomb la tensiunea de un volt. – Din… …   Dicționar Român

  • Farád — Administration …   Wikipédia en Français

  • fàrad — m fiz. SI jedinica električnog kapaciteta (simbol F), jedan farad je kapacitet kondenzatora koji nosi naboj od jednog coulomba pri potencijalnoj razlici od jednog volta (F = C/V), farad je vrlo velika jedinica za normalnu uporabu i stoga se češće …   Veliki rječnik hrvatskoga jezika

  • farad — fàrad m DEFINICIJA fiz. SI jedinica električnog kapaciteta (simbol F), jedan farad je kapacitet kondenzatora koji nosi naboj od jednog coulomba pri potencijalnoj razlici od jednog volta (F = C/V), farad je vrlo velika jedinica za normalnu uporabu …   Hrvatski jezični portal

  • Farad — Far ad, n. [From Michael Faraday, the English electrician.] (Elec.) The standard unit of electrical capacity; the capacity of a condenser whose charge, having an electro motive force of one volt, is equal to the amount of electricity which, with… …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Farad — (F.), Einheit der elektrischen Kapazität, ausgedrückt durch die Kapazität eines Kondensators, der durch 1 Coulomb auf 1 Volt geladen wird; s. Elektrische Maßeinheiten, S. 642 …   Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon

  • Farad — Farad, s. Maßsystem, absolutes …   Lexikon der gesamten Technik

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