Electronic – Are capacitors and inductors capable of absorbing positive power


A resistor is capable of absorbing positive power.
Why wouldn't this be true for capacitors and inductors?

Best Answer

An ideal resistor dissipates (converts into heat) electrical power. They are not capable of delivering power. Capacitors and inductors both are capable of absorbing and delivering (positive) power. When power is absorbed by an ideal capacitor, all of it is stored in the form of an electric field. Likewise, all of the power absorbed by an ideal inductor is stored in the form of a magnetic field. These devices can deliver this stored energy, but cannot produce energy.

Real capacitors and inductors, however, are not ideal, and will dissipate some power due to imperfections within the device (leakage within a capacitor, for example). This is why in simulations, capacitors and inductors will sometimes have very complex models to attempt to simulate real-world behavior (such as a leakage within a capacitor, which can be modeled simply with a high-resistance resistor in parallel with the capacitor).