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Components of a circuit that build up charge.

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Storing Static Electricity

Stroing Static Electricity

Credit: Walter Larden
Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leyden_jar_cutaway.png
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

Created in 1745, the Leyden jar was created to store static electricity to be used in some of the earliest experiments in electricity.

News You Can Use

  • A Leyden jar consists of a glass jar that has a conducting foil (in this case aluminum) that coats the inner and outer surface. A metal rod which is in contact with the inner surface is held in place and inserted through a stopper at the top of the jar. The rod allows the inner surface to be electrically charged by touching the metal rod with an external electric charge.
  • Because it can store electrical charge, the Leyden jar serves as a basic form of a capacitor. A capacitor is a system in which two conductors carry equal but opposite charge. The capacitance of a typical Leyden jar is approximately 1 nF. Capacitance is defined as the charge divided by the potential difference between the two conductors.


  • Learn more about the history of the Leyden jar and how it was created below:


Show What You Know

  1. Why is the gold leaf attracted to the hands of the person laying on the swings in the video?
  2. If 88 pF capacitor is charged to 12 V, how much charge is transferred from one plate to another?
  3. Since the charge is uniform on the charged foil, would you expect the electric field between the charged surfaces to be uniform or non-uniform?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Walter Larden; Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Leyden_jar_cutaway.png; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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