Sign up ×
Physics Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for active researchers, academics and students of physics. It's 100% free.

Does there exist a single plate capacitor(conductor)? if yes

How will you define the capacitance and potential(difference) of such conductor?

share|cite|improve this question
Wouldn't static electricity (for example on a balloon) count as a single plate "capacitor"? – fibonatic Feb 11 '14 at 7:26
The term you're looking for is self-capacitance. Look it up, you'll get some insight. – Nanite Feb 11 '14 at 7:32

2 Answers 2

A simple example is that of a sphere. One way to find its capacitance is to take the limit of a nested sphere capacitor with radii $a,b$: $$C = \lim_{b\to\infty}\frac{4\pi\epsilon_0}{\frac{1}{a}-\frac{1}{b}} = 4\pi a\epsilon_0\text{.}$$ A van de Graaff generator is a commonly discussed in physics classes, and involves this type of setup.

For a parallel-plate capacitor, however, doing the same gives zero capacitance.

share|cite|improve this answer

A single conductor also possess capacity to store charge. It may be treated as parallel plate capacitor, whose one plate is at infinity.

If this doesn't help, comment on the part where you have problem.

share|cite|improve this answer

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.