Is the total parallel capacitance less than that of the smallest capacitor in parallel?

1 Answer
May 15, 2014

No. This statement is true for RESISTORS connected in parallel, and for capacitors connected in SERIES, but not for capacitors connected in parallel. For capacitors connected in parallel, the total capacitance (also known as the equivalent capacitance) is just the sum of the individual capacitances:

#C_(eq) = C_1 + C_2 + C_3 ...#

It is important to not confuse the equations for adding resistors in series and parallel, with adding capacitors in series and parallel. The equations are reversed.

For capacitors connected in parallel, it is like having a capacitor with a larger plate area, which allows it to hold more charge when connected to a certain voltage, which means that the total capacitance is larger.