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Property of a pair of electric conductors separated by a nonconducting material (such as air) that permits storage of electric energy by the separation of electric charge, and that is measured by the amount of separated charge that can be stored per unit of electric potential between the conductors. If electric charge is transferred between two initially uncharged conductors, they become equally (but oppositely) charged. A potential difference is set up between them and some of the electricity can be stored. Capacitance C is the ratio of the amount of charge q on one of the conductors to the potential difference V between the conductors, or C = q/V. The unit of capacitance is coulombs per volt (C/V), or farads (F).
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on capacitance, visit Britannica.com.