I have read several chapters in several textbooks, watched several in-depth tutorials, etc. There are still somethings that were either not explained clearly enough for me, or not explained at all.
What I Think I Know About Capacitors:
1) Capacitors are, at their core, two plates separated by a dielectric. The capacitance of the capacitor is affected by the surface area of the plates, the material that composes the plates, the material that composes the dielectric, and the thickness of the dielectric.
2) How fast a capacitor charges is dictated by RC time constants. There are 5 time constants. Each time constant increases by approx. 63% of the previous constant. The formula for the first constant is RC = T where R is resistance in Ohms, C is capacitance in farads, and T is the time constant in seconds.
3) Capacitors charge when applying positive charge to one plate and negative charge to the other. These charges on each respective plate are attracted to each other, yet cannot cancel each other out because they're separated by an insulator: the dielectric. Because of this, the charges "hold" each other in place until there is an avenue to travel and cancel each other out.
4) Capacitors resist sudden changes in voltage.
5) When the capacity of the capacitor is reached, if the capacitor is connected to the circuit in series, current will no longer be able to flow. However current will flow until the capacitor is charged. If a capacitor is connected in parallel, current will flow, and the capacitor will also charge.
6) Capacitors charge to the voltage of the supply voltage.
1) In reference to "rule" number 5, when a capacitor is in parallel will current flow from the time current is applied to the circuit, to when it is removed, or will the capacitor "leech" current from the rails until it is charged, then current can flow normally through the circuit?
2) In reference to "rule" number 2, if there is no resistor, how fast does the capacitor charge? Instantly?
3) How does one know how much CURRENT can be supplied by a capacitor at a given voltage?
4) If one plate of a capacitor is suddenly given a path to ground which is not connected to the other plate, does it retain its charge? If this is not true and the charge on the plate connected to ground is not retained, when it is "swept away" to ground, what happens to the charge of the other plate?
5) Is rule number 4 only applicable to capacitors in parallel? If not, why would a capacitor in series resist a change in voltage?
If I've misunderstood any concepts related to the capacitor, I would be happy to hear about how and why I did.