What is Dielectric Constant? Definition

What is Dielectric Constant?

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What is dielectric constant? Dielectric constant is defined as the ratio of the actual or absolute permittivity of a medium to the absolute permittivity of vacuum. Or dielectric constant definition: the ratio of the permittivity of a substance to the permittivity of free space. It is a statement of the degree to which a material concentrates electric flux, and is the electrical equivalent of relative magnetic permeability.

When we place two electrically charged bodies adjacent they will experience a force among them. This force may either be attractive or be repulsive depending on the nature of the charge of two bodies.

What is Dielectric Constant?

Two like charged bodies repel each other and two unlike charged bodies attract each other. The value of force acting on these two nearby bodies can be formulated by Coulomb’s Law.

The force acting between nearby electrically charged bodies depends on mainly three factors.

  1. Charge of the bodies Q1 and Q2 coulombs that is the product of charges of the bodies.
  2. Distance between the center of the charges i.e. d meters. The force is inversely proportional to the square of the distance d.
  3. The medium in which the bodies are placed.

The role of permittivity comes in this third point. It is found that force acting between nearby same charged bodies separated by the same distance is different in different mediums.

From the equation of Coulomb’s law, we find that the force acting between close-by electrically charged bodies is conversely corresponding to the term εoεr.

This term is called permittivity of the medium. Here, εo is known as the absolute permittivity of the vacuum and εr is the relative permittivity of the medium in which the bodies are placed.

See Also: What is Magnetic Susceptibility?

Relative Permittivity or Dielectric Constant

Relative Permittivity or dielectric constant is defined as the ratio of the actual or absolute permittivity of a medium to the absolute permittivity of vacuum. If the permittivity of a medium is ε then:

This ratio is 1.0006 for air. That means relative permittivity of air is 1.0006.

The electrostatic force acting between nearby electrically charged bodies is inversely proportional to the permittivity of the medium. Hence, the relative permittivity of any medium is defined as the ratio of force acting between nearby electrically charged bodies in the vacuum to the force acting between the same bodies separated by the same distance in the medium.

We know that electric field intensity at any point in a field is defined as:

From that relationship, we can set up the expression of electrical flux density (D) at that point as:

It is clear that the proportion of the electric flux density to the electric field intensity at a point in the field can be characterized as the permittivity of the medium at that point.

Let us take a parallel plates capacitor with effective plate area A and distance between the plates is d and the dielectric between the plates has permittivity ε. The charge accumulated in the capacitor is Q due to an applied voltage across the capacitor is V.

parallel plate capacitor

The electric field intensity is:

The flux density is:

The relation between flux density and electric field intensity is:

Here, in the expression of capacitance, it is found that capacitance of a capacitor is directly proportional to the electric permittivity of the dielectric medium between the plates.

Again, the expression of energy stored in the capacitor is:

From that articulation, it can be inferred that the energy stored in the capacitor is directly corresponding to permittivity of the medium in between the plates.

So, capacitance and the energy stored in the capacitor both are directly proportional to permittivity of the dielectric medium.

Hence permittivity of the medium used for making a capacitor is an essential parameter which determines the dimensions of the capacitor during designing of the capacitor.

Absolute Permittivity or Dielectric Constant

Let us define absolute permittivity or dielectric constant. The absolute permittivity or simply permittivity of a medium can be characterized as the property of the medium which decides certain electric field intensity at a point in the field creates how much flux density at that point.

The absolute permittivity of any medium can be represented by the product of two terms one is absolute permittivity of vacuum and relative permittivity of the medium.

This is for simplifying the calculations based on permittivity. The absolute permittivity of vacuum is taken as the base value of the permittivity. The relative permittivity of a medium is how many times the permittivity of the medium greater than the absolute permittivity of vacuum.

See Also: What is Work Function?

Unit of Permittivity

From the equation of Coulomb’s law, we can write the expression of permittivity as:

From the expression of permittivity, as shown above, we can determine the unit of permittivity as:

Another Unit of Absolute Permittivity

The relationship between capacitance and permittivity of dielectric medium of a capacitor can be expressed as:

From this expression, the unit of permittivity comes as:

Unit of Relative Permittivity

As relative permittivity is the ratio of absolute permittivity of a medium to the absolute permittivity of vacuum this is unit less quantity.

Permittivity of Free Space

The permittivity of free space is also called vacuum permittivity. The value of permittivity of free space is:

See Also: What is Hysteresis Loop?

Dielectric Constant Conclusion

After going through the above portion of dielectric constant we can now establish a dielectric constant definition. I hope you enjoy when reading this article, thank you.