Electrical Engineering Terms C

Capacitance / Stray Capacitance.

Capacitance is the storage of electricity in a capacitor. Capacitance in the earth is referred to as stray capacitance. Stray capacitance describes the storage of an electrical charge on the ground due to a natural difference of pressure (static electricity).

Capacitor / Condenser.

The descriptive term of either of two devices or apparatuses: (1) An accumulator of electrical energy which stores a charge in an electrostatic field, or; (2) an apparatus consisting of two or more conducting surfaces (electrode plates) separated by an insulating material called the dielectric.


The descriptive term of either of two quantities: (1) The quantity of positive or negative ions in or on an object, or (2) the quantity of electricity residing on an electrostatically charged body. The unit of measure of these quantities is the coulomb.

Clean Power Supply.

A well-regulated and filtered AC-to-DC converter power supply.


Any low resistance material, normally in the form of metal wires or drawn rectangular bars, that easily allows the flow of current.

Corner-Ground or Grounded B-Phase Delta System.

A 3-phase delta connection is the apparent series-connection of the three single-phase AC sources in a 3-phase AC electrical power distribution system in which the terminal connections (winding end connections) within an alternator, transformer, motor, or heating bank are triangular like the Greek letter delta (D). In a corner ground delta system, the center phase (high-point in the delta symbol) is referenced (connected) to earth ground through a grounding electrode system.

Current Transformer.

Also referred to as a CT or doughnut transformer, this is an instrument transformer with a primary winding that is the current-carrying conductor of the line current to be measured. The secondary winding is connected to a meter or device, which indicates the measure of current or monitors the changes in the line current.


The processor inside a PLC that performs math and logic functions.

Combination Controller. An electric motor controller with separate overload protection, the branch-circuit short-circuit/ground-fault protection, and the required safety disconnecting means — all located in a common enclosure.

Continuous Duty. If an electric motor is nameplate-rated with this type of duty cycle, it is rated to operate at a substantially constant load for an indefinitely long time.

Counter-Electromotive Force (CEMF). Normally abbreviated to the acronym CEMF, this term describes the electrical pressure or force that opposes electron flow through a circuit conductor.

Counter-Voltage. The voltage induced in the stator windings of an electric motor by the sweeping electromagnetic field of the turning rotor windings ― counter-electromotive force. When the electric motor operates at no load, the turning speed of the rotor approaches the synchronous speed of the stator windings’ rotating electromagnetic field: the counter voltage is at its maximum. When the electric motor is forced into the locked rotor, there is no counter voltage in the stator windings: the stator circuit impedance is limited to the wire resistance of the winding assembly.

Current divider.                

A parallel circuit used to split the current amongst several branches.

Capacitive Reactance

The capacitor resisting the sinusoidal current and is symbolized by XC.


A measurement of the capacitor’s ability to store a charge.



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