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Method of measuring dielectric constant using an oscilloscope
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A simple relationship determining the dielectric constant of a material inserted in a parallel-plate capacitor is formulated from Gauss's law for a uniform electric field and the continuity condition of electric flux at the boundary of the material. The relationship suggests that the dielectric constant can be determined from the dependence of the charge stored on the capacitor on the thicknesses of the material and the air layer between the plates. A uniform field is created by applying an ac voltage to the plates, which includes a guard ring. The stored charge is estimated by using an oscilloscope to measure the voltage across a resistor inserted between the power supply and the capacitor. The results of the measurement are given for planar materials such as soda-lime glass, Bakelite, acrylic glass, and Teflon with a thickness of 0.5–1 cm.
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