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Capacitors. Electrolytic (lower left), variable (centre) and ceramic (lower right) capacitors. A capacitor is similar to a battery in that it is designed to store and release electrons. It has two terminals (electrodes) that connect to two metal plates separated by a dielectric (non- conducting material). However, unlike a battery, a capacitor cannot produce new electrons and must be charged. Also, a capacitor can release its charge in under a second, compared to a few minutes for a battery. This is used to power a camera flash, for example.

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