Skip to main content

Illustration Current-Time Graph: Discharging a Capacitor

Current-time diagram during discharge of a capacitor
Get illustration

Share — copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format

Adapt — remix, transform, and build upon the material for any purpose, even commercially.

Sharing and adapting of the illustration is allowed with indication of the link to the illustration.

When discharging the capacitor in a RC circuit, a discharge current \( I(t) \) flows. The current starts at the value \( -I_0 \) and decreases exponentially to zero:$$ I(t) ~=~ -I_0 \, \mathrm{e}^{-\frac{t}{R\,C}} $$

Here \(C\) is the capacitance of the capacitor and \( I_0 = \frac{|U_0|}{R} \) is the initial current at time \( t = 0 \).