# Difference Between Dielectric Constant and Dielectric Strength

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## What is Dielectric Constant?

Dielectric constant, also known as relative permittivity, is a measure of how much a material can store electrical energy in an electric field. It is defined as the ratio of the permittivity of a substance to the permittivity of free space. The permittivity of a substance is a measure of its ability to store electrical charge in an electric field. It is denoted by the symbol εr and is a dimensionless quantity.

Dielectric constant is important because it affects the capacitance of a capacitor. Capacitance is a measure of the ability of a capacitor to store electrical energy in an electric field. The capacitance of a capacitor is proportional to the dielectric constant of the material between its plates. In other words, the higher the dielectric constant of a material, the greater the capacitance of a capacitor made with that material.

## What is Dielectric Strength?

In physics, the dielectric strength of an insulating material is its ability to act as an insulator without losing its insulating properties. It is a measure of the electrical strength of an insulator expressed in terms of volts per unit thickness (V/mil). The dielectric strength is defined as the maximum voltage that can be applied to an insulating material before it goes into breakdown or loses its insulating properties.

The dielectric strength is the maximum intensity of electric field a material can sustain without breaking down. All insulators allow a small amount of current to leak through or around themselves, but only a perfect insulator, if there is such in existence, can be completely free from small current leakage. It is a fundamental characteristic of an insulating material. The higher the dielectric strength, the better the quality of an insulator.

## Differences: Dielectric Constant and Dielectric Strength

The following table highlights the major differences between Dielectric Constant and Dielectric Strength −

Characteristics

Dielectric Constant

Dielectric Strength

Definition

The dielectric strength of an insulating material is its ability to act as an insulator.

As the name implies, dielectric strength is the maximum voltage that a material can withstand under ideal conditions up to which no electrical breakdown occurs in that material.

The dielectric strength is defined as the maximum voltage that can be applied to an insulating material before it goes into breakdown or loses its insulating properties.

Also referred to as relative permittivity of a material, the dielectric constant is the ability of an insulating material to store electrical energy.

Measure

The dielectric constant is the relative permittivity of a dielectric material defined as a quantity measuring the ability of the material to store electrical energy in an electrical field.

It refers to the ratio of electrical field under ideal conditions to that produced in any medium.

The dielectric strength, on the other hand, is a measure of the electrical strength of an insulator expressed in terms of volts per unit thickness (V/mil).

The higher the dielectric strength, the better the quality of an insulating material. The relative permittivity of vacuum with respect to itself is unity.

Unit

The dielectric constant of a material is the ratio of permittivity of that material to permittivity of the free space or vacuum. Because dielectric constant is relative, it has no units or dimensions.

The dielectric constant of a material is simply represented by numbers. It is often called as relative permittivity and the SI unit of permittivity is Farad per meter (F/m).

The dielectric strength is a measure of the electrical strength of a material as an insulator and is expressed in Volts per unit thickness.

The SI unit of dielectric strength is volts per meter (V/m). In US customary units, the dielectric strength is expressed in volts per mil, where a mil is 1/1000 inch.

## Conclusion

The dielectric constant is the ability of an insulating material to store electrical energy in an electrical field. Also referred to as relative permittivity of a material, the dielectric constant is the ability of a material to concentrate electrostatic lines of flux.

Because dielectric constant is relative, it has no units or dimensions. It is simply represented by numbers. The dielectric strength is the maximum voltage that can be applied to an insulating material before it goes into breakdown or loses its insulating properties. The SI unit of dielectric strength is volts per meter (V/m).

Updated on: 18-Apr-2023

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