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Difference between Dielectric Constant and Permittivity

Difference between Dielectric Constant and Permittivity

It’s a fact that few of us know: not all materials with the same dielectric constant will have exactly the same electrical properties. While both constants measure how easily electric fields pass through a material, there is an important distinction between them – permittivity and dielectric constant! In this blog post, we are going to take a closer look at the differences between these two terms and explore how they play into their respective applications. So put on your thinking cap and let’s dive deeper into what makes dielectric constant vs permittivity so unique!

What is Dielectric Constant?

  • The dielectric constant, often represented by the symbol K, is a measure of a substance’s ability to reduce an electric field. Dielectrics are materials that have a high resistance to electric current and, when placed in an electric field, act to reduce the electrical flux density within it.
  • Dielectric constants of substances may vary significantly depending on the temperature and frequency of the applied field; as a result, these constants are useful in designing electrical circuits for various purposes.
  • Dielectric constants are calculated by determining the ratio between the electric flux density within a specific material and the same material when there is no external field present or rest state. Knowing the dielectric constant of different materials can help scientists and engineers tailor their electrical circuit designs for specific applications and circumstances.

What is Permittivity?

  • Permittivity is a major component that plays a role in what we call dielectric polarization. Permittivity helps to measure the capacity of materials’ ability to store capacitance.
  • This property, also known as permittivity, is fitted for all non-magnetic substances and has the capacity to keep electrical energy within the material itself. Permittivity occurs naturally and can be increased or decreased with relative ease depending on the material’s surface, temperature, pressure, and other dependent effects such as ionization.
  • Understanding permittivity has been important in naval engineering, specifically in regard to submarine defense technologies. Permittivity is an integral part of many industries today, and its continuous study will no doubt uncover many more interesting applications in the future.

Difference between Dielectric Constant and Permittivity

Dielectric Constant and Permittivity are two related terms but have slight differences.

  • Dielectric Constant, or K, is the ratio of a material’s dielectric permittivity to that of free space while Permittivity, or ε, measures the ability of a given material to transmit electricity when an electrical field is applied to it.
  • Dielectric Constant is essentially a unit-less constant while Permittivity has units in farads per meter.
  • Dielectric Constant and Permittivity should not be confused for each other since Dielectric Constants solely relies on measuring the electric flux density whereas Permittivities additionally account for electronic charge polarization as well.

Dielectric Constant is primarily used with static situations whereas Permitivitty can be used in both static and dynamic cases.


The dielectric constant is a measure of how easily a material can be polarized by an electric field. In other words, it measures how much the molecules in a material align with an applied electric field. Permittivity is a measure of how easily an electric field penetrates a material. It’s also known as the inverse of the capacitance of free space. In general, materials with high dielectric constants and low permittivities are good insulators, while materials with low dielectric constants and high permittivities are good conductors.

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