The term condenser has the following meanings:

  • In electronics, it is a less-commonly used word for capacitor; more often found in non-electronic context, such as the automotive ignition system.
  • A condenser microphone uses a capacitive diaphragm element to convert sound to electrical signals.
  • In electrical engineering, a synchronous condenser is a rotating machine similar to a motor, used to control reactive power flow on an electric power transmission system.
  • In chemistry, a condenser is the apparatus in which some type of condensation occurs. Chemists may conduct either a condensation reaction or a vapor-to-liquid condensation in their work. For example, a chemist may use a Liebig condenser [1] for vapor-to-liquid condensation, which is a heat transfer type of condenser as described below.
  • In systems involving heat transfer, a condenser is a heat exchanger which condenses a substance from its gaseous to its liquid state. In so doing, the latent heat is given up by the substance, and will transfer to the condenser coolant. For example a refrigerator uses a condenser to get rid of heat extracted from the interior of the unit to the outside air. Condensers are used in air conditioning, industrial chemical processes, steam power plants and other heat-exchange systems.
  • In optics, a condenser is a large plano-convex lens, commonly used in pairs in the illumination system present in projectors, microscopes, and photographic enlargers
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