How does the Flux Capacitor work

Flux capacitor

A replica of the flux capacitor which appeared in the "Back to the Future" Trilogy.

A fan-created Flux CapacitorThe flux capacitor, which consisted of a regularly squared compartment with three flashing lights arranged as a "Y", was described by Doc as "what makes time travel possible". The device is the core component of Doctor Emmett Brown's fictional time traveling De Lorean DMC-12. The term flux capacitor has become commonly used slang or buzz word for a device whose operation might be too complicated to briefly explain, especially if it fails to operate properly, as in "The file server went down due to a flux capacitor problem."

The device was located between the headrests of the seats and, as the time machine neared 88 mph (142 km/h), light coming from the flux capacitor pulsed faster until it became a steady stream of light. Doc originally conceived the idea for the flux capacitor on November 5, 1955 when he slipped and hit his head on the sink while standing on the toilet to hang a clock.

How it works

It is not described in the films exactly how the flux capacitor worked beyond that of a typical plot device or a typical deus ex machina device, though Doc mentioned at one point that the stainless steel body of the DeLorean has a direct and influential effect on the "flux dispersal", though he was interrupted before he could finish the explanation. The flux capacitor required 1.21 gigawatts of electricity to operate.