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What is Capacitor?

S Double layer technology, Maxwell Ultracapacitors. Buy Now! Search Electrical Engineering & Technology Atomic
S Double layer technology, Maxwell Ultracapacitors. Buy Now! Search Electrical Engineering & Technology Atomic
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What is Capacitor?

Capacitor is a passive element that stores electric charge statistically and temporarily as an electrostatic field. It composed of two parallel conducting plates separated by non-conducting region that is called dielectric such as vacuum, ceramic, air, aluminum, etc.

The capacitance formula of the capacitor is represented by,

The capacitance formula of the capacitor is represented by, C is the capacitance that is proportional

C is the capacitance that is proportional to the area of the two conducting plates (A) and proportional with the permittivity ε of the dielectric medium. The capacitance decreases with the

distance between plates (d). We get the greatest capacitance with a large area of plates separated by

a small distance and located in a high permittivity material. The standard unit of capacitance is Farad, most common it founds in microfarads, picofarads and nanofarads.

Types of Capacitors

There are several types of capacitors, each one of them has it's own properties. So each of them has some specific applications. Therefore, it is very important to choose the right capacitor to get the best results. However, generally all types essentially do the same function.

generally all types essentially do the same function. Reactive Power The key difference between all types

The key difference between all types

is

the dielectric material, between two

plates, used in the capacitor construction such as ceramic, silver mica, electrolytic, glass, plastic film and many more. So these different types are named by the name of the dielectric material used. Its

dielectric constant is responsible for determining the level of capacitance that can be reached within

a certain volume. Types are classified into two groups, polarized- plates - carry an opposite charge, and non polarized - plates can have either polarity. And they can be fixed or variable.

Overview of some types of capacitors

Ceramic Capacitors

The ceramic capacitor is the most widely form used in applications from audio to RF with values ranges from few picofarads to around 0.1 microfarads. Ceramic is the dielectric material placed between plates. Ceramic disc capacitors and multi-layer ceramic capacitor are the most common types used in fabrication. However, Ceramic gives the advantage of being reliable, cheap, small in size, and characterized by it is low loss, high voltage and power. It is dependent on the type of ceramic that used. Therefore, EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance) classified it into three classes for which the class - 1 is the better one in overall characteristics.

more reliable & 10X more compact than X7R capacitors Class 1 ceramic capacitors is the best
more reliable & 10X more compact than X7R capacitors Class 1 ceramic capacitors is the best

Class 1 ceramic capacitors is the best one due to it is high stability in temperature, voltage and frequency with a good accuracy. In addition to that, it gives low losses in applications of resonant circuits.

Class 2 ceramic capacitors achieve high volumetric efficiency but it is lower in stability and gives less accuracy. It is more adequate for bypass, coupling and decoupling applications.

Class 3 ceramic capacitors, also known as semiconductive ceramic capacitors, offer high volumetric efficiency due to high permittivity but it is the worst class in stability and accuracy.

Electrolytic Capacitors

It is the types of polarized capacitors in which one of it is plates constructs of electrolyte-ionic conducting liquid - to get a high capacitance values per unit volume approximately above 1 microfarad. It is suitable for low frequency applications.

Electrolytic capacitors has several varieties as:

Tantalum Capacitors with high volumetric efficiency and high reliability as well as good frequency characteristics and wide operating temperature range. But it suffer of some disadvantages that it is not tolerant to excess of revers voltage and low ripple current rating. In addition, they are more expensive than other types.

Other types are Aluminum electrolytic capacitor and Solid Aluminum electrolytic capacitor with organic semiconductor electrolyte.

Silver mica Capacitors

Mica is a natural mineral and is the dielectric material used here. Mica itself divided into two types, silver mica and clamped- not used due to it is poor features. Silver mica capacitors characterized by it is reliability and stability with high precision and high frequency properties.in addition to low loss, low capacitance variation with voltage and their values are small limited to 1000 pico-farad. They are most proper for RF applications and sometimes used in pulsed applications.

Glass Capacitors

They offer high performance with extremely low loss so that they are suitable for RF application. In addition, they work well at very high temperatures up to 200C. they gives a good results in applications requiring a high Q circuit, high power amplifier, high tolerance areas, low microphony requirements and in circuits exposed to temperature extremes.

Film Capacitors

high tolerance areas, low microphony requirements and in circuits exposed to temperature extremes. Film Capacitors
high tolerance areas, low microphony requirements and in circuits exposed to temperature extremes. Film Capacitors
high tolerance areas, low microphony requirements and in circuits exposed to temperature extremes. Film Capacitors

It is dielectric is made from plastic film and sometimes may be combined with paper. This plastic film made to be thin and once it is created, it can be metallized or left as it is depending on the required features. Generally they are marked as stable in respect to time and cheap. This form is not polarized so it is convenient for AC signals and power use.

Film capacitor exists in variety forms as: polypropylene (PP) film capacitors, polyester (PET) film capacitors, Polyethylene naphthalate (PEN) film capacitors, Polyphenylene sulfide (PPS) film capacitors, Polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) film capacitors, Metallised Polyester Film Capacitor, Polystyrene (PS) film capacitors, Polycarbonate (PC) film capacitors and Paper (film) capacitors (MP) and mixed film capacitors.

The main difference between these types is the film material that used as a dielectric that must be chosen in respect to the desired application. For example, if the application needs a long term stability, metallized polyester film capacitors are suitable but applications where heat resistant needed as in military technology, Polytetrafluoroethylene film capacitors is more suitable.

Polytetrafluoroethylene film capacitors is more suitable. They are an electronic component that is specially designed

They are an electronic component that is specially designed to store a large amount of capacitance. They also known as ultra capacitors and double-layer capacitors.

Super Capacitors

capacitors and double-layer capacitors. Super Capacitors Super capacitor has a low internal resistance that make it

Super capacitor has a low internal resistance that make it possible to reach a high charge in a small time. In addition, it has an unlimited life cycle that allow it charge and discharge without affecting of it is efficiency. In the other hand it suffer from a high cost per watt hour that is almost 20 times more than other batteries. Moreover, linear discharge voltage and low specific energy make superconductors not a good choice in most applications.

General uses of Capacitors

1. Smoothing, especially in power supply applications which required to convert the signal from AC to DC.

2. Storing Energy.

3. Signal decoupling and Coupling as a capacitor coupling that blocks DC current and allow AC current to pass in circuits.

4. Tuning, as in radio systems by connecting them to LC oscillator and for tuning to the desired frequency.

5. Timing, due to the fixed charging and discharging time of capacitors.

6. For power factor Correction and many more applications.

applications. C E L E M P O W E R C A P A C
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