I am choosing topic 5, Capacitor Advantages and Disadvantages. The


I am choosing topic 5, Capacitor Advantages and Disadvantages. The  two main types of capacitors to be discussed will be electrolytic and  ceramic capacitors. The electrolytic capacitor is a polarized capacitor  meaning that it has a positive and negative terminal. Therefore, proper  orientation in the circuit is necessary. Ceramic capacitors are  non-polarized meaning that they can be connected in either orientation  in the circuit. One type of electrolytic capacitor is formed by two  aluminum electrodes in an electrolyte of borax, phosphate, or  carbonate.  Between the two aluminum strips, absorbent gauze soaks up  the electrolyte to provide the required electrolysis that produces an  oxide film. Ceramic capacitors are made from earth fired under extreme  heat. Sometimes titanium dioxide or one of several types of silicates is  used for the dielectric. Silver is often used on both sides of the  dielectric to form the plates of the capacitor. Probably the main  advantage of ceramic capacitors is that they can be manufactured for  very high values of dielectric constants (k) and provide a wide range of  capacitance (1pf to 1 microfarad).

Except for electrolytics, ceramic capacitors and most other  capacitors do not wear out while being stored on the shelf. However,  electrolytics should be used fresh from the factory because of the wet  electrolyte that usually dries up over a period of time. Also, the  capacitor value changes drastically as the electrolyte dries up.  However, the ceramic capacitor value may change only 10-15% during the  first year of storage as the ceramic material relaxes. After a few years  of service, if the electrolyte dries up, electrolytics usually become  partially open and should be replaced because much of the capacitor  action is gone. Temperature and age deterioration can also cause many  capacitors to become shorted. This is even more common with  electrolytics.

Dielectric absorption is the inability of a capacitor to completely  discharge to zero. This phenomenon is commonly called “battery action”  or “capacitor memory” due to the dielectric retaining a charge after it  is supposedly discharged. Electrolytics have more of this characteristic  than most other capacitors.

Equivalent Series Resistance (ESR) is also higher in electrolytics  than other types of capacitors. This resistive effect is caused by the  fact that charge and discharge action cannot be followed  instantaneously. Probably, the main advantage of electrolytic capacitor  is its cost effectiveness in providing the highest capacitance in the  smallest possible space. One major area of concern for electrolytics is  that they can be instantly destroyed or burned and cause an explosion if  connected in the wrong orientation in the circuit.



Floyd, T. L., Buchla, D. M.  (20190225). Principles of Electric  Circuits, 10th Edition. [[VitalSource Bookshelf version]].  Retrieved  from vbk://9780134880068

Schultz, M.E. and Grob, B. (2016) Grob’s Basic Electronics. 12th ed. , New York, NY: McGraw-Hill Education.

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