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Discharge Measurement of High Temperature Capacitors

T. Buchacher and T. M. Correia

National Physical Laboratory, Hampton Road, Teddington, TW11 0LW, UK

There has been rapid progress in recent years in the development of high temperature power electronics driven by a wide range of applications such as low carbon vehicles and energy management from renewable sources. These systems need passive components that can operate under the same high temperature conditions. Capacitors are a key component in systems such as DC-DC converters and power controllers, and represent a significant portion of the cost and weight of a power conversion system. Capacitors present a particular difficulty in this respect because conventional ceramic and electrolytic devices have poor temperature stability and/or low maximum operating temperatures and often need to be cooled. This poster presents a new measurement system to measure discharge current in capacitors up to 200 C. Results are presented on the energy and power density and temperature stability for a new class of high operating temperature dielectric material (HITECA).


Pulse Power System

The Pulse power system is designed for comprehensive transient and pulsed power characterisation of bulk ceramic or multilayer capacitors. Samples can be characterised over a wide range of temperatures. The system is based on a high speed MOSFET switch that is used to switch rapidly between a high voltage and ground. While switching the transient current response of the sample is recorded. The integration of a heating stage extends the capabilities of the system to allow for comprehensive studies of capacitors to be used in high temperature environments.

Voltage range: 50V 1kV Temperature range: 20-200C Bandwidth: 5MHz Optimised for capacitances > 1nF

The results presented in this poster are based on measurements of ceramic BiFeO3 capacitors with a capacitance of 15nF that have been rapidly discharged from 50V into a resistive load of 234 towards ground. Transients have been recorded for temperatures from 30C to 200C in steps of 20C.
Figure 1: Experimental Setup. From left to right: Sample holder with temperature stage, MOSFET & voltage source, oscilloscope and control software

Ceramic capacitor
In this work we measured a multilayer ceramic capacitor with BiFeO3-based composition. This material has been recently put forward as a promising material for energy storage applications due to its impressive temperature stability and high energy density [1].

Transients have been recorded and fitted with an exponential decay the form of

Figure 4 shows the temperature dependence of A and obtained by fitting with equation 1. With increasing temperature the peak current increases by approximately 5%. Simultaneously the discharge process is slowing down with temperature to almost doubling in time.
(1) Figure 5: Peak power and energy stored as function of temperature

where A represents the peak current, t time and the decay constant.
Figure 3: Transient current of the BiFeO3 sample for various temperatures

Figure 3 shows the current transients for selected temperatures (30-200C). Peak current and relaxation times are strongly dependent on the operating temperature.
Figure 4: Peak current and time constant as function of temperature

Figure 5 shows the peak power and energy stored in the capacitor as a function of temperature. Peak power is primarily dependent on current and shows similar behaviour. The energy stored in the capacitor is the integral over power. It is therefore dependent on current as well as discharge time. The energy and power released by the capacitor is stable to 10% up to 200C.

 Our pulse power system allows characterisation of peak power, energy storage for temperatures from room temperature up to 200C
Queens Printer and Controller of HMSO, 2013. 10690/1113

 Characterisation of the temporal behaviour allows examination of physical processes involved in the discharge behaviour
Figure 2: Test sample inside the holder

The BiFeO3 based capacitors in this experiment show great stability in peak power and energy storage with temperature

The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Technology Strategy Board and the UKs National Measurement Office


T. M. Correia, M. McMillen, M. Gregg, P. M. Weaver and M. G. Cain, BiFeO3-based thin film for energy storage applications, J. Am. Ceram. Soc. 96, 26992702 (2013)