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Profile of Capacitors

This is what a capacitor is.


You may already know these facts, but let us still explain capacitors and their
principle of operation for those who may not know.

Capacitors store electricity and Capacitors have two main features. One of which is
block the flow of DC. a function to charge or discharge electricity. This
function is applied to smoothing circuits of power
supplies, backup circuits of microcomputers, and
timer circuits that make use of the periods to charge
or discharge electricity. The other is a function to
block the flow of DC. This function is applied to
filters that extract or eliminate particular frequencies.
This is indispensable to circuits where excellent
frequency characteristics are required.

Condensers vs. Capacitors


The name "capacitor" was given in the US due to its
capacity for charging electricity. When capacitors
were introduced to Japan, the English word
"capacitor" was translated as "chikudenki," which
means a component that can condense and store
electricity. Later, people in Japan thought it was
called condenser in the US when they retranslated it
into English. That is the reason the electric
component called capacitor in the US is still called
condenser in Japan.
Moreover, in another theory it used to be called the
"condenser" in the world, but recently there is also
an opinion of having came to be called "capacitor".
Main Applications of Capacitors

AC ----------> The smoothing circuit works in ----------> DC


combination with the diode rectifier
circuit.

Pulse ----------> The timer circuit makes use of the time ----------> A time
required for the capacitor to charge lag is
electricity. caused.

Mixed ----------> The low-pass filter combines the ----------> Only the
signals capacitor and resistor. desired
low-
frequency
signal is
obtained.
Mixed ----------> The high-pass filter combines the ----------> Only the
signals capacitor and resistor. desired
high-
frequency
signal is
obtained.
Glossary
The following provides information on main capacitor terms.

Capacitance If voltage is applied to the two flat metal plates that


are located in parallel to each other as shown in Fig.
1, electricity is charged by the plates. Capacitors
make use of this phenomenon. The electrostatic
capacity of a capacitor indicates the amount of
electric energy the capacitor can charge. The larger
the plates are, the higher the electrostatic capacity is,
and the shorter the distance between the plates is, the
higher the electrostatic capacity is.

Dielectric Constant Usually, the two electrode plates of a capacitor are


separated with an electrolyte, ceramic, or plastic film
as a dielectric. Capacitors are classified according to
the difference in dielectric (e.g., electrolytic
capacitors and ceramic capacitors). The electrostatic
capacity of a capacitor varies with the dielectric even
though there is no difference in electrode plate size or
plate-to-plate distance. The dielectric constant K is
determined by the dielectric.
C: Capacitance
K: Constant (Dielectric constant)
S: Electrode plate size (area)
d: Distance between two electrode
plates
F: Farad (a unit of electrostatic
capacity)
Glossary
Dielectric loss tangent (tan ) The electrostatic capacity of a capacitor is obtainable
from the above-mentioned equation. A capacitor in
actual use causes loss due to the dielectric
polarization of the capacitor and the inductance of
the lead wires of the capacitor. The rate of this loss
is called dielectric loss tangent and expressed in
percentage. In the following equation, Q indicates
the quality of the capacitor. The larger the Q is, the
higher the quality is.

Insulation resistance (IR) The two electrode plates of a capacitor are separated
from each other. Theoretically, the resistance
between the two electrode plates should be infinite.
There is, however, a minute current flow between
the electrode plates in actual operation. Therefore,
the resistance between the electrode plates is not
infinite. This resistance is called insulation resistance
and usually expressed in M .
Equivalent serial resistance There is resistance between the two electrode plates
(ESR) of any capacitor. If a capacitor handles high -
frequency signals, this resistance has a great
influence on the performance of the capacitor. This
resistance is called equivalent serial resistance (ESR)
and usually expressed in m .
Outline of a Capacitor
Capacitor Map Capacitors are classified according to the type of dielectric. The
following provides brief information on a variety of capacitors
Let us know the outline classified according to the type of dielectric and their
with this classification. characteristics.

1.A variety of
capacitors classified
Outline of a Capacitor
2. A variety of capacitors and their features

Type Feature Application circuit

This type of capacitor has been developed to Circuits of general


meet demands for high-density ceramic electronic equipment
capacitors. Multi-layered ceramic capacitors
incorporate multiple printed layers of electrode
plates made of 10 to 20µm thick ceramic sheets.
These capacitors are more compact and have
better temperature characteristics than single -
layered ceramic capacitors. Multi-layered
ceramic capacitors are, however, rather
Multi-layered
expensive because their electrode plates use
ceramic
capacitor precious metals. With the further development
of materials for electrode plates, these
capacitors are expected to take the lead in the
main stream of ceramic capacitors. Like a
single-layered ceramic capacitor, a multi-
layered ceramic capacitor is either a product of
high dielectric constant construction or a
product that has excellent temperature
characteristics ideal for temperature
compensation.

This type of capacitor that incorporates a Circuits that require


ceramic dielectric is either a product ideal for excellent frequency
temperature compensation, a product that has a characteristics, such
high dielectric constant, or a product that is of a as high-frequency
semiconductor type, which depends on the kind circuits and digital
of ceramic dielectric. The single -layered circuits
Single- ceramic capacitor for temperature compensation
layered does not have a high electrostatic capacity but it
ceramic covers a wide temperature characteristic range
capacitor including temperatures below 0°C. The
capacitor of high dielectric constant
construction is compact yet it has a high
electrostatic capacity. The semiconductor type
capacitor is far more compact yet it has the
highest electrostatic capacity of all single -
layered ceramic capacitors.
The high-frequency and temperature High-frequency
characteristics of film capacitors excel those of circuits and analog
ceramic capacitors. Furthermore, high-capacity circuits
film capacitors are available, which are,
Film
however, more expensive and larger than
capacitor
ceramic capacitors that are the same in capacity.
Polyester (Myler), polypropylene, or
polystyrene can be used for the film of this type
of capacitors.

This type of capacitor incorporates electrode High-frequency


plates made of film vacuum-evaporated with circuits, switching
Metal-glazed metal such as aluminum. Metal-glazed film circuits, and analog
film capacitor capacitors can be more compact yet higher in circuits
electrostatic capacity than film capacitors.
Polyester, polypropylene, or polycarbonate can
be used for the film of this type of capacitors.

This type of capacitor incorporates a metal Power supply


oxide film dielectric produced from electrolysis circuits, audio
and its anode is made of aluminum. That is the circuits, timer
Aluminum
electrolytic reason this type of capacitor is called aluminum circuits, and backup
capacitor electrolytic capacitor. It is possible to produce circuits
high-capacity aluminum electrolytic capacitors.
Their frequency and temperature characteristics
are, however, bad.

This type of capacitor is similar to aluminum Noise limiters,


electrolytic capacitors, but its anode is made of coupling circuits,
tantalum instead of aluminum. Tantalum and filter circuits
Tantalum electrolytic capacitors are a little inferior in
electrolytic electrostatic capacity to aluminum electrolytic
capacitor capacitors. The frequency and temperature
characteristics of tantalum electrolytic
capacitors, however, excel those of aluminum
electrolytic capacitors.

Mica, glass, and paper are used for dielectric Precision equipment
elements as well as the materials described and high-voltage
above. Mica is the best dielectric but it is equipment
Others
expensive. Glass ensures a stable temperature
coefficient in a wide range. Paper is used for
high-voltage capacitors.
Outline of a Capacitor
3. Frequency If the impedance of a capacitor dropped in proportion to an increase
characteristics in frequency rectilinearly, it would be an ideal capacitor. The
of each type of following graph indicates how the actual impedance of each type of
capacitor capacitor drops due to the res istance of the capacitor as the frequency
rises. The change in the impedance varies with the construction and
material of the capacitor. It is possible to say that the lower the
resistance of the capacitor when the capacitor resonates (i.e., point a
in the graph below) is, the better the frequency characteristics of the
capacitor are. From this graph, you will know that ceramic and film
capacitors are suitable for high -frequency circuits.

4. Insulation If the insulation resistance of a capacitor did not change with the
resistance ambient temperature, it would an ideal capacitor. The following graph
of each type of indicates that the insulation resistance of each type of capacitor
capacitor decreases as the temperature rises. The value of insulation resistance
at indoor temperature varies with the capacitor. Each capacitor,
however, has a general tendency to decrease its insulation resistance
when the ambient temperature exceeds 25°C. There is only a little
difference between the slopes of insulation resistance, although the
Myler film capacitor has a little greater decrease in insulation
resistance and the ceramic capacitor for temperature compensation
has a comparatively small decrease and so does the mica capacitor.
Outline of a Capacitor
5. Dielectric loss The dielectric loss tangent (tan ) of a capacitor indicates the
tangent (tan dissipation of the capacitor. Therefore, it would be ideal if this value
) were 0% at all temperatures. From the following graph, you will
of each type know that the dielectric loss tangent (tan ) of the ceramic capacitor
of capacitor for temperature compensation and that of the mica capacitor are
rather small, and therefore, they have better characteristics with only
a little dissipation.

6. Operating If the electrostatic capacity of a capacitor did not change in a wide


temperature temperature range as shown as the straight line marked "1" in the
range following graph, the temperature characteristics of the capacitor
of each type would be ideal. Practically, the electrostatic capacity greatly varies
of capacitor with the temperature. From the graph, you will know that the ceramic
capacitor for temperature compensation has the best temperature
characteristics, followed by the film capacitor, mica capacitor, and
tantalum capacitor. The ceramic capacitor of high dielectric constant
construction shows an extraordinary curve. Utmost attention is
required when using this type of capacitor.
Outline of a Capacitor
7. Electrostatic capacity range [100 µF or more]
of each type of capacitor Tantalum electrolytic capacitors as well as
aluminum electrolytic capacitors cover this range.
Smoothing circuits of power supplies and emitter
capacitance and coupling capacitance purposes in
audio circuits.

[10 to 100 µF]


Tantalum electrolytic capacitors as well as
aluminum electrolytic capacitors cover this range.
Tantalum electrolytic capacitors are, however, so
expensive that they are used for applications to
which their particular characteristics are essential.

[1 to 10 µF]
Ceramic capacitors of high dielectric constant
construction as well as aluminum electrolytic
capacitors and tantalum electrolytic capacitors
cover this range. These capacitors are used for a
wide range of application including timer circuits
and filter circuits.

[0.1 to 1 µF]
Most capacitors cover this range. Especially, film
capacitors and ceramic capacitors of high dielectric
constant construction are ideal. These capacitors
are often used as bypass capacitors for ICs.

[0.01 to 0.1 µF]


Ceramic capacitors and film capacitors cover this
range. Especially, these capacitors are often used
for higher-frequency applications.

[1,000 to 10,000 pF]


Ceramic capacitors and film capacitors cover this
range. Mainly, these capacitors are used for signal
processing circuits, such as filter circuits.

[100 to 1,000 pF]


Ceramic capacitors for temperature compensation
cover this range. These capacitors are used for
high-frequency applications, such as filter circuits.

[10 to 100 pF]


Ceramic capacitors for temperature compensation
are used for high-frequency filter circuits and phase
compensation for bypass amplifiers of high-
frequency oscillators.

[1 to 10 pF]
Ceramic capacitors are used for phase
compensation for higher-frequency amplifiers.
Outline of a Capacitor
8. Rated voltage The rated voltage of a capacitor means the highest
of each type of capacitor permissible voltage applicable to the electrode
plates of the capacitor. Working voltage (WV) or
voltage (V) is used as a unit to express the rated
voltage of each capacitor. The value of rated
voltage varies with the capacitor. A capacitor is
usually used with 1/2 or less of the rated voltage by
taking the surge voltage on the capacitor into
consideration.

[Aluminum electrolytic capacitors]


Usually 6.3, 10, 16, 25, 35, 50, or 100 V. The
number of low-capacity, low-voltage aluminum
electrolytic capacitors produced is not large. High-
capacity, high-voltage products are available by
order.

[Tantalum electrolytic capacitors]


Usually 6.3, 10, 16, 25, or 35 V.

[Single-layered ceramic capacitors]


Usually 50 or 500 V. High-voltage products are,
however, manufactured.

[Multi-layered ceramic capacitors]


Usually 25 or 50 or 16 V. The availability of 10-V
products depends on the series of models.

[Film capacitors and metal-glazed film capacitors]


Low voltage (50 or 500V) and high voltage (250,
400, or 630 V).

[Others]
Mica, glass, and paper capacitors are of high
dielectric constant construction. Therefore, these
capacitors with high dielectric strength are
available.
Outline of a Capacitor
Profile of Multi- Let us know the history and basic construction of multi-layered
layered Ceramic ceramic capacitors.
Capacitors

What is a Multi-
layered Ceramic
Capacitor?
Multi-layered
Ceramic
Capacitor Map
Outline of a Capacitor
Born in the US in the 40's The multi-layered ceramic capacitor was invented in
the US in the forties based on conventional materials
for single-layered ceramic capacitors and baking
technologies. Due to its compactness, high
capacitance, and high reliability, this type of capacitor
was mainly used for military purposes in those days.
The multi-layered ceramic capacitor did not become
popular until the sixties. Recently, the multi-layered
ceramic capacitor has been making remarkable
progress and playing an important role in a variety of
fields by keeping in step with the development of
hybrid ICs, computers, and ultraminiature electronic
equipment.

Multi-layered construction is As shown in the following illustration, the multi-


the secret ensuring layered ceramic capacitor incorporates multiple layers
compactness and high capacity consisting of thin dielectric elements, thus making its
electrostatic capacity as high as possib le for its size.