November 28, 2023

5 Types of Capacitors and their Applications

Capacitors are electronic components that are comprised of at least two conductors and an insulator. They are used to store the electric charge for most electronic devices and circuits. In fact, capacitors were the first electronic component to be invented and used for electric technology. Then as the capacitor technology became more advanced after further study, there were several different types of capacitors invented.

Overall, every capacitor serves the same general purpose of storing electricity and energy. The two conductors inside the capacitor are separated by the insulator. When power is given to the plates, an electric charge accumulates in them. A positive charge accumulates in one plate, and a negative charge accumulates on the other plate.

Top 5 Types of Capacitors

Electronic devices do not all use the same type of capacitor. There are different capacitors made to accommodate different devices and applications. Below are the 5 main capacitors described in more detail.

1) Electrolytic Capacitor

The electrolytic capacitor is necessary whenever there is a need for big capacitor values. It features two electrodes: one uses a narrow metal film layer, and the other uses a semi-liquid electrolyte paste or jelly solution. Basically, you have a conducting surface which is utilized within a liquid electrolyte. The charges and discharges don’t happen as fast as they do in film capacitors.

Two leads exist in an electrolytic capacitor: one for a positive charge and another for a negative charge. Sometimes the leads are connected to only a single end, but they may also be connected to both ends. It depends on the style of the electrolytic capacitor. The voltage rating and capacitance are printed on every electrolytic capacitor.

2) Film Capacitors

Film capacitors have a dielectric comprised of a thin plastic material called polystyrene. It is important for the plastic material to be extremely thin with the use of a film drawing procedure. Sometimes the film is metalized if it is manufactured. Other possible materials used for the film include PTE, polypropylene and polyester. It all depends on the capacitor’s properties and certain environmental factors. Generally, you’ll find film capacitors needed for timing circuits and filter circuits that operate on no more than several hundred kilohertz.

3) Supercapacitors

Supercapacitors are just like the name suggests. They can store the biggest electric charge in comparison to any other capacitor. When you have a large machine or device, such as a motor, which needs an abundance of electricity, then a supercapacitor is the best type of capacitor for it. Also, if an electronic device requires a bigger electric charge at a faster rate than what a battery can discharge, then a supercapacitor serves as a powerful backup battery in these situations.

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4) Paper Capacitor

A paper capacitor is constructed of tin foil sheets, aluminum. paper, wax, and/or oiled paper. It is basically a combination of thin papers and foils which get sandwiched together and rolled up to appear like a cylinder before they’re placed inside of a plastic capsule.

The paper material serves as the dielectric which stores the electric charge. The applications of paper capacitors include high current applications and high voltage applications. However, the downside is that the dielectric has weak insulation when it comes to humidity and moist air. The paper-based capacitor is more susceptible to absorbing water vapor and moisture in the air.

5) Ceramic Capacitor

A ceramic capacitor uses ceramic material to serve as the dielectric. It is a fixed-value capacitor which has at least two electrodes with alternating layers consisting of ceramic and metal. The way in which the ceramic material is composed determines the applications that can be used with this capacitor.

Ceramic capacitors are typically found in high-density applications, printed circuit boards, power circuit breakers, high-voltage laser power supplies, and induction furnaces.

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