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Types and features of electrolytic capacitors

Aug. 17, 2022

Comparison of electrolytic capacitor types

Combinations of anode materials for electrolytic capacitors and the electrolytes used have given rise to wide varieties of capacitor types with different properties. An outline of the main characteristics of the different types is shown in the table below.


Types and features of electrolytic capacitors

The non-solid or so-called "wet" aluminum electrolytic capacitors were and are the cheapest among all other conventional capacitors. They not only provide the cheapest solutions for high capacitance or voltage values for decoupling and buffering purposes but are also insensitive to low ohmic charging and discharging as well as to low-energy transients. Non-solid electrolytic capacitors can be found in nearly all areas of electronic devices, with the exception of military applications.

Tantalum electrolytic capacitors with solid electrolyte as surface-mountable chip capacitors are mainly used in electronic devices in which little space is available or a low profile is required. They operate reliably over a wide temperature range without large parameter deviations. In military and space applications only tantalum electrolytic capacitors have the necessary approvals.

Niobium electrolytic capacitors are in direct competition with industrial tantalum electrolytic capacitors because niobium is more readily available. Their properties are comparable.

The electrical properties of aluminum, tantalum and niobium electrolytic capacitors have been greatly improved by the polymer electrolyte.


Comparison of electrical parameters

In order to compare the different characteristics of the different electrolytic capacitor types, capacitors with the same dimensions and of similar capacitance and voltage are compared in the following table. In such a comparison the values for ESR and ripple current load are the most important parameters for the use of electrolytic capacitors in modern electronic equipment. The lower the ESR, the higher the ripple current per volume and better functionality of the capacitor in the circuit. However, better electrical parameters come with higher prices.


Types and features of electrolytic capacitors

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