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What Are Common Types of Capacitors?

Capacitors are one of the most widely used and recognized electronic components, regularly found in a variety of circuits and applications. In simple terms, a capacitor is a circuit element that is able to store electrical energy within an electric field. Capacitors come in a wide range of sizes and types, each of which is suited for varying applications. In this blog, we will discuss capacitors in brief detail, allowing you to familiarize yourself with the common types available and how they are used.

Capacitors are generally used for a variety of purposes, including filtering out unwanted noise in a signal, storing energy in a power supply, coupling signals between different circuits, and more. Furthermore, they are regularly used in conjunction with resistors and inductors to establish filters and oscillators within electronic circuits.

For a typical capacitor, the basic structure of the component will come in the form of two conductive plates that are separated by a dielectric material. For the conductive plates, materials like metal foil, conductive plastic, or electrolytic materials may be used. Meanwhile, the dielectric material used to insulate conductive plates may be made from various materials like ceramic, paper, or plastic.

For categorizing capacitors, it is common to classify them into various types based on their construction and usage. Some of the most common types of capacitors are:

  • Ceramic Capacitors: Ceramic capacitors are one of the most widely used types, and they are constructed from ceramic materials while being fairly compact in terms of size. With their high dielectric constant, ceramic capacitors typically find use within high-frequency applications.
  • Electrolytic Capacitors: These capacitors are often found within applications where there is a need for large capacitance values. Electrolytic capacitor components are constructed with two conductive plates that are separated by a thin, oxide dielectric layer. These capacitors are also polarized, meaning that they will have a positive and negative lead, and the voltage rating will need to be observed.
  • Tantalum Capacitors: Tantalum capacitors are comparable to electrolytic types in terms of their construction, differing in the fact that tantalum is used for the conduct plates instead of aluminum. Furthermore, tantalum capacitors exhibit a higher capacitance value and longer lifespan on average when compared to electrolytic capacitors.
  • Film Capacitors: With a film capacitor, a thin film of plastic or polymer dielectric material will be sandwiched between two conductive plates. Film capacitors are often available with a diverse set of capacitance values, and they excel in both high-frequency and high-voltage applications.
  • Supercapacitors: Supercapacitors are a more specialized option, capable of storing a much higher degree of energy as compared to more traditional options. In order to do this, these capacitors feature double-layer or porous carbon conductive plates which increase surface areas for increased storage. Generally, these components are found in energy storage systems and hybrid electric vehicles.

Beyond these common examples, other variations exist, examples including mica capacitors, non-polarized capacitors, and variable capacitors. To ensure that you choose the right type for your application, it is important to consider various operational specifications and requirements. Once you are ready to begin the purchasing process, look no further than Automatize Electronics and our unrivaled inventory of items.

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November 24, 2022
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