Ceramic Capacitors



Product ID: 19613 SKU: ELEC-19613 Categories: , Tags: ,

A ceramic capacitor uses a ceramic material as the dielectric. Ceramics were one of the first materials to be used in the producion of capacitors, as it was a known insulator. Many geometries were used in ceramic capacitors, of which some, like ceramic tubular capacitors and barrier layer capacitors are obsolete today due to their size, parasitic effects or electrical characteristics. The types of ceramic capacitors most often used in modern electronics are the multi-layer ceramic capacitor, otherwise named ceramic multi-layer chip capacitor (MLCC) and the ceramic disc capacitor. MLCCs are the most produced capacitors with a quantity of approximately 1000 billion devices per year. They are made in SMD (surface-mounted) technology and are widely used due to their small size. Ceramic capacitors are usually made with very small capacitance values, typically between 1nF and 1µF, although values up to 100µF are possible. Ceramic capacitors are also very small in size and have a low maximum rated voltage. They are not polarized, which means that they may be safely connected to an AC source. Ceramic capacitors have a great frequency response due to low parasitic effects such as resistance or inductance.



Precision and tolerances

There are two classes of ceramic capacitors available today: class 1 and class 2. Class 1 ceramic capacitors are used where high stability and low losses are required. They are very accurate and the capacitance value is stable in regard to applied voltage, temperature and frequency. The NP0 series of capacitors has a capacitance thermal stability of  ±0.54% within the total temperature range of -55 to +125 °C. Tolerances of the nominal capacitance value can be as low as 1%.

Class 2 capacitors have a high capacitance per volume and are used for less sensitive applications. Their thermal stability is typically ±15% in the operating temperature range, and the nominal value tolerances are around 20%.

Size advantages

When high component packing densities are required, as is the case in most modern printed circuit boards (PCBs), MLCC devices offer a great advantage compared to other capacitors. To illustrate this point, the “0402 multi-layer ceramic capacitor package measures just 0.4 mm x 0.2 mm. In such a package, there are 500 or more ceramic and metal layers. The minimum ceramic thickness as of 2010 is on the order of 0.5 microns.

High voltage and high power

Physically larger ceramic capacitors can be made to withstand much higher voltages and these are called power ceramic capacitors. These are physically much larger than those used on PCBs and have specialized terminals for safe connection to a high voltage supply. Power ceramic capacitors can be made to withstand voltages in the range of 2kV up to 100 kV, with a power specified at much higher than 200 volt-amperes.

Smaller MLCCs used in printed circuit boards are rated to voltages from only a few volts up to several hundreds of volts, depending on the application.





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