This section provides overview, applications, and principles of conductive polymer capacitors. Also, please take a look at the list of 16 conductive polymer capacitor manufacturers and their company rankings.
Conductive polymer capacitors are capacitors that use a conductive polymer as the cathode and electrolyte.
In general, electrolytes and manganese dioxide are used as cathodes in capacitors, but in conductive polymer capacitors, these are replaced with polymers.
In contrast to electrolytic solutions and metallic cathodes, conductive polymers are used in electronic equipment where stable operation is required, as they are less prone to capacitance degradation and voltage fluctuations when the temperature is changed. They are also safer than conventional capacitors.
Conductive polymer capacitors are superior to conventional capacitors in terms of the safety of the compounds used. Various types of conductive polymer capacitors are available, ranging from capacitors for small electronic equipment to capacitors for automotive applications, depending on the required capacitance, withstand voltage, and other specifications.
Conductive polymer capacitors are also effective for equipment miniaturization. Conductive polymer capacitors are also used when the downsizing of equipment is required because they can achieve the required specifications with fewer capacitors compared to conventional capacitors since they are less prone to capacitance degradation due to D/C bias.
Conductive polymer capacitors use polymers such as polypyrrole polythiophene as the electrolyte. This polymer has a higher conductivity than conventional electrolytes such as manganese dioxide. Products are available with different materials for the anode and cathode depending on the required use, such as drive voltage and size.
Conductive polymer capacitors do not suffer from the voltage-induced deformation, accompanying micro-vibration, and ringing observed in conventional capacitors. This is because polymers are not deformed by voltage. In addition, conductive polymer capacitors are less susceptible to capacitance degradation due to temperature and D/C bias because of their material characteristics.
In addition, conductive polymer capacitors have superior durability and moisture resistance compared to conventional capacitors. When actually selecting conductive polymer capacitors, it is important to consider not only the electrical characteristics but also the size of each capacitor and the number of capacitors required, as well as durability and cost.
Like all capacitors, conductive polymer capacitors have a life span. Life depends on environmental conditions such as ambient temperature and humidity and operating conditions such as ripple current and surge voltage.
The life of conductive polymer capacitors is determined by oxidative degradation caused by oxygen entering the capacitor from the outside through the sealing port or by increased loss due to thermal degradation of conductive polymers caused by environmental conditions.
Life is estimated by a formula called Arrhenius Law (doubling for every 10°C). Variables in this equation include self-temperature rise due to ripple current and ambient temperature conditions. Therefore, if conductive polymer capacitors are to be used for long life, the most effective way is to reduce the ambient temperature while lowering the ripple current.
In general, the life of conductive polymer capacitors is calculated using Arrhenius Law (doubling for every 10°C), but this is calculated only as a guide. When considering the use of capacitors, designers are required to ensure a sufficient margin for the design life of the equipment.
Personal computers and game consoles are becoming increasingly sophisticated. Among these devices, especially around CPUs, there are demands for frequency response higher than that required for conventional aluminum electrolytic capacitors, as well as smaller size and lower ESR (Equivalent Series Resistance).
The operating principle of an aluminum electrolytic capacitor is that ions in the electrolyte move to form a capacitor. Low ESR has been promoted by reducing the resistance of the electrolyte and separator, but there is a physical limit because of ionic conduction. Therefore, focusing on electron conduction in solids, the technological development of conductive polymer capacitors is underway to further lower ESR by taking advantage of their high conductivity.
It's worth adding one point regarding ESR. The impedance characteristics of a capacitor can be expressed as an equivalent series circuit, which can be represented as an RLC series model consisting of three components: ESR, ESL, and capacitance. As the operating frequency increases, the impedance decreases. After reaching its lowest point at a particular frequency, the impedance increases. This lowest point is determined by the ESR, which determines the minimum loss of the circuit.
*Including some distributors, etc.
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