Capacitor Terms

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Capacitor Altitude Operation

Altitude: The vertical distance above sea level [or some other reference]. The maximum altitude of a circuit or capacitor needs to be accounted for during the design process.

Capacitor Operating Voltage as Altitude Increases
Operating Voltage vs Altitude

The chart shows different size capacitor packages as a graph of Operating Voltage vs Altitude. The smaller the component package the less operating voltage the device can sustain. Any increase in altitude further reduces the operating voltage as depicted in the curves.
The larger the capacitor package the greater the permissible operating voltage, and the higher the operational altitude.
Also refer to the page covering Guidelines to Derating a Capacitor.

The package sizes [Case Diameter] given in the chart are as follows [bottom to top]; 14.27mm, 10.16mm, 7.92mm, 7.14mm, 5.97mm, 4.45mm case sizes.

A similar view of Altitude and operating voltage. However in this case the graph shows Creepage Distance in inches vs DC Operating Voltage

Capacitor Operating Voltage vs Creep Distance
Operating Voltage vs Altitude

The chart shows that the higher the altitude in feet, the lower the operating voltage must be or the greater the distance between the terminals. So as the circuit [a capacitor in this case] climbs in altitude either the DC operating voltage must be reduced or the distance between the components terminals has to increase. Normally it is not possible to change the locations of a terminal lead once the circuit has been designed [the terminals of a capacitor are fixed]. So the design needs to start out with a maximum design standard indicating the maximum altitude of operation.

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