Navigation for Capacitor Terms
"A", "B/C", "D", "E", "F", "G", "I/L",
"M/N", "P", "Q/R", "S", "T", "V/Z"

Blown Capacitor: A capacitor that has leaked, exploded or otherwise been damaged by an over-load. Refer to the example picture on the right margin.

Breakdown: [voltage] A disruptive discharge through an insulator.

Bypass Capacitor: A capacitor used to transfer unwanted signals out of a circuit, bypassing the circuit; for example, coupling an unwanted signal to ground. Also called a decoupling capacitor. [Capacitor placement]

Button Capacitor. A small round disk capacitor.

Capacitance: Property of a capacitor which determines its ability to store electrical energy when a given voltage is applied, measured in farads, microfarads, or picofarads. The property of an electrical circuit that opposes changes in voltage.

Capacitance tolerance: The part manufacturer's guaranteed maximum deviation (expressed in percent) from the specified nominal value at standard (or stated) environmental conditions. [Capacitor dielectric and Temperature]

Capacitive reactance: Opposition offered to the flow of an alternating or pulsating current by capacitance, measured in ohms.

Capacitor: Electronic component part consisting essentially of two conducting surfaces separated by an insulating (dielectric) material. A capacitor stores electrical energy, blocks the flow of direct current, and permits the flow of alternating or pulsating current to a degree dependent on the capacitance and the frequency.
(1) Capacitor, liquid-filled. A capacitor in which a liquid impregnant occupies substantially all of the case volume not required by the capacitor element and its connections. (Space may be allowed for the expansion of the liquid under temperature variations.)
(2) Capacitor, liquid-impregnated. A capacitor in which a liquid impregnant is dominantly contained within the foil-winding and paper-winding, but does not occupy substantially all of the case volume.
(3) Capacitor, temperature-compensating. A capacitor whose capacitance varies with temperature in a known and predictable manner.

Capacitance-Start Motor: A type of single-phase, ac induction motor in which a starting winding and a capacitor are placed in series to start the motor. The values of XC and R are such that the main-winding and starting-winding currents are nearly 90 degrees apart and the starting torque is produced as in a two-phase motor.

Capacitive Coupling: The transfer of energy from one circuit to another by means of the mutual capacitance between the circuits. The coupling may be deliberate or inadvertent. Capacitive coupling favors transfer of the higher frequency components of a signal, whereas inductive coupling [not shown] favors lower frequency components, and conductive coupling favors neither higher nor lower frequency components.

Capacitive Coupling Diagram example
Capacitive Coupling

The unintended coupling [electrical connection] between one or more circuits. Capacitor C1 is capacitive coupling circuit 1 and circuit 2 in the diagram.

Cathode: Negative electrode of a capacitor. The cathode is the shorter lead of a polarized capacitor.

Capacitor Can Diagram showing the Cathode and Anode leads by difference in length
Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor Diagram

Ceramic Capacitor: A capacitor that uses a ceramic as a dielectric material. By-pass capacitors used to isolate ICs are ceramic capacitors. There are four main temperature classes; see the Dielectric Material page for additional data. Ceramic capacitors are available number of shapes and sizes. Manufacturers of Ceramic Capacitors.

Different styles of leaded Ceramic Capacitors
Ceramic Capacitors

Charge Cycle: The period of time that a capacitor in an electrical circuit is storing a charge. Also refer to RC Time Constant

Chip Capacitor: A surface mount capacitor. Also refer to a table of various sizes of surface mount capacitors, as Chip Capacitor sizes.

Clamp: Capacitors used in high vibration environments need to be secured to the printed circuit board. In this case the capacitor is attached to the PWB by a C-Clamp.

Capacitor C Clamp
Capacitor Clamp

COG: A capacitor dielectric designation defined by the EIA. The COG dielectric has a flat temperature coefficient over temperature. Also called NPO (negative-positive-zero), referring to its value change over temperature.

Compound Capacitors: Placing two or more different value capacitors in parallel to enhance or compound their desired effects. Refer to the definition on Compound Capacitor By-passing.

Coupling Capacitor: A capacitor used to couple signals. Also see Capacitive Coupling.

Crimped Lead Capacitor: A capacitor which has had its leads crimped. The attached graphic shows one example.
MIL-C-5/18; for fixed Mica capacitors provides one example, but crimped leads could apply to any type of leaded capacitor. Note that the leads do have to be crimped a particular way.

PC motherboard

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