Film Capacitors

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Our range of film capacitors includes general purpose, motor run, noise suppression & safety, and power film types.

Film capacitors: Plastic film capacitors, film dielectric capacitors, or polymer film capacitors, generically called film capacitors as well as power film capacitors, are electrical capacitors with an insulating plastic film as the dielectric, sometimes combined with paper which carries the electrodes.

The dielectric films, depending on the desired dielectric strength, are drawn in a special process to an extremely thin profile, and are then provided with electrodes. The electrodes of film capacitors may be metallized aluminium or zinc applied directly to the surface of the plastic film, or a separate metallic foil. Two of these conductive layers are wound into a cylinder shaped winding, usually flattened to reduce mounting space requirements on a printed circuit board, or layered as multiple single layers stacked together, to form a capacitor body.

Polyester film capacitors are film capacitors using a dielectric made of the thermoplastic polar polymer material polyethylene terephthalate (PET), trade names Hostaphan or Mylar, from the polyester family. They are manufactured both as metallized wound and stacked versions, as well as film/foil types.

Polypropylene film capacitors have a dielectric made of the thermoplastic, non-polar, organic and partially crystalline polymer material polypropylene (PP), trade name Treofan, from the family of polyolefins. They are manufactured both as metallized wound and stacked versions, as well as film/foil types.

What are film capacitors used for?

Power film capacitors are used in power electronics devices, phase shifters, X-ray flashes and pulsed lasers, while the low power variants are used as decoupling capacitors, filters and in A/D convertors. Other notable applications are safety capacitors, electromagnetic interference suppression, fluorescent light ballasts and snubber capacitors.

What is the difference between ceramic and film capacitors?

The type of dielectric employed, and their design, are the first obvious differences between these capacitor types. While film capacitors utilize thin plastic sheets as dielectric, ceramic capacitors use sheets composed of ceramic material. They are both bipolar in nature.

Their manufacturing and dielectric properties have a significant impact on their performance. Plastic film/metalized film capacitors come in a wide range of capacitance values. Ceramic capacitors, on the other hand, are only suitable for circuits requiring low capacitance.

Film capacitors are chosen over ceramic capacitors for specific applications such as analogue signal processing and audio circuits due to their low distortion factor. Ceramic capacitors also have large nonlinearities at high capacitances, which has an impact on circuit performance.

Capacitors with high capacitance and a cheap cost are desirable for applications such as coupling/decoupling circuits. As a result, film capacitors are viable solutions.