Polystyrene Capacitor

Polystyrene capacitors are used in a number of applications where leaded high tolerance capacitors are required.

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Polystyrene capacitors are used within a limited number of applications. Polystyrene capacitor construction does not lend itself to surface mount technology and accordingly polystyrene capacitors tend to be used for leaded applications.

As a result of their construction and limited use, polystyrene capacitors are not widely used these days and can sometimes be difficult to source.

Polystyrene capacitor properties

Polystyrene capacitors are not widely available these days, however they still find applications within audio circles. This is as a result of their electrical characteristics which lend them to these applications.

The polystyrene capacitors provide a number of electrical characteristics which make them suitable for a number of applications. These capacitors provide high insulation, low leakage, low dielectric absorption, low distortion and excellent temperature stability.

In view of their properties, polystyrene capacitors can often be used in place of silver mica or ceramic disc capacitors.

Polystyrene film capacitor
Polystyrene film capacitor

Polystyrene dielectric properties

The dielectric used within polystyrene capacitors has a number of properties which enable them to have excellent properties for many applications.

Polystyrene Dielectric Properties
Property Details
Dielectric constant 2.5 - 2.6
Dielectric strength 19.7 MV/m
Loss tangent 0.0001 @ 100 MHz
0.00033 @ 3 GHz

Polystyrene capacitor advantages and disadvantages

While the polystyrene capacitor has many advantages it also has a number of disadvantages as well.

Polystyrene capacitor advantages

  • High insulation
  • Low leakage
  • Low dielectric absorption
  • Low distortion (audio enthusiasts like them because of this)
  • Good temperature stability

Polystyrene capacitor disadvantages

  • Technology does not lend itself to SMT
  • Not heat resistance - polystyrene melts
  • Very limited availability

Polystyrene capacitors are used in a limited number of applications, and only as leaded components. Nevertheless they can be usefully used to provide good performance in many applications.

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