Capacitor-Current And Voltage Reversal-Pcb
Current and voltage reversal
Current reversal occurs when the current changes direction. Voltage reversal is the change of polarity in a circuit. Reversal is generally described as the percentage of the maximum rated voltage that reverses polarity. In DC circuits, this is usually less than 100%, often in the range of 0 to 90%, whereas AC circuits experience 100% reversal.
In DC circuits and pulsed circuits, current and voltage reversal are affected by the damping of the system. Voltage reversal is encountered in RLC circuits that are under-damped. The current and voltage reverse direction, forming a harmonic oscillator between the inductance and capacitance. The current and voltage tends to oscillate and may reverse direction several times, with each peak being lower than the previous, until the system reaches an equilibrium. This is often referred to as ringing. In comparison, critically dampedor over-damped systems usually do not experience a voltage reversal. Reversal is also encountered in AC circuits, where the peak current is equal in each direction.
For maximum life, capacitors usually need to be able to handle the maximum amount of reversal that a system may experience. An AC circuit experiences 100% voltage reversal, while under-damped DC circuits experience less than 100%. Reversal creates excess electric fields in the dielectric, causes excess heating of both the dielectric and the conductors, and can dramatically shorten the life expectancy of the capacitor. Reversal ratings often affect the design considerations for the capacitor, from the choice of dielectric materials and voltage ratings to the types of internal connections used.
Capacitors made with any type of dielectric material show some level of "dielectric absorption" or "soakage". On discharging a capacitor and disconnecting it, after a short time it may develop a voltage due to hysteresis in the dielectric. This effect is objectionable in applications such as precision sample and hold circuits or timing circuits. The level of absorption depends on many factors, from design considerations to charging time, since the absorption is a time-dependent process. However, the primary factor is the type of dielectric material. Capacitors such as tantalum electrolytic or polysulfone film exhibit relatively high absorption, while polystyrene or Teflon allow very small levels of absorption. In some capacitors where dangerous voltages and energies exist, such as in flashtubes, television sets, and defibrillators, the dielectric absorption can recharge the capacitor to hazardous voltages after it has been shorted or discharged. Any capacitor containing over 10 joules of energy is generally considered hazardous, while 50 joules or higher is potentially lethal. A capacitor may regain anywhere from 0.01 to 20% of its original charge over a period of several minutes, allowing a seemingly safe capacitor to become surprisingly dangerous.