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How to cope with the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors

In an audio equipment design case, engineers were faced with the problem of windwall effect on tantalum capacitors. The device is a high-performance audio amplifier in which tantalum capacitors are used as key components. After careful analysis and research, the engineer determined that it might be caused by the wind wall effect of the tantalum capacitor. In this article, we will discuss what the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors is and what causes this situation, and how to deal with it.

Table of Contents

Digital electronic commodities undergoes rapid upgrading especially the continuous sale growth on some products like PCs, 5G mobile phones, flat-panel TVs, and digital cameras. Capacitors, as one of the indispensable basic components in electronic devices, accounts for 40% of all electronic components, and its market size is gradually increasing.

What are tantalum capacitors?

Tantalum capacitors, also called tantalum electrolytic capacitor, which is one of the electrolytic capacitors. It has excellent performance and is a passive component that is small in size and can achieve large capacitance in capacitors. Tantalum capacitors come in a variety of shapes and are manufactured as small and chip components suitable for surface mounting.

Generally, tantalum capacitors are not only used in military communications, aerospace, but also can be found in industrial control, video equipment, communication instruments and other products.

Also read: What is decoupling capacitor? its types, function and layout

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What is the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors?

The windwall effect of tantalum capacitors refers to the pressure difference caused by gas flow or vibration in the packaging structure of tantalum capacitors, which causes stress in the dielectric (oxide layer) in the capacitors, thereby affecting the performance of the capacitors.

This effect is mainly caused by air flow or vibration in the capacitor package and is usually more pronounced in high frequency or high voltage applications. Here are some of the possible effects:

  • Sensitivity Distortion
    The windwall effect of tantalum capacitors can distort the sensitivity of the capacitor. Due to pressure differences caused by air flow or vibration, the dielectric inside the capacitor is subjected to stress, which changes the sensitivity of the capacitor.
  • Frequency Response Changes
    Due to stress effects caused by pressure differences, the vibration characteristics of the capacitor may change, which in turn affects its frequency response. This can result in signal loss or gain gain in specific frequency ranges , affecting accuracy and quality in sound, signal processing or other applications.
  • Increased Noise
    The windwall effect may introduce additional noise. Air flow or vibration can generate noise associated with contact or friction between package structures and leads . These noises can interfere with the proper operation of the capacitor, reducing the signal-to-noise ratio and thus affecting the performance and reliability of the device.
  • Reduced reliability
    Tantalum capacitors’ windwall effect may reduce the reliability of tantalum capacitors. Due to pressure differences caused by air flow or vibration, the stress inside the capacitor will increase, which may cause damage or shorten the life of the capacitor. This can lead to capacitor failure, leakage or other reliability issues that can affect the proper operation of the equipment.

Also read: How to choose and buy electronic components – complete guide

What causes the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors?

What causes the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors
What causes the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors

The windwall effect of tantalum capacitors is caused by the packaging structure of tantalum capacitors, which includes the following main factors:

1.Packaging structure
The packaging structure of tantalum capacitors usually consists of internal capacitor elements, leads and external casings. This encapsulation structure forms a relatively closed space. In high-frequency or high-pressure applications, airflow and vibration induce pressure differences in this space.

2.Air flow
When air flows around a tantalum capacitor, for example due to a fan inside the device or outside air flow, the air flow creates a pressure differential within the package structure. This air flow may be caused by heat generated by the operation of electronic equipment, or by external environmental conditions.

3.Vibration
Vibrations in electronic equipment can also cause vibrations in the packaging structure of tantalum capacitors. These vibrations can come from other components inside the device or from external mechanical vibrations.

Also read: 10 common electronic components and their symbols

How to deal with the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors?

How to deal with the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors
How to deal with the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors

Since there are several factors that result in the windwall effect of tantalum capacitors, here are some solutions that can help us to solve this phenomenon.

1.Packaging structure optimization
By optimizing the packaging structure of tantalum capacitors, the the windwall effect can be solved. For example, a more compact package structure can be designed to reduce the air flow in the space. Reasonably design the position and layout of the leads to reduce the impact of vibration on the package structure.

2.Material selection and optimization
Choosing the right material can reduce the influence of windwall effect. For example, selecting materials with higher stiffness and damping properties for packaging structures can reduce the transmission of vibrations and the generation of pressure differences.

3.Reduced air flow
Reducing air flow within the package structure can reduce the windwall effect. This can be achieved by improving the thermal design inside the device, controlling the position and speed of fans, and laying out circuit boards and components properly.

4.Vibration control
The vibration of the tantalum capacitor packaging structure can be reduced through vibration control technology. This can include methods such as using vibration-damping materials or structures, designing vibration-damping mechanisms, and considering the mechanical stability of the equipment.

5.Simulation and testing
The use of numerical simulations (such as CFD simulations) and experimental testing can help evaluate and optimize tantalum capacitor packaging structures to reduce the occurrence of windwall effects. This allows for the prediction and identification of potential problems during the design phase, and corresponding improvement measures can be taken.

Conclusion

Tantalum capacitors play an essential role in many electronics equipment. But the windwall effect phenomenon is usually neglected during electronic manufacturing procedure. Like we said above, we have summarized some solutions to deal with tantalum capacitor’s windwall effect for you to take a reference.

IBE Electronics, founded in 2005, has accumulated more than 18 years of experience on PCB and PCB assembly manufacturing. We provide one-stop ODM/OEM solutions for customers from all over the world. There are 3 mass manufacturing bases separately located in China, Vietnam and USA that enables better meets your demands and provide high-efficiency delivery time with high quality. If you have any confusion, please feel free to leave your messages on the below and contact us as well.

FAQ

Tantalum capacitor, also called tantalum electrolytic capacitor, which is one of electrolytic capacitors. It has excellent performance and is a passive component that is small in size and can achieve large capacitance in capacitors.

  • Packaging structure
  • Air flow
  • Vibration

1.Packaging structure optimization
2.Material selection and optimization
3.Reduced air flow
4.Vibration control
5.Simulation and testing

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