Six Common Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor Failure Modes
Six Common Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor Failure Modes
In this piece, we're going to take a look at six of the most common failure modes for capacitors, as well as the ways in which you can recognize and avoid them.

As a result of their prevalence in electronic devices and the fact that they are electrolytic capacitors made of aluminum, which can fail in a variety of different ways. 




Leakage is the most common cause of failure for SMD Standard Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors, making it one of the most common types of failure overall. This can take place if the casing or insulation of the capacitor becomes damaged, thereby allowing electric current to leak out and leading to a short circuit. Corrosion, the expansion and contraction that occurs when the capacitor heats up or cools down, and damage caused by physical abuse are some of the other potential causes of leakage.




When it comes to aluminum electrolytic capacitors, overheating is by far the most common cause of failure. The heat produced by the electrical current as it flows through the capacitor has the potential to cause the metal to melt, which then results in the release of toxic gas. If the heat is intense enough, the capacitor may catch fire as a result of the reaction between the two.

There are a few things you can do if you discover that your capacitor is overheating; these will help you try to stop the failure from happening again in the future. To begin, check to see that the plug in your electrical outlet is securely in place and that it is not being overloaded with too much power. Second, if your computer has a fan that can be turned on, you should do so in order to assist in the removal of heat from the device. And finally, if you notice that your capacitor is starting fires, you should immediately disconnect it from power and get a qualified technician to replace it for you.

Short Circuit

A type of capacitor that is used in electronic equipment, particularly in audio and computer systems, is called an High Voltage Solid Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor. Typically, they are made of sheets or foil made of aluminum that is wound around a cylinder-shaped core made of dielectric material. The capacitors have the ability to be polarized, which indicates that each end of the capacitor has a distinct voltage level. Charges will tend to move toward the end of the capacitor that has a higher voltage whenever there is a flow of electric current through it because this will cause an electric field to be created. Electrolytic capacitors made of aluminum can fail for a variety of reasons, including the following:

-Short circuit: If there is a connection between two components of the circuitry that are linked to the capacitor, then there will be a rapid flow of electric current through the capacitor, which will cause the capacitor to become hot. Because of this, the plastic that is wrapped around the dielectric core might melt, which would result in the capacitor not working properly.

-Overloading: If an electronic device is consuming too much power (for instance, if it's plugged into an outlet that isn't properly grounded), the amount of electrical current flowing through the capacitor may be too much for it to handle, and as a result, the capacitor will fail.

-High voltage: If a capacitor is subjected to a high voltage (for instance, when it is being used in an electronic device), the capacitor will fail.


Electrolytic capacitors made of aluminum have a high capacitance and a high energy storage efficiency despite their relatively low cost. In electronic equipment, they can be utilized for a variety of purposes, including power supplies, audio amplifiers, and data storage, amongst others. Electrical overcurrents, on the other hand, have the potential to damage aluminum electrolytic capacitors. It is possible for there to be an excessive amount of current flowing through the capacitor if either the voltage across the capacitor or the amount of current flowing through the capacitor is higher than its rated value.

An overcurrent condition that results in an electric spark is the failure mode that accounts for the majority of aluminum electrolytic capacitor failures. This has the potential to start a fire or cause some other severe injury. Overcurrent can also cause damage to the component that is housed inside the capacitor, which will eventually lead to the device failing. An overheated aluminum electrolytic capacitor can fail for a variety of reasons, including corrosion brought on by acid rain, physical damage brought on by an impact or vibration, and overheating.

In order to avoid these issues, you should check to see that your equipment makes use of capacitors with the appropriate ratings and that it adheres to all of the applicable safety guidelines when operating high-powered electrical equipment. Additionally, keep in mind that overcurrent can occur even if the equipment you are using isn't turned on or isn't functioning properly. When working with electrical appliances and equipment, you should always exercise the appropriate level of caution.

Failure to Suppress EMI

The three most typical causes of failure in aluminum electrolytic capacitors


A failure of an aluminum electrolytic capacitor to suppress electromagnetic interference (EMI) is one of the most common failures of these capacitors. This malfunction can manifest itself in a variety of ways, including causing interference with electronic equipment and even starting a fire. The following are the three most common failure modes of aluminum electrolytic capacitors that can lead to EMI suppression failures:

1) Insulation that is worn or damaged: If the insulation on an aluminum electrolytic capacitor is worn or damaged, stray electrical currents can flow through the capacitor's metal casing and into the insulation, causing the capacitor to heat up and eventually fail. This can be avoided by replacing the insulation before it wears out or becomes damaged.

2) Corrosion Aluminum electrolytic capacitors are susceptible to corrosion if they are exposed to moisture, salt air, or other corrosive elements. Corrosion can also occur when the capacitors are in an environment with high humidity. This corrosion can, over time, cause the metal casing of the capacitor to break down, which will ultimately result in EMI suppression failures.

3) Welds that are failing If the welds that connect the metal casing of an aluminum electrolytic capacitor are failing, stray electrical currents will be able to flow freely through the capacitor's metal casing, which will cause the capacitor to fail in terms of its ability to suppress EMI.


If you are like the majority of people, it is highly likely that you do not even know what an aluminum electrolytic capacitor is. And if you are aware of what it is, there is a good chance that you have not yet experienced it failing on you, which is excellent news! However, this does not mean that they are guaranteed to succeed in the long run. In this piece, we will go over six common failure modes for Standard Solid Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors as well as the steps you can take to ensure that your apparatus is not affected by any of these issues. With any luck, being armed with this knowledge will enable you to extend the life of your equipment by taking some relatively simple measures to ensure that it remains in good condition.