Effect of Encapsulation on Electrolyte Leakage in Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitors Under Constant Thermal and Electrical Loading
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This study focuses on the influence of encapsulation (with silicone elastomer potting compound) on electrolyte leakage in aluminum electrolytic capacitors. Experiments were conducted on potted capacitors at constant elevated temperature and rated DC voltage, and results were compared to those from a control batch of unpotted capacitors. The weight, ESR and capacitance were periodically monitored. Encapsulation was found to decelerate electrolyte loss rate and ESR degradation. There was an increasingly discernible deceleration of capacitance degradation but the magnitude did not reach statistically significant thresholds within the test period. A simplified axisymmetric finite element model was constructed for theoretical understanding of the electrolyte loss process. The experimental measurements were used to guide the selection of the material properties in the model. The model addresses several possible sources of non-uniformities in the mass flux density in the test specimen: (i) radial nonuniformity of mass transport properties of the rubber seal; and (ii) delamination between the potting compound and the capacitor leads. This model was then used: (i) to conduct parametric investigation of the effect of mass transport properties of the potting compound; and (ii) in conjunction with the experimental results to estimate the electrolyte mass loss from the capacitor through the rubber seal.