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PSMA Capacitor Committee and IEEE PELS Capacitor Workshop

(Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About Capacitors But Were Afraid to Ask

Date: Saturday March 3, 2018
APEC 2018 San Antonio, Texas

Remember back in school when we learned about capacitors. The first thing we learned is that there are two types: polarized and non-polarized. The second lesson was, do not plug in polarized capacitors backward! After that, we moved on to inductors. As any engineer who has worked with capacitors knows, there is so much more to them.

The PSMA Capacitor Committee is organizing their first capacitor workshop for APEC 2018 in San Antonio, the day before the conference begins, Saturday March 3, 2018. The workshop's title sets the tone for the packaged day: "(Almost) Everything You Wanted to Know About Caps But Were Afraid to Ask.

Designers of dc-dc converters, variable frequency drives, inverters, and all other power conversation applications will benefit from this workshop. The content is designed to introduce, or re-introduce, fundamentals of capacitor technologies and how it affects end user applications. So really all engineers working with or interested in broadening their understanding of capacitor technology will benefit from this workshop.

Unlike what we learned in school, there are more than two kinds of capacitors. The materials used to construct the dielectric and the electrodes, alter their characteristics and behavior. What happens when you replace the electrolyte in an aluminum capacitor? How does the film type change the self-healing of a film capacitor? Is it possible to avoid ceramics cracking on a PCB? These are the kinds of questions that will be addressed.

The focus is on capacitor fundamentals, but not their basics. The agenda addresses the design of different capacitor types, how their characteristics change in your application, the effect of the operating environment, and considerations for their operational lifetime.

The workshop will consist of three technical content sessions and an interactive technology demonstration presentation session. The technical lecture presentation sessions will each be followed by a panel Q&A session and the technology demonstrations will also be available during the breakfast just prior to the opening session of the workshop and during the networking session following the workshop's formal presentation sessions.

With capacitors being used across the electronics industry and in every electronic design, it is tough to create content that applies to every engineer at APEC. For this reason, the team is grouping content into three sessions:

  • Low Voltage / The first part of the morning will focus on Low Voltage Capacitors, under 100V. This includes Ceramics, Aluminums, and Supercaps
  • High Voltage / The second half of the morning will focus on High Voltage Capacitors, over 100V. This includes Ceramics, Aluminums, and Film
  • Failure Modes / The afternoon will focus on Understanding how a capacitor, or any device, fail means you can design to avoid it.

In addition to the formal technical sessions, there will be discussion panels, and several keynote presentations. During breakfast, lunch and the end-of-day networking period there will be demonstrations of products, technologies, equipment, and measurements.

Presentations and discussions are designed to answer questions engineers have, or will have, when working with different capacitor dielectrics. If you have any questions please contact the organizing committee, Pierre Lohrber ( or Wilmer Companioni ( or Fred Weber (

Registration is limited and interested attendees are encouraged to register early. The early registration fee for the workshop is $325, reduced to $225 for PSMA and IEEE PELS members and for students at an accredited university. On February 1, the registration fee increases to $375, $275 for PSMA and IEEE PELS members and students. Breakfast and lunch are provided. The formal presentations end at 5:00 p.m. and will be followed by a social event for networking.

The latest information on the agenda as well as registration for the workshop are on the PSMA website at:

*The PSMA Magnetics Committee and IEEE PELS are sponsoring a High Frequency Magnetics Workshop "Power Magnetics @ High Frequency -  Eliminating the Smoke and Mirrors" that will be held concurrently. Each workshop requires a separate registration and attendees will only be able to attend the workshop they have registered for, but the Capacitor and Magnetics Technical Demonstrations will be open to all attendees of both workshops.

Capacitor Workshop Organizing Team

Fred Weber, Future Technology Worldwide
Pierre Lohrber, Wurth Electronics
Wilmer Companioni, KEMET Electronics


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