When a capacitor is supplied with a voltage of a higher frequency than intended, what will happen? Does the capacitor 'overheat' or 'resonate'?

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    $\begingroup$ I think you want Electronics SE. $\endgroup$ May 15, 2017 at 15:50
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    $\begingroup$ Although a capacitor explodes with not insignificant force, the force is a brief impulse, and negligible in aerodynamic terms; the capacitor is consumed in the process, making it a very poor technique for sustained flight. $\endgroup$
    – abelenky
    May 15, 2017 at 16:18
  • $\begingroup$ There is no effect of frequency (your question), as increasing frequency will change the current flowing in the component, but there is no power involved (current and voltage phases are at 90° phi). For overvoltage, it depends on the type of capacitor. Electrochemical capacitors are those prompt to "explode" due to the electrolyte solution converted into gas by heat. However this explosion is limited to paper fragments in a radius of one meter. Other capacitors will usually create a short circuit when the voltage is above the dielectric strength of the insulator layer. $\endgroup$
    – mins
    May 15, 2017 at 18:52

1 Answer 1


A destruction of the electrolytic capacitor (caused by over voltage or reverse polarity) may lead to fire or explosion that are not a good thing to happen during the flight. Who wants to enjoy the video, here. This is not always, as electrolytic capacitors often contain safety vents to prevent explosions. Also capacitors should be rated to higher voltage than is normally applied to them.

Even if the capacitor just short-circuits, depending on how it is wired it may be a risk of fire. This is especially true for capacitors wired between the two power rails in order to suppress electric interferences between multiple power consumers and provider. When the failed capacitor short-circuits the rails, normally a circuit breaker disconnects the power. There are safety capacitors for use if this danger is a concern.

I was not able to find any accident reports related specifically to the failed capacitors.

  • $\begingroup$ I like how the video describes "lab experiment", however judging by the verbal comments "dude!", I find it highly suspect they are in a "lab". $\endgroup$
    – Ron Beyer
    May 15, 2017 at 19:07

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