# Capacitor Dissipation Factor Calculator

This tool calculates the Dissipation Factor of a Capacitor.

Enter:

• ESR
• Capacitance
• Frequency of operation

## Formula

D = ESR/|Xc|

D = (2π*f*C*ESR)

where,

• Xc = Capacitor Impedance
• f = Frequency
• C = Capacitance
• ESR = Equivalent Series Resistance

## Background

Dissipation Factor (DF) is a measure of a capacitor’s dielectric losses. DF refers specifically to losses encountered at low frequencies, typically from 120 Hz to 1 kHz.

At high frequencies, capacitor dielectric losses are described in terms of loss tangent (tan δ). The higher the loss tangent, the greater the capacitor’s equivalent series resistance (ESR). In addition, the lower its Quality Factor (Q), the greater the losses (more heat dissipated) and the worse its noise characteristics.

The dissipation factor is a dimensionless number that is equal to the capacitor’s equivalent series resistance (ESR) divided by its reactance. It is the inverse of the cap’s Quality Factor (Q)

DF = 1/Q

An ideal capacitor has an ESR = 0. In that case DF = 0.

💡 However practically and in the real-world, the series resistance is never zero. Ideally this value is kept as small as possible to minimize losses.

Typical quality factor values of a Capacitor advertised as having High Q are shown below.

Using the calculator above, a capacitance of 1000 pF, Frequency 1 kHz and ESR of around 16 Ω gives a Q = 10,000 and D = 1*10-4

## Example Calculation

A capacitor with an ESR of 0.2 Ω, capacitance 10 μF and Frequency 120 Hz has a Dissipation Factor DF = 0.0015.

## Summary

Dissipation Factor (DF) or tanδ is a measure of dielectric losses in a capacitor. It is defined as the ratio of the resistive component of the impedance to the reactive component.

DF is also an indicator of how effectively the capacitor retains energy.

Capacitors with low DF values have higher Q (Quality) values, which means they have lower energy losses and are more efficient.

Q value is a measure of a passive component’s ability to store and release energy without dissipation. It is the ratio of the energy stored in the component to the energy dissipated as thermal losses due to resistance. In practical applications, low tanδ and high Q values are desirable for minimizing energy losses and increasing the efficiency of electrical systems, especially in circuits operating at low frequencies.

Therefore, selecting capacitors with low DF or tanδ and high Q values is crucial for achieving optimal performance in various electronic applications.