Capacitor failure modes are electrical open, electrical short, change in capacitance or a leakage. The failure modes vary with the type of construction of various capacitors.

Capacitor Failure Mode Probability Distributions

Tantalum Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 57%
  • Electrical Open – 32%
  • Component parameters Change – 11%

Tantalum Electrolytic Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 69%
  • Electrical Open – 17%
  • Component parameters Change – 14%

Aluminum Electrolytic Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 53%
  • Electrical Open – 35%
  • Electrolyte Leakage – 10%
  • Decrease in Capacitance – 2%

Ceramic Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 49%
  • Component parameters Change – 29%
  • Electrical Open – 22%

Mica/Glass Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 72%
  • Component parameters Change – 15%
  • Electrical Open – 13%

Paper Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 63%
  • Electrical Open – 37%

Plastic Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Open – 42%
  • Electrical Short – 40%
  • Component parameters Change – 18%

Foil Capacitor Failures

  • Electrical Short – 53%
  • Electrical Open – 35%
  • Electrolyte Leakage – 10%
  • Decrease in Capacitance – 2%

Variable/Piston Capacitor Failures

  • Component parameters Change – 60%
  • Electrical Short – 30%
  • Electrical Open – 10%