An introduction to carbon composition resistors Carbon composition resistors (CCR) are fixed form resistors. They are made out of fine carbon particles mixed with a binder (for example clay). After baking it has a solid form. Although carbon composition resistors are widely applied in circuits, the majority of resistors are nowadays made by deposition of a metal or carbon film over a ceramic carrier. Advantages and disadvantages The big advantage of carbon composition resistors is their ability to withstand high energy pulses. When current flows through the resistor, the entire carbon composition body conducts the energy. The wirewound resistor for example, has a much smaller volume of the wire to conduct. So the thermal mass of the carbon composition resistor is much higher, resulting in a higher energy capability. Carbon resistors can be made with a higher resistance than wirewound resistors, and are considerably cheaper. However, the properties are less good in terms of temperature coefficient, noise, voltage dependence and load. Fifty years ago, carbon composition resistors were widely used in consumer electronics. Because of the low stability of the resistance value, this type of resistor is not suitable for any modern high precision application. For example, the resistance value can change up to 5% over a shelf life of one year. With heavy use the value changes even more: up to 15% for a 2000h test at full rating with 70°C. Soldering can cause a 2% change. The reason for this instability is inherent to the design of the resistor. The carbon composition contains materials with different heat expansion properties. When the conducting carbon particles and the nonconducting binder heat up or cool down, stresses arise in the resistor body. The mechanical contact between the conducting particles will change, and this leads to a change in resistance value. Also...
What is a carbon film resistor? Carbon film resistors are a fixed form type resistor. They are constructed out of a ceramic carrier with a thin pure carbon film around it, that functions as resistive material. Advantages and drawbacks Carbon film resistors are a significant improvement on carbon composition. However, in comparison to metal film and metal oxide film, the commercially available range steadily decreases. Metal and oxide film are not more expensive to produce, and have overall better properties. Carbon film resistor applications Typical use for carbon film resistors is in high voltage and temperature applications. Operating temperatures are up to 15kV with a nominal temperature of 350°C. Examples are high voltage power supplies, radar, x-rays and laser. [embedit snippet="adsense"] Manufacturing Carbon film resistors are made with a deposition process. At high temperature and under a high pressure, a ceramic carrier is held in hydrocarbon gas. The gas (methane or benzene) is cracked at a temperature of 1000°C. The crystalline carbon is pyrolytically deposited on the ceramic substrate. Because of the precise distribution of the pure graphite without binding, these carbon resistors have a low noise. The desired resistance value can be obtained by choosing the right layer thickness, and by cutting a spiral shape in the carbon layer. The helical cut in the film increases the length of the current path. By decreasing the pitch of the helix, the length of the resistive path increases, and therewith the resistance value increases. Furthermore, by fine tuning the cutting of the spiral the resistor can have a higher accuracy of resistance value. Typical tolerance values for carbon film resistors are 2, 5, 10 and 20%. Because of the use of pure carbon, the carbon film resistor has a higher negative temperature coefficient than carbon composition. The resistive temperature coefficient lies...