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Functional Differences Between Monolithic and Disc Ceramic Capacitors

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If you’re building a circuit board, then you may need to consider the choice between monolithic and discrete capacitors.

When we compare monolithic and ceramic capacitors, one of the primary differences is that monolithic capacitors have a higher capacitance. However, monolithic capacitors have less capacity because it is not possible to have a higher number of monolithic capacitors placed in the same space. This is due to the fact that ceramic capacitors are made from different materials and therefore can be designed to have a higher capacitance.

This article explains the differences between monolithic and disc ceramic capacitors, and how they affect the overall cost and reliability of your electronics.

Monolithic Capacitors: The Biggest and Most Common

The monolithic capacitor is the most commonly used capacitor type. Monolithic capacitors are constructed by encasing a ceramic powder (either aluminum oxide or barium titanate) in a high-purity, low-loss, silver-based conductive epoxy, forming a solid, homogeneous element. A typical application is in the formation of the base plates of a metal-oxide-semiconductor field-effect transistor.

The reason why it is used so much is that it is really easy to make and it works well with circuits. Another reason why it is used so much is that it is cheap. The price of it is also very reasonable. It is very hard to find a capacitor that has the same capacity as the monolithic capacitor.

The other thing that makes it so useful is that it is very safe. If you have a capacitor that is broken, you can easily fix it. However, if you have a capacitor that is destroyed, you cannot repair it. It is very important to have a good capacitor that is working. You need to test your capacitor before you put it in the circuit. This way, you will know that the capacitor is working properly. If it isn’t, then it is best to get a new one.

Find more details about Monolithic Capacitors here.

Disc Ceramic Capacitors: The Newest, Smaller and Cheaper

The new generation of capacitors – or storage elements – are tiny, durable, and energy-efficient. But the way in which they’re produced isn’t exactly green. Disc capacitors are a crucial component in a wide range of electronic devices, from digital cameras and cell phones to smart cards. A typical mobile phone contains more than 100 million of these tiny components.

Disc capacitors are the most common type of storage element. They are a lot smaller and thinner than cylindrical storage capacitors. In addition to that, disc capacitors are also much cheaper to produce. This makes them an extremely popular choice in the electronics industry.

Know everything about Ceramic Disc Capacitor here.

Functional Differences Between Monolithic and Disc Ceramic Capacitors

Monolithic capacitors consist of a single piece of ceramic. Disc capacitors are made up of a stack of ceramic discs, with one layer of discs separated by a thin air gap. When a disc capacitor is connected to an AC power source, the capacitors act like plates, and the ceramic acts like the dielectric, allowing current to flow between the capacitors’ plates, but not through the air gap.

We’ll first talk about what monolithic capacitors are. They are single-piece devices made of ceramic material. You can see these in the back of every TV or radio. Monolithic capacitors were invented in 1884. These are basically the same as a ceramic capacitor today. In a monolithic capacitor, each piece of ceramic has two different sides. One side is a metal electrode that is attached to a printed circuit board.

The other side is a ceramic material that allows current to flow from one side to the other. The ceramic material is very important to monolithic capacitors because it is responsible for their ability to store electricity.

A disc capacitor consists of a stack of discs, with one layer of discs separated by a thin air gap. When a disc capacitor is connected to an AC power source, the capacitors act like plates, and the ceramic acts like the dielectric, allowing current to flow between the capacitors’ plates, but not through the air gap.

Difference in Performance

The performance of a monolithic capacitor and a disc ceramic capacitor in a specific application is fairly similar. There are some differences in characteristics, such as frequency response, but a difference in price or size will generally make a customer choose one or the other.

However, there are some subtle differences that can be quite helpful when choosing one over the other. The first of these is that a disc ceramic capacitor is physically much smaller than a monolithic one. As a result, they don’t take up as much space as they do in a larger, more bulky capacitor.

This helps keep costs down, and it can also help to keep costs down by allowing the capacitor to be built into a smaller circuit board. Another difference is that a disc ceramic capacitor has a higher ESR (equivalent series resistance). A lower ESR means that the capacitor allows more current to flow before it’s necessary to charge or discharge the capacitor again.

This can be helpful because a higher current flow means that less time is needed to charge or discharge a capacitor. The downside to a higher ESR is that it increases the voltage drop across the capacitor, which results in higher power loss for the device.

You will find that the performance of a ceramic capacitor is much better than the one of the monolithic capacitor. The monolithic capacitor shows a relatively large amount of ESR.

This results in a reduction of the life of the capacitor. The ceramic capacitor is much more stable and reliable. The life of the capacitor can be measured in years, while the life of the monolithic capacitor is only a few months.

Difference in Application

The application of monolithic ceramic capacitors is much more diverse than that of disc ceramic capacitors. Monolithic ceramic capacitors are used in a wide range of applications, including motor controls, automotive applications, power electronics, and telecommunications.

They are often used in the high-frequency portion of the radio frequency (RF) spectrum. They also have excellent power handling capability, making them ideal for use in switching and RF applications.

In contrast, disc ceramic capacitors are generally limited to the audio, television, and telecommunication markets. Their design is optimized for specific voltage and current ratings. These capacitors are used in the very low-frequency portion of the RF spectrum.

Difference in Size

Monolithic capacitors are generally larger than their ceramic counterparts. The reason for this is that the monolithic type uses a single piece of metal plate, whereas ceramic capacitors use multiple layers of ceramic.

Differences in Manufacturing Process

Monolithic ceramic capacitors (MCC) are manufactured by sintering the powdered metal capacitor material into a solid body. This is the most widely used method of producing ceramic capacitors due to its low cost, ease of manufacturing, high electrical performance, and low leakage.

However, one drawback to this process is that the metal powders can react with each other in sintering, which is when the powder particles are compacted and bonded together to form a solid structure. A typical MCC has a thickness of about 1-3mm.

In the manufacturing process of a disc capacitor, a slurry of clay is mixed with sand, which is heated in a kiln, resulting in a fine powder. The powder is then molded into the shape of a disc capacitor by a mold, and the mold is then removed and a thin layer of aluminum foil is applied.

The foil is dipped in a chemical solution to make the aluminum oxide surface conductive. The capacitors are then placed in a drying oven to remove excess moisture. The aluminum oxide coating is applied again, and then the finished product is fired in a furnace. The final result is a disc capacitor with two layers of aluminum foil, and aluminum oxide coating, and an aluminum core.

Differences in EMI / RF

EMI filtering is based on using an appropriate capacitor in parallel with a low-frequency inductor or ferrite bead. Generally speaking, this approach works well for both monolithic ceramic and conventional disc ceramic chip capacitors. However, there are some subtle differences that can affect aspects of performance.

Why Do We Need Both Types of Capacitors?

One of the biggest mysteries in the world of electronics is why capacitors are monolithic (one piece) and disc capacitors (made up of multiple pieces). The main reason we use disc capacitors is because of their ability to handle high voltages and withstand high temperatures.

However, monolithic capacitors have a higher capacity, are more easily controlled, and last longer than disc capacitors. But we need both monolithic & disc capacitors because of their different capabilities like the monolithic capacitor can’t usually withstand a high voltage and disc capacitors need a very stable base to be made on. That’s why these two different types of capacitors are both used in electronic devices.

The main reason why disc ceramic capacitors are not made monolithically is that they can’t stand high temperatures. Disc capacitors have a much better capacity but they lose to the Monolithic capacitor in every other way. But for this exact reason, we use both in all electronic devices to make them perfect and last longer.


In conclusion, The major difference between monolithic and disc capacitors is in their physical design. Monolithic capacitors are solid, cylindrical pieces of metal with a ceramic coating and a flat plate. Disc capacitors are solid, circular, thin plates with a ceramic coating and a raised center (dome).

Although the two capacitors look quite similar, they have very different electrical characteristics. Monolithic capacitors are used in circuits where higher power dissipation and more precise voltage regulation are required. They can operate at higher voltages, require less current, and dissipate less heat than disc capacitors. Monolithic capacitors are often preferred in high-power circuits because of their superior ESR and CMRR.

Rayhan Sarwar

I am a glass and ceramic engineering student at the Rajshahi University of Engineering & Technology (RUET). I enjoy exploring science and technology, which is why I chose to study engineering!

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