Replacement of MnO2 with conductive polymers as cathode materials in chip tantalum capacitors allows for a substantial reduction of the equivalent series resistance (ESR), improvement of frequency characteristics, and elimination of the possibility of ignition during failures. One of the drawbacks of chip polymer tantalum capacitors (CPTCs) is a relatively poor long-term stability at high temperatures. In this work, variations of capacitance, dissipation factor, and ESR in different types of capacitors including automotive grade parts from three manufacturers have been monitored during storage at temperatures from 100°C to 175°C for up to 18,000 h. Results show that ESR is the most and capacitance the least sensitive to degradation parameter. Times to parametric failures have been simulated using a Weibull-Arrhenius model that allowed for assessments of activation energies of the degradation and prediction of times to failure at the use temperature. Degradation of CPTCs was explained by thermo-oxidative processes in conductive polymers that result in exponential increasing of the resistivity with time of ageing. This process starts after a certain incubation period that depends on packaging materials and design and corresponds to the time that is necessary to form delamination between the encapsulating molding compound and lead frame. The effectiveness of the existing qualification procedures to assure stable operation of CPTCs is discussed.

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