As electronics keeps on its trend towards miniaturization, increased functionality and connectivity, the need for improved reliability capacitors is growing rapidly in several industrial compartments, such as automotive, medical, aerospace and military. Particularly, recent developments of the automotive compartment, mostly due to changes in standards and regulations, are challenging the capabilities of capacitors in general, and especially film capacitors. Among the required features for a modern capacitor are the following: (i) high reliability under mechanical shock, (ii) wide working temperature range, (iii) high insulation resistance, (iv) small dimensions, (v) long expected life time and (vi) high peak withstanding voltage. This work aims at analyzing the key features that characterize the mechanical response of the capacitor towards temperature changes. Firstly, all the key components of the capacitor have been characterized, in terms of strength and stiffness, as a function of temperature. These objectives have been accomplished by means of several strain analysis methods, such as strain gauges, digital image correlation (DIC) or dynamic mechanical analysis (DMA). All the materials used to manufacture the capacitor, have been characterized, at least, with respect to their Young’s modulus and Poisson’s ratio. Then, a three-dimensional finite element model of the whole capacitor has been set up using the ANSYS code. Based on all the previously collected rehological data, the numerical model allowed to simulate the response in terms of stress and strain of each of the capacitor components when a steady state thermal load is applied. Due to noticeable differences between the thermal expansion coefficients of the capacitor components, stresses and strains build up, especially at the interface between different components, when thermal loads are applied to the assembly. Therefore, the final aim of these numerical analyses is to allow the design engineer to define structural optimization strategies, aimed at reducing the mechanical stresses on the capacitor components when thermal loads are applied.

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