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What are Carbon Composition Resistors?

Resistors serve importance within electrical systems through the reduction of current flow, dividing voltages, and adjustment of signal levels to aid in electrical resistance. Carbon composition resistors are a type of fixed resistor that was developed in the early 20th century. They have become more outdated in more recent years, preceded by newer fixed resistors, though still have some important utilization in various applications. In this blog, we will provide an overview of what carbon composition resistors are, their advantages and disadvantages, as well as their modern applications.

Carbon composition resistors consist of fine carbon particles that are mixed together with an insulating binder, most commonly ceramics such as clay, and are baked into a solid form. While early carbon composition resistors featured uninsulated bodies, modern versions of the resistor are often protected with paints or plastics to denote their value. By changing the resistor's cylindrical rod cross area, rod length, and amount of carbon, differing amounts of resistance can be achieved.

One of the most important advantages that makes carbon composition resistors particularly useful in some applications is their ability to withstand high energy pulses. As compared to other popular fixed resistors, such as wirewound resistors, carbon composition resistors are fairly cheaper, as well as boast more resistance due to a greater thermal mass. As compared to other similar fixed resistors, however, carbon composition resistors hold certain disadvantages such lower temperature coefficient and increased noise.

Due to their smaller sizes and ability to withstand high energy pulses, carbon composition resistors still serve importance in a variety of applications. These fixed resistors can be used for surge protection, welding, and power supplies. They also serve as popular forms of resistors for vintage products where people want authenticity in parts used.

At ASAP Semiconductor, we can help you find carbon composition resistor parts you need, new or obsolete. For a quick and competitive quote, email us at sales@asapsemi.com or call us at +1-714-705-4780.


June 15, 2021
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