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Why won't my capacitor pop?

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Member level 2
Apr 5, 2010
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I remember back in lab someone popped a capacitor before and it smelled like popcorn.

However, I want to purposely pop a polarized capacitor in a skit.

While hooking up the capacitors to power supply A, none of them didn't pop. Then I tried another power supply B and I was able to pop a capacitor. However, I tried popping polarized capacitors again with power supply B and they didn't pop.

I hooked up the power supply to the capacitors in reverse polarity and so on.

Why won't the capacitor pop? :evil:

All those capacitors were of same manufacturer and same P/N ?
If yes, the reason could be the voltage be at limiar condition to explode it.


I varied the voltage from 9 to 23 voltages. I think the time it exploded was at 18V ish?

If you're going to use electronic components as special effects devices, you need to be aware of the risk of fire and shrapnel damage and take steps to mitigate them such as enclosing the device in a vented metal container. To fail reliably in short order, a capacitor needs to have it's voltage rating exceeded by multiples. For example, a small electrolytic rated for 6.3V may need to have 24V applied to immediately fail.

Destroying parts in this way also releases nasty, often toxic gases into the air. If I were doing it, I'd stick with low value carbon composition resistors.

Thanks for the warning KJ6EAD.

I thought about resistors but they don't make a loud pop like capacitors do. Unless I use a battery instead of a power source to get some hefty ampage then the resistor might go up in flames. :razz:

Besides a capacitor, I've thought about over-saturating LEDs. The LEDs change color then goes out, not as great of a shock if a cap popped.

I do not recommend this, but I've always plugged capacitors straight into the power point when I've wanted to blow them.

Why not just get a cap gun?

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