What are Metal Film Resistors?

Resistors are components that are commonplace within countless electronic devices, allowing for current and voltage to be managed in various ways. Metal film resistors in particular are film resistors that take advantage of special metals or alloys and a resistor film layer that is formed through vacuum evaporation or sputtering. Coming in a few primary subtypes, metal film resistors are often installed within household appliances, instruments, and communication devices. With high precision, stable performance, light construction, and simplistic structures, metal film resistors serve an important role in electronics, military, and aerospace industries.

Carbon Film Resistor

The carbon film resistor is a common variation of metal film resistors, produced through the process of depositing crystalline carbon onto a ceramic rod. Capable of exhibiting varying shapes and coupled with the resistivity of amorphous carbon, carbon film resistors can be designed with a range of resistance values to benefit varying needs. Carbon film resistors also exhibit low noise during operations, and their operating temperature range is −55 °C to 155 °C. Due to their various advantages and low price point, carbon film resistors serve as the most widely used resistor type.

Metal Film Resistor

Metal film resistors have greatly risen in popularity in recent decades, coming in the form of an axial-leaded resistor that may be coated with nickel chromium or various cermet materials commonly used for thin film resistors. While sputtering is commonly practiced for thin film resistors, metal film resistors can take advantage of various techniques for their design. Additionally, cutting a helix will determine the resistance value of the resistor, and their temperature coefficients range from 50 to 100 ppm/K. With their low voltage coefficient, metal film resistors are capable of exhibiting optimal noise characteristics and low non-linearity.

Metal Oxide Film Resistor

Metal oxide film resistors are quite similar to their metal film counterparts, albeit using metal oxide for the means of achieving a higher operating temperature, better stability, and greater reliability. With their various advantages over the metal film resistor, metal oxide film resistors are used in applications where there are high endurance demands. Additionally, the amount of antimony oxide that is added to the tin oxide has a direct influence on the overall resistance of the metal oxide film.

Synthetic Film Resistor

The synthetic film resistor is the final major metal film resistor variation, and such types are made through the coating of a substrate with a conductive composite suspension. As this coating exhibits a granular structure, the synthetic film resistor exhibits high noise and low accuracy during standard operations. Due to this, synthetic film resistor components are regularly relied on for the construction of high voltage, high resistance, and small resistors.

As compared to other common types of resistors, metal film resistors are known for their optimal heat resistance, voltage stability, wide working frequency range, compact construction, and other advantages. Despite this, they can be considered to have a lower pulse load stability when compared to other common types such as carbon film resistors. Nevertheless, they are suitable for numerous applications, often finding use in AC, DC, and pulse circuits.

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April 29, 2022
December 6, 2021

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