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Dielectric Absorption

Dielectric Absorption

Text taken from Empirical Audio website (See link below):

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Dielectric absorption is also referred to as "soakage" or "voltage retention". After a capacitor is charged, it retains part of the charge, even after being discharged and even if the conductors have been shorted together. Cables, like capacitors behave as if they have an additional series of RC networks in parallel with the primary capacitance, and it is these small distributed capacitances that retain charge due to the high series resistance. To measure dielectric absorption, the capacitor or cable is charged to some voltage for one minute, and is then shorted for two seconds. After a one minute delay, the recovered voltage is read using a very high impedance voltmeter. In some instances, a significant voltage "rebounds" from the capacitor or cable. Dielectric absorption is calculated by dividing the recovered voltage by the charging voltage, and is expressed in percent. Teflon, polystyrene, and polypropylene dielectrics will yield the lowest dielectric absorption, while PVC and vinyl will yield the highest. To insure that the audio waveform is not altered by secondary "rebounds" of charge and the high-frequency "fine inner detail" is preserved, it is prudent to use dielectric materials that have low dielectric absorption in audio interconnects and speaker cables.

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