Equivalent Series Resistance - Overview

Overview

Electric circuit theory deals with ideal resistors, capacitors and inductors, each assumed to contribute only resistance, capacitance or inductance to the circuit. However, all components have a non-zero value of each of these parameters. In particular, all physical devices are constructed of materials with finite electrical resistance, so that physical components have some resistance in addition to their other properties. The physical origins of ESR depend on the device in question.

One way to deal with these inherent resistances in circuit analysis is to use a lumped element model to express each physical component as a combination of an ideal component and a small resistor in series, the ESR. The ESR can be measured and included in a component's datasheet. To some extent it can be calculated from the device properties.

Q factor, which is related to ESR and is sometimes a more convenient parameter than ESR to use in calculations of high-frequency non-ideal performance of real inductors, is quoted in inductor data sheets.

Capacitors, inductors, and resistors are usually designed to minimise other parameters. In many cases this can be done to a sufficient extent that parasitic capacitance and inductance of a resistor, for example, are so small as not to affect circuit operation. However, under some circumstances parasitics become important and even dominant.

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