What Is a Foil Resistor?

Resistors are a common component regularly found in electrical circuits, capable of reducing current flow, adjusting signal levels, dividing voltages, terminating transmission lines, and much more. With their many abilities, resistors are essential for the proper and safe operation of countless electronic devices and applications.

Types of Resistors

They can also come in a variety of types, common examples including - 

  1. Thin Film Resistor
  2. Metal Film Resistor
  3. Thick Film Resistor 

The foil resistor in particular is a very popular type, known for its high precision and stability as compared to many other resistor components. As a resistor that may commonly be found in a diverse number of applications and industries, it can be very useful to understand its construction and operational characteristics.

The foil resistor was first developed in 1960, featuring a chromium nickel alloy that serves as the primary resistance element. The alloy is constructed to be only several micrometers thick, providing the resistor with a small temperature coefficient and a high resistance to oxidation. Alongside additives, the alloy is mounted to a ceramic carrier that features high heat conductivity. Due to the construction and elements of the foil resistor, it may benefit installations with low noise, low capacitance, long term stability, rapid thermal stabilization, and no inductance. With a low temperature coefficient of resistance, fluctuations of ambient and internal temperatures will only slightly affect resistance values. As such, the foil resistor is considered to have the best precision and stability of all current resistors.

Foil resistors are considered a high precision resistor, thus they compete with other high precision resistors with their offered characteristics. Precision wirewound resistors are constructed from insulated wires wound around a core, and resistance is controlled by length, diameter, and the wire material. While such resistor types have a higher stability, ESD tolerance, and lower noise generation as compared to thin and thick film resistor types, they lack in their high-frequency properties.

The thin film resistor is one in which a thin layer of metal is deposited onto a ceramic base, their thickness determining the resistance of the component. The thin film resistor is known for being much cheaper than its competitors, though it is prone to ESD damage and has reduced stability.

The thick film resistor, on the other hand, is quite popular due to its high resistance capabilities while remaining a compact and cheap component. The thick film resistor in particular has better frequency characteristics that surpass the foil resistor, though they are held back by their poor noise characteristics and lower precision.

With its comparisons to other similar resistors, one can see why foil resistors are often the component of choice for many applications. In general, foil resistors are commonly seen in applications related to audio components, oil rig equipment, aviation, and electronic scales. For oil rig applications in particular, film resistors are the standard choice as they are able to function under the extreme temperatures found in such environments where most other resistors would fail. Their robust construction is also why they are used within electronic scales and aviation equipment, benefiting such applications with high accuracy, stability, precision, and more.

Whether you are in search of metal film resistor parts, thick film resistor parts, foil resistors, or other such components, NSN Fulfillment is your sourcing solution. As a premier purchasing platform owned and operated by ASAP Semiconductor, we offer competitive prices and rapid lead-times on top quality aircraft parts, NSN components, IT hardware, and more. If you find items from our website that you are interested in, get started with a quote for your comparisons through the submission of an RFQ form.

With the information that you provide us, our team will ensure that we offer a quote that is specifically tailored to accommodate your specific requirements and needs. Contact one of our representatives today to begin the purchasing process and see how we can fulfill your operational needs with ease.


July 14, 2023

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