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Computers and Technology

Metal Oxide Varistors Has The Answer To Everything

Metal Oxide Varistors

MOVs are semiconductor devices that change resistance according to the voltage applied to the circuit. These devices are used in series or parallel configurations and are available in various forms. Here is a brief description of how they function and their characteristics. Read on for more details. Listed below are the characteristics, applications, and costs of MOVs. All three types of diodes have various benefits. The main difference between them is that the former is used in parallel configurations while the latter are in series.

Typical applications

The Metal oxide varistor (MOV) is an electrical component that changes its resistance based on the voltage applied. This property is a useful tool for surge protection, as its resistance decreases with increasing voltage. In the following paragraphs, we will examine some of the typical applications of MOVs. The basic concept behind the MOV is the same as that of a potentiometer. The MOV is a variable resistor, but it differs from a potentiometer in that its resistance decreases as the voltage increases.

A Metal Oxide Varistors is a nonlinear resistor made from zinc oxide or other metal oxides. It is arranged between two metal plates and interacts with two electrodes to suppress transient voltage. The metal oxides are inserted between two metal plates, whereas a resistor has one lead connected in both directions. The Varistor’s resistance varies with the voltage and is usually used in AC mains applications.

A typical MOV contains a zinc oxide matrix and two metal plates as electrodes. The diodes are joined by filler materials that form junctions between the zinc oxide grains. This unique design makes MOVs effective at absorbing transient voltages and has a broad range of voltages. However, this characteristic is not permanent, as repeated exposure to higher voltages can lead to the breakdown of the Varistor.

Metal Oxide Varistors


The characteristics of metal oxide varistors are determined by their electrical properties. The voltage-current relationship for varistors is shown in Fig. 1. When the voltage exceeds the threshold value, the current through the Varistor increases rapidly while the voltage decreases very slowly. The electrical characteristics of a varistor are characterized by a resistance-voltage curve (Eq. 1). Various materials used in the construction of a varistor affect the resistance-voltage curve.

An XRD diffraction pattern of a ZnO varistor shows five different crystal phases. The current density in the low-resistance region increases with the number of impacts. This thermal destruction process is then transferred to the adjacent grain and results in a series of aging. The final phase of a ZnO varistor’s life cycle is indicated by its failure. The total resistance decreases as the number of impacts increases.

The second-breakdown phenomenon, associated with thermal runaway, occurs when the voltage exceeds the threshold. This phenomenon causes a large amount of heat to accumulate in the sample. The impact current transfers the grains from their thermal equilibrium state to a non-thermal one. The third impact of the current caused a low-resistance region to form locally in the Varistor. It also formed a clear through-type crack channel, indicating the grain-to-grain boundary.


Metal oxide varistors can used to prevent electrical surges. They were originally designed to protect circuit boards and electric motors. However, as the number of smart home devices increases, their applications are growing. Listed below are some of the most common applications of metal oxide varistors. To learn more about the various uses of metal oxide varistors, read the following article. We hope this article will be useful to you.

Their resistance characterizes MOVs. The higher the applied voltage, the lower the resistance of the metal oxide varistor. This resistance is the measure of the voltage level that will cause damage to the device. This current flows through the circuit and functions as per the application. However, lightning surges and AC mains spikes can lower the MOV’s resistance, reducing its lifespan. It is essential to choose the right voltage level to counter this problem.

Metal Oxide Varistors

The main function of MOV is to work as a surge suppressor. If the voltage across the Varistor is lower than the clamping voltage, the device will not conduct. Its response time also affected by its energy rating. When more than one MOVs are connected in parallel, their response time will increase. However, the avalanche breakdown of MOV is caused by a high voltage. However, metal Oxide Varistors can overcome by using parallel connections of MOVs.


A metallic compound used in LED lighting, metal oxide varistors restrain surge energy. The cost of metal oxide varistors is low. Metal Oxide Varistors can purchased for a low price from a manufacturer in China. Metal Oxide Varistors will increase the cost-effectiveness of the device and attract more investors. Increasing consumer electronics and automotive electronic markets are two major factors driving the market. Several factors, including the cost of raw materials, fluctuation, and price-based competition, will also hamper the growth of this market.

There are many different types of metal oxide varistors on the market, ranging in price from $10 to several hundred dollars per piece. Depending on the size and type of the device, you can choose from a voltage range of 10 volts to over one thousand volts. They also come in different types of packages. Axial devices are ideal for automatic insertion, while rugged high-energy devices are available for rugged applications.

One downside to the metal oxide varistor is its low price. The most affordable models use this technology, but it will burn out, leaving you with a non-protected piece of equipment if it fails. As a result, many cheap surge protectors fail to protect the equipment attached to them. The higher-priced models use indicator lights to tell whether the MOV is working or not. But if you need protection against power surges, it is well worth the extra money.

Leakage current

Metal oxide varistors are nonlinear devices that provide excellent transient voltage suppression. They designed to protect various electronic devices and semiconductor elements. Among these is the transistor. Although there are several differences between metal oxide varistors and silicon carbide varistor, they share similar characteristics. Listed below are some of the important differences. Further, a metal oxide varistor is faster than a silicon carbide varistor.

Metal Oxide Varistors

The Leakage current of metal oxide varistors is similar to that of back-to-back Zener diodes. This effect occurs across the junctions between adjacent grains of metal oxide. This reverse leakage current occurs when a small voltage is applied across the grains. On the other hand, large voltage breaks down the border junctions, causing reverse leakage current to flow. The mechanism of breakdown is electron tunneling or avalanche.

To calculate the leakage current of metal oxide varistors, the total leakage current was measured over 2 hours at ambient temperature. The electrical characteristics were then analyzed by comparing the reference voltage, the total leakage current, and the third harmonic component of the total leakage current. The initial values of the leakage current of both TMOV and MOV are summarized in Table 2.


Developed in the 1960s, metal oxide varistors can resist high-voltage transients while maintaining a high-efficiency output. These devices are available in a wide range of voltages, and they have a nonlinear current-voltage characteristic. The Schottky barrier height value governs the breakdown voltage (Vb). With the continuous advancement of science and technology, the quest to develop new components sparked continued research.

They composed mainly of zinc oxide, though some can also contain cobalt, manganese, and bismuth. They constructed with conductive zinc oxide grains separated by grain boundaries that provide P-N junction semiconductor properties. These grain boundaries are responsible for blocking low voltages and generating nonlinear electrical conduction at higher voltages. Therefore, it is important to properly select these devices to get the best performance from your system.

The maximum current flowing through a Metal Oxide Varistors depends on its clamping voltage and the transient pulse width. It is recommended that a voltage is lower than the clamping voltage to avoid damaging the device. However, if a high-voltage surge occurs, the voltage must be lower than the clamping voltage. High-voltage surges can destroy the Varistor, and its performance degrades over time. To find the best value for the desired performance, manufacturers usually provide a life chart that shows how many transient pulses they can handle.

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