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Component Lead Terminology

Axial leads

This is an example of a component with axial leads:

Axial Leaded Capacitor

Note that the leads come out just as an axle of a car.

Single-Ended Axial Leads

Next is an example of a single-ended-axial component. Note the leads come out the axis of the component. It is not, even thought the error persists in catalogs, a radial component.

Single-Ended-Axial Component

Radial Component

A true radial leaded component has leads coming out the radius of the part.

Radial leaded component

Tangential leaded part

A Tangentially-Leaded Component

As can be seen here - this capacitor does not have leads coming out of the radius - they are tangential. The birth of the error can be seen in the next picture of a disc capacitor. The leads were attached radially - and bent so they exit tangentially.

Disc Capacitor

As time passed the leads of disc capacitors were formed to be closer and closer together - until they were no longer tangential - but somewhat radial.

But as disc capacitors were replaced with parts that had a different shape - the term was totally misused.

The following is a true Radial Leaded electrolytic Capacitor

Radial Leaded Capacitor

One last note - radial tires are named so because rather than diagonal nylon plies they made with polyester cords that run perpendicular from bead to bead, up over the face of the tire and down each sidewall. The cords in the sidewalls are radial to the bead - not diagonal - thus the name.

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