Impulsive breakdown characteristics of solid-gas interfaces

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Comprehensive knowledge and understanding of the breakdown behavior of solid-gas interfaces are important for the development, optimization, and coordination of insulation in practical high-voltage (HV) gas-insulated systems (GISs) that are widely used in the power and pulsed power industries. However, despite significant research efforts focused on the characterization of the breakdown parameters and properties of complex gas-filled HV systems, the basic mechanisms that underpin the development of discharges in such solid-gas topologies are not fully understood. This lack of knowledge is particularly noticeable in the case of solid-gas interfaces stressed with HV impulses. This study is aimed at the experimental investigation of the breakdown behavior of solid-gas interfaces, formed between solid dielectrics and common gases: dry air, N2, and CO2 at atmospheric pressure. Four different solid-dielectric materials, PTFE, HDPE, Delrin, and Macor, with relative permittivities in the range from 2.1 to 6.3, were used in this work. The solid-gas interfaces formed by these dielectric materials and the surrounding gases were stressed with positive and negative HV impulses. The breakdown voltage and time to breakdown were obtained for all combinations of solid-gas interfaces using both positive and negative impulses, with a nominal rise time of A digital camera operated in the open-shutter regime was used to obtain images of the breakdown spark channels that were classified according to their propagation paths. The results obtained in this study will help in further understanding of the breakdown behavior of solid-gas interfaces and can be used in the development and optimization of dielectric topologies for use in GISs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)365-377
Number of pages13
JournalIEEE Transactions on Plasma Science
Issue number1
Early online date7 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 11 Jan 2021


  • impulsive breakdown voltage
  • solid-gas interface
  • spark breakdown path
  • time to breakdown


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