Simulation of streamer discharges across solid dielectric surfaces using the open-source fenics platform

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Modelling the development of streamer discharges across gas-solid dielectric interfaces is of increasing importance to the power and pulsed power industries. Deeper understanding of the dynamics and morphology of fast ionisation fronts in gases and at gas-solid interfaces underpins insulation coordination and optimization in high voltage power and pulsed power systems. However, many physical mechanisms behind gas-solid flashover remain to be fully understood. In this work, an adaptive mesh drift diffusion solver implemented on the open-source finite element framework FEniCS is used to perform computational streamer modelling across gas-solid interfaces. In this study, we verify our implementation by performing studies under a published configuration of a positive streamer initiating and propagating along a flat dielectric surface in a 2D domain. FEniCS is proved fully capable of performing streamer simulations in complex gas-solid topologies, with our results providing further evidence of accelerated surface streamers and other observed effects under various initial seed positions, surface permittivity, and applied voltage magnitudes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2021 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC 2021
Place of PublicationPiscataway, N.J.
Number of pages5
ISBN (Electronic)9781665433471
ISBN (Print)9781665433488
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2022
Event2021 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference (PPC) - Denver, United States
Duration: 12 Dec 202116 Dec 2021

Publication series

NameIEEE International Pulsed Power Conference
ISSN (Print)2158-4915
ISSN (Electronic)2158-4923


Conference2021 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference (PPC)
Country/TerritoryUnited States
Internet address


  • streamer discharges
  • gas-solid interface
  • surface flashover
  • drift-diffusion model
  • nonthermal plasmas


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