Space-charge dominated phenomena in electrical breakdown of gases

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Texas Tech University

In the pre-breakdown stage of electrical breakdown of gases under high pressure and high voltage, the space-charge field and the secondary mechanisms for electron production such as gas photoionization play an important role. The collective phenomena due to the above effects called streamers, are propagating wave-like solutions of the transport equations. Results of the application of flux corrected transport techniques to a two-dimensional numerical simulation of streamer propagation are presented. To our knowledge, this work represents the first application of this technique to the problem of space-charge dominated transport in a fully two-dimensional model. Characteristics such as diameter, velocity, shape and density gradients of the streamer head, and ionization in the body of the propagating streamer are determined, and analytic relationships between them are presented. These results provide new insight into streamer propagation.

Breakdown (Electricity), Photoionization, Space charge, Electric discharges through gases