Multichannel surface discharge switch



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Texas Tech University


A system designed to investigate the performance of dielectrics in a multichannel surface discharge switch was built and tested. The apparatus consisted of a constant current charging supply that produced 10 mA at 50 kV, a storage capacitor, a 6-ohm stripline, the surface switch, a matched 5-ohra copper sulfate water load, and diagnostics. Diagnostics to evaluate the dielectric performance included capacitive voltage probes in the stripline, a video camera to record multichannel events on videocassettes, and an optically isolated counter to record the number of events in a test run. Typical operating parameters were: 180 joules per pulse, a peak voltage of 40-50 kV, and a peak current of 7 kA. Dielectric samples were tested by placing them in the switch for 19,000 shots at a repetition rate of 1-1.2 pulses per second. The dielectrics were then compared by observing their erosion, changes in breakdown voltage, and the number of channels that occur during discharges. Further analysis to study possible chemical change in the surfaces of three of the dielectrics was performed using Electron Spectroscopy for Chemical Analysis (ESCA).



Dielectrics, Electric spark gaps, Breakdown voltage, Electric switchgear