A Model of high power microwave surface flashover at atmospheric pressures



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High Power Microwave Surface Flashover across a dielectric boundary between a high power microwave source and atmospheric environment can cause significant reflection and attenuation of the incident power, leading to a reduction in source efficacy or damage to sensitive components; therefore, it is important to examine the potential causes and effects of surface flashover in high power microwave systems (such as radar). The development of a finite-difference simulation that models the microwave power response to the surface flashover plasma is presented in this thesis, along with background theory related to microwave breakdown in atmospheric gases. Surface flashover is reproduced in the laboratory using a 2.85 GHz source to produce a 3.18 MW, 3 us pulse at atmospheric pressures that are typical for high altitudes (60 - 400 Torr); the full experimental apparatus is discussed.



Microwaves, Microwave plasmas, Microwave technology series, Thermodynamics, Microwaves attenuation, Electromagnetism