Breakdown measurements have been made on insulators with 0 and 45 degree angle surfaces. A technique of observing the electrons produced from the process has given some insight into the mechanisms involved. A three nanosecond pulse was used to induce breakdown. The electrons striking the anode were observed with a plastic fluor and open shutter camera. Two breakdown patterns were interpreted as cathode initiated and anode initiated breakdown. The breakdown process normally encountered was anode initiated with a positive 45 degree insulator. If the anode side was relieved with an internal electrode, the breakdown changed to cathode initiated at a higher level. If the cathode surface was then anodized, the breakdown switched back to the anode at an even higher level. Individual explosive emission sites on the cathode surface could be observed. Insulator breakdown was usually not associated with these sites. Multiple pulses allowed measurement of plasma expansion of the explosive emission sites. It is believed that breakdown with longer pulses is due to the expansion of the explosive emission site plasma to the insulator surface. Measurements were conducted with and without voltage conditioning. It appears that conditioning is achieved without explosive emission. It is believed that this is due to organic fibers that are removed by the conditioning. Organic fibers were used to induce both anode and cathode breakdown. Measurements of fiberous material have shown explosive emission a low as 100 kV on a three nanosecond time scale and below 20 kV/cm on a longer time scale.
Presented at the International Symposium on Discharges and Electrical Insulation in Vacuum
- Pub Date:
- June 1990
- Electric Potential;
- Plasmas (Physics);
- Pulse Generators;
- Electronics and Electrical Engineering