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Understanding High Voltage Vacuum Insulators for Microsecond Pulses

Description: High voltage insulation is one of the main areas of pulsed power research and development since the surface of an insulator exposed to vacuum can fail electrically at an applied field more than an order or magnitude below the bulk dielectric strength of the insulator. This is troublesome for applications where high voltage conditioning of the insulator and electrodes is not practical and where relatively long pulses, on the order of several microseconds, are required. Here we give a summary of our approach to modeling and simulation efforts and experimental investigations for understanding flashover mechanism. The computational work is comprised of both filed and particle-in-cell modeling with state-of-the-art commercial codes. Experiments were performed in using an available 100-kV, 10-{micro}s pulse generator and vacuum chamber. The initial experiments were done with polyethylene insulator material in the shape of a truncated cone cut at +45{sup o} angle between flat electrodes with a gap of 1.0 cm. The insulator was sized so there were no flashovers or breakdowns under nominal operating conditions. Insulator flashover or gap closure was induced by introducing a plasma source, a tuft of velvet, in proximity to the insulator or electrode.
Date: August 15, 2007
Creator: J.B., J; D.A., G; T.L., H; E.J., L; R.D., S; L.K., T et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department