Vacuum surface flashover and high pressure gas streamers

J. M. Elizondo, M. L. Krogh, D. Smith, D. Stoltz, S. N. Wright, S. E. Sampayan, George J Caporaso, P. Vitello, N. Tishchenko

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Pre-breakdown current traces obtained during high pressure gas breakdown and vacuum surface flashover show similar signatures. The initial pre-breakdown current spike, a flat constant current phase, and the breakdown phase with voltage collapse and current surge differ mostly in magnitude. Given these similarities, a model, consisting of the initial current spike corresponding to a fast precursor streamer (ionization wave led by a photoionizing front), the flat current stage as the heating or glow phase, and the terminal avalanche and gap closure, is applied to vacuum surface flashover. A simple analytical approximation based on the resistivity changes induced in the vacuum and dielectric surface is presented. The approximation yields an excellent fit to pre-breakdown time delay vs applied field for previously published experimental data. A detailed kinetics model that includes surface and gas contributions is being developed based in the initial approximation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationDigest of Technical Papers-IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference
EditorsG. Cooperstein, I. Vitkovitsky
Place of PublicationPiscataway, NJ, United States
Number of pages6
StatePublished - 1997
Externally publishedYes
EventProceedings of the 1997 11th International Pulsed Power Conference. Part 2 (of 2) - Baltimore, MD, USA
Duration: Jun 29 1997Jul 2 1997


OtherProceedings of the 1997 11th International Pulsed Power Conference. Part 2 (of 2)
CityBaltimore, MD, USA

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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