Theory of High-Field Electric Conduction and Breakdown in Dielectric Liquids
- ISSN: 00189367
A new theoretical model for high-field electric conduction and breakdown in dielectric liquids based on the theory of filamentary single injection is presented. The model is based on the following postulates. 1) The high-field conduction is mainly due to electronemission from the unavoidable asperities on the metallic cathodesurface and is confined in one or more filamentary paths, in which thecurrent density is much larger than that in other regions. 2) There ispractically no impact ionization avalanche in the liquid prior to breakdown,and, at the field of breakdown strength, there is one filamentarypath in which the current density may reach such a critical value thatthe Joule heating produced in it is sufficient to initiate the thermalinstability in the vicinity of the filament and hence the onset of thebreakdown process. Expressions for the high-field conduction currentand the breakdown strength as functions of temperature, hydrostaticpressure, gap length, molecular structure, and applied voltage waveformhave been derived. The computed results are in good agreementwith currently available experimental results for hydrocarbon dielectricliquids. Previous theories based on a uniform distribution ofcurrent density over the electrode area and on an impact ionization processare also critically examined.