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Surface flashover of insulators

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1 Author(s)
H. C. Miller ; Gen. Electr., Largo, FL, USA

The author reviews surface flashover (i.e. voltage breakdown along the surface of insulators), primarily in vacuum. He discusses theories and models relating to surface flashover and pertinent experimental results. Surface flashover of insulators in vacuum generally is initiated by the emission of electrons from the cathode triple junction (the region where the electrode, insulator, and vacuum meet). These electrons usually then multiply as they traverse the insulator surface, either as a surface secondary-electron-emission avalanche or as an electron cascade in a thin surface layer, causing desorption of gas which had been adsorbed on the insulator surface. This desorbed gas is then ionized, which leads to surface flashover of the insulator. The theory and modeling of this phenomena and experimental studies of surface charging, the applied voltage waveform, prestressing, conditioning, discharge delay and speed, insulator geometry AMD material, surface treatment, surface gases, temperature, and pressure are reviewed. Some suggestions are made regarding how to choose the material geometry and processing when selecting an insulator for a particular application

Published in:

IEEE Transactions on Electrical Insulation  (Volume:24 ,  Issue: 5 )