Impulse-driven Surface Breakdown Data: A Weibull Statistical Analysis

Mark P. Wilson, Martin J. Given, Igor V. Timoshkin, Scott J. MacGregor, Tao Wang, Mark A. Sinclair, Kenneth J. Thomas, Jane M. Lehr
2012 IEEE Transactions on Plasma Science  
Surface breakdown of oil-immersed solids chosen to insulate high-voltage, pulsed-power systems is a problem that can lead to catastrophic failure. Statistical analysis of the breakdown voltages, or times, associated with such liquid-solid interfaces can reveal useful information to aid system designers in the selection of solid materials. Described in this paper are the results of a Weibull statistical analysis, applied to both breakdown-voltage data and time-to-breakdown data generated in gaps
more » ... consisting of five different solid polymers immersed in mineral oil. Values of the location parameter γ provide an estimate of the applied voltage below which breakdown will not occur, and under uniform-field conditions, γ varied from 192 kV for polypropylene (PP) to zero for ultrahigh-molecular-weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Longer times to breakdown were measured for UHMWPE when compared with the other materials. However, high values of the shape parameter β reported in the present paper suggest greater sensitivity to an increase in applied voltage-that is, the probability of breakdown increases more sharply with increasing applied voltage for UHMWPE compared to the other materials. Analyzing peak-applied-voltage data, only PP consistently reflected a low value of β across the different sets of test conditions. In general, longer mean times to breakdown were found for solid materials with permittivity more closely matched to that of the surrounding mineral oil. Index Terms-Breakdown voltage, dielectric breakdown, flashover, pulse power systems, Weibull distribution.
doi:10.1109/tps.2011.2181172 fatcat:3iay22xcmfc3fbymlhmesazfam