Effect of temperature and pressure on DC prebreakdown current in transformer oil

M. Butcher, A. Neuber, H. Krompholz, J. Dickens, T. Namihira

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Any attempt to model the complex interaction of hydrodynamic and electronic processes leading to breakdown in transformer oil suffers from the lack of microscopic transport data. Also, interface processes, such as electron emission from metal electrodes immersed in liquid, are poorly understood. As a first step toward the understanding of breakdown phenomenology, the voltage-current characteristics for pre-discharge conditions are measured. An experimental setup was construced which allows temperature variations between 10° C and 50° C, at pressures between 0.5 and 3 bar. DC currents ranging from a few nA with a few kV of applied voltage, to a few μA prior to full breakdown are measured using an electrometer. Preliminary results at NTP with a tip-plane geometry indicate Ohmic behavior at low voltages, Schottky emission at intermediate voltages, and saturation due to space charge at high voltages, and allow estimates on the physical parameters governing these effects. The indicated temperature range of the measurements is associated with a variation of the viscosity of a factor of 3, where we anticipate similar relative changes for the transport of electrons. The intermediate voltage range where a Schottky emission process is assumed will be emphasized. For instance, the electron mobility, derived from experimental data to about 0.06 cm 2/Vs at NTP in the intermediate voltage range should distinctly vary with changing temperature and pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4A8
Pages (from-to)258
Number of pages1
JournalIEEE International Conference on Plasma Science
StatePublished - 2004
EventIEEE Conference Record - Abstracts: The 31st IEEE International Conference on Plasma Science, ICOPS2004 - Baltimore, MD, United States
Duration: Jun 28 2004Jul 1 2004


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