High Field RF Breakdown of Pressurized SF6

M. Powell, Z. Shaw, J. C. Dickens, J. J. Mankowski, A. A. Neuber, C. Scribner

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contributionpeer-review

1 Scopus citations


Pure N2 and SF6, as well as their mixtures, are evaluated for high electric field breakdown tested at pressures ranging from 750 torr to 1650 torr at 2.85 GHz. Previous research concerning the breakdown characteristics of pressurized SF6 and SF6 mixtures at S-Band frequencies is limited, likely due to the high electric fields required to breakdown pressurized SF6. A stepped impedance transformer is used in conjunction with a traveling wave resonator to obtain the high electric field amplitudes necessary to break down the gases. Starting with the output from a 3.5 MW coaxial magnetron the electric field amplitude in the test piece at the center of the stepped impedance transformer yielded a maximum of about 150 kV/cm RMS field. Using Pure SF6 as a baseline, the measured breakdown field shows a mostly linear dependence upon pressure in a range from 750 torr to 1350 torr, while some leveling out tendency is observed at pressures greater than 1350 torr. Since pure N2 exhibits a much lower breakdown threshold, 60%, compared to pure SF6, mixing the two gases also results in a lower effective breakdown threshold; however, the reduction in the electric field breakdown threshold is not strictly proportional. For example, a 60/40 SF6 to N2 mixture resulted in a 90% breakdown field while a 20/80 mixture still yielded about 80% in the high-pressure regime.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Science, PPPS 2019
PublisherInstitute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers Inc.
ISBN (Electronic)9781538679692
StatePublished - Jun 2019
Event2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Science, PPPS 2019 - Orlando, United States
Duration: Jun 23 2019Jun 29 2019

Publication series

NameIEEE International Pulsed Power Conference
ISSN (Print)2158-4915
ISSN (Electronic)2158-4923


Conference2019 IEEE Pulsed Power and Plasma Science, PPPS 2019
Country/TerritoryUnited States


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