Simulation studies of liquid water breakdown by a sub-microsecond pulse

J. Qian, R. P. Joshi, J. Kolb, K. H. Schoenbach, J. Dickens, A. Neuber, M. Cevallos, H. Krompholz, E. Schamiloglu, J. Gaudet

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

1 Scopus citations


An electrical breakdown model for liquids in response to a sub-microsecond (∼ 100 ns) voltage pulse is presented, and quantitative evaluations carried out. It is proposed that breakdown is initiated by field emission at the interface of pre-existing micro-bubbles. Impact ionization within the micro-bubble gas then contributes to plasma development, with cathode injection having a delayed and secondary role. Continuous field emission at the streamer tip contributes to filament growth and propagation. This model can adequately explain almost all of the experimentally observed features, including dendritic structures and fluctuations in the pre-breakdown current. Two-dimensional, time-dependent simulations have been carried out based on a continuum model for water, though the results are quite general. Monte Carlo simulations provide the relevant transport parameters for our model. Our quantitative predictions match the available data quite well, including the breakdown delay times and observed optical emission.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication2005 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC
Number of pages4
StatePublished - 2007
Event2005 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC - Monterey, CA, United States
Duration: Jun 13 2005Jun 17 2005

Publication series

NameDigest of Technical Papers-IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference


Conference2005 IEEE Pulsed Power Conference, PPC
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CityMonterey, CA


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