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Unstable Leader Inception Criteria of Atmospheric Discharges
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity. Ludvika ULHC, ABB Power Grids Grid Integrat HVDC, Dept Res & Dev, Lyviksvagen 3, S-77180 Lyviksvagen, Sweden..
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Technology, Department of Engineering Sciences, Electricity.
2017 (English)In: Atmosphere, ISSN 2073-4433, E-ISSN 2073-4433, Vol. 8, no 9, article id 156Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In the literature, there are different criteria to represent the formation of a leader channel in short and long gap discharges. Due to the complexity of the physics of the heating phenomena, and the limitations of the computational resources, a simplified criterion for the minimum amount of electrical charge required to incept an unstable leader has recently been used for modeling long gap discharges and lightning attachments. The criterion is based on the assumption that the total energy of the streamer is used to heat up the gas, among other principles. However, from a physics point of view, energy can also be transferred to other molecular processes, such as rotation, translation, and vibrational excitation. In this paper, the leader inception mechanism was studied based on fundamental particle physics and the energy balance of the gas media. The heating process of the plasma is evaluated with a detailed two-dimensional self-consistent model. The model is able to represent the streamer propagation, dark period, and unsuccessful leaders that may occur prior to the heating of the channel. The main processes that participate in heating the gas are identified within the model, indicating that impact ionization and detachment are the leading sources of energy injection, and that recombination is responsible for loss of electrons and limiting the energy. The model was applied to a well-known experiment for long air gaps under positive switching impulses reported in the literature, and used to validate models for lightning attachments and long gap discharges. Results indicate that the streamer-leader transition depends on the amount of energy transferred to the heating process. The minimum electric charge required for leader inception varies with the gap geometry, the background electric field, the reduction of electric field due to the space charge, the energy expended on the vibrational relation, and the environmental conditions, among others.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
MDPI AG , 2017. Vol. 8, no 9, article id 156
Keywords [en]
electric breakdown, discharges, ionization, modeling, plasma temperature, thermal stability
National Category
Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences Engineering and Technology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-336485DOI: 10.3390/atmos8090156ISI: 000411527500001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-336485DiVA, id: diva2:1166291
Available from: 2017-12-14 Created: 2017-12-14 Last updated: 2018-05-24Bibliographically approved

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