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Weibull statistical analysis of impulse driven surface breakdown data

Wilson, Mark and Given, M and Timoshkin, Igor and Macgregor, Scott and Wang, Tao and Sinclair, M.A. and Thomas, K.J. and Lehr, J.M. (2011) Weibull statistical analysis of impulse driven surface breakdown data. In: IEEE conference record PPC2011. IEEE, New York, pp. 218-222. ISBN 9781457706295

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Abstract

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 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 breakdown voltage data generated in gaps 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 (480 kV/cm) for polypropylene to zero for ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (i.e. the data for UHMWPE were better described by a two-parameter distribution). 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. Only PP consistently reflected a low value of β across the different sets of test conditions.