Effect of Electrical Breakdown Discharge Modes on Shock Wave Intensity in Water

Siwei Liu, Yi Liu, Xiandong Li, Hua Li, Qin Zhang, Fuchang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Shock waves generated by underwater pulsed discharge have been applied to industrial and bio-medical treatments, and the key technology is to induce powerful shock waves steadily and efficiently. Based on the underwater pulsed discharge platform, the effect of the electrical breakdown discharge modes on the shock wave intensity in water is discussed in the pin-to-plate configuration. Based on the analysis of discharge images captured by a high-speed camera, it can be concluded that the discharge modes are classified as subsonic bush-like streamers or supersonic filamentary streamers. Experimental results demonstrate that the amplitude of applied voltage has a great influence on the discharge modes as well as the shock wave intensity. The mechanism of the subsonic streamer in lower applied voltage is more likely a electrothermal process. The microbubbles are firstly generated and then discharge occurs in the bubble cluster. The volume of bubbles grows until a breakdown of the underwater gap, and the shock wave is generated. The time delay of the subsonic streamer is within hundreds of μs. In higher applied voltage, the energy loss in the pre-breakdown process are reduced significantly as well. In the experimental conditions a threshold value of 22.5kV is necessary for the subsonic streamers turning into supersonic streamers. The electrical breakdown discharge modes can be controlled by changing the applied voltage, and the intensity of the shock wave differs 2~4 times in different discharge modes even in the same applied voltage.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2807-2815
Number of pages9
JournalZhongguo Dianji Gongcheng Xuebao/Proceedings of the Chinese Society of Electrical Engineering
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2017 May 20


  • Breakdown
  • Pulsed power
  • Shock wave
  • Subsonic streamer
  • Supersonic streamer


Dive into the research topics of 'Effect of Electrical Breakdown Discharge Modes on Shock Wave Intensity in Water'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this