Polarity effect variation on electrical breakdown of water under sub-millisecond pulses

Xiandong Li, Yi Liu, Guyue Zhou, Siwei Liu, Zhiyuan Li, Guozhen Gao, Fuchang Lin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Electrical breakdown of tap water (350 μS·cm-1) under sub-millisecond pulses (0.5 ms) with a gap distance of 3-35 mm has been investigated. It was found that the gap distance has a great influence on the polarity effect of underwater electrical breakdown, including breakdown mode, breakdown voltage, and pre-breakdown time delay. Under positive voltage impulses, the breakdown voltage increases with the gap distance; meanwhile, the pre-breakdown time delay decreases, and both of them show a saturation trend. Under negative voltage impulses, the breakdown voltage and pre-breakdown time delay increase with the gap distance, and the pre-breakdown time delay shows a saturation trend. Consequently, the polarity effect on the breakdown characteristics is varied with the gap distance. Further investigation by high speed optical observation confirmed that the polarity effect variation is closely related to the breakdown mode transition of positive polarity with the gap distance. Finally, a simple model based on the linear propagation assumption was proposed to predict the variation of the breakdown voltage with the gap distance.

Original languageEnglish
Article number164101
JournalApplied Physics Letters
Issue number16
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Oct 16


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