Electrical and Computer Engineering ETDs

Publication Date

Summer 7-15-2019


The minimum sustaining electric field for streamer propagation is directly correlated to the minimum electric field at the corona point. Corona is a product of non-uniform electric fields; the onset of corona occurs before electrical breakdown. As electric fields become increasingly uniform the required field strength to produce corona is increased as well. The field uniformity can be increased until a critical point in which electrical breakdown coincides with the onset of a positive corona, this is known as the corona point.

An experimental setup with a point to plane configuration allows precise changes in electric field uniformity, by gradually moving the point closer to the plane. Using a photomultiplier, the immediate onset of corona a positive can be determined. The potential on the electrode is slowly ramped up to ensure that the minimum amount of electric field to onset corona is measured.

The minimum value of the electric field required for streamer propagation, the sustaining field, can be used to determine a new breakdown criterion. While the Paschen curve is an excellent way to determine breakdown in uniform fields, it is a rough estimate in non-uniform fields. Using the sustaining field, one would be able to better estimate the value of electric field that would initiate breakdown. After determining the corona point experimentally, simulations were performed to determine the minimum electric field in the geometry. Replicating the experimental point to plane geometry with a spacing of 4.5mm between the electrode tip and the ground plane and a DC potential of 5.76kV. The resultant simulations gave a minimum electric field of 4.4kV/cm in agreement with other published works [1]. This leads to the determination that the corona point, in a point to plane geometry, may be a viable method for determining the sustaining field.


Sustaining Field, Instability Field, Corona Point, Point-to-Plane, Streamer

Document Type




Degree Name

Electrical Engineering

Level of Degree


Department Name

Electrical and Computer Engineering

First Committee Member (Chair)

Jane Lehr

Second Committee Member

Mark Gilmore

Third Committee Member

Andrew Fierro

Third Advisor

Lisa Fisher