In this research, a self-breakdown switch with 12.7 mm diameter spherical electrodes and a 380-micron gap was assembled and the effect of pressure and stress time on breakdown voltage and closure time were measured. Specifically, the pressure was varied from atmosphere to 2000 psia and the stress time was varied from seconds to nanoseconds. Few studies have investigated equivalent ranges of pressure and charge times on sub millimeter gap switches with electric field intensities reaching 2 MV/cm. The correlation of the parameters and switch behavior are explored in this study. In addition, the effects of humidity and electrode surface deformities were noted. Understanding the impacts of these variables on switch behavior and performance allows for optimum designing of specific pulse generators.
high-voltage, high-pressure, sphere-electrodes, charge-times, pressurized-switch, self-break-switch
Research supported by Sandia National Laboratories contract to the University of New Mexico via PO 2234381.
Level of Degree
Electrical and Computer Engineering
First Committee Member (Chair)
Dr. Edl Schamiloglu
Second Committee Member
Dr. Mark Gilmore
Third Committee Member
Mr. Brian Stoltzfus
Felix, Joseph G.. "Self-Breakdown Study of Spherical Electrodes in Air Spanning Pressures from Atmosphere to 2000 psia, and Stress Times from Seconds to Nanoseconds." (2021). https://digitalrepository.unm.edu/ece_etds/562