Studying branching of a cathode-directed streamer in air by means of 3D modeling
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A cathode-directed streamer in air is modeled using the hypothesis that branching is initiated by large electron avalanches that develop in a strong electric field in the front of streamer head. A series of streamer discharge simulations are carried out using a three-dimensional numerical model. The possibility of streamer branching is shown as a result of the interaction with two electron avalanches that arise in front of its head. They are directed to the sides from streamer propagation direction. Such a mechanism of branching is brought about by the fact, that at the moment of contact with the streamer, the avalanches have already undergone an avalanche–streamer transition or are close to it. The equality of the number of electrons in these avalanches at the moment of contact is not important. If this equality is violated, branching is asymmetric. If one of the avalanches interacting with the streamer is far from the avalanche–streamer transition, it does not trigger perfect branching, but it may produce an underdeveloped branch that does not evolve further. The streamer trajectory then deviates toward a larger avalanche, interacting with it.
Keywordscathode-directed streamer electron avalanche avalanche–streamer transition branching numerical modeling
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