Physical Models of Long Air Gap Breakdown Processes

  • I. Gallimberti
Part of the NATO Advanced Science Institutes Series book series (NSSB, volume 89a)


The equations for the conservation of mass, momentum and energy are the starting point for the formulation of physical models of the breakdown processes in long air gaps. Separate equations must be written for each of the charged, ground state neutral, and excited neutral species present in the developing discharge. The system of equations can be completed by adding field equations. Since the discharge processes are usually two (or three) dimensional, the resulting partial differential equations depend on time and two or three spatial coordinates. Needless to say, the resulting general set of equations becomes enormous and impossible to solve, even with state-of-the-art numerical techniques. To make progress, various simplifications have been made based on the experimental observations of long air gap breakdown which are described in the next two sections. Some of the models that have been developed are also described in the following sections along with representative model predictions. Some of these models are described in more detail in a previous review (Gallimberti, 1979) which also gives an extensive list of references to previous work and lists the sources of physical data which are required as input to the various models.


Expansion Velocity Thermal Reservoir Corona Pulse Energy Reservoir Leader Channel 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • I. Gallimberti
    • 1
  1. 1.Inst. di ElettronicaUniversitá di PadovaPadovaItaly

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