Effect of Supply Frequency on Pre-Breakdown and Breakdown Phenomena in Unbridged Vacuum Gaps
This paper presents experimental results leading towards a better understanding of pre-breakdown and breakdown behavior of vacuum gaps under variable frequency alternating excitations. The frequency variation is in the range of 30 to 300 Hz in steps of 10 Hz for a fixed gap spacing of 0.5 mm. The results indicate that the pre-breakdown currents show an inverse relation with the breakdown voltage in general though erratic behavior was observed over a certain range of frequencies. A breakdown voltage peak was observed at 130 Hz. This was pronounced when the electrode pair was of stainless steel and less pronounced when copper and aluminum electrodes were used. The experimental results are explained based on F-N emission, I-F emission, and also thermal interaction due to quasi-continuous shower of anode micro-particles. Further, it is speculated that the ostensible cause for time delay between voltage and current peaks is due to the presence of neutral molecules in the gap.