Is this project an undergraduate, graduate, or faculty project?

Undergraduate

individual

Authors' Class Standing

Senior

Lead Presenter's Name

Jacob A. Engle

Faculty Mentor Name

Jeremy A. Riousset

Abstract

In this work, the focus is on plasma discharge produced between two electrodes with a high potential difference, resulting in ionization of the neutral gas particles and creating a current in the gas medium. This process, when done at low current and low temperature can create corona and “glow” discharges, which can be observed as a luminescent, or “glow,” emission. The parallel plate geometry used in Paschen theory is particularly well suited to model experimental laboratory scenario. However, it is limited in its applicability to lightning rods and power lines [Moore et al., 2000]. Previous works on the effect of the electrode geometry such as Franklin’s sharp tip and Moore et al.’s rounded tip fundamentally differ in the radius of curvature of the upper end of the rod.To investigate the effect of localized electric field due to conductor radius the classic Cartesian geometry will be expanded into spherical and cylindrical geometries. In a spherical case, a small radius effectively represents a sharp tip rod, while larger, centimeter-scale radius represents a rounded or blunted tip; in a cylindrical case, a small radius would correspond to a thin wire. Utilizing Townsend’s equation for corona discharge, the estimation of a critical radius and minimum breakdown voltage that allows ionization of neutral gas and formation of a glow corona around an electrode in air is made from these models. Additionally, thethe influence of the gas in which the discharge develops is explored. Using Bolsig+, a numerical solver for the Boltzmann equation, to calculate critical electric fields necessary to initiate corona discharge in gasses with varying composition [Hagelaar and Pitchford, 2005]. This allows the exploration of the feasibility of a glow corona on other planetary bodies such as Mars. The breakdown criterion both numerically and analytically will be presented with simplified formulae per each geometry and gas mixture.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes, Spark Grant

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Corona initiation criteria in air and Martian atmosphere

In this work, the focus is on plasma discharge produced between two electrodes with a high potential difference, resulting in ionization of the neutral gas particles and creating a current in the gas medium. This process, when done at low current and low temperature can create corona and “glow” discharges, which can be observed as a luminescent, or “glow,” emission. The parallel plate geometry used in Paschen theory is particularly well suited to model experimental laboratory scenario. However, it is limited in its applicability to lightning rods and power lines [Moore et al., 2000]. Previous works on the effect of the electrode geometry such as Franklin’s sharp tip and Moore et al.’s rounded tip fundamentally differ in the radius of curvature of the upper end of the rod.To investigate the effect of localized electric field due to conductor radius the classic Cartesian geometry will be expanded into spherical and cylindrical geometries. In a spherical case, a small radius effectively represents a sharp tip rod, while larger, centimeter-scale radius represents a rounded or blunted tip; in a cylindrical case, a small radius would correspond to a thin wire. Utilizing Townsend’s equation for corona discharge, the estimation of a critical radius and minimum breakdown voltage that allows ionization of neutral gas and formation of a glow corona around an electrode in air is made from these models. Additionally, thethe influence of the gas in which the discharge develops is explored. Using Bolsig+, a numerical solver for the Boltzmann equation, to calculate critical electric fields necessary to initiate corona discharge in gasses with varying composition [Hagelaar and Pitchford, 2005]. This allows the exploration of the feasibility of a glow corona on other planetary bodies such as Mars. The breakdown criterion both numerically and analytically will be presented with simplified formulae per each geometry and gas mixture.

 

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