Breakdown strength and dielectric recovery in a high pressure supercritical nitrogen switch

J. Zhang, E.J.M. Heesch, van, F.J.C.M. Beckers, A.J.M. Pemen, R.P.P. Smeets, T. Namihira, A.H. Markosyan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)
329 Downloads (Pure)


Fast and repetitive switching in high-power circuits is a challenging task where the ultimate solutions still have to be found. We proposed a new approach. Supercritical fluids (SCFs) combine favorable properties of liquids - insulation strength, thermal behavior, and gases - self healing, high fluidity, and absence of vapor bubbles. That's why we start investigating the subject of plasma switches in SC media. First results indicate excellent switch recovery and very high insulation strength. We present the design of a SCF insulated switch (SC switch). Breakdown strength of the SCF is investigated and found to be high in comparison with most of the solid insulating media. The dielectric recovery inside the SC N2 switch is tested under a repetitive 30 kV, 200 ns pulse voltage at repetition rate up to 5 kHz. The recovery breakdown voltage across the SC switch achieves 80 % within 200 µs. The current interruption capability of SC N2 is investigated experimentally in a synthetic circuit generating a high-frequency arc of several hundreds of amperes and a transient recovery voltage of hundreds of volts. The results show that a SC N2 switch with fixed electrodes and an inter-electrode distance of mm range can successfully interrupt this current at approximately 2 ms after arc initiation.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1823-1832
Number of pages10
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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