Ionization Waves in Electrical Breakdown of Gases
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As a result, in order to recombine, cold electrons must undergo a three body collision such as. The electric field at which surpasses is known as the conventional breakdown electric field and denoted ; it follows that is proportional to. In a steady electric field above this threshold, and, since the ionization rate is proportional to the electron density, tends to increase exponentially.
This electron avalanche process was first described by J. Townsend in [reprinted in Rees , ], and is applicable to all of the high altitude discharges modeled in this work. He thus predicted an electrical breakdown and ensuing optical emissions.
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Streamers are ionization waves which can propagate as narrow channels through regions where. This self-propagation is due to highly nonuniform electric fields which result from significant , or space charge. Nevertheless, the issue of streamer initiation is addressed in the context of the observations presented in subsequent sections.
The requirements for streamer initiation have mostly been discussed in the context of spark-gap experiments. Such considerations are appropriate for an avalanche starting from a narrow point and expanding in a gas of uniform density.
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In the case of sprites, streamers may sometimes form at the boundary of very large regions of enhanced ionization Sections 2. Once a streamer is initiated, it may propagate in electric fields lower than. As shown, positively charged streamers, which propagate parallel to the electric field, have a lower propagation threshold than negatively charged antiparallel to ones. At tropospheric pressures streamers may develop into leaders, which can propagate in even lower electric fields than streamers can, due to thermal ionization of the neutral gas; lightning is an example.
The field drops off with altitude as due to the dipole resulting from the single image charge.
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You have access Restricted access. Llewellyn Jones , A. Published 24 June Department of Physics, University College of Swansea. Abstract From experimental investigations on ionization currents and high-voltage sparking in uniform electric fields it has generally been assumed that the growth of pre-breakdown currents followed a simple exponential law involving no secondary ionization, and that therefore to account for critical breakdown it was necessary to assume the sudden introduction of a new ionization mechanism not related to the growth of initial pre-breakdown currents.
Footnotes This text was harvested from a scanned image of the original document using optical character recognition OCR software.
Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences username. Conditions of Nonmonotonic Increase of Current in a Wave. Skickas inom vardagar. In the years since the book of Lozanskii and Firsov "The Theory of Spark"  was published, a number of experimental and theoretical studies in the physics of electric breakdown in gases were conducted.
As a result of these studies, the concept of a wavelike nature of breakdown initiated by single high-voltage electric pulses or by a constant electric field was confirmed.