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IEEE Transactions on Electrical Insulation and Dielectric Phenomena


Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE)

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Increasing application and development of HVDC technologies emphasizes the need for improved characterization of candidate insulating materials. Accurately predicting the lifetime to breakdown of dielectric materials by means of accelerated voltage step-up to breakdown tests can be prohibitively time consuming. Step-up to breakdown tests with sufficiently slow voltage ramp rates that continuously monitor leakage current have detected a distribution of DC partial discharge (DCPD) events occurring prior to breakdown, which increase with increasing field. These DCPD distributions are shown to correlate strongly with the likelihood of breakdown for four common polymers. Given that hundreds of DCPD events are typically observed in a single destructive, low-ramp rate, step-up test, measuring the distribution of the DCPD can potentially accelerate the characterization of the breakdown likelihood in candidate insulators by orders of magnitude in time. This relationship is discussed in the context of a dual-defect model of breakdown and thermally recoverable defects.