The goal of this research was to investigate temperature and time dependent models for the electrostatic breakdown of polymeric spacecraft insulators. Temperature dependent breakdown was found by inducing an electrostatic breakdown in the prototypical polymer Low Density Polyethylene (LDPE) at various temperatures. Time dependent breakdown was found by applying a static voltage to LDPE and measuring the time to electrostatic breakdown. No significant temperature dependence of the electrostatic breakdown of LDPE was observed in a temperature range of 150 K to 300 K. The time dependent results show that the time to electrostatic breakdown is modeled by a negative logarithmic decay consistent with thermodynamic mean field multiple trapping models, with the electric field breakdown strength asymptotically approaching a constant value as the time to breakdown goes to infinity.
Sim, Charlie and Dennison, JR, "Evaluation of the Temperature Dependence of Endurance Models of Electrostatic Breakdown" (2012). Senior Theses and Projects. Paper 20.