Weibull statistical analysis of impulse driven surface breakdown data

Mark Wilson, M Given, Igor Timoshkin, Scott Macgregor, Tao Wang, M.A. Sinclair, K.J. Thomas, J.M. Lehr

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution book

1 Citation (Scopus)


Surface breakdown of oil-immersed solids chosen to insulate high-voltage, pulsed-power systems is a problem that can lead to catastrophic failure. Statistical analysis of the breakdown voltages associated with such liquid-solid interfaces can reveal useful information to aid system designers in the selection of solid materials. Described in this paper are the results of a Weibull statistical analysis, applied to breakdown voltage data generated in gaps consisting of five different solid polymers immersed in mineral oil. Values of the location parameter γ provide an estimate of the applied voltage below which breakdown will not occur, and under uniform-field conditions, γ varied from 192 kV (480 kV/cm) for polypropylene to zero for ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (i.e. the data for UHMWPE were better described by a two-parameter distribution). Longer times to breakdown were measured for UHMWPE when compared with the other materials. However, high values of the shape parameter β reported in the present paper suggest greater sensitivity to an increase in applied voltage – that is, the probability of breakdown increases more sharply with increasing applied voltage for UHMWPE compared to the other materials. Only PP consistently reflected a low value of β across the different sets of test conditions.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationIEEE conference record PPC2011
Subtitle of host publicationPulsed power conference 2011
Place of PublicationNew York
Number of pages5
ISBN (Print)9781457706295
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2011
Event18th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference - Chicago, United States
Duration: 19 Jun 201123 Jun 2011


Conference18th IEEE International Pulsed Power Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States


  • impulse driven
  • surface breakdown data
  • pulsed-power systems
  • breakdown voltages
  • Weibull statistical analysis
  • solid polymers
  • mineral oil
  • applied voltage

Cite this