Electrical Breakdown in Water Vapor

N. Skoro, D. Maric, G. Malovic, Bill Graham, Z.L. Petrovic

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper investigations of the voltage required to break down water vapor are reported for the region around the Paschen minimum and to the left of it. In spite of numerous applications of discharges in biomedicine, and recent studies of discharges in water and vapor bubbles and discharges with liquid water electrodes, studies of the basic parameters of breakdown are lacking. Paschen curves have been measured by recording voltages and currents in the low-current Townsend regime and extrapolating them to zero current. The minimum electrical breakdown voltage for water vapor was found to be 480 V at a pressure times electrode distance (pd) value of around 0.6 Torr cm (similar to 0.8 Pa m). The present measurements are also interpreted using (and add additional insight into) the developing understanding of relevant atomic and particularly surface processes associated with electrical breakdown.
Original languageEnglish
Article number055401
JournalPhysical Review E
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 10 Nov 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Statistical and Nonlinear Physics
  • Statistics and Probability


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