Your triple point is a love triangle

Love triangle are complicated. It also sparks fast. Many films deal with this topic and we as a spectator amuse ourselves. In real life this is usually less funny.


Also, in the high-voltage technology there is the triangle relationship called triple point or line. As with human beings, this is the place where it most likely sparks and therefore the triple point is of great importance in the design of high voltage systems or systems.


The triple point is the place where at least three materials come together that have different dielectric constants. This is usually a metal, an insulator and air. In high-voltage pulse technology, water is usually involved as well.


If the dielectric properties of the three materials are very different (for example, air with a dielectric constant of 1, polyethylene is 2.25 and for metals one can assume an infinitely high dielectric constant), the electric field distribution is greatly deformed. The electric field strength is then increased in the material with the lowest dielectric constant. In this situation, it only needs a free starting electron and already the avalanche gets going and the discharger is unstoppable. Depending on the energy in the system, the result will be fatal.


Sometimes it is not possible to choose a material combination that has a small difference in dielectric constant. Then other measures must be taken. Careful design to reduce electric field strength is one approach. Auxiliary electrodes or active field control are also helpful. In order to reduce the cost of time-consuming experiments, a simulation of the field distribution is a good way. Here, some design iterations can be done quickly and effectively, before the final design is validated in a test.


Simulation Triplepunkt in der Hochspannung

Of course, a great experience in the design of triple points is necessary to quickly come to a good design. Especially if there are many boundary conditions to consider. I’ve been working on triple points for over 15 years. I am happy to let you benefit from my wealth of experience, so that you can laugh relaxed at the next film with love triangle, without worrying about your high-voltage system.

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