Experiments and simulations of an atmospheric pressure lossy dielectric barrier Townsend discharge

S. Im, M. S. Bak, N. Hwang, M. A. Cappelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


A diffuse discharge is produced in atmospheric pressure air between porous alumina dielectric barriers using low-frequency (60 Hz) alternating current. To study its formation mechanism, both the discharge current and voltage are measured while varying the dielectric barrier porosity (0%, 48% or 85%) and composition (99% Al2O3,99% SiO2 or 75% Al 2O3 + 16% SiO2 + 9% other oxides). Time-resolved imaging of the emission is carried out to understand the discharge structure. The results indicate that the ionization is driven by an electron avalanche process. This Townsend discharge is found to persist for quite some time (∼3 ms) when the barriers are alumina with a high porosity (>48%). Micro-streamers are observed for the low porosity alumina barriers as well as for other oxide barriers. This discharge formation with highly porous alumina in air is attributed to a relatively low volume dielectric barrier resistivity (∼105 Ω m). Simulations are carried out, accounting for the surface charge loss due to this porosity, as well as for charge accumulation at the barriers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number085202
JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Feb 26
Externally publishedYes


  • dielectric barrier discharge
  • high pressure glow discharge
  • porous dielectric barrier

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Acoustics and Ultrasonics
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films


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