Prediction of lightning impulse voltage induced breakdown in vacuum interrupters

N. Marconato, A. De Lorenzi, N. Pilan, P. Bettini, R. Specogna, A. Lawall, N. Wenzel

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1 Citation (Scopus)


A concept to predict the Lightning Impulse Voltage (LIV) breakdown probability of medium voltage Vacuum Interrupter (VI) tubes has been developed and tested for the first time employing the Voltage Holding Prediction Model (VHPM) originally formulated at Consorzio RFX. The VHPM is capable to calculate the Weibull breakdown probability curve of any multi-electrode multi-voltage system insulated in vacuum under dc voltage. Even though the possibility to employ the VHPM in the prediction of voltage breakdown under LIV conditions is not straightforward, the potential benefits of the VHPM usage in VI tube technology with regard to development, design and testing at medium and high voltage levels, strongly recommend the assessment of VHPM under LIV conditions. The paper aims to describe the methodology adopted to identify experimentally the VHPM parameters to be employed in such a novel application to assess its prediction capability. The measurements have been done in the Siemens Berlin VI tube factory test stand for LIV, compliant with the IEC standard. Different vacuum tube types manufactured by Siemens were investigated. The main difficulty was to obtain, with such a test bed, voltage breakdown distributions well fitted by a Weibull Distribution - upon which the VHPM is based - primarily due to the difficulty to reach a well-defined end of the conditioning test sequence preceding the relevant voltage breakdown test sequence suitable to be analyzed by the VHPM. Nevertheless, the VHPM prediction resulted in reasonable agreement with the measured probability curves. Finally, investigating VI tubes with spiral-type Radial Magnetic Field (RMF) contacts, characterized by a geometry strongly deviating from axial 2-D symmetry, the first implementation of a full 3-D version of the VHPM has been tested.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3367 - 3373
Number of pages7
JournalIEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2017
Externally publishedYes


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Cite this

Marconato, N., De Lorenzi, A., Pilan, N., Bettini, P., Specogna, R., Lawall, A., & Wenzel, N. (2017). Prediction of lightning impulse voltage induced breakdown in vacuum interrupters. IEEE Transactions on Dielectrics and Electrical Insulation, 24(6), 3367 - 3373.