Measurement of breakdown electric field strength for vegetation and hydrocarbon flames
Maabong, Kago Ernest
PublisherScientific Research Publishing Inc., https://www.scirp.org/
MetadataShow full item record
A significant number of fire-induced power disruptions are observed in several countries every year. The faults are normally phase-to-phase short circuiting or conductor-to-ground discharges at mid-span region of the high-voltage transmission system. In any case, the wildfire plumes provide a conductive path. The electrical conductivity is due to intense heat in combustion zone of the fire which creates ion and electrons from flame inherent particulates. Increase in the ion concentration increases the electrical conductivity of the fire plume. The main purpose of this study was to measure dielectric breakdown electric field for vegetation and hydrocarbon flames. The experimental data is needed for validation of simulation schemes which are necessary for evaluation of power grid systems reliability under extreme wildfire weather conditions. In this study, hydrocarbon and vegetation fuels were ignited in a cylindrically shaped steel burner which was fitted with type-K thermocouples to measure flame temperature. The fuels consisted of dried weeping wattle (Peltophorum africanum) litter, butane gas and candle wax. Two pinned copper electrodes supported by retort stands were mounted to the burner and energized to a high voltage. This generated a strong electric field sufficient to initiate dielectric breakdown in the flames. Breakdown electric field strength (Ecrit) obtained from the experiment decreased from 10.5 to 6.9 kV/cm for the flames with temperature range of 1003 to 1410 K, respectively.