Fluids for Dielectric Switch Applications
ABSTRACT: Researchers at the University of Missouri have developed a fluid-filled high power dielectric switch for pulsed power applications under Air Force sponsorship. For optimum operation, a switch should have a nearly constant breakdown voltage or low jitter. Many factors affect the jitter, and much effort has gone into switch design to eliminate vortices and static regions in the fluid. The best fill fluid was found to be MIL-PRF-87252 polyalphaolefin (PAO) coolant. In a Phase I SBIR program METSS demonstrated the technical feasibility of developing dielectric fluids with reduced breakdown jitter. This was accomplished in two ways. One involved chemical modification of the basestocks and additives used in the base fluid. The other involved the addition of nanoparticles to the PAO coolant. In an SBIR Phase II program METSS intends to build upon these technologies to develop dielectric fluids that are fully qualified for switch applications. The proposed program will also address additional issues related to material compatibility, personnel safety, environmental impact and use costs. BENEFIT: The development of new, successful, switch fluids will have both military and commercial uses. Military applications include modulators for high peak power electrical systems for manned and unmanned air vehicles, military radar drive circuits, directed energy systems. Commercial applications include modulators for high peak power electrical systems for high-speed rail traction, utility power distribution substations, power modulators for particle accelerators, and uninterruptible power supplies. METSS has identified potential partners to support the SBIR program development work and commercialization activities.
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