Chapter 5 Electrical breakdown in gases

Before proceeding to discuss breakdown in gases a brief review of the fundamental principles of kinetic theory of gases, which are pertinent to the study of gaseous ionization and breakdown, will be presented. The review will include the classical gas laws, followed by the ionization and decay processes which lead to conduction of current through a gas and ultimately to a complete breakdown or spark formation.

5.1 Classical gas laws

In the absence of electric or magnetic fields charged particles in weakly ionized gases participate in molecular collisions. Their motions follow closely the classical kinetic gas theory.

The oldest gas law established experimentally by Boyle and Mariotte states that for a ...

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