A model and simulation of fast space charge pulses in polymers

Zepeng Lv, Simon Rowland, Kai Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    The transport of space charge packets across polyethylene and epoxy resin in high electric fields has been characterized as fast or slow depending on packet mobility. Several explanations for the formation and transport of slow space charge packets have been proposed, but the origins of fast space charge pulses, with mobilities above 10-11 m2V-1s-1, are unclear. In one suggested model, it is assumed that the formation of fast charge pulses is due to discontinuous electromechanical compression and charge injection at the electrode-insulation interface, and their transport is related to corresponding relaxation processes. In that model, charges travel as a pulse because of group polarization. This paper provides an alternative model based on the reduction of charge carrier activation energy due to charge density triggered polymer chain movement and subsequent chain relaxation times. The generation and transport of fast charge pulses are readily simulated by a bipolar charge transport model with three additional parameters: reduced activation energy, charge density threshold, and chain relaxation time. Such a model is shown to reproduce key features of fast space charge pulses including speed, duration, repetition rate and pulse size. This model provides the basis for a deep understanding of the physical origins of fast space charge pulses in polymers.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalJournal of Physics D: Applied Physics
    Early online date6 Sept 2017
    Publication statusPublished - 11 Oct 2017


    • space charge pulse
    • electric field assisted chain movement
    • Activation energy
    • chain relaxation


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