An empirical relation for vegetation fuel flames breakdown electric field strength
Maabong, Kago Ernest
PublisherScientific Research Publishing Inc., https://www.scirp.org/journal/jemaa/
MetadataShow full item record
The compulsion to provide reliable electric power for sustenance of socio-economic development is vital for most of southern Africa states. The demand for the resource in the region is anticipated to escalate in the next couple of decades. However, there is a deleterious effect of fire-induced power disruption which is observed in many countries. The mechanism through which the disruption occurs is currently a subject of current research in electric power distribution. It has been observed that streamer initiated conduction channel provides a means of high voltage electric power flashover. The main purpose of this study is to determine the empirical expression for breakdown electric field strength of vegetation fires. The breakdown field was measured from vegetation fuel (Peltophorum africanum) flames at different combustion temperatures. The data is essential for validation of simulation schemes which are necessary for evaluation of power grid systems reliability under extreme wildfire weather conditions. In this study, Peltophorum africanum fuels were ignited in a cylindrically shaped steel burner which was fitted with a Type-K thermocouple to measure flame temperature. The fuels consisted of dried fine twig (≤0.8 mm Ø) and limb wood (≥10 mm Ø) litter. Two copper pinned-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. The measured electric field strength was plotted against flame temperatures and fit with a non-linear relation to give the empirical relation.