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3, JUNE 1986

A Survey of the Electron and Ion Transport Properties

of SF6


Abstract-A compilation of the available data on some of the basic The values in the range 100 < E/N < 300 Td have
transport properties of sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is presented. The been taken from the extensive review by Gallagher et al.
properties considered are a) electron ionization, attachment, detach-
ment and diffusion coefficients, and electron drift velocity; b) positive [13]. We have also drawn on the more recent theoretical
and negative ion mobilities, negative ion diffusion, and ion-ion recom- work of Novak and Frechette [12] and experimental work
bination coefficients; and c) secondary ionization coefficients. Approx- of Aschwanden [14]. For higher values of E/N we have
imate analytical representations of the data are also given. taken results from Teich and Sangi [9] and Urquijo-Car-
mona [10], which extend the range of values up to 650
I. INTRODUCTION Td. Such high values of E/N are often reached in non-
uniform field calculations.
HE INERT GAS sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is widely Most of the results agree to within 10 percent and give
used in the electrical power industry as an insulator considerable confidence in the value of a at all E/N val-
for gas-insulated equipment in power stations. Recently ues. However, the results of Maller and Naidu [8] dis-
we have had occasion to solve the continuity equations agree with those of two other experiments and with the
describing electrical corona and streamer propagation in theoretical results of Kline et al. [5] and consequently
SF6. The calculations follow the lines of those performed have been neglected when fitting the analytical curve.
by Morrow and Lowke [1] and Morrow [2] for corona in The data may be represented by the equations
oxygen, and by Davies et al. [3] for streamers in nitrogen.
The computations require a knowledge of the numerical azIN - 3.4473 x 1034(E/N)2 m985m2
values of a number of basic transport parameters of the E/N < 4.6 x 10-'9 V * m2 (1)
- 11.269(E/N)'159 m2,
An up-to-date compilation of the available data on these
parameters has been made. This is likely to be of value to E/N > 4.6 x 10-'9 V m2 (2)
people working on a wide range of problems involving
the behavior of SF6. For this reason we have decided to shown by the dashed line in Fig. 1.
publish the compilation in the form of a number of con-
venient graphs and tables. The particular properties con- III. ELECTRON ATTACHMENT COEFFICIENT 71
sidered are: a) ionization coefficient a; b) attachment coef- The available data on the attachment coefficient Ti are
ficient -q; c) electron drift velocity w; d) longitudinal plotted in Fig. 2 over the range 10 < E/N < 800 Td [4]-
electron diffusion coefficient DL; e) electron detachment [8], [111-[161.
coefficient 6; f) ion mobilities /t+; g) ion-volume recom- These results have been reviewed critically by Gal-
bination coefficient Kr; h) negative ion diffusion coeffi- lagher et al. [131 and we have also drawn from the more
cient Di; i) photoionization parameters; and j) total sec- recent work of Novak and Frechette [12] and Aschwan-
ondary ionization coefficient 6T. Approximate analytical den [14].
representations of the data are also given. The data on Ti are evidently more scattered than those
on the ionization coefficient. The recent results of Novak
and Frechette [12] are in good agreement with those de-
The available data on the ionization coefficient a are rived from the experiments of Geballe and Harrison [6]
plotted in Fig. I over the ranged 100 < E/N < 700 Td and from the theory of Yoshizawa et al. [11], whereas the
(where E is the electric field (V m -), N is the neutral theoretical values given by Kline et al. [5] are generally
gas number density (m-3), and 1 Td 1 21 V m lower than these by a factor of 2 for E/N > 500 Td.
[1]-[14]. At high E/N values (> 200 Td) the fitted curve lies close
to the experimental values of Aschwanden [14] and mid-
Manuscript received July 30, 1985; revised December 16, 1985. This way between the theoretical results of Novak and Fre-
work was supported by the Canadian Electrical Association. chette [12] and Kline et al. [5].
The author is with the Division of Applied Physics, Commonwealth In the range 50 < E/N < 200 Td a curve has been fitted
Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Lindfield, N.S.W., Aus-
tralia. which reflects the sharp upward trend in the theoretical
IEEE Log Number 8608117. curves of Yoshizawa et al. [11] and Novak and Frechette

0093-3813/86/0600-0234$01.00 © 1986 IEEE





Xf 0* Teich & Sangi [§9 E

< Urquijo-Carmona (10] E
O Kline (5] T
CO Yoshizawa (11] T
10 a Kline [5 E
| O Maller & Naidu[8]E
qX X Geballe& Harrison [6JE
7-6 Novak &Frechette[12]T
+ Bhalla & Craggs t4]E
C Boyd & Crichton(7]E
* Aschwanden t1 4]E
Fitted curve

_ LI

1 -~~~~~~ .f lll
100 1000 10 000

E/N (10-21 VM2)

Fig. 1. Available data on the ionization coefficient a as a function of

E/N, together with the fitted curve (dashed line). Data derived from ex-
periments are referenced by "E" after the reference number and data
from theoretical calculations are referenced by " T. " Theoretical data are
often represented by a solid line joining appropriate symbols.

[12] and the experimental data of McAffe and Edelson 10-16 m3 * s 1. (The attachment rate coefficient Kat is
[16]. This upward trend is indicative of the very high at- related to the attachment frequency Pv0, and -1 by the equa-
tachment frequency at very low values of E/N discussed tion Kat vat,N = w * q/N.)

below. The data may be represented by the equations

For E/N < 50 Td, since w tends to zero, it is more v1IN = 2.0463 X 10-2 - 0.25379(E/N) + 1.4705
convenient to use the attachment rate coefficient or the
attachment frequency, which is the quantity actually used x 10'8(E/N)2 - 3.0078 x 1036(E/N)3 m2,

in the solution of the continuity equations [1]-[3]. At zero 5.0 X 10-20 < E/N < 2.0 X 10l9 V * m2
electric field, the thermal electron attachment rate con-
stant Kat has been determined to be 2.27 + 0.07 (3)
(10-13 m3 * s-1) by Crompton and Haddad [33]. As E/N 7.0 x 10-21 exp (- 2.25 x 10'8(E/N)) m2,

rises above zero, the attachment rate constant falls sharply

to 1.2 x 10-4 M3 s- 1at E/N = 3.6 Td, as shown by E/N > 2.0 x 10-19 V * M2 (4)
the results of Christophorou et al. [34]. This is because shown by the dashed line in Fig. 2.
of the narrow maximum in the attachment cross section
at zero energy, as discussed by Kline et al. [5]. This IV. ELECTRON DRIFT VELOCITY W
decline in the attachment rate constant continues so The available electron drift velocity data are plotted in
that at, say, E/N 400 Td, the value of Kat = 6.3 x
Fig. 3 over the E/N range 15 < E/N < 1700 Td [5], [9],

0 Kline (5]T
x Kline [5] E
0 Yoshizawa [1 1] T
Geballe & Harrison [6] E
9 Balla & Craggs[4IlE
-.6 Novak &FrechetteC12]T
0 Aschwanden [14]E
6 McAffee & Edelson[1 6] E
0 Mailer & Naidu[8]E
a Boyd & Crichton[7]E
0 Siddagangappa
[1 5] E
Fitted curve

z C]

10 1
0 200 400 600 800
E/N (10-2 1 Vm2) 0 200 400 600 800
Fig. 2. Available data on the attachment coefficient -j as a function of E/N (10o21 Vm2)
E/N, together with the fitted curve (dashed line).
Fig. 4. Available data on the ratio of electron diffusion to electron mobil-
ity Dl,u as a function of E/N, together with the fitted curve (dashed

For our present discharge calculations we require only
the value of DL, the longitudinal diffusion constant [11-
[3]. However, most experimental and theoretical results
give DT, the transverse diffusion coefficient, which may
0 differ from DL by as much as a factor of 2. Only the recent
10 Fitted curve
work of Aschwanden [14] provides experimentally mea-
O Kline [5]T sured values of DL. The fitted curve passes through these
LL - Yoshizawa et-al. [11] T experimental values and then approaches zero as E/N
4 Novak & Frechette[1:8T
z * Novak & Frechette[1 2]T
tends to zero, consistent with the fact that DIpA tends to
0 + Harris & Jones [17]E the thermal energy of the electrons at low E/N.
o Naidu & Prasad [18]E The data may be represented by the equation
A Teich & Sangi [9]E
LU * Aschwanden [14]E DL/U = 8.6488 x 109(E/N)"2 V,
1 L 111I,
I 1 I,,,,
D 100 1000 E/N < 6.5 x 10-'9 V * I" (6)
E/N (10-2 Vm2) 1
shown by the dashed line in Fig. 4.
Fig. 3. Available data on the electron drift velocity w as a function of
E/N, together with the fitted curve (dashed line). VI. ELECTRON DETACHMENT COEFF1CIENT 6
The electron detachment coefficient results of O'Neill
[11], [12], [14], [17], [18]. In the range 100 < E/N <
and Craggs [19], plotted in Fig. 5, cover E/N values from
1000 Td, all the results agree. At lower values of E/N 400 to 464 Td and densities I x 1023m-3to 6 x 1023 m.
they diverge and, here, the fitted curve lies between the The measurements of Teich and Sangi [9] are about 100
results of Kline et al. [5] and Yoshizawa et al. [11]. The times larger than those of O'Neill and Craggs, but the
data may be represented by the equation cause of this disparity is unknown. Fig. 6 gives the results
w = 1.027 1019(E/N)0.7414 ms-
of Teich and Sangi in their original form, in which the
10-20 < E/N < 2 X 10-18V m2 (5)
lifetime of the negative ions T is plotted against E/N.

shown by the dashed line in Fig. 3. VII. ION MOBILITIES ,tk±

Data for the mobility of SF+ and SF6 ions in SF6 have
V. ELECTRON DIFFUSION been critically reviewed by Brand and Jungblut [20], and
The available data on the ratio of the electron diffusion we have also taken account of the recent results of Asch-
coefficient, both longitudinal DL and transverse DT, to the wanden [22]. They are presented separately in terms of
electron mobility is plotted in Fig. 4 over the range 20 < reduced mobilities AO and where t°o is the reduced AO-,
E/N < 800 Td [5], [8], [11], [12], [14], [18]. positive ion mobility and yo the reduced negative ion

The data may be represented by the equations

0° = 6.0 x 10-5 m2 . V-l . S-1
E/N < 1.2 x 10- 9 V m2 (8)
= 1.216 x 10-5 loge (E/N)
0.1 + 5.89 x 10-4 m2 . V-1 1-
1.2 X 10 < E/N < 3.5 X 10-'9 V * m2
= -1.897 x 10-5 loge (E/N)
- 7.346 x 10-4 M2 _
V-1 . S-
E/N > 3.35 x 10-19 V -
m' (10)
0.01 shown by the dashed line in Fig. 7.
0 20 40 60
N (1022 m-3) B. Negative Ion Mobility it
Fig. 5. Electron detachment coefficient 6 as a function of N [19]. Fig. 8 gives values of the negative ion mobility of
SF- [9], [19], [21]-[24].
The data may be represented by the equation
= 1.69 x 1032(E/N)2
100 _ + 5.3 x 10-5m2I V-l . S-1
E/N < 5.0 x 10-'9 V m2 _

(1 1)
shown by the dashed line in Fig. 8.



Values of the ion-volume recombination coefficient are
plotted in Fig. 9 over the pressure range 1-3000 kPa. They
are taken from the experimental measurements of Schmidt
1 n, et al. [25] and Wilson et al. [26] and from the theoretical
360 370 380 390 400 curve of Natanson [27].
E/N (10-21 Vm2)
The data may be represented by the equations
Fig. 6. Lifetime of negative ions as a function cof E/N [9]. Kr = 2.0 x 10-13(P)0.6336 M3 . S-I
1 < P c 39 kPa (12)
mobility. The actual mobility is given by
= 2.28 x 10-11(P)-0659 m3 . s-
0 Po T
39 . P c 270 kPa
P To (7) (13)
= 6.867 x 10- 0(p)- l279 m3 . s- I
where P0 = 101.325 kPa and To = 273.16 K.
270 . P c 2000 kPa (14)
A. Positive Ion Mobility ,t+
shown by the dashed curves in Fig. 9.
Fig. 7 gives experimental values of the reduced posi-
tion ion mobility of SF+ [9], [10], [21], [22]. The dot- IX. NEGATIVE ION DIFFUSION Di
dashed line is the value of E/N at which the ionization The only measurements of ion diffusion are those for
rate equals the attachment rate. SF6 negative ions by Naidu and Prasad [28] over the range
For E/N < 120 Td, the fitted curve gives a constant 30 < E/N < 220 Td for gas pressures ranging from 0. 13
value for ,u°, in agreement with the result of Fleming and to 1.33 kPa. Their results are presented in Table I in terms
Rees [21]. Over the range 120 < E/N < 335 Td, the of Townsend's energy factor kT, which is related to the
curve is fitted to the results of Fleming and Rees, neglect- diffusion coefficient by the equation [28]
ing the more scattered values of Aschwanden [22]. For
E/N > 335 Td the curve passes midway between the re- D kT V.
sults of Teich and Sangi [9] and Uriquijo-Carmona [10]. (15)
A 39.6

o Fleming & Rees [21]E
O Teich & Sangi f9]E
o Urquijo-Carmona [10]E
a Aschwanden [22]E
- Fitted curve
0-n 10 -

:D 4
0 2

C') oL 11 1
0 it: 100 1000 10 000

E/N (10-21 Vm2)

Fig. 7. Available data on the positive ion reduced mobility as a function
of E/N, together with the fitted curve (dashed line).

O Fleming & Rees [21]E E
X Patterson [23]E
>2 c Naidu & Prasad [18]E 0
O Teich & Sangi [9]E
0 + Crichton& Doug-in Leet24]E I..-
10 * Aschwanden 122JE jq/
0 -- Fitted curve LU
8 0
j z
0 0
0 6 z

S 10 100 1000
LL 2
0 I _1 11 l11l
1 11 Fig. 9. Available data on the ion-recombination coefficient as a function
z 0 100 1 000 of pressure, together with the fitted curve (dashed line).
E/N (10o-21 Vm2)
Fig. 8. Available data on the negative ion reduced mobility as a function TABLE I
of E/N, together with the fitted curve (dashed line). MEAN VALUES OF kT AND DIl/ OF NEGATIVE IONS IN SF6


The only photoionization data available are those for 30.3 1.0 0.025
the absorption coefficient published by Crichton et al. 60.7 1.2 0.030
[29]. They obtained estimates of photoabsorption in the 91.0 1.7 0.043
pressure range 26.7-186.6 kPa by measuring the delay
time between a primary avalanche and secondary ava- 121.4 2.6 0.066
lanches. Their value for the reduced absorption coefficient 151.7 3.5 0.088
,tIN is
182.0 4.6 0.116
,IuN = (7.98 ± 2.0) X 10-23 m2. (16)
5.9 0.149
No data are available for the excitation coefficient a*.

[1] R. Morrow and J. J. Lowke, "Trichel pulses in oxygen: A simple
theory," in Proc. 7th Int. Conf. Gas Discharges (London, England),
P(kpa) E/N( Td) Source 1982, pp. 124- 127.
[2] R. Morrow, Phys. Rev. A, vol. 32, p. 1799, 1985.
0.13 1213 5 x 10-5 Teich at aL . (9] [3] A. J. Davies, C. S. Davies, and C. J. Evans, Proc. IEEE, vol. 118,
p. 816, 1971.
0.8 758 2 x 10- [4] M. S. Bhalla and J. D. Craggs, Proc. Phvs. Soc. London, vol. 80, p.
1.33 607 2 X 10-7 151, 1962.
[5] L. E. Kline, D. K. Davies, C. L. Chen, and P. J. Chantry, J. Appl.
2.60 410 1 x 10-7 Boyd at alI. (7] Phys., vol. 50, p. 6789, 1979.
[6] Geballe and Harrison, reported by L. B. Loeb, Basic Processes of
6.69 382 3 X 10-7 n Gaseous Electrons. Los Angeles, CA: Univ. Calif. Press, 1955, ch.
5, pp. 375-476.
26.93 361 6 X 10-6 n [7] H. A. Boyd and H. A. Crichton, Proc. IEEE, vol. 118, p. 1872,
26.93 370 6 X 10-7 n 18] V. N. Maller and M. S. Naidu, IEEE Trans. Plasma Sci., vol. PS-3
p. 205, 1975.
53.65 360 7.5 X 10-6 [9] T. Teich and R. Sangi, "Discharge parameters for some electro-
negative gases and emission of radiation from electron avalanches,"
in Proc. Svmp. on High Voltage Technol., F. Heidbromer, Ed., vol.
1. Munich, W. Germany: L. Plener, 1972, pp. 391-395.
Kline [30] believes that the excitation coefficient should [10] J. de Urquijo-Carmona, Ph.D. dissertation, Victoria Univ. of Man-
have a behavior similar to that of the ionization coeffi- chester, Manchester, England (UMIST), 1980.
cient. Likewise, there are no data for the secondary ion- [11] T. Yoshizawa, Y. Sakai, H. Tagashira, and S. Sakamoto, J. Phvs.
D., vol. 12, p. 1839, 1979.
ization coefficient -y,, for photoionization. [12] J. P. Novak and M. F. Frechette, J. Appl. Phys., vol. 55, no. 1, p.
107, 1984.
XI. TOTAL SECONDARY IONIZATION COEFFICIENT 6T [13] J. W. Gallagher, E. C. Beaty, J. Dutton, and L. C. Pitchford, J.
Phys. Chem. (Ref. Data), vol. 12, p. 109, 1983.
Teich and Sangi [9] present values for the total second- [14] T. Aschwanden, in Proc. 4th Symp. on Gaseous Dielectrics (Knox-
ary ionization coefficient 3T over the pressure range 0.13- ville, TN), 1984, pp. 24-32.
1.33 kPa, and find that the values vary from 2 x 10-5 to [15] M. C. Siddagangappa, C. S. Lakshminarasimha, and M. S. Naidu,
J. Phys. D., vol. 15, p. L83, 1982.
2 x 10-7 This strong pressure dependence is due to pho-
[16] K. B. McAffee and D. Edelson, Proc. Phys. Soc., vol. 81, p. 382,
ton absorption and quenching, while at higher E/N, values 1963.
of ion secondaries become important. [17] F. M. Harris and G. J. Jones, J. Phys. B, vol. 4, p. 1536, 1971.
[18] M. S. Naidu and A. N. Prasad, J. Phys. D., vol. 5, p. 1090, 1972.
Their results are supported by the work of Shimosuma [19] B. C. O'Neill and J. D. Craggs, J. Phys. B, vol. 6, p. 2634, 1973.
et al. [31] and Govinda Raju et al. [32] on SF6 gas mix- [20] K. P. Brand and H. Jungblut, J. Chem. Phys., vol. 78, p. 1999, 1983.
tures. These authors show that, as the SF6 content is in- [21] I. A. Fleming and J. A. Rees, J. Phys. B. (Ser. 2), vol. 2, p. 777,
creased, the value of bT decreases from 10-3 for pure ni- [22] T. Aschwanden, private communication, 1984
trogen to 2 x 10-5 for pure SF6 at 0.67 kPa. This confirms [23] P. L. Patterson, J. Chem. Phys., vol. 56, p. 3943, 1972.
the trends found by Teich et al. [24] B. H. Crichton and Doug-in Lee, in Proc. 5th. Int. Conf. on Gas
Discharges" (Liverpool, England), 1978, pp. 254-255.
Boyd and Crichton [7] present results over the pressure [25] W. F. Schmidt, H. Jungblut, and H. Tagashira, in Proc. 2nd Gaseous
range 2.5-53.3 kPa and find that 6T increases with pres- Dielectric Symp. (Knoxville, TN), 1980, pp. 1 -11.
sure in this range. At 2.5 kPa their value of 6 = 10-7 [26] D. E. Wilson, W. J. Quiring, and D. A. Armstrong, J. Appl. Phvs.,
vol. 47, p. 1194, 1976.
agrees with that of Teich and Sangi; both sets of results [27] G. N. Natanson, Sov. Phys.-Tech. Phys., vol. 4, p. 1263, 1959.
are tabulated in Table II. [28] M. S. Naidu and A. N. Prasad, J. Phys. D., vol. 3, p. 951, 1970.
[29] B. H. Crichton, N. N. A. Karim, and D. T. A. Blair, in Proc. 3rd
Dielectrics Symp. (Knoxville, TN), 1982, pp. 86-91.
ACKNOWLEDGMENT [30] L. E. Kline, private communication, 1982.
This work was performed as part of a research project [31] M. Shimosuma, H. Itoh, and H. Tagashira, J. PhVs. D., vol. 15, p.
to study SF6 corona stabilization undertaken in collabo- 2443, 1982.
[32] G. R. Govinda Raju and M. S. Dincer, J. Appl. Phys., vol. 53, p.
ration with the Brown Boveri Company of Switzerland, 8562, 1982.
Ontario Hydro Research of Canada, ETh-Zurich, Institut [33] R. W. Crompton and G. N. Haddad, Aust. J. Phys., vol. 36, p. 15,
for Hochspannungstechnik, Switzerland, and Technishe 1983.
[34] L. G. Christophorou, D. L. McCorkle, and J. G. Carter, J. Chem.
Universitat Miinchen. Phys., vol. 54, p. 253, 1971.