We compare simulations and experiments of positive streamer discharges in air at 100 mbar, aiming towards model validation. Experimentally, streamers are generated in a plate-plate geometry with a protruding needle. We are able to capture the complete time evolution of reproducible single-filament streamers with a ns gate-time camera. A 2D axisymmetric drift-diffusion-reaction fluid model is used to simulate streamers under conditions closely matching those of the experiments. Streamer velocities, radii and light emission profiles are compared between model and experiment. Good qualitative agreement is observed between the experimental and simulated optical emission profiles, and for the streamer velocity and radius. Quantitatively, the simulated streamer velocity is about 20% to 30% lower at the same streamer length, and the simulated radius is about 1mm (20% to 30%) smaller. The effect of various parameters on the agreement between model and experiment is studied, such as the used transport data, the background ionization level, the photoionization rate, the gas temperature, the voltage rise time and the voltage boundary conditions. An increase in gas temperature due to the 50 Hz experimental repetition frequency could probably account for some of the observed discrepancies.

Multiscale Dynamics

Li, X., Dijcks, S., Nijdam, S., Sun, A., Ebert, U., & Teunissen, J. (2021). Comparing simulations and experiments of positive streamers in air: Steps toward model validation.