# Breakdown voltage

striking voltagereverse voltage reverse breakdownblocking voltagebreak downbreakdown potential.dielectric breakdown voltagereverse breakdown voltagevoltageVoltage at Break-down
The breakdown voltage of an insulator is the minimum voltage that causes a portion of an insulator to become electrically conductive.wikipedia
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### Diode

diodessemiconductor diodegermanium diode
For diodes, the breakdown voltage is the minimum reverse voltage that makes the diode conduct appreciably in reverse.
Also, diodes' high resistance to current flowing in the reverse direction suddenly drops to a low resistance when the reverse voltage across the diode reaches a value called the breakdown voltage.

### Electrical breakdown

dielectric breakdownbreakdowndisruptive discharge
This is called electrical breakdown.
Electrical breakdown or dielectric breakdown is when current flows through an electrical insulator when the voltage applied across it exceeds the breakdown voltage.

### Insulator (electricity)

insulatorinsulatorsinsulation
The breakdown voltage of an insulator is the minimum voltage that causes a portion of an insulator to become electrically conductive. Materials are often classified as electrical conductors or electrical insulators based on their resistivity.
This is known as the breakdown voltage of an insulator.

### Dielectric strength

breakdown field strengthsbreakdown strengthdielectric
This occurs at a characteristic electric field strength in each material, measured in volts per centimeter, called its dielectric strength.

### Paschen's law

Paschen curvelawPaschen breakdown voltage
In a gas, the breakdown voltage can be determined by Paschen's law.
Paschen's law is an equation that gives the breakdown voltage, that is, the voltage necessary to start a discharge or electric arc, between two electrodes in a gas as a function of pressure and gap length.

### Zener diode

zener diodesburied-Zenerzener
In fact, Zener diodes are essentially just heavily doped normal diodes that exploit the breakdown voltage of a diode to provide regulation of voltage levels.
A similar break down is observed in general purpose diodes (which might be quite high), but the voltage and sharpness of the knee is not clearly defined as in Zener diodes.

### Capacitor

capacitorscapacitivecondenser
In standard conditions at atmospheric pressure, air serves as an excellent insulator, requiring the application of a significant voltage of 3.0 kV/mm before breaking down (e.g., lightning, or sparking across plates of a capacitor, or the electrodes of a spark plug).
In order to maximise the charge that a capacitor can hold, the dielectric material needs to have as high a permittivity as possible, while also having as high a breakdown voltage as possible.

### Avalanche breakdown

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The voltage at which the breakdown occurs is called the breakdown voltage.

### Bipolar junction transistor

bipolar transistorbipolarBJT
To avoid damage to the device, and to limit the effects excessive leakage current may have on the surrounding circuit, the following bipolar transistor maximum ratings are often specified:
Transistors have "maximum ratings", including power ratings (essentially limited by self-heating), maximum collector and base currents (both continuous/DC ratings and peak), and breakdown voltage ratings, beyond which the device may fail or at least perform badly.

### TRIAC

electronic speed controllatching current
Some devices (such as TRIACs) also have a forward breakdown voltage.

### Electrical conductor

conductorconductiveconductors
The breakdown voltage of an insulator is the minimum voltage that causes a portion of an insulator to become electrically conductive. Materials are often classified as electrical conductors or electrical insulators based on their resistivity.

### Electrical resistivity and conductivity

electrical conductivityresistivityconductivity
Materials are often classified as electrical conductors or electrical insulators based on their resistivity. For example, in metals one or more of the negatively charged electrons in each atom, called conduction electrons are free to move about the crystal lattice, An electric field causes a large current to flow, so metals have low resistivity, making them good conductors.

### Charged particle

charged particlescharged+
A conductor is a substance which contains many mobile charged particles called charge carriers which are free to move about inside the material.

### Charge carrier

charge carrierscarriersminority carrier
A conductor is a substance which contains many mobile charged particles called charge carriers which are free to move about inside the material.

### Electric field

electricelectrostatic fieldelectrical field
So if an electric field is created across a piece of the material by applying a voltage difference between electrical contacts on different sides of the material, the force of the field causes the charge carriers to move, creating an electric current through the material from the positive to the negative contact.

### Metal

metalsmetal ionsmetal ion
For example, in metals one or more of the negatively charged electrons in each atom, called conduction electrons are free to move about the crystal lattice, An electric field causes a large current to flow, so metals have low resistivity, making them good conductors.

### Electron

electronse − electron mass
For example, in metals one or more of the negatively charged electrons in each atom, called conduction electrons are free to move about the crystal lattice, An electric field causes a large current to flow, so metals have low resistivity, making them good conductors.

### Valence and conduction bands

conduction bandvalence bandconduction electron
For example, in metals one or more of the negatively charged electrons in each atom, called conduction electrons are free to move about the crystal lattice, An electric field causes a large current to flow, so metals have low resistivity, making them good conductors.

### Ceramic

ceramicsceramic materialsceramicist
In contrast in materials like plastics and ceramics all the electrons are tightly bound to atoms, so under normal conditions there are very few mobile charge carriers in the material.

### Ionization

ionizedionizeionisation
Breakdown occurs when the electric field becomes strong enough to pull electrons from the molecules of the material, ionizing them.

### Volt

VkVvolts
This occurs at a characteristic electric field strength in each material, measured in volts per centimeter, called its dielectric strength.

When a voltage is applied across a piece of insulator, the electric field at each point is equal to the gradient of the voltage.

### Dielectric withstand test

HipotHipot testerelectrical insulating
Another term is also withstand voltage, where the probability of failure at a given voltage is so low it is considered, when designing insulation, that the material will not fail at this voltage.

### Utility frequency

50 Hzfrequencymains frequency
The AC voltage is the line frequency of the mains.

### Lightning

lightning boltlightning strikelightning strikes
In standard conditions at atmospheric pressure, air serves as an excellent insulator, requiring the application of a significant voltage of 3.0 kV/mm before breaking down (e.g., lightning, or sparking across plates of a capacitor, or the electrodes of a spark plug).