Dictionary of Electrical Engineering

Commonly used terms in the Electrical industry.

as applied to insulation (including air), the failure of an insulator or insulating region to prevent conduction, typically because of high voltage.
breakdown strength
voltage gradient at which the molecules of medium break down to allow passage of damaging levels of electric current.
breakdown torque
maximum torque that can be developed by a motor operating at rated voltage and frequency without experiencing a significant and abrupt change in speed. Sometimes also called the stall torque or pull-out torque.
impulse breakdown
a test of electrical insulation in which lightning or switching impulses are applied.
reverse breakdown
the diode operating region in which significant current flows from cathode to anode, due to an applied voltage exceeding the breakdown voltage.
time-dependent dielectric breakdown
breakdown of a dielectric is marked by a sudden increase in current when an electric field is applied. The breakdown does not occur immediately upon application of the electric field, but at a period of time later that depends exponentially upon the magnitude of the field.