Full-Wave Simulation of an Electrostatic Discharge Generator Discharging in Air-Discharge Mode into a Product


This paper introduces a methodology to simulate the currents and fields during an air discharge electrostatic discharge (ESD) into a product by combining a linear description of the behavior of the DUT with a nonlinear arc resistance equation. The most commonly used test standard IEC 61000-4-2 requires using contact-mode discharges to metallic surfaces and air-discharge mode to nonconducting surfaces. In the contact mode, an ESD generator is a linear system. In the air-discharge mode, a highly nonlinear arc is a part of the current loop. This paper proposes a method that combines the linear ESD generator full-wave model and the nonlinear arc model to simulate currents and fields in air-discharge mode. Measurements are presented comparing discharge currents and fields for two cases: ESD generator discharges into a ground plane, and ESD generator discharges into a small product.


Electrical and Computer Engineering

Research Center/Lab(s)

Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) Laboratory

Keywords and Phrases

Air Discharge; Arc Models; Arc Resistance; Contact Modes; Cosimulation; Current Loop; Discharge Currents; Discharge Mode; ESD Generator; Full-wave Model; Full-wave Modeling; Full-wave Simulations; Ground Planes; Highly Nonlinear; Linear Description; Metallic Surface; Test Standards; Electrostatic Discharge; Linear Systems; Metallic Compounds; Nonlinear Equations; Electrostatic Generators

International Standard Serial Number (ISSN)

0018-9375; 1558-187X

Document Type

Article - Journal

Document Version


File Type





© 2011 Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE), All rights reserved.

Publication Date

01 Feb 2011