Rate Constants for Unimolecular Decomposition of SF6
Sulfur hexafluoride (SF6) is widely used as a gaseous dielectric in high-voltage applications due to its extremely large cross section for electron attachment [1-3] and the stability of SF6 with respect to decomposition in subsequent collisions with SF6 . It is also recognized as a potent greenhouse gas and it has been suggested that a mixture of SF6 and N2 might serve as a substitute for pure SF6 in certain applications which require gaseous dielectrics [5,6]. Even with a very low SF6 content, a SF6/N2 mixture exhibits many of the desirable properties of SF6 as a gaseous dielectric. It has been suggested that this mixture may constitute a synergistic combination: the buffer gas (N2) serves to cool energetic electrons into the low-energy region where the electronegative gas (SF6) captures them with a remarkably high cross section, thereby inhibiting the buildup of free electrons that could cause ionization leading to electrical breakdown. The dielectric properties of this mixture have been the subject of numerous recent investigations [5,6].
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