Impulse Generator are required in high-voltage tests to simulate the stresses due to external and internal over voltages, and also for fundamental investigations of the breakdown mechanisms. They are usually generated by discharging high-voltage capacitors through switching gaps onto a network of resistors and capacitors, whereby voltage multiplier circuits are often used. The peak value of impulse voltages can be determined with the aid of measuring gaps, or better, be measured by electronic circuits combined with voltage dividers. The most important measuring devices for impulse voltage are, however, the cathode-ray oscilloscope and the digital recorder, which allow the complete time characteristic of the voltage to be determined by means of voltage dividers.
Impulse currents are rapidly varying transient currents of large amplitude, as a rule, appear in connection with high voltages, namely through the discharge of energy storing devices. They often develop as a consequence of breakdown discharge mechanisms and are frequently accompanied by large forces and high temperatures.
If these currents have a definite shape, they are referred to a impulse currents; among other things, these are required for the simulation of lightning and short-circuit currents during tests on service equipment. examples of the specific application of the physical effects of impulse currents are magnetic field coils for the confinement of plasmas, electro-dynamic drives or gaps as impulse radiation sources.
The measurement of rapidly varying high currents is usually performed with measuring resistors, or with arrangements which exploit the inductive effect of the current to be measured.
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