Which software should I install?

  • Last Post 10 August 2018
  • Topic Is Solved
marc1996 posted this 09 August 2018



I want to simulate the behaviour of a PCB Spark Gap with different shapes and gap distances during a transient electric with an especific waveform. It is possible to simulate it with the free softwares? In case that yes, which of the three softwares should I install?

Thank you,



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pgl posted this 09 August 2018

Hi Marc,

The ANSYS Student product provides access to the ANSYS Fluent CFD application which has a spark model. This is normally used for Internal Combustion Engine simulation, but might be applicable to your simulation. See the ANSYS Fluent Help here. (You'll need to download and install the product to see that help link).  Taker a look at that first. 

I'm sure that others on the Student Community will chime in here with other options.    


marc1996 posted this 10 August 2018


pgl posted this 10 August 2018

Hi Marc,

Thanks for sharing this more detailed description. ANSYS Maxwell can certainly be used to good effect here. You can use the electric field solver to understand the electric Potential, electric Field distribution, and also the electric Field Stress associated with each spark gap geometry and material. You can use the post processing to understand exactly when the point of dielectic breakdown occurs - It won't be able to model the behavior of the arc itself, but your goal is to understand at which voltage breakdown occurs and the spark gap discharges. So yes I believe Maxwell has you covered.

I located this most excellent Masters Thesis by Karthik Reddy Venna, which looks at the dielectric strength of HV vacuum interupters. Although these devices are a largers scale than PCB spark gaps, the simulations and methods described are directly applicable. Please take a look:

A Simulation Analysis to Improve the Dielectric Strength Inside High Voltage Vacuum Interrupters